Monday, January 17, 2011
Boon Companions (by Judy)
Twelve years ago this month, I was baptized. Of course since I was raised Episcopalian, I was baptized as an infant. At that time, my family and members of the church agreed to take responsibility for my spiritual growth. I grew up loving the church that I attended - the building, the church calendar and accompanying rituals, the music, and especially the youth fellowship, which was a lot of fun for a teenager.
Then as a young adult I drifted away – a familiar story. When we had a family, I knew it was my responsibility to raise our children the way I had been raised, so they were baptized and confirmed, and we attended church on a sporadic basis, for it was so nice to stay snuggled under the covers on Sunday mornings, listening to Charles Kuralt on CBS and solving Will Short’s puzzles on NPR. There was always guilt, but not enough. There was also a hole, an inexplicable emptiness.
One day, something changed. Again, something inexplicable – but rather than emptiness, warmth and a closeness. "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." I discovered that the Bible was filled with wonder, beauty, conviction, illumination, and clear, direct words for me. It no longer gathered dust on the shelf. A church in a neighboring town became such an special place that Sunday morning was the pinnacle of my week. Words to hymns that I had repeated over and over for decades took on the nature of sermons, revealing towering theology and personal relationships with Jesus. The saints in the mists of the past felt closer than casual friends in the workplace.
And finally, someone else joined me as I walked this new path – a boon companion. We discovered that pouring ourselves cups of coffee and opening the Bible together, planning and producing a monthly TV program called “I Love to Tell the Story,” going on the road with presentations to women’s groups in small rural churches, facilitating summer Bible studies, and simply talking about our faith in odd locations like local bars strengthened us way beyond what we could have done alone. As Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Twelve years ago, we were both baptized again in front of our church, friends and family – this time in full knowledge of what such a public acknowledgement means. Though we don’t know what the future holds, and our service may go in different directions, the horizontal bar of the Cross of Jesus holds us together, while the vertical bar points our gaze always upward. Proof of such a bond is that this boon companion, dear Carolyn, has agreed at our age to begin a study of GREEK, and she gave me the salt and pepper shakers in the photo above, so that my Jack will know that he is #1, at least here on earth!
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3