I’m seeing the impact of the economic crunch is some very personal ways. One of my students works in a financial planning office. Well, he did. His job went along with the profits. I’m on the board of Pregnancy Resource Centers of Portland. They are far 25% their very tight budget at the same time the visits into their clinics are up markedly. They have already done a pay reduction but projections for spring look bleak.
Most difficult right now is seeing one of the churches I consult with that will not be able to make payroll and mortgage payments. The emergency meetings are bringing out many tensions among the leadership team. "Faith in God’s provision" led to commitments that can’t be met now. It’s really hard not to fall into blaming. It wakes me up in the middle of the night praying.
On the other side, the baby in the Emanuel NICU I blogged about last time went through the surgery well. It’s really weird that she’s much better when she’s laying in her wired bed with her chest wide open to allow her heart to do its swelling. Please keep praying.
One of the many emails from a student asked me to comment on a woman in her ministry who sees the LORD roaming the earth, selecting her to be His bride. I tried to figure out why that image bothered me when it’s a biblical metaphor. It certainly makes her feel very loved and special. But when you look in Bible, it’s Israel or the Church, not an individual, who is the bride. It’s not an individual, but the people of God that the Father prepares to be a beautiful bride for His precious Son. Individuals are children of God, not the bride. We are one of many children, all of whom are special. There is only one bride and that relationship excludes all others. Ironically, applying the bride or marriage metaphor to our relationship makes us too special!
As I reflected, I found my mind singing the wonderful Twila Paris song, "How Beautiful" with the second stanza that goes like this:
How Beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sins and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
It’s a song that always brings a quiet smile because of the power of His love made real in and through the Body. There’s a genuine hope when that happens.
Sherry heads off on Sunday for her first cruise, a week long excursion with her Mom, sister and sister in law. It will be a very fun family time for them. They picked the time to coincide with my trip to Evangelical Theological Society, this year in Providence, Rhode Island.
And I have to include a couple of grandgirl pictures: