Sunday, August 2, 2009

Home Tuesday

It was a week ago that Jon & I came up to Toni's family's cabin. It's an annual retreat that reinforces the family ties. And, as I have noted multiple times in the past, our families, both Toni's and mine, are very special because of our unity in Christ. We may not see everything in the same way but we do share love and forgiveness that come straight from the heart of God. Besides that, Toni's parents set incredibly high standards of loving service, working in the kitchen while we're here and, I'm sure, getting things ready before we came and getting things back in order after we leave. Dick and Jo spoil us with great food, wonderful relaxation, very few responsibilities. I've done some work related things here, some reading, some study, some caring for people at a distance--but all at a very relaxing pace.

In just over 36 hours, however, this part of our summer vacation will be over. Toni's brother David & family left for Colorado--he was already hard at work en route while his son Seth drove. Our son Dan has returned to Okoboji where he's on camp staff. Our nephews Andrew and Matt left today for their work on a farm 30 miles from the Canadian border at Stephen, MN. We'll head back Tuesday. Even though we love it here, our return home is a part of our call from God.

One of the scriptures for this coming Sunday (Aug. 9) is this:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
Unless we are like Toni's parents, working to keep the rest fed and comfortable, we really can't say that we are fully living as servants of God while being hidden away up here in the north woods, far away from the pressing needs of the world. Jesus is our savior who makes it possible for families to love one another and be kind, even in close quarters, but he is also our Lord who calls us to follow him in serving him by giving ourselves for the sake of those who aren't as fortunate as we. I think especially of those whose family life is complicated and who are hurting in many other ways.

God is calling us to home and work. We'll get another break with my side of the family beginning next Wednesday. A part of me would just like to stay in this cocoon forever. But when I think of my Lord, and his willingness to give himself for my sake, I know that the end of "vacation" is a great thing--a time to follow my Lord in his life of sacrificial love.

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