Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

For if you keep silent at this time,
relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere,
but you and your father’s house will perish.
And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this and for this very occasion?
Esther 4:14 Amplified Version

This has been a week to "try men's souls", hasn't it?   With terrorist bombings, small town explosions, state wide flooding, and a few personal challenges... one looks around and understands we are far from Heaven.

Yet, we realize Heaven is not far from us and that is indeed a very good thing.  :)

My reading this week led to ponderings, as it often does.  I was thinking how God creates us... gifts us... challenges us... and allows us to walk a journey which is unique to each person.

All coming together so we can be used by Him, sometimes as individuals and at various seasons of life as part of the greater Body of Christ in this world... for the work he created us to do.

I was reading a small but lovely tribute to Edith Schaeffer this week, written by Nancy Pearcy.   Nancy studied with the Schaeffer's at L'Abri and went on to become (in my opinion) one of the premier apologists for the Christian faith today.

In her tribute to Edith, she describes her as having "the apologetics of beauty".  As I read that description, I realized those four words sums up exactly how I felt about Edith... and that part of her which I have hopefully emulated through my own life.

You wouldn't think one could change the world with good food, tea times, and a beautifully set table... now would you?  But it was this very way of looking at life that made Edith the perfect balance to Francis' personality and intellect.

Few of us will have the affect of a world renown ministry but God does place us in community.  It really is true that giving kindness and a cookie to a neighborhood child matters or that becoming friends with foreign students and offering them hospitality will be long remembered upon their return home.

Whether you spend your days in the kitchen or at an office, in a school or a farm, playing with kids at a playground or typing at a computer... you are an important part of the Body of Christ.

There are people who can be reached... men, women, boys, and girls... who may have only you as the Christian witness in their life.

Don't ever think all you can do is make bread and stew, light candles and set the table, offer hot coffee or cold lemonade... and that doesn't matter.  Edith helped change the world by doing those very things.

I also picked up Marriage to a Difficult Man to continue re-reading this week.  I'd set it aside temporarily.  It also shares the message of the importance of a woman in influencing the world around them for Christ.

I am convinced Francis Schaeffer would not have had the ministry to the world he had if not for Edith.  I am equally convinced we would not be talking about Jonathan Edwards over three hundred years later if not for Sarah.

Biography is an amazing thing... it allows us a birds eye view of the lives of these two women.  We are able to see what neither one of them did as they lived their lives, how God allowed their journey from birth to give them everything they needed to accomplish the journey set before them... every talent, every skill learned, every experience... all coming together uniquely.

We are no different from these two wonderful (and quite human) women.   Who knows if one of us... perhaps you... will change even one person's life by showing God's love.

I shared with my daughter how I curled up on my sofa and watched the law enforcement officials close in on the younger brother Friday night.  I had looked at his photo all day and the look on his face brought tears to my eyes.    He was only nineteen years old... not too many years ago he was but a little boy.   He had his whole life before him, as did the people he and his brother killed.

And I wondered if there had been anyone in all those years he lived in the United States who showed him the Truth of Christ by sharing kindness and love and grace and mercy... and perhaps a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies.  (Added note: I do understand some people are raised to hate and cannot see love shown to them.)

Silly thoughts?  Edith changed the world with food and candles and Beauty.  Sarah's influence was felt far beyond the shores of New England and she spent most of her days doing housework, caring for their kids, crops and cow, and showing hospitality.  Both women had a skill of listening to others, really listening.

Never underestimate that you were born into the kingdom "for such a time as this".  Esther's entire life up until her uncle made that statement was for this very occasion.  This one decision... this one act of courage... by a Jewish woman enslaved in an enemy country.

Just... one... woman.

Picture:  Since you asked... the teapot was a gift while Stephanie was still in college and the teacup (yes, I do have a July birthday) was an early birthday gift approx. eight years ago when we spent a lovely day at Old Sturbridge Village.  It's hard to believe they are not made by the same china company.  :)


Vee said...

Behind every successful man is a ... I do believe that. Much to ponder, as always, here. Though I'm not going to spend too much time thinking about a particular 19 year old. I'm leaving him to God.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Indeed a lot to think about here. Brenda, I just saw a photo of flooding very near you and I hope you are not affected by this!

Anonymous said...

I thought also.. a young healthy man with his life ahead of him, did anyone ever talk to him about Christ.? But we All have evil in our hearts except that we turn our hearts over daily to Jesus to use as He wants. Who should I speak with today , or do my actions and words always show Jesus is in charge ? I also thought that of the people killed and injured horribly, did anyone ever talk with Them about Christ either? It seems the most important question in life is do we know Christ? And do we let Him show even in the simple daily things we do. I would not have ever read Hidden Art of Homemaking except thatyou mentioned it, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would not be too sure that these brothers never had a chance to learn of the true GOD...back when the Bosnian war was going on, the church we got married in, took in about 6 of the muslim men from there. They stayed a year, lived on the kindnesses of the host families, and returned to their country when things settled back down. Unchanged as far as faith the amazement of my friend who was there and watched it all. Not everyone who is given a chance to know GOD chooses to do so!! And their religion does not allow one to leave, unlike how it is in this country with most faith groups. I did feel sad looking at the younger brother too...he looked like a puppy following his master in ways...

Elizabeth in VA

Anonymous said...

Beautiful teapot and cup/saucer.
Oh, to be the hand and voice of Jesus in this dark world, to speak whatever word He would give us that would be a blessing and not a hurt to others. Thank you for your wise words.
Blessings, Sharon D.

La Tea Dah said...

Edith's mark upon the world was huge! I agree that she saw beauty and expressed it in some way each and every day. I am also impressed by her never-ending energy.