Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blessing the Space Between Us

This morning early the gentle rain was falling. It began long before the light came. And it is still falling now. I think I can hear the plants and the grass singing for joy as this blessing is coming their way. With the extreme heat of the last few days the grass was brown.

There is nothing like the freshness during and after the rain. Everything is alive. Everything is clean again. A blessing has been given to the earth from God himself.

This morning after a four week period of time away from church we head back to share our love with a congregation. It actually seems like 6 months.

Today I am speaking about the “Blessing the Space Between Us” and how we can pour blessing into that space.

You will often hear Christians say to others, “God Bless YOU!” A spoken and poured out cluster of words that are laid in front of the other person… poured into a space between them. Unfortunately they don’t all mean it. Today I will endeavor to get a new group of people to actually mean what they say… further more a second lofty goal will be to see them act upon what they say… do something to bless some one else.

Uttered blessings that come from a person that means it are very powerful. They carry unbelievable strength to a person in trouble – some one cares enough to speak to them.

Carried out blessings – delivered in person from practical hands are the kind that will change lives.

My story of Blessings...
Three young children often sat in the back of a pick up truck outside of a Hotel Bar in Espanola, Ontario. While they waited in the truck their parents were drinking in the Hotel. It was a long evening of playing in and out of the truck box, chasing one another around and around.

A minister watched from across the street one Saturday evening. He has been out for a walk while he was praying and asking God what he could do for his community to “bless it”. Maybe he was preaching on the same thing that I am this morning.

The minister returned again the next week to the street in front of the Hotel Bar. The same half ton truck was there again with the kids running every where.

One night the minister came with his wife and they waited for the closing time of the hotel. The children had stopped running and were curled up in the truck box fast asleep. Dad and Mom struggled out of the hotel, swaying from side to side, as the alcohol brought its full force to play in their lives. Their truck started and pulled away from the hotel slowly.

My friend and his wife pulled their old car on to the road and followed the weaving half ton truck to find where the family lived. When the truck found its way home down a winding, sandy trail miles from the town of Espanola – the minister’s small car was there behind it.

The next week the minister’s car pulled into the same yard during the day. The pastor and his wife introduced themselves to the mom and her three kids. They offered to pick up the kids for Sunday School the next Sunday morning. The Mom thought that it was a good idea. Sunday was not a good day as her husband was often not feeling well. If the kids went to Sunday School there would be less fighting.

So it began. The small car that the minister drove left town early for its jaunt out to the countryside to fetch three young children for Sunday School. Then later in the day after the kids had attended Sunday School and had lunch with the minister and his wife, they arrived home.

This went on for many years as the minister and his wife had the wonderful task of blessing three children each week.

The story didn’t end there. Fast forward a lot of years.

The three kids were a Girl, a Boy and another Girl. The first Girl become a Missionary with her husband in Thailand. The little Boy became a very good pastor of a number of churches. The youngest Girl is a pastor’s wife. All three kids entered the full time Christian ministry.

The minister and his wife were old when I met them. I was brand new as a pastor. This old couple, Rev. & Mrs. Crossman, were completing their ministry as we began ours. We met that evening of their retirement party in a small church not far from where we lived.

At the table we were sitting was another pastor and his wife. They were wonderful people that simply loved everyone. As we arrived at our new church they were the first to welcome us and help us to get settled. They were new also in their church.

When the MC that evening invited others to share words about Rev. & Mrs. Crossman, the pastor’s wife sitting with us at our table stood and began to cry.

She told us the story of the half ton truck sitting outside of the Hotel Bar in Espanola. She was the youngest girl playing in the truck box. She had not known what had happened to the Crossmans over all these years. Now she was with them again to offer her blessings in return.

That powerful night took place almost exactly 34 years ago now.

For me it illustrates the power of someone “Blessing the Space Between Us”. I have never forgotten the look on Crossman’s faces as they discovered their “little Eva” again. I could never forget the tears that fell from Eva’s face that night as she told this beautiful blessing story.

Now I ask you… as I will ask the congregation today… who will you bless today? What space between you and some one else will you fill with your love and blessing?

I pray that this Blog Posting will “Bless the Space Between Us”… TODAY and from now on…!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
(PS – for some of you I have told this story before… but perhaps you just needed to hear it one more time… God bless you today!)


Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog as I was looking for blogs that were about my hometown of Espanola, Ontario.

I was dumbfounded to read your story, because I believe that your story about the children playing in the truck outside an Espanola hotel is about my family. Let me explain....

The children you must be referring to would be my father, Bob, and my two aunts, Eva and Dorothy. I have another aunt, Eila, who is the eldest of these children. I also have an uncle, David, who would be the youngest and perhaps not born yet at the time of the story being told.

It is true -- my grandparents and their family were eventually converted through the ministry of the Pentecostal minister in Espanola. My grandmother passed away in 1993 and my grandfather is 89 years old and still living in Espanola.

My aunt Dorothy and her husband Don were missionaries in Thailand for a period of time. My aunt Eva and her husband George are still in full-time ministry in the province of Saskatchewan. However, my father did not go into the ministry -- he is a general contractor and builder and the only one of the children who is still in Espanola. He and my mom are believers and raised my brothers and I in a Christian home, for which we are all thankful.

Your story should be an encouragement to anyone who thinks that their loving actions are not significant. It should also encourage parents that their children are truly "a heritage unto the Lord". Thanks for the post!

From Murray & Alida.... said...

Thank you for your input... Yes this is the same family... Don and Dorothy became our close friends years later... and we have kept in contact with George and Eva...they at one time not long ago were my aunt and uncle's pastor in Medicine Hat Alberta, Canada!

Thanks for the new input about Bob and the other two siblings.

The work that was done in the lives of your grandparents... what a blessing to know that there is this rich heritage.

God bless you and thank you for sharing from your heart and life experience.

Who would guess the blessings that you may find on Googling someone or some place...?


Don R. Rogers said...

I too knew the Crossmans. They were pastoring in Durham Ontario, being faithful to a small congregation there. I'm wondering if it was Walkerton you were speaking of as 'your church'?
I think it was while I was pastor in Meaford, and they would be part of the Owen Sound Section of the PAOC.
There are some amazing stories to be told how God has used small town churches to raise up ministers who have blessed many others. The town of Drayton is another that has produced pastors and missionaries. Some day we'll get to hear all the amazing stories.

From Murray & Alida.... said...

It was indeed Walkerton where we were planted... and the Section we were in then was Goderich... and Crossmans were in Ayton... Less Grant or Ray Faulkner was our Presbyter then.... too far back...