Lessons That Matter [cont’d.]

I’m not sure it mattered.  That’s not a flush of “oh gosh,” but probably a reality of the time and place. 

Actually two lessons resulted.

My home church–Zion Congregational Church in Portland, Oregon–asked me to preach my first sermon.  Was a week or two after my sixteenth birthday, summer of 1956.  Think it was probably “safe,” that is, a youth speaking on a low-attendance summer Sunday.

Obviously the sermon could not be based upon any theological wisdom, let alone education and experience.  So, what to preach?

Preached what was important to me, guess that’s what happened.  My text–the “scripture” officially was Philippians 3:12-16, in which Paul urges focus upon giving a good effort in the moment.  [Sounded pretty benign I would guess.] 

But, what really was “the text,” probably because the source sounded religious, was one of the “Ten Commandments of Baseball” by Billy Southworth.  It went like this, If what you’ve done yesterday looks big to you, then you haven’t done much today.

I believed that.  Not sure much verbiage came out of the “pressing on to that which lies ahead” from the Apostle Paul.  But, a WHOLE LOT measured making this day, this moment, this possibility in this circumstance as strong, viable and relevant as possible.

I’m sure I didn’t use some of those multi-syllabic-words, but hey, at 16 the focus upon the day’s effort seemed apt.

No less for today.

The other lesson I learned later.

Zion Congregational Church had two Sunday worship services then.  Before the church atrophied and fled to the white suburbs.  But, that’s for another day.

On that June Sunday in 1966 my mother planned on their regular worship schedule–attend the second service.

But.  My father had another gameplan.  He got up and started to put on his Sunday togs. 

“Hank,” my mother inquired, “What are you doing?  It’s too early to go to church.  Mark has left and we can get there for the second service.”

My father, who never made a short story long, responded, “Look at it this way, Es.  If he were pitching both games of a doubleheader, we’d go to both, right?”

They were there.  For both services.  For both services.  They were there.

Two indelibly relevant lessons for me to not forget: make the most of today and be present.

About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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