Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Humility of Holy Remembrance

"The desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You."

Isaiah 26:8

Palm Sunday morning 1983. The service in our quaint little white church was drawing to a sweet close. My dear husband had ministered an appropriate sermon for the holy occasion. As he customarily did, he preached his heart to our small congregation of one hundred people, who gathered faithfully every Lord's Day to listen, to sing simple songs of praise, to serve, and to see.

In my usual spot on a white hardwood pew near the back of the old sanctuary, I sat, with my two wee ones, ready for the service to conclude. A tiring morning of teaching Sunday school, dealing with my restless little toddlers, and sorting through the usual stress and strain of my pastor's wife role prepared me for the relief of a quiet meal in our kitchen corner, a bit of afternoon tv, a few quiet moments, and a much-needed nap.

My husband was just preparing for dismissal prayer when the broken, trembly voice spoke out. The man, in his wheelchair, said he wanted just a moment to speak. A hush blew over the congregation. The elderly gentlemen, rolling his wheelchair from the center aisle, moved in front of the church and faced the people, who were now seated, anticipating his unusual request.

Pastor Thomaston was a sweet, humble man. His white hair, weak frame, poor vision, and limited mobility had not once affected his love for Jesus. His life had been one of sacrifice and want. He was a treasure of brokenness. A blessing to our church, but even more so to my husband and me, for his walk with God and friendship were often our comfort and wisdom.

In sincere frankness, he began to speak to the church of the difficulties of the ministry, of the moments of want, the hours of pain, the denial of self, and the hardships of loneliness. He spoke with such compassion, such empathy and will. Finally, he began to reveal the reason for his reflections. For astonishment, my heart seemed to skip. I felt its flutter in my chest, a lump in my throat, a tightening of my shy self, an overwhelming loss of pride.

Pastor Thomaston knew the sufferings of the ministry. He especially spoke of its financial challenges, and . . . he told of the burdens a pastor's wife must carry, the arduous load of care, the stress of many encumbrances. His concern that Palm Sunday morning was that I would not have a new dress for Easter. As he continued to speak, my heart continued to melt; my pride tended toward dissolve. I felt so humbled, so undeserving of such compassion.

I was called to the front of the church. An offering plate was placed nearby. The congregation stood. They fell into line and began to approach. With my husband by my side, we greeted each one as they passed. I received sweet whispers of love, meek looks of longing, tight hugs from mothers and grandmothers, handshakes and heartfelt smiles of sympathy, radiant reflections from youth and children.

It was a priceless moment of tears. An event to be ever engraved in my conscious. The season of our ministry there had been prosperous, yet filled with anxiety and pain. I had labored with the burden of fear and often felt inadequate. On that day, I realized God as El Roi, the One Who Sees. He, as the Great High Priest, had witnessed my sorrow, and was touched by my feelings of infirmity.

Hebrews 14:5 speaks of Jesus, His suffering, and understanding of us and our earthly trials. "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. . . ." Christ Himself is moved by what He sees when we suffer. He is moved not only by His view of us, but also by the force of our pain. The emotional and physical affliction of our infirmities is witnessed by Him, understood by Him, and experienced by Him.

The Greek term for infirmities is astheneia, meaning feebleness of body or mind, frailty, disease, sickness, or weakness. Whatever we suffer, however we suffer, Christ knows the same. If we are in mental