October 8, 2018
In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Kathi Perry remembers her maternal grandfather, who “was not a man of many words. In response to almost any story I would tell him, he would pat me on the arm and say, ‘Well, how about that.’” Kathi says she expects her grandfather prayed in the same way – instead of using a lot of words, he simply “spoke to Jesus as he would speak to a friend. He spoke his mind, and he trusted God.”
I imagine that there may have been times of prayer in which he didn’t speak at all. After all, when you’re spending time with a good friend, the spaces in a conversation don’t need to be filled up. Sometimes all you really need is to be together.
“His favorite hymn was ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus,’ and in his final days,” Kathi writes, her grandfather wanted to be with his friend. “As Grandpa got closer to heaven, he began to believe that the railing on his bed was a fence. He often tried to climb over this fence because he could see Jesus on the other side, and he wanted to go to him.”
Kathi poses a question for us: “How does one develop this intimacy with Jesus?”
Maybe it is through prayer – silent or spoken. Maybe it is in the singing of a favorite hymn. For me, my encounters with Jesus often occur in the sacred silence of natural spaces. The photo above is from one such place, Soapstone Lake – a small mountain lake nestled on the west side of Oregon’s coastal range in Clatsop County.
Wherever or however you experience the presence of Jesus, Kathi notes that for her grandpa at the end of life, there was a “quiet certainty that waiting just over the fence is that friend who ‘knows our every weakness,’” and she believes her grandpa loved this particular song because of its clear answer to the question she offers: “‘Take it to the Lord in prayer.’ I believe Grandpa did this all day long.”
“Jesus, you know already how weak I am and the burdens I carry,” Kathi prays. “Remind me today to hand them to you.”
P.S. Seeds of hope is the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press by developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget. In order to stay on target to meet our goal of $162,000 by December 31, 2020, we need to get to $54,000 by the end of this year. As of this morning, we have raised $33,695 in gifts and pledges.