I was born into a church-going family in Raymondville, Texas, a small farming community, in the 1940s. We were that “Ozzie and Harriet” family who shared meals around the table and actually TALKED to one another. We went to the Corral drive-in as a family, which was forbidden in dating years; joined into seasonal parades; and filled the ranks of school sports, arts, service, and academic organizations.
We studied (not just read) the Bible and were at church every time the doors opened (Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and every other gathering, including those days-long Gospel meetings in the summer). My father (and brothers) led the singing, and Daddy taught Bible classes from age 21 to his death in 1971. We invited the preacher (permanent or visiting) for Sunday dinner. Our best friends were members of the church, and we even vacationed together a time or two.
Each church service was followed by “visiting” in pairs and small groups on the building’s front steps or grounds. We kids played chase on the lawn where the whole church shared ice cream socials, “dinner on the ground” pot-lucks, and watermelon feasts. In short, that church family—and the building itself—were the heartbeat of our family. Everything else in life revolved around it, so my memories of the building and life under that roof run deep and very strong. That building was HUGE.
Until, that is, my husband and I stopped in front of it on the visit home that I mentioned earlier. It was as if I had stepped through the back of a wardrobe and entered a land as strange as Narnia. Where had the building I remembered run off to? It was so small it seemed stooped. The front steps weren’t the large, spacious structure I remembered. They were low and narrow and completely unsuitable for conversation groupings. And the cemented area that ran from the steps to the street? No longer the parking lot-sized space I remembered, it had shrunken to downright measly.
What had come over my old church home? Even now, I recall the surreality of facing that unfamiliar, yet ever-so familiar place. Maybe I’d entered the Twilight Zone. With our world having gone through 2020 (and, admittedly, 2021), when I saw the following post on Facebook, I just had to share it. I don’t know Jonathan Blaze Harker, don’t know what he’s about or whether I’d want to follow his posts, but I do know his insight on perspective is spot-on. Leave your comments, reactions, and maybe memories below.
Perspective from Jonathan Blaze Harker on a June 28, 2020, Facebook post:
God-centered Perspective in Our Messed-up World
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
James 1:17 NKJV
I don’t understand “no variation” or “no shadow of turning”. Don’t know about you, but I can change my mind—and emotions—quicker than you can say “I changed my mind.” Those of us who claim the name of Jesus are supposed to view the world in all its messiness through faith-tinted eyeglasses. It’s not always easy, but without Jesus, what do you DO with a world turned upside down? A universe where right is wrong, and wrong is right? Where the infallible Word of God is merely fables? And where the government, not parents, determine what our children believe and how they act? The mess is endless.
Which, I’m reminded, is one characteristic of God’s very nature, so foreign to us fickle creatures. His immutability. Endlessness. Always has been; always will be. Unchangeable. Eternal. God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 NIV
I don’t understand this world. But I don’t have to. God does, and that’s enough for me. I’ll take God’s perspective any ol’ day. How about you?
~ ~ ~
Dear Lord, give us eyes, ears, and hearts for Your perspective in this messy world.
~ For Jesus’ sake