It's not every day one gets to be twenty-four. My assignment in our grandparently life, from "Mama Molly," is to write a birthday letter to each child or grandchild when that day of special remembrance comes around. It's a tradition for us, if not for all in the family.
On Sunday a grandson hit 24. Such a sweet boy, steady and strong, a friend to many. Instead of church, we drove to his family home to park in their driveway and wave a cheer for 24, passing the letter of love and a laugh-producing gift from the grandmother. So glad for the sight of him, even while we kept our distance.
We learned in Africa that the Africans don't make a big thing of birthdays, often not even knowing when their birthday is. All this despite their high value on relationship.
But - what a good excuse for saying what you see in the life of a young person growing up - or even an adult growing old. A time to say, "This is what we see in you: your loving heart, your steady spirit, your vision for yourself, your affection for others, your ready smile, the light in your life, your courage." Maybe such a word can help a young person see him or herself, and be aware, and be glad for who they are.
Sense of self is important: knowing who you are, and why you're here - and, most of all, "Whose you are" who your Lord is, and Whose life you are trying to emulate.
My model was my New Testament teacher, under whom I studied in Scotland. James Stewart was a Professor of Divinity at New College Edinburgh. He was also Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland. He loved Jesus, and proclaimed Him with lyrical Scottish voice when he often preached as an interim at Palmerston Place Church. Jamie Stewart was a small man, utterly humble, who mounted diffidently the pulpit steps, but once there, wrapped his robes around him and declared, like a song, that Jesus Christ, Son of God, was "KING FOREVER."
This man of faith was a wonderful example to me, of the heart of the Christian life, and the deep belief of the Christian way. He, of course, was not the only one. How could I forget my mother, that faithful, selfless, earnest Baptist. And my father, who was nurtured in faith by the Omaha YMCA, and went to college and seminary to build a foundation of faith that gave his deep beliefs a framework that served his teaching and preaching in three churches?
There were others, all through my own life, countless many of them, whose very lives were to me, an invitation to follow, "follow the gleam."
Remember that the world is watching each one of us who call ourselves "Jesus' people." We all have influences, all of us who walk the Pilgrim road.
I wish joy to you, as you journey on.
Your friend, Arthur
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES