Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One week, three milestones

Jesse, age 1
Jesse, age 18

















One of our favorite home movies includes a two-minute solo by our fifth child, Jesse, who belted out “Bare Necessities” in his pajamas one evening when he was 4 years old. It’s a classic, including his inventive re-scripting: “the simple bare neh-whessipees.” We knew then that Jesse loved music, and when he asked for his first guitar at age 8, we did not hesitate. I thought about that two weeks ago, when we watched Jesse on stage at his graduation ceremony, playing his guitar and helping to lead an ensemble in a tribute to their class. I am not sure what the Lord has in store for Jesse next. One thing is certain, however. Whatever he does will always include music, somehow, and especially the guitar. Just ask the 15 or so children and adults who take lessons from him every week. Jesse loves to play and he is gifted to teach. Come to think of it, that song may just turn out to be prophetic. Most who make a living with their music get by on just the bare necessities!

Mark and Cindy, married 30 years in 2012
Just a few days later, the scene changed from a high school graduation to a wedding anniversary. Cindy and I celebrated 30 years of marriage June 5, and as we drove out of town for a night away, we talked about what we were doing 30 years earlier on our wedding day. We laughed about how young and foolish we were. Mostly, we reminisced about how good God is and how much we have grown to love him, and each other, in these 30 years.

Three days after we returned from celebrating our anniversary, Cindy and I participated in the wedding of our second son, Caleb, to his sweetheart of many years, Celia. Here is part of what I shared with them and the congregation: “Marriage exists first to display God and the sacrificial death of Christ for his bride. When a man and a woman live according to God’s design, they do so for God’s glory. It is worship, perhaps the finest act of worship this side of heaven. I know you both love worship and missions, Caleb and Celia. Your first act of worship as husband and wife will not be the song we sing together in a few minutes. It will be the vows you speak before almighty God and these witnesses, as you promise to love each other for God’s glory all the days of your life. Your first mission trip as husband and wife will not be to Kenya in a few weeks. It will begin on your honeymoon. Everywhere you go this week you will put on display the relationship between Jesus and the church.”
 Caleb and Celia, married 6/9/12

It is not every week that three such milestones take place, and Cindy and I were humbled by them. We were humbled because we know that God is good, not us. What a blessing! We felt like we were sitting down to a banquet of fresh fruits and vegetables that we had planted, by God’s grace, in a different season. All of the agony of back-breaking toil in the hot sun was forgotten because the harvest was in and the feast was prepared. The labor was eclipsed by the sweet reward. The fruit was delicious and satisfying.

The Psalmist said, “Give to the Lord the glory due His name.” As we enjoy the great blessing of a graduation, an anniversary and a marriage, that is all we want to do.

Thank you, Lord.

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