Sunday, March 28, 2010
This last week of Jesus’ life on earth, this Easter week is arranged by the will of the Father. It is what he wills. Last week we listened to Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and while he asked to be excused from such an horrific death as a sin bearer disconnected from the Father, he qualified his request with submission to the will of the Father. He said, “not as I will but as you will.” Jesus is essentially saying that whatever the Father wants, he himself wants.
What God wants, is what I want.
That was so easy an attitude for me when I was a younger Christian and relatively unattached to people, to places and to things. When you possess little, and you are eager to be on your own and away from parental jurisdiction and you have a spirit of adventure that is eager to go anywhere It is comparatively simple to say to God, “What you want is what I want.”
But here I am today. I have finished a four decade career in formal Christian work as a pastor and an executive officer of a church denomination and numerous volunteer responsibilities in Christian organizations. Always during those years I was quick to say, “What God wants is what I want.” I have been married to Christine who has similar expressed that commitment to the Father’s will. With me she has prayed submissively, “Anything, Any time, Anywhere.” This shared obedience has developed our skills and connections and wisdom and experience and taken us to several cities to live and to work for God.
Now I have embarked upon a stage of life called retirement. During all the active working years Christine and I have seen our children married and our grandchildren born and all of them located within a five minute drive from our home, and we have accumulated stuff, property, house, cars, things. And now I have taken retirement to mean release from the myriad formal responsibilities of earlier years but not release from biblical spirituality and godliness of life. Nevertheless, when it comes to thoughts about whether to and when to sell our house, and where to relocate, and how to spend the remaining years of our possibly long lives, I know that I must say I want what God wants yet I don’t find submissively saying “Anything, Any time, Anywhere,” as easy as it once was.
I give you that personal anecdote simply to say here that the will of God is paramount in how each of us lives our personal lives and chart the course for our families with children who are still in our care, and it is paramount with how we do church and nurture our relationships and practice our careers in the marketplace or the Christian sector. What God wants is what I want, or more clearly, not my will but your will Lord.
So, the disciples knowing what Jesus wanted, went ahead of him into Jerusalem and met the owner of the animals and told him that Christ needs the donkey and its foal. This was what Jesus wanted so the disciples did it. It was what Jesus wanted so the owner gave the animals for Christ’s use.
Friday, March 26, 2010
OUR MINDS ARE OCCUPIED WITH MY GRANDSON, 5 YEAR OLD KALE TODAY. HE IS SCHEDULED FOR SOME DENTAL SURGERY. HE CAME FIVE YEARS AGO WITH AN EXTRA TOOTH IN THE FRONT SO HE WILL GO TO SLEEP AND WAKE UP AFTER THE PROCEDURE. EVEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS GETS GRANDPARENTS VERY CONCERNED. WE LOVE HIM SO MUCH. SPECIAL BOY.
And this is his swollen post surgery grin, painful and to bed early...
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
If you look back to the previous post you will read that yesterday, Monday March 8th was ICE CREAM CONE DAY at my house. For that matter it was Ice Cream Cone Day at my brother Murray's place in St. Catharines, Ontario and at my brother Neale's place at Dorchester, Ontario or wherever they observed it seeing that Neale is a working man during the daytime.
ICE CREAM CONE DAY is in honour of my father Edward Richard Unruh. He died at age 93 in 2008 so had he lived a wee bit longer he would be 95 years of age. As it is he is a forever man. He was a man of faith. I remember that as a boy a western singer sang a song that Dad loved. Stuart Hamblen sang, "When you see me close my eyes, say Amen but don't you weep. I've got so many million years you just can't count them."
Of my own five grandchildren, he saw only one of them in person, the firstborn. Mom and Dad reached a point a few years ago after which they no longer travelled any distances, so they never made it west and my children as young parents could not afford to go east to St. Catharines where Dad and Mom lived. He never personally saw the other four great grandchildren here in B.C.
Nevertheless we celebrated his memory yesterday. It was a privilege. These five little twerps want to do it every year.
