Friday, February 17, 2012

I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord

     Sometime in the 1960's while my family and I were serving a church adjacent to Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, a newly married couple, Dan and Sarah, came to visit the church one Sunday morning. Dan was a newly-commissioned lieutenant in the Air Force and Sarah was busy with her new role as homemaker. They served at Offutt until Dan left the Air Force so that he and Sarah could return to their family in Atlanta. Paul began a new career there. Over the years they established their family and career and lived a life of devotion to their church, family and community.

     In the mail recently I received a letter from Dan and Sarah. It was a letter of greeting and kind thoughts. Included in the letter was a single page from a small devotional booklet which this couple obviously used in their personal and family devotions. In the center of the small page, which Sarah had marked for emphasis, were the printed words, from Luke 12:32, "Fear not little flock for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you his Kingdom." Sarah remembered!

     After every sermon I ever preached beginning in seminary and continuing throughout my more than 40 years of pastoral work I have used those words as a blessing at the close of the sermon. It is a Promise to be shared. Reading Sarah's greeting was a reminder to me that whether a 'flock' be a congregation or a family or a single person, the gift of the Kingdom has been promised. This kingdom is always the possibility of love in the midst of hate. It is a kingdom of peace in the midst of conflict. It is healing in the midst of sickness, faith in the midst of doubt, eternity in the midst of what is temporary, a meaningful life in the midst of so much that is meaningless around us, hope in the midst of despair, renewal in the midst of all that is old, gain in the midst of loss.

     Thank you, Sarah, from across the years, for expressing in your own life, and for each of us, how God, the Eternal Spirit, hovers over us in our own personal kingdom which is, as the rest of the title line says, "...the house of thine abode."