Perhaps you can remember the television show Star Trek from the late 1960’s. The show was a science fiction adventure into the vast reaches of the universe and week after week the voice-over of Captain Kirk from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise would begin, “Captain’s log, Stardate 41239. Our destination is ……,” and the episode, duly identified, would be underway.
Though “stardate” was a time-record made up by the show’s creators to keep people from guessing how far into the future the story was being told, we believers in Jesus actually do live in a “stardate” system of our own, viz. Epiphany’s star. Since the birth of Jesus, around 4 B.C., we have celebrated the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to bring their worship to the newborn king. And, in good Bluegrass style, we are the ones who have continued to worship singing, “beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on.”
So it is today, Epiphany’s Stardate 1-10-2017, that I record in this Pastor’s Log a journey to a destination I have never traveled before, at least in this way. And with the Magi of old, I, and my family, are thankful to be able to bring our worship to the Lord Jesus as we travel. Today, I am on my way to surgery.
As I have said, I have never traveled this way before in this way. As a minster, I have been to “surgeries” many times. In fact, I still remember the first time I went to a Louisville hospital to visit a man I had never met who was undergoing heart by-pass surgery. I was new to the church and did not know his family either. So, I just started inquiring from desk to desk of information givers. “I’m a minister and my destination is to find Mr. Church Member having surgery today.” Before I knew it, the very helpful people along the way ushered me to his bedside…in the recovery room….right beside the nurses monitoring his care…he was barely conscious….all bandaged from top to bottom…but buddy I had arrived at my destination…closer to surgery than I expected to be!
But today, I will find out what it means to be the one going through the surgery, and that’s a journey I have not personally traveled heretofore!
On my way, I hold close the passage of scripture that I often quote when praying with folks before they have gone into surgery. Referring to Psalm 118:24, I have been known to say, “The Scripture declares, ‘this is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ And, since God made this day, we will see him at work every step of the way!” I believe what I have said in those surgical prep rooms, and, today, I will practice what I preach as Janet and I watch to see the Lord’s hand at work. He’s been working already to get us ready for today!
Our dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at First Baptist Church have helped us! Over the years we have watched you go through operations with great confidence in the Lord. We have heard your testimonies of trust in the Lord’s strength for recovery and healing. And, we have been blessed by the ways you have embraced God’s peace that passes all understanding to bear you up. We have seen God work in your lives, so we know he’ll be at work in ours today! Thank you, Beloved, for living boldly your faith in Jesus before us!
We have been thankful for the consultations and relationships we have been able to develop through the care of doctors leading us to today.
From Drs. Caunt and Smith in Shelby encouraging our steps, to the Docs in Chapel Hill who connected us with the doctors and nurses who will give care to us today. We praise God for their skill and preparation even as we raise them up in prayer this morning.
It has also been our blessing to have our church family and friends praying for us as we have come to today. We have received so many contacts assuring us of your prayers and encouragement. A group of our ministers, deacons and members gathered at our home yesterday, just as Erin and Mattie arrived, and they prayed for us and with us for God’s peace for today.
And, that is our destination on this Epiphany’s Stardate 1-10-2017 — peace. Peace to lay down and sleep because the Lord makes us dwell in the safety of his arms. Peace to know that friends and loved ones are praying for family waiting by. Peace for the processes that have already kicked into gear through which the skill and preparation of medical specialists make a healthy future possible. Peace in the affirmation in our hearts that God’s grace has never stopped working — his healing grace is at work today in my body — we will rejoice and be glad in it!
Then, there is always the icing on the cake for which to be thankful. With Matt on staff retreat with their church family this week, Erin and Mattie rolled in to be with us a few days so that last night was nothing but fun watching that little girl thrill us with great joy! She is not quite two years old, but she has learned well the importance of prayer. And, with every utterance of prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord, she is quick to shout her “AMEN” to punctuate the moment. It is her jubilant “AMEN” that I hear this morning in response to the Psalmist’s song, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Off we go to add our “Amen” to every sighting of his good work today!