Five Minutes on Friday #75


At the Baptist Women’s Missionary gathering in the Maritimes, one of the leaders had brought an inflatable globe to show where the various countries of the world are located.
But when she was ready to use it, her “world” had sprung a leak, and the globe had shrunk. She used the problem to make a point. “It’s marvelous! When you get rid of a lot of the hot air, how small this world is.”



Wendell Berry, who walks through the fields of his Kentucky farm thinking,

wondering, wrote a little poem, “On the Theory of the Big Bang as the Origin

of the Universe”:

  1. What banged?

    Before banging
    how did it get there?

    When it got there
    where was it?
    (Leavings, Poemsp.5)


Legendary pastor, teacher, and writer Howard Thurman might have dedicated his autobiography to any of a number of great luminaries who first encountered him while they were still students, such as Barbara Jordan, Alice Walker, and Martin Luther King Jr. It would have been a deeply meaningful gesture to dedicate it to his beloved grandmother. Instead, With Head and Heart is dedicated to an unknown stranger, without whom Thurman’s sterling career would never have commenced.

Young Thurman needed additional funds to cover the transport of his trunk in order to make the journey by train to attend high school. He writes:

I sat down on the steps of the railway station and cried my heart out. Presently I opened my eyes and saw before me a large pair of work shoes. My eyes crawled upward until I saw the man’s face. He was a black man, dressed in overalls and a denim cap. As he looked down at me he rolled a cigarette and lit it. Then he said, “Boy, what in hell are you crying about?”

And I told him.

“If you’re trying to get out of this damn town to get an education, the least I can do is to help you. Come with me,” he said.

He took me around to the agent and asked, “How much does it take to send this boy’s trunk to Jacksonville?”

Then he took out his rawhide money bag and counted the money out. When the agent handed him the receipt, he handed it to me. Then, without a word, he turned and disappeared down the railroad track. I never saw him again.

Don’t let the low places fool you. Believing that God is everywhere invites us to be open to dynamic creative potential anywhere, including the valley of disappointment and discouragement. Remaining fixed on this hopeful perspective is essential to our not letting low places and feelings define and overwhelm us. Some of God’s best blessings are found in the spaces of our disdain. And there are gems in the valley that cannot be found on the mountaintop.

The holy wild card is this: In any given moment, God can be as direct and personal as God is mysterious.


SUNDAY -  Exodus 35.30-36.3; Romans 12.1

’So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.’   [MESSAGE]

This Sunday, the thirteen folks from our congregation who went to Cape Breton with Mennonite Disaster Service, will lead worship with scripture, song, and lots of stories.  Our everyday, ordinary lives and skills, lived out through  sharing our gifts of labour and presence, were our offerings to God and neighbour. –Take my life