Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday Musings

There was a rush to be ready this morning. The thunderous explosions and torrential downpour of the early morning hours disturbed our rest and our response to the alarm clock. I bustle and hustle little ones. All the while digging deep for motivation. Church services with young children when hubby is preaching are challenging experiences.

Despite the late start, we manage our church departure. Everyone was dressed in reasonable Sunday attire. And everyone had shoes.

Worship was good. Songs in three different languages. Warm smiles and greetings. Old friends and new. A baby to hold.

Bible class brought Hilda to the front to teach us a song and a principle. “Don’t worry. Don’t cry. God is near.”

Alex also took a turn at teaching a song. “I Am Not Afraid of 10,000’s of People”

I share a story on the flannel board: Jesus teaching on the Sea of Galilee from Simon’s boat. Crowds were pressing in, eager to hear.

Simon (the boat lender) and his partners were disappointed fisherman cleaning very empty nets. Jesus gives a mysterious directive to go back out on the lake and work some more.

Peter’s reply, “We’ve worked all night for nothing,” is followed by obedience despite the frustrating facts.

Rowing into the lake. Tired, strong arms tossing the nets. Same lake. Same fish percentage.

Suddenly overflowing nets! Ecstatic cries for assistance resonate.

“We can’t do this by ourselves. Come and help us!”

Now sinking boats heavy with fish pull to shore and Peter drops to his knees crying confession and repentance. (Maybe the biggest miracle…)

Jesus calls, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

Peter and his partners left everything and followed Him.

When the flannel figures had told their tale, we wrangled our charges through coloring pages, snacks and a photo shoot. All the while I’m reflecting on the Bible Class story. The Christ given analogy of being “fishers of men”. The discouragement of empty nets. How tired my arms can feel. How I sometimes long for another lake…

The final prayer of corporate worship is said. We gather belongings and enter into the chatter of fellowship.

One precious friend reports she is nearly finished with her teaching assignment for school. She built a café/shop out of cardboard for her students to learn from and play with. My spirit is encouraged much by her creativity and investment in her teaching.

Bent, weak Akiiki shares the loss of a large bunch of bananas. She had purchased her surplus for selling in the village. The transport driver stole her produce. Could we help?

Abooki is exclaiming over Kinley’s 11th birthday.

We inquire of our friends about “all the people at home” and “ the animals” and “the gardens”. We exult over the massive rainfalls and tell our stories of being awakened by the thunder. We thank Abugaba for his success in killing the bees that had attempted residence at the airstrip.

Eventually our noisy tummies motivate our leave for lunch.

But first, a quick stop at the newly graded church land. The muddy upturned dirt marks one more step forward in a long development process. Our family circles for prayer on ground that has most likely been used for unholy purposes in the past. We ask God for His claiming. His Spirit’s presence. A place for Jehovah to be glorified.

Then home. Leftovers. Dishes. M&M’s from Nana and Papa.

Rest. Reading. Puzzles. Games.

There is supper to set out and nighttime reading and prayers ahead.

Sunday will be ending soon. But the remnant for me is that flannel graph story. It has taken form, jumped off the page and landed squarely in my heart.

There is a new week before me. More rowing in a very familiar lake.

Only this week, I’m reminded afresh of His refining Call. “Do not be discouraged. Try again. I’m watching. And I have a plan.”

So we row, and toss the net and hold on to the hope of a miraculous result…

Maybe just the fruit of my own repentance and confession.

Steady on.

(Bible story from Luke 5:1-11)


Trisha said...

Powerful words, my friend. I love that your life feels very close, very much like my Sundays, even though we are thousands of miles apart. That's actually one of my favorite things about Sundays. I love to think of all the people I love who are communing with Jesus and with me each Sunday.
Meanwhile, I'm praying for you to see glimpses of the miraculous this week. For your heart to be encouraged as you persistently fish in the lake where God has you.

Emily said...

I just found your blog this morning and I love it! Our family is being called to a mission in Ethiopia to establish an orphanage. We have three kids (ages 6, 4 and 5 months). We just met with the travel physician and nurses yesterday and I am praying against the fear of exposing my precious kids to the list of deadly diseases in Africa. Would you be willing to share any words of wisdom with me about how the Lord prepared you to trust in Him and take your children to Africa? I read you have been serving for 13 years. Were your kids born there?

Diane said...

Dear Cheryl,
Keep the faith, friend! When God told Joshua to be strong and courageous, not to be afraid and discouraged, I see a contrast there. The opposite of strong is afraid and the opposite of courage is discouragement. May God bless you with an extra measure of courage this week. Grace and peace, Diane

Anonymous said...

I love that God gave you His word in a special way as you taught. Such true words for perseverance in obedience. They are food for my heart, too! Blessings to you as you minister and continue fishing in the lake he has told you to cast your nets into.