Pictured here are first, my Dad Edward, then Kale (5) and Kadence (3) and me, Papa. Then Kale, Jeff, Kadence and Papa. Following that, is Ryan (7) Jayden (5) and Kailyn (9) together with mommy (Cari my daughter) and Papa with a photo of my dad, Edward.
On the Photo is the inscription Edward Richard Unruh / Lover of God, Tina and Ice Cream.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
MY FATHER LOVED ICE CREAM CONES
Monday March 8 is my father's birthday. He is not here to celebrate the day. He passed away two years ago. On this day this year he would have been 95 years of age. Of course we were saddened by his death, but our mom, his wife and sweetheart had preceded him in death just six months earlier. Those were lonely months for him but he was always a pleasant and cheerful man. And he loved ice cream cones. He always had enjoyed them. So, following his funeral we all celebrated his memory with ice cream.
Tomorrow my brothers, Murray and Neale and their families will remember Dad with ice cream cones, and so will we here in B.C. My children and grandchildren will come over and I will scoop. I have numerous flavours and cones galore. One cone may not be enough even for the children, so a second is acceptable.
I can remember being ten years of age and my father taking me to an ice cream parlour and buying us cones, just he and me. We ate them as we walked down the street on the way home. As we turned a far corner, Dad was completing his cone when he said, "I think that tastes like more" so we turned around and went back for a second one. That spontaneous extravagance impressed me then and became a precious memory.
Throughout his years no matter whom he was with he might say, 'let's stop here and see if they have some ice cream," or "Do you care for an ice cream cone? I think I would like one." And he always had to pay. He insisted.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Both maternal and paternal sides of my heritage derive from a persecuted people group known as Mennonites who found refuge in Empress Catherine II's Russia and were permitted to establish themselves in colonies in Crimea. Stalin changed that. Researching my paternal ancestral tree has taught me that in every generation going back into the 1700’s, there was a missionary, a pastor, a church elder, a theologian/teacher. From a family of seven siblings living in Temir Bulat, Crimea in the late 1800’s my grandfather was one of three who emigrated to North America. Coming through the northern states to Saskatchewan where he settled with a new bride. In Hepburn, my father and I were born. I began my personal journey of faith when I was ten years of age. As I write in 2010, fifty seven and one half years have passed. I am more convinced today than I was as a boy that an exclusive trust in the Son of God is imperative. Further, the legacy of faith which I received has been nurtured far beyond a superficial institutional belief to something enduringly exceptional. I am convinced that I must leave my children and specially my grandchildren an example of faith and the prescription for making faith their own.
American recording vocalist Steve Green hit his stride during the 1980’s and one of his songs was ‘Find us Faithful.’ These lyrics speak my sentiments. I have linked two YouTube files where you can hear him singing this today, twenty-five years later, and also when he sang it as a young man. Of course the studio settings are a wee bit churchy and clichéd but appreciate this for the tune and the words.
Find Us Faithful - Steve Green
We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find
* Steve Green sings it for the Gaither Vocal Band
* Steve singing it as a younger man when the song was first introduced.
* A link to Steve Green’s Web Site and Foundation
Steve Green (born August 1, 1956 in Portland, Oregon) is a Contemporary Christian music singer notable for his vocal range (tenor) and flexible solo style. Over his twenty-five year career, Green has been honored as a four-time Grammy Award nominee, seven-time Dove Award winner, has had 13 No. 1 songs, and has sold over three million albums.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
As Christine and I were saying goodnight to one another last night, she with her head resting on her pillow and me reclining on mine, with one hand she stroked the side of my face, silly little beard. As she moved her hand against me I could see in her eyes a look of pathos, a sadness at the different me she saw from when we knew each other as younger adults and new lovers. Her expression was so clear to me that I said, “I’m sorry.” Looking into her eyes, still so stunningly dark and alluring I said, “I tried not to change.” And then her understanding eyes began to tear up as she replied, “Me too.” “I know” I offered, “we tried for so long not to let it happen to us.” Both so happy with one another. Both complete with memories made together, both nostalgic and yet realistic, I said, “We’ll go the rest of the way together.” At which time, we both wiped some tears and then Christine said, “Oh stop it, you can talk like that when we are eighty.”