Monday, June 9, 2008

Flowers & Theology

“I’m 61 and I’ve never had flowers!” she says. What a sad reality. My small group met with a beloved lady on Saturday night to cook dinner and just spend time with. She is a great woman of God and has inspired anyone who crossed her path. Her name is June, she has to be the strongest person I’ve ever met, her faith casts a huge shadow over mine and her story inspires me to walk like she walks with Jesus. When we first started IMC, she started coming over from the Barton House, a big apartment building across the street and has been one of the most faithful attendees since. Every Sunday she rolls through our doors with joy in her heart and circumstances behind her. She has cancer. She’s been through it all, being bald, growing back the hair, not being able to walk, etc. At one point there were a couple of guys who went over to her apartment to pray over her and the next doctor’s appointment she had there was a miracle. This isn’t us being crazy or unrealistic, it really happened. The doctor did a scan and could not find this cancer anywhere in here body. Since then her hair has grown longer, her face has brightened up more lives than she knows and she had steadily inspired others to love Jesus. Recently they found out she has stage 4 terminal cancer again and it is back with a passion. So she may not have that long, at least the doctor’s say. Well, my small group decides we will go over, cook her favorite food, tacos, and just spend time with her. She mentions she needs some towels so people go shopping and get her towels. So when we show up Saturday we meet her with love, tacos, towels and flowers. It was wonderful to see a group of people spend time with her just because Jesus’ love resides in them.

Every woman deserves flowers, so I buy her some flowers. It is amazing how simply a gesture has such a great impact. All day Sunday she told everyone how sweet we were for cooking her dinner, cleaning up, laughing, telling stories, and above all, bringing her flowers. Maybe it’s the fragrance or the beauty that so touched her, but obviously this made a big impact. Another friend came over to hang out too. He was a man addicted to drugs and alcohol, but loved by Ms June. She chased him down and told him about Jesus for a while, until he started coming to IMC, hearing about Jesus and eventually said he wanted to follow Him, got baptized, and the rest is history. Me being as analytical and reflective as I am, leave that night full of thoughts but more than anything encouragements.

So as we talked about everything from falling down while trying to dance to our interpretation of spiritual gifts I noticed one thing. I was telling my friend about this when we were running and all I could sum it up with was this, “If you put these two people in a class with me (I attend a Bible college) their heads would probably spin around, but they have some of the best theology I’ve ever heard or seen.” Basically I came up with this. These two people have had hard lives, full of pain, but are following Jesus. They don’t have a very affluent lifestyle, honestly, by most standards they would be considered below average, but they are beyond wealthy in my eyes. They have had to internalize all this stuff they read in the Bible, all this stuff they learn about Jesus, they have had to rely on it alone to get them through some of the junk they’ve been through. Because of this they have some of the most fragrant, beautiful faith I’ve seen. There is something special about having to rely on God to get you through as opposed to just reading the Bible and doing what you are told to do. Their lives look a lot less religious than most, but their walks with Jesus are also more colorful than most. It’s this practical living that makes their very core sing joy, their souls light up. She was pulling up to the building on Sunday morning and I said,” Ms June, your hair looks great, are you growing it out?” She responds with, “Oh Honey, thank you, but it will all fall out soon, this cancer is killing me, but God loves me and has a plan.” Because of this Ms June has responses like that.

She says this in passing, like it is no big deal! The beautiful thing is that to her it is NOT a big deal. Her faith supersedes any of her circumstances. Jesus has so impacted her heart that her life and faith show more beautiful than any flower ever could. She thanks me for the flowers on Sunday, but we should thank her and people of faith like her, every day, for their faith is more fragrant and beautiful than any flower spring could produce.

May your faith be fragrant, may it be beautiful, may you inspire others to want to follow Jesus more, not because you can preach a fancy sermon, or quote some doctrinal statement, but because your life is practical and the Bible comes to life in you!

4 comments:

  1. I just had a minute to read this blog and I thought it was cool. Do the people there often make time to do activities like this? It's amazing the growth opportunities when we step out the walls of the church building and establish those relationships.

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  2. Ms June has made a lasting impression on me that will always be in my heart! What an amazing lady!! Thank you for loving on her.

    Carrie

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  3. Hey Bekah Jo, yes we often (as possible) try to take opportunities to serve others, just be with them and flesh out the practical truths of the Bible. Our way of mimicing the community the path following Jesus leads us to.

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  4. Carrie,
    Yes June is an amazing lady of faith. If I oculd have half of her strength I'd be a better man. Your family inspires me as June inspires you so keep grinding it out for Jesus on the Eastside.

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