Episode 21 of Grey’s Anatomy on March 19 was titled, “Superstition.” Interns worked through the idea of “death clusters.” The funeral home director commented this week, “This is the third funeral at youth church. You know they say deaths come in three’s.” I was told this long ago and have myself often wondered about the validity of the notion. For our church this happened to be the case. While the “Memorial” services spanned four weeks, the deaths all came in March. My late friend Lyle dreaded the month of April, after this past month, April has been welcomed.
We remembered Dwain this past Wednesday. On Monday the family gathered to talk about the service. One of Dwain’s habits helped me illustrate some things that have been running through my mind regarding the authority of God and the Scriptures. In modern Evangelicalism much of our time talking about the Scripture focuses on what it means to “me.” Ron Sider, in The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, does a fine job describing the way in which this has left the church mired in its own brand of consumerism and missing its missional role of the people of God in the world. Recapturing the role of Scripture in the “community of faith” requires us to look beyond the “What’s in it for me?” to “What would it mean for us in the fulfilling of the mission of God.?”
Blessing the world lies at the heart of the mission of the people of God according to the call of Abram. Dwain found a way to illustrate this by interpreting the call to his family. His favorite Psalm was the popular Twenty-Third. Unbeknownst to him the verbs in that oft referred to song are in the “Intensive” form. We could amplify our English versions with the addition of “really.” “The Lord is “really” my shepherd.” There seems to be something beyond the statement of a simple fact. Instead it appears to be a strong recognition life is encompassed by the Divine Shepherd who really “shepherds” me. Dwain captured the “really” as he communicated his care for his family. He did so with a simple routine.
Each year Dwain would take his calendar and record the birthdays and anniversaries of those in his family. He would purchase cards for these occasions. Dwain would be diligent to see each card arrived at it’s destination on “the day.” For his grandchildren and great-grandchildren he would include at $5 bill. The attentiveness communicated to his family, “I really care about you.” He interpreted to his family the intensity of his love and care. We ought take great care to interpret to the world the authority of God we experience in the Scriptures for the glory of God and the blessing of the world.
What kind of blessing would it be to the world were we to take great care to interpret the love of God in Christ Jesus to all people?” …