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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Memphis, Miracles and Motivation

Memphis, Tennessee 
     From Nashville in the morning to Memphis at lunch through a surprisingly cold morning-- one Tennessee valley posted a 37 degree reading on my car thermometer.  Then a five dollar parking lot upon my arrival and the will to walk took me through the evening situated me for several miracles and gifts.

    Rock and Roll's birthplace, Sun Studios, was my first stop.  It's amazing how blends of talent, perseverance and  co-incidence (or the hand of God--use whichever language works more easily for you) launched Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley and, well, a whole lot of stuff.  Elvis went for an audition and only got his shot because the boss was out and the secretary gave him a shot.  After recording his work she lobbied a reluctant boss.  History unfolded from there.
     Life is like that.  God blends together many things (All things work together...).  Sun Records reminded me that all I learned at Ginghamsburg with my team will get blended by holy life and a helpful Spirit.  Jesus offers hope with news of holy gifts in my/our life/lives, the promise of bringing together a diverse experience pool, and things that only seem like chance.

Back of the Bus Prayer
     My second stop was the Civil Rights Museum and the iconic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot.  Standing at the sight of such tragedy and national soul wrestling sharpened my saddness that many still are not treated with equal human dignity, respect and love.
     I was so moved with Rosa Parks story, I had to physically kneel in prayer on the bus, lifting up prayers of personal confession and passion for the least, last and lost of our society.  Why?  Because there were details I never heard in school.  Details, such as, she was obediently sitting in the "negro" section and was still asked to move along with 3 other people.  All so that one white man could have a seat that he didn't ask for.  Why?  Because standing in that bus, it all seemed so senseless and yet I know we/I still count the poor, gays, people of differing color and nationality, people not like us/me with lack of love.  We've learned some, but not enough.
Rosa Parks rode a bus like this one.

     I have to wonder what injustices I am blind to.  I wonder what I need to stand up for. I noticed that Martin Luther King Jr.  lived the biblical story of God's love incarnate, in the flesh.  In observing I was reminded of a Ginghamsburg UMC story of their work of feeding Sudanese people and how it became an in-the-flesh loaves and fishes.  Faith, bible stories, and love are not abstract ideas, but lifestyle models.  It reminds me that God uses what's already in my hands, when I respond!

Little Miracles
     Today I had on my PFUMC Mission Team t-shirt with the motto, "Preach the Gospel at all times.  If necessary, use words."  My choice of shirt helped me meet William from Lower Paxtang, who is now living and working at the hostel in Nashville.  (I liked William, he thought I was much younger than I am :-) !)  It eased the conversation with the "agape" tattooed Sun Studio employee and the couple at the next table over.  Who would have thought that an action, a choice to wear a t-shirt, would bring believers together in unfamiliar places and engage strangers in conversation?
     Arriving at my hotel for the night,  (Yes, that's right a hotel, because there was no room at the inn, err... hostel, and it was 37 degrees in one spot this morning...too cold to camp.)  My phone rang.  I fumbled my phone and the call was gone.  God is good, caller ID identified that it came from my Colorado bound son.  I called back, and had a great 2 minute conversation, all because his son, my grandson Jon, had grabbed the phone and hit the "right" button.  I needed those 120 seconds and God provided.  Thanks!
     Good daytime music in a long day surprised me today.  A gift.  I was anticipating needing to hang out on Beale Street in Memphis until 8 or 9pm for good music to start.  Instead a "River Festival" by the Civil Rights Museum provided several afternoon blues and country-rock bands.  Saturday had Beale Street hopping by 5pm with inside and outside venues allowing me to revel in tunes and rally to the road for a reasonable arrival at my motel.
    A great day, a great God.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Great day indeed - Amen! Get any BBQ? Where to tonight? church was good today. God at work once again.