I completed this Ink with Pen and Brush a few years back from photos I had taken in downtown Anoka, Minnesota. I like the architecture. The building seems to emerge from its very landscape, trailing the point of its noble steeple. I am not acquainted with any individuals in this congregation. I can only imagine that it, like so many older church buildings, could tell us a story of those who gather there. Often such stories include a bright beginning, a decline, for any number of reasons, and then once again a burst of new life! Both the architecture and history of such congregations bring to mind our Thought—Resurrection.
I had a dream this week. It wasn’t a long dream. It was one of those dreams that evolve just before waking up in the middle of the night, or the last thing in the morning. This was the one that awakened me. It was time to get up. Like many people I know, when I arise from sleep on any given morning, I may know I dreamed but I can’t recall what the dream was about. At best, I may have general recollections, but don’t ask me to describe it. I couldn’t. It was just a dream. This was not like that. I remember it well.
The setting seemed suspended midair, like what you experience from the window of a 747 flying through elegant clouds. A spacious hallway stretched forward with doors to the right. I entered one set of doors into a large room. It reminded me of a bright church fellowship hall. In the room no more than four or five women, whom I did not recognize, were busy setting up tables. They seemed in preparation for an event. Overhearing their conversation, they were preparing a meal that would serve those attending the Memorial Service of a dear friend.
One person lamented, “How will we ever get along without her?” Until now I had not said a word. I’m not certain they were even aware of my presence. But almost involuntarily I stated, “Resurrect her!” They seemed startled by my directive. What did I mean? They knew she would be in the resurrection when Jesus returned. But what are you suggesting? Again, how I responded seemed a most natural reply: Resurrect—bring back to life—whatever you experienced in her life that you will miss. Reincarnate or re-embody the life of faithful service the Spirit of God was allowed to have flow through her. Resurrect her by carrying on the service she gave.
My dream was over. I was wide awake. Now, what am I to do with the dream? I shared it with Marj over breakfast and I sensed to share it with you today. Why? I’m not certain. Are you and I to be the resurrection of the service of someone we’ve known and miss? Could be.
Somewhere in my ‘awake time’ I read a thought I’ll share called: “The Four ‘M’s of History”. In every movement it seems inevitable it will progress through four stages in their history. This is stated in the masculine, but it is no less true in the feminine.
The MAN: A man is called to begin a movement.
The MEN: Men are attracted to and closely follow the Man.
The METHOD: After the Man and the Men are gone, those remaining adopt the Method of the Man and Men.
The MEMORIAL: When it becomes clear Method alone doesn’t work, the Man is Memorialized.
I think the beautiful thing about these 4 Ms is not that the movement may stop with memorialization of great people who preceded us, but that in succeeding generations God raises up new Men and Women with a passion for continuing His good work in the world.
God’s work is constantly revitalized and expanded as followers of Jesus open our lives to the full power of the Spirit’s guidance. Our words and actions become a Resurrection of what we have witnessed and value in their lives as revealed in the pages of Scripture and their history.
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
2 Timothy 1:13,14