Monday, October 20, 2008

God’s Home in the Country

The sound of the crunching leaves below our feet was magical. Add to that the long beams of sunlight that pierced the air in front of me spilling across the deep bed of golden leaves, this was a “God moment” that I have needed.

There was no wind on the cool autumn day. The only sound came from the dropping leaves that came from high up in the maple trees and gentling tussling with each other to see who would land first on the soft carpet below. When you stood still the peace enveloped you completely. Then one final sound was added. A wood pecker was at work some where high in the forest canopy. He had found the occasionally feast on the side of a tree and was feasting. The tat, tat, tat in the stillness added another part of the hugely successful puzzle that we were putting together.
I am not alone in my magical stroll. My friend Eldon is beside me. The ladies have left us and we are savoring this together. Eldon and his wife Donna are the creators of this opportunity. A while back as they retired from an active working career they left all that they knew in city life and moved to live full time in “God’s Home in the Country”.

Why call this “God’s Home in the Country”?

Eldon describe for us the story behind it all.

Along time ago another Pastor was at the church that I was leading up to June 2008. The church at that time was in another setting and the congregation was different with different people than I worked with. Some of the folk that I pastored were younger then. The pastor’s name as Stevenson.

The Pastor tried hard to help as many people as possible. He tried to meet every need he could – even buying groceries out of his own family’s income to feed them.

One Sunday the Pastor rose to speak and in a gentle voice he announced that he would be leaving the church. Most of the congregation was in shock – no one knew why the pastor was doing this.

Eldon was a younger adult then and went to express his concern to the pastor. The next Sunday the pastor gently said that he had now decided to stay. More reactions surfaced. The next Sunday he spoke again and it was for sure – he resigned and finally left the church as a broken man.

The pastor went to drive a truck and work at odd jobs. From the rest of the story that I got from his wife and children he died a broken man. His heart gave out. His own children are distant from church of any kind. What they know of church and church people has set them off- shall we say. His wife is a bitter lady that tries to put on a smile through the disillusionment that she still feels. I was her pastor as well.

(Now I know that there will be emails from good and knowledgeable “church-ites” that will set me correct on what actually happened. All have a different feeling. Bring them on and I will add the correct version)

Back to my account…
Eldon listened and watched what happened to that pastor when he was much younger. Today he accredits this story to the basis of “God’s Home in the Country”. His concept that he felt God lay on his heart was to create a place where ministers can get away and be restored after facing hard times in the work that they do. Perhaps if Pastor Stevenson would have had this kind of care long ago a whole family would have been spared and the Pastor would have been able to face the struggles better.

“God’s Home in the Country” is for ministers to get away and be refreshed.

Where we were walking is made possible in that Eldon and Donna spend hours clearing the walk ways that flow through the beautiful trees.

I searched for words yesterday that would describe what I was taking in… I came up with BEAUTIFUL and then PERFECT PEACE… Today I think I have settled on “Garden of Eden” – the place God created for his first friends Adam and Eve.

The odd thing is that this was a place available to me for the last 10 years. I only came a few times in that I was too busy solving people’s problems and being in the middle of the “Pastor’s Stew” caldron. Maybe that is good though… there were times if I had come to walk in this blessed place… I may never have gone back to the caldron again – and nothing good would have ever happened in the ministry.

(Before some of you wondered deeply about my sanity and personal well being… I’m okay… I’m OKAY… it was a reflective moment that Eldon and I shared deep in the forest… I AM OKAY… and I dared to tell you about…).

We are blessed. Thank you, Eldon and Donna (and God), for a wonderful blessing yesterday. I hope these photos will speak more words than I have to speak today.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS – Soon there will be a video or two of a stroll through the bush land of “God’s Home in the Country”. Keep posted!

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