Hi Hope Ames!
I'm thinking about "Grandpa Hous" today.
I've spent the morning on airplanes, and he used to talk to me about airplanes.
"When you look down, fields look like warm quilts, homes are neatly organized, and cities are pristine."
As I look out the window from 30,000 feet, I think about him because the world looks beautiful.
I wonder if my grandpa enjoyed the view because he knew - so well - what the world could feel like on the ground. He realized that the fields weren't always ripe for harvest, homes wrestled in dysfunction, and cities were full of suffering.
As a pastor, he celebrated with people during their highs, but he endured the flattening lows with them too. He saw devastation in some of the worst ways. When he served in Chicago during the 70s and 80s, he boldly fought against racial injustice, even when it threatened the career he loved.
It was personal too. I've been told he was once the most colorful and lively person in any room, and then Parkinson's disease took over his physical well-being. He suffered for 19 years. Toward the end, he wrote that he didn't remember what it was like to be without pain.
On Wednesday, it will be 14 years since that disease took his life. I was only eleven when he died, and I knew him when he was really struggling. I remember the tremor in his hand, and I can still hear his shaky voice. I know that we had to walk a little slower for him to keep up.
But, it's interesting because when I look out my window today and remember Grandpa Hous, I don't think about Parkinson's disease. I think about the man who talked to me about airplanes and how beautiful the world is despite the up-close and personal mess that it is.
The more I reflect over his life and the stories I've heard about him, I realize he didn't stay in the plane. He got close with people, and that is far more beautiful than any picturesque view from the sky.
You know that God gets close too, right?
"So the Word (God) became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness" (John 1:14).
He doesn't stay above the world, but he gets into it with us. He put on flesh not for us to escape this often-ugly place, but to redeem it into something beautiful.
I hope you see the beauty. Even on the ground.
P.S. Join us for
worship at 10:30 on Sunday morning in the Ames City Auditorium
. The "Hope 360 guy"/Hope West Des Moines' PowerLife (confirmation) Minister, Justin Stoffa will be there and leading our congregation for the weekend. Believe me when I say he's
in person! Our church will dive deep into the most famous passage in the whole Bible. It's going to be awesome!