To all the men brave enough to read Embrace the Grace (also to those who endure it by listening to their wives read to them - smile) I want to say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!
This has turned into somewhat of a men's weekend for us. The men shouldered the tear down of all the staging necessary for VBS. They gathered Saturday morning to help a family in our church with an emergency move. Many of our men and younger guys trekked out to the middle of a farm last night for mentoring time. This morning at 7:30 we were putting the finishing touches on our annual Father's Day Breakfast honoring dads. Frank preached a wonderful sermon challenging and encouraging men. And now we'll all gather for dinner at Joy and John's house (I l-o-v-e having married children that like to cook!)
That exceedingly long paragraph was much needed as our society today finds so little to celebrate in regards to the men of our world. Frank concluded our service this morning in a very unusual way. He asked for all the young people to come to the center of the auditorium. He then asked that the men form a circle around them. Finally, the ladies were to encircle the men.
(Cute side note: the men in the room actually outnumbered the women as many of our ladies were serving in nursery, children's church, etc. After surveying the outer circle Frank loudly announced, "Are we out of women?" With a wife and three daughters, Frank has never been out of women! Everyone enjoyed a good chuckle.)
Frank asked that the men begin to pray for the young people and that the women pray for the men. It was an extremely touching and powerful moment for our congregation. Far too often men are the topic of ridicule and jokes; it was wonderful to acknowledge their position of honor for a change. There were plenty of tears (both masculine and feminine) I assure you.
I'll close today with a final story from VBS which I heard this morning. Muhammad is an adorable little guy who is eight years old with bright eyes and a quick mind. He sat on the front row almost every night.
While everyone was cleaning up Friday evening, one of our teenagers stepped outside for just a moment. Suddenly he spotted Muhammad coming back across our parking area on his bicycle. When he got closer, Will realized that he was crying. Apparently soon after he got home, his family became embroiled in a huge fight. Muhammad ran out of the house, got on his bicycle and came back to a place where he knew he would be safe.
Because Will had been one of our helpers all week, Muhammad knew him. Will was able to kneel down and put his arm around the little guy until he could finish crying. Words of counsel and wisdom weren't necessary at that moment. Muhammad only needed a safe spot. Thank heavens he found it at the church.
May church be the "safe place" for us all! Special blessings to all the men in our lives.