Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter

THANK YOU, BUT I MUST GO                               T, 3-21-17

I made a deal with God when I was fourteen years old, to be a preacher. I have been preaching since I was nineteen. When I turned eighty I realized that I have been a “professional” Christian all my life. Every prayer I have prayed, every scripture I have read, every class I have attended, every story I have heard, a part of me, often the largest part, was not saying “How can I come closer to God myself through this means of grace,” but “How can I use this in my work?” I realized that I don’t know how to be a Christian for myself, only how to be a Christian for others.

At eighty, if I’m ever going to learn how to be a “real/regular” Christian, I need to be getting at it. I decided that I need to commit to a “fast,” doing nothing for a year in any way that can be professionally Christian. I told my pastors. They agreed to ask nothing professional—retired pastor variety, like doing the pastoral prayer in worship--of me.

I thought I could continue writing Christ In Winter since it is not pastoral or preachly, just one old guy sharing thoughts with other old people. That turns out not to be the case. Being a professional Christian is so much a part of me that CIW keeps me thinking and writing in the ways I always have. So, I shall write no more forever, if “forever” is a year.

I also find that doing things on Facebook keeps me thinking and acting as a professional Christian, so I’m going to fast from it for a year, too.

Some of you have been such faithful readers of CIW that I feel disloyal in quitting, but I’m sure you will understand. You are exceptionally intelligent, insightful, and empathetic, or you would not have been reading CIW in the first place!

Here is one more poem, that seems appropriate…


When they reached Emmaus
Their hearts were warm and open
They saw him in the breaking of the bread
They said to him
Stay a little longer
The dawn is long off breaking
He said, thank you, friends
But I must go

I held her in my arms
Bounced her on my knee
Walked her off to school
And sang her to sleep
Cried with her through her teens
Told her she was cool
I said, stay a little longer
She said, thank you
But I must go

When my earthly days are over
And my earthly work is done
Not well, but the best that I could do
Do not seek to hold me
Or ask me to stay longer
When the time has come
I’ll say, thank you
But I must go


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