Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 215 Rahab on the Pilgrim Road

Dear friends,

Home safe! We were pounded with rain on the way home from Connecticut today, after celebrating my sweet niece Becky's confirmation. In attendance were the Syracuse Smiths, Albany Smith's (that's us), some of the Virginia Smith's, along with Momma Smith and Aunt Debbie Smith (also Virginia Smith's). Missing was another set of Virginia Smith's. As noted, there are alot of Smith's! What sheer joy it is to see the cousins together like old friends despite the many miles between them. Relationships are what make living worth living. One of the many shafts of light in the landscape of the car crash is the renewed vigor of our relationships with family members. I cherish them in ways I never have before. Seems with anything bitter the Great One can mix in the sweet.

Rebecca took the name Rahab for her confirmation name. Not at all conventional. In fact, my brother in law John had to appeal to the Bishop to get permission for her to use it. But let me tell you why I totally dig her choice. Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, and in the Book of Hebrews "Hall of Fame" of faith. I love it because Rahab was a prostitute. There is no way to sugar coat it, the words are written there in black and white. This woman of the streets stretched out her faith and risked everything, including her life, to help the people of God. She ended up being mightily redeemed, getting married, and was the Great, Great grandmother of King David. It's something that makes me want to cartwheel when I think of the wonder of Jehovah God. As a wise young kindergartner once told me "God likes to make bad people good." Yes! If that doesn't nail it, nothing does. And God likes people, even bad ones, even rough ones, even difficult ones, even drunkards and whores and liars. He specializes in shelling out redemption to the worst of us. The only people Jesus was really rough on were the self righteous, religious types, who insisted on their "goodness" as their ticket to heaven, instead of realizing their bottomless need for grace. Rebecca, Rahab Rocks! She knew she needed a Savior even before the Savior was born. What about that for faith?

I don't believe I'll ever say I'm happy about the accident on November 8. But like many of the folks in the bible, and throughout the long, messy history of the church, I have gained some faith through the struggle and the pain. I have made some friends I'll love forever. I have learned some new things about forgiveness, and about my own moral weaknesses. I always like the fairy tales the best that end happily, but not perfectly. Frodo returns victorious, but the cost is high, and he is changed. Pinocchio becomes a real boy, but the scars of his faithlessness remain in his non-wooden body. The Little Mermaid finds true love, but can no longer glide through the sea with her family of Mer people. And in the real story from which all myths borrow, Jesus purchases eternal life for those who want redemption, but the cost is a agonizing relational separation we can't even remotely understand. So here in my little life story, which will one day pass away as do all things of this world, I get a glimpse of glory from grief. and faith from fear. Since the price was fairly high, I'm fixin' to gain more as we travel the pilgrim road. And I'm praying hard that those I love will gain beyond all I can ask or think.

Thinking about October for the big Smith Family Celebrate Life and Those Who Give It shindig. More details will be forthcoming. I want all of you there, along with all the folks who helped us from the first responders to the activity companions who sat with the little princess night after night with me at Albany Med. I mean everyone. October will be here before we know it...

Walk in faith, friends. If Rahab the harlot could do it, we can too!

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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