Tomorrow will mark three weeks for me, living in England. Looking back I am a little surprised; for past visits, arrivals in England have been deeply emotional, with a profound sense of being undeservedly blessed by our loving Father. I had some small expectation that this time, being a permanent arrival, would be perhaps even more so, but it was not. It was completely different. Even before stepping from the plane, my heart was stilled: I sensed only that I was coming home. It is not odd that vehicles drive on the left, nor are any of the other characteristics that make Britain and Ireland unique. It’s as if life has been this way all along.
This does not mean all that came before is forgotten. I already miss our adult children deeply. There is a longing that will not pass away with time, which was there when we were on the same continent but is now magnified by distance (Skype and Facebook not withstanding). I look forward with great anticipation to the day Edye and the younger children join me – in a few weeks, the Lord willing. Even so, I have already been transplanted, grafted in. I pray the graft takes fully, that we can all grow strong and faithful in this new soil.
This will happen again one day, for all of us: we will be removed from this earthly soil and transplanted into heaven … and we will realize that all that came before was merely preparation for the reality that will then be ours. Our hearts will be changed – they must be changed, if truly there will be no tears there, else how could we remember the past without tears? I do not know how He will make it so; I only know that He will do what He has promised.
Knowing this, how do we then live? You’re likely familiar with Jesus’ parable commonly called “the prodigal son”, found in Luke 15:11-32. The popular name completely misses the point; Jesus is not telling us to live like the [temporarily] faithless son … but like the ever-faithful father. “when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” (v. 20b).
Jesus makes it clear He came to show us the Father (John 14:8-11), and Paul tell us our destiny is to be made like Jesus (Romans 8:28-30). It follows then that we should have the same mind as the persevering father in the parable, which indeed is the mind of our heavenly Father.
We all (and especially clergy!) are called to live at the end of our driveway. Whether it is our own son or daughter, a church member, someone who has never known Jesus, or someone we have never met before, we must spiritually spend our days and nights at the end of the driveway, always watching, always praying, always believing that the prodigal will come home … and ready to run – RUN – and embrace them as soon as they come into sight! Whatever we do physically, whether praying alone in our prayer closet or on the sidewalk of an abortion clinic; ministering to the least and the lost through street drama or working in a soup kitchen; posting Facebook messages or preaching in the church on Sunday; reading a bedtime story or sending a Bible overseas; visiting the elderly or marching for life; actively seeking the one who has strayed, or comforting the ninety-nine who have not; whatever we do physically, in our hearts we must be ready to embrace the prodigal regardless how long they have been away or how far from God they have roamed. “The Lord is … longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God may have blessed you with a mansion … but live at the end of your driveway!
The people and clergy of St. Stephen’s and the church in Edinburgh
The Bastin family in Kansas, who hosted our base of operations in their home so we could complete the dispersal of household goods, celebrate birthdays, and say farewell to family and friends
Love offerings from God’s people far and wide, known and unknown
Grace and favor in setting up the necessities of life in a new country: checking account, Tube passes for four, national insurance number (similar to a social security number), and more
That Edye, Christyn, and Tobyn’s visa would be approved in short order so they might join me in London by early June
That we would be good stewards of all that God provides
That remaining expenses in America would be completely paid off
Received: $ 1,175 10% of total