People ask me “How do you put together a sermon or article?” Well, that depends. The ideal way is for it to start with a Bible text, and then in the holy confines of my study, the Holy Spirit visits and inspires words to say. Often it’s not quite so holy an event. Sometimes a story happens that I think would make a great sermon or article. Like years ago when Herb Smith was driving his John Deere in the 4th of July parade and ran out of gas. I laughed so hard I cried. I knew then that a sermon was coming on centered on the words of Jesus about “counting the cost and not quitting before the finish.”
Other times, a holiday is approaching, Mothers’ Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, and I know that I need to center my words on that. I knew that the article today would center on memory or remembering.
The inspiration for this article came a few years ago at the Carroll County Veteran’s Park. You can ask our daughter, Natalie, who was then 13, how it started. Sometimes being a PK is a good thing; sometimes not. It was a Monday morning and her first day of summer.
Natalie’s first day of summer was with me. Thrills. And the first thing we did was drive to the Veteran’s Park. My Monday morning and her first day of summer started at the Carroll County Veteran’s Park. What better place to go on Memorial Day? I felt a sermon/article coming on.
I pointed out to Natalie the stone walls there commemorating those who have served our country in the various wars. In particular, I noted the name of James Borders, who was Verne’s older brother, who was killed in WWII. His name will be there forever in the beautiful rock memorial.
After a few meaningful moments there, she said sarcastically, “Where next?”
“I know you are going to love this,” I said. “The city cemetery.”
I felt a sermon/article coming on. I picked the city cemetery because James Borders is buried there, as well as the late Emily Carmichael, who had recently died at the age of 92. Natalie knew Ms. Carmichael, having visited her in the hospital with me back in December. Ms. Carmichael was a member of the Borders family so she is buried near James Borders.
I made that connection for Natalie, and we paused for a moment to reflect on the lives of some friends, on the dedication of James Borders to our country, and to say thanks and remember.
Headstones, made out of stone or rock, are lasting reminders of someone’s life.
That was Natalie’s first day of summer. Now someday she can tell her kids about being a PK and her first day of summer.
Remembering is really important. I am almost embarrassed to tell you the things I remember and the things I forget. I remember all the words to “Love Potion No.9” by The Searchers.
So, that’s the kind of stuff I remember. I forget important things like birthdays and anniversaries. I forget to stop and say thanks to God for my ancestors, my mentors and friends.