Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Falling Up: Synchronicity Sidebar

It was only a few days ago I wrote that post, not remembering dates, not going and looking up. But we live in this age of social media; and for all that people complain, I am so thankful for the ways it has allowed me to be connected and re-connected to people. So this morning I found out that today is Merrihelen's birthday.

That means that 49 years ago tonight I was at her slumber party saying yes to Jesus. She said no, she believed in science. We kind of ruined her party. And I'm sorry for that.

Also today, Dr. Billy Graham passed away. And in some ways he is part of this story too. 

Wendy and I started going to Topanga Community Church with Lucy. Like many other non-denominational Christian churches of the time, it followed a lot of the pattern set by Billy Graham. The music was similar, the sermons were similar, the theology was similar. One night we had a special service where they showed a film produced by his ministry. 

And on a regular basis they had an altar call, much as he did. As the piano began to play, the pastor would have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes, "no one looking around." You would be invited to make a private decision to to accept Jesus as your savior, just slip your hand in the air, with no one looking. But then, as the choir sang Just As I Am, those who had raised their hands were encouraged to come up front for prayer, to make a public commitment. 

It is emotional and more than a little manipulative. But also there is something very moving in that. That moment that you feel like you can be freed from your mistakes, that God loves and accepts you just the way you are and is going to help you be better. It is a powerful promise and hope. But it is a mountaintop moment and most of life is lived in the valley.

I don't really have a point in this, that is why it is a sidebar. Today was just one of those days that surprised me with the synchronicity of it all. Just pondering some memories and thinking about Billy. Wonder if we get the afterlife we believe in.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee
O, Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe
O, Lamb of God, I come, I come.

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