It is very satisfying for me these days to be addressed as Papa, for my wife, Dixie, and I have four grandchildren. The oldest two, Joprdi, age 9, and J.R.,age 7, live in Hernando, MS., just outside Memphis. We recently sent to them the game, Rummikub, and they are asking when we can visit to play the game with them. Five and a half year old Allison lives in Florida with her parents. She will enter Kindergarten in the Fall. Six month old Nicholas loves warm weather and the sound of ocean waves, so he has chosen to live in Miami Beach. In March while visiting, I was able to baptize Nicholas. Such baptisms and weddings are pretty emotional events. As each set of parents had children, we told them that we would give them a week of child sitting every year. Since we do not live next door to them it helps us stay connected to them. Oh, Skype helps, too.
Dixie and I do some flower and vegetable gardening at our house, and in the village park/garden, and recently at Our Lord's Lutheran Church, our congregation. At retirement time, we both took the University of Illinois "Master Gardener" course offered through the county extension. The community garden donates over 1000 pounds of produce to the food pantry every year; and since this is "Prom" night at the local high school, many couples will take pictures in the garden this weekend.
When not gardening, Dixie is at one of three book discussion groups, doing cross-stitch, or baking. My current wood-working project is a rather plain mission-style grandfather clock. I have constructed or helped buildfive beds, several dressers, chests, for grandkids and ourselves. It has been very satisfying to see our sons also do some of this work. Practically all of our furniture did not come from a store. That also means my wife has to dust frequently. But, Mary, too, had to put up with Joseph's wood chips on the floor!
In this interim, I will try to focus my sermons on Jesus Christ, God's saving grace for us and for all. You may call me at 573-205-7856 or e-mail at [email protected]
We can arrange to talk some Sunday when I am in Sullivan.But now this message focusses on you! I invite you to worship, and worship regularly. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." Remember, no congregation, no Christian is perfect. We need to deliberately listen to each other, talk together considering congregational options, take it to the Lord in prayer, compromising in order to keep engaged in ministry, and live our trust in God as energetically as possible.
Pastor Robert Banitt