On Saturday, I wracked my brain for a children's message idea and finally went up to the church attic, where I found a crown, a scepter and a cape. I had the children come up at the right time and asked them about kings. Why did they look like? What did they have? Then I had one child put on the crown, hold the scepter and wear the cape. I also said that people follow kings, so I had all of the children line up in back of the dressed-up child. But then I said, "Jesus was a king. Did he have a crown?" (No!) Did he have a scepter? (No!) Did he have a cape? (No!) what did he have?
Love, someone answered.
I was going to say a cross. I liked their answer better.
On Wednesday morning, I had a nursing home service. I was preaching on my go-to text, Matthew 14:22-33, where Peter walks on water -- kind of. At one point, I was telling about Peter stepping out of the boat and how incredible it must have felt when he was walking on the water. Then, I said, he noticed the wind and the waves, and looked down. Then what happened?
From the back of the room a voice: "He got baptized!"
Yesterday, I got a call from a hospice chaplain. She is also visiting a couple from our congregation. I also have been visiting them for three years, ever since he was diagnosed with ALS. He's a tall, humble Swede, who always seemed to have his head tilted a little to the side, as if he were listening intently to everything you said. He was quick to smile, and to cry a little, too. For about two years I came every month and gave them communion. Now he cannot take communion any more. I give him a blessing instead. He has had a feeding tube.
The hospice chaplain called to tell me that yesterday his feeding tube fell out. When he was asked whether he wanted it back in, he blinked once. That meant, "No."
They said that it will be seven to ten days until he dies.
Today, I went to visit him.
I gave him a blessing.