Last week, our reliable old Cressida broke down. Now you have to understand this is the vehicle that my wife drives to work every day. Myrtle — I think that is what she calls the 86 Cressida. Also, know that we didn’t buy this car new, we bought it when the 92 Camry gave up the ghost several years ago. While this car was not exactly necessary, it was a pleasure we allowed ourselves. It was sitting on a lot in Franklin, TN with barely 70,000 miles on it! It was in excellent shape, only the sun visors showed signs of wear. However, Because of the subsequent death of our Suburban, it has been pressed into daily service, and Susan seems to enjoy driving ‘her’ Myrtle to work.
So, back to last week, Myrtle suffered from an over-exhausted alternator. We tried to revive Myrtle, and she was game. Her dependable engine would turn over and crank, but it required another car’s battery to do so. Luckily, Myrtle had her stroke within short range of our local repair facility. They were able to recover our car and later reported that our suspicions were correct, we needed an alternate alternator.
While Myrtle was in rehab, I drove my 92 Nissan truck. This truck was acquired last year from my mother/sister. It was my father’s old truck, which he bought new. It was in need of some TLC, and I have done some work on it, but it still needs some more. Replacing some light covers, tail gate latch, and a little under the hood work has been refreshing. It even came in very handy last year in helping us get all of the decorations and such to our daughter’s wedding. Last week was one of the few days I have actually driven it to work.
For some reason, while driving the truck, it made me think back to the countless miles my father had put into driving it. My father passed away in January, 2005. He was retired and never drove this truck to work. However, I couldn’t help but feel a connection to him as I drove the truck to work. I rode many miles with my father over the years, I would not say I remember very well how he sat, how he placed his hands on the wheel — how he drove, however, driving the truck, many of those memories came back to me. I have experienced that at other times as well. Sometimes when I cook, I will do something that I can well remember my father doing while cooking (placing his hand on the cabinet/range cover above the cook top is a prime example).
This past Sunday, I happened to be teaching from Romans 11. In this section of scripture, Paul mentions Elijah. As we discussed this section of the text, I was reminded of the point that for a 1st century Jewish person, they would have been intimately familiar with Elijah and his role in their community of faith. What came to mind is that each year during the Passover, Elijah holds a special place in the ceremony/meal. Paul, when he mentions Elijah, is trading on that memory, just as the Seder trades on the collective memory of the Jewish people in recalling the works of God in their history. It isn’t all about the here and now, but it is references such as Paul’s that calls to something deep within our being to remember. This was why the Jewish festivals were instituted. So that the people of Israel–God’s people– would remember.
Maybe it is a little like my driving my father’s truck last week. I remember back to the day’s he drove the truck and more importantly to the time we spent together. I don’t know if I ever appreciated my father as much while he was living as I do now. His absence sometimes weighs heavy on both my mind and heart when I wish I could draw from his wisdom. I am so much more thankful today for him than ever before, and I am confident that tomorrow will continue to show an increase in that feeling. My father sacrificed much for me, just like my heavenly Father has. He taught me through gentle instruction and through painfully felt and ‘telt’ lessons. I know I didn’t always appreciate them then, but I so much better understand why he chose those methods at different times.
Today, I was reading through my list of blogs and encountered an entry written by Dr. Holly Ordway. I became familiar with Dr. Ordway through the ministry of Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason. He has spoken of her book, “Not God’s Type” and had interviews with her on his radio show. A former atheist who discovered the love of God as an adult, she brings her significant literary knowledge to us. Dr. Ordway wrote this blog post today on the value of Liturgy. For many years, I felt liturgy was almost a waste of time. It stripped spontaneity out of services, it quelled the Spirit. Recently, I have begun to rethink that view. Rethinking begin after attending EvenSong at Westminster Abbey twice. I have grown to appreciate the value of liturgy, for some of the exact reasons Dr. Ordway cites in her blog. I won’t recreate the blog entry here, but I will point toward it for anyone interested:
Here is my thought — what would God have us remember that points to Him? Would He have us remember that He has always been faithful to His promises? Would He have us remember that we can always call upon Him in the big and the little? After reading Dr. Ordway’s blog and browsing through the Book of Common Prayer, I decided it would be a great addition to my daily devotions. One of the areas I have always felt the most inadequate in is my prayer life. After reading Dr. Ordway’s entry, I really looked into the BCP Daily Office and have enjoyed the last three days of reading the Office, of special note the prayers offered there!
While I am not ready to completely go “High Church” and advocate a highly liturgical worship, I do see a benefit in some of it’s aspects. As I feel a struggle in my prayer life, it is comforting to read the prayers that are being read by at least thousands, if not million fellow believer’s across the world. And also in a form that reaches back hundreds of years! I sense a comfort in sharing the prayers of such a large community. Through those prayers, I find a more natural flow into my own prayers, with a feeling that they I am more focused and aware of my prayers. Just like when I sat in the Abbey and felt that I was worshiping where Christians had gathered for over a thousand years to worship our Lord, I find a comfort in the rich traditions of faith that have brought us the Book of Common Prayer. Its a truly humbling experience.