Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sometimes You Gotta Fix the Foundation

When we got to Vermont last Monday our first stop was mom and dad's house.  My brother, Randy (my son's namesake) was already there and had already started working on the old Blacksmith shop in the back yard.  We all knew back in November when dad got sick that the building needed some work to stabilize the structure.  The back wall was sinking and it needed to be jacked up and repaired.  Now you might say, "why bother, why not just tear it down?"  The building is part of the local history of the town, and it has stood for a long long time.  It has a story to tell about where we came from and how we got to the here and now.  So, in our minds, there was never a question about fixing it, simply put, it needed to be done!

On closer inspection, Randy discovered something that we were not expecting.  The front wall was actually in far worse shape then the back wall.  The bottom base boards were supporting nothing at all!  The wood was literally crumbling into sawdust!  The only thing holding the building up was the center support beam that dad had installed years ago.  That's why it had shifted, that's why the back wall was sinking.  So the jacks came out and the front wall weight was placed on them and then the cutting began to remove the dry rotted wood.  New lumber was cut up and new support beams were placed under the wall to give it a stable foundation.  The back wall foundation will be replaced later on once the building settles on to it's new foundation on the front wall.  It's a process that will take some time but in the end, the building will be just as sturdy as it used to be!

Here comes the parallel to life, my little "ah ha" moment!  Sometimes the foundation which was sound in the first place, ends up crushing under the weight of the building put upon it and there comes a point when you have to rebuild in order to stabilize the entire building. 

Dad had told us, we had full warning.  I was reminded of this when I was reading about Jonah this morning.  Now Jonah is an interesting story.  He was, to put it mildly, a reluctant prophet.  Being asked to go to pagan Nineveh to warn them of their impending doom was not high on his priority list!  Let em burn!  Let em fall!  What's the harm?  So he took a boat heading in the opposite direction and well, you know the story, storm comes up, sailors have to throw him overboard in order to save their ship, he's swallowed by a whale and then a few days later he is spit up on the shore just outside of Nineveh!  It's not optional, he's going to deliver the message! 

To Jonah's shock and dismay, people actually listen!  They repent!  God changes his mind and doesn't destroy them!  How is that fair???  They had it coming!  Seriously, God, seriously???  Jonah, the reluctant prophet was rather a sore winner.  God's vision and victory was far different from Jonah's victory and vision.  Nineveh was able to start rebuilding the foundation before it was too late!  God works in wonderful and mysterious ways!

I can relate to Jonah and his reluctance.  I was very hesitant about starting this blog because quite frankly I knew there were times when I would have to say something that wasn't going to be popular!  I was going to have to say things that were hard and uncomfortable but needed to be said whether I liked it or not!  I'm not a minister or a minister in training or someone in leadership, I'm just plain ole me!  But I knew that it was important for someone like me to not only sound a warning but to make sure that a message of hope was being conveyed.  My confirmation that I am doing what God asks of me is confirmed when I read other blog posts and news reports and see that they are hitting on the same topics that I am, unbeknownst to me!  I post my blog then I go and read other bloggers and I go "oh my gosh, they're talking about the same exact thing!"  God is trying to get a message out and he will use whomever and whatever means necessary to get the point across!  That is awesome!  For my part, it's a big responsibility to make sure I get it right!

So what is the point being made today?  Our country had a good foundation.  The United Methodist Church had a good foundation.  Sometimes though the weight of the system presses down so hard that the foundation starts to crumble.  The goodness still exists, we just have to stabilize and reclaim the soundness! It's time to start rebuilding the foundation.

In regards to our country, the foundation that needs to be rebuilt rests on jobs.  If people are working they can pay their bills.  Working people pay taxes.  Working people save money and invest.  Working people buy things.  The little legislation that is coming out of Washington is crushing the foundation.  Add to that the bickering and inertia and the weight just keeps getting heavier.  We need to be praying for our leaders, more so now than ever!  They are an important part of stabilizing the country's foundation!  Pray for your local community leaders as well because they are invested in your community just as much as you are!  They don't want to see it die off, they want to live in a community that thrives!  We need to pray that they have the wisdom to act in the best interests of everyone, the inspiration to help create new and exciting ideas and the perseverance to stick it out and see it through!  I truly believe that change will come from the bottom up and my darling friends it starts with you and me and a willingness to help and to hold our leaders accountable!

As to the United Methodist Church, there is a real need to get back to basics.  People come to church looking for grace, guidance, hope, inspiration-they have questions and they are looking for answers.  We need to encourage people to read their Bible and teach them how to read it and why it matters!  We need to teach them how it can apply to their everyday lives beyond Sunday morning service!  We need to pray for them and with them and we need to teach them how to pray on their own, no matter the circumstance.  We need to teach them how to listen for that still small voice-the Holy Spirit who will guide and support them no matter where they are, no matter what they are doing.  We need to teach them how to praise God and count their blessings and to be thankful for each day, hour, minute and second.  We need to teach them why being a part of a community of believers matters in their lives and how sharing the sacraments is more than going through the motions, it's a spiritual bond to God, their family, their church family and their community.  We need to pray for our Spiritual leaders as well to guide us and hold them accountable to preach the gospel and teach others in our church how to lead, not just follow.  From personal experience, I would say that the greatest leaders are the most willing servants.  They inspire others because their actions truly line up with their words!  We need more servant leaders!

It's not too late!  We've been given a warning.  The foundation can be fixed.  We just have to decide if we are willing to do the work to fix it!  I believe that many people are willing, they just need the encouragement to follow through!  My darling friends, let's get to work on fixing the foundation today!

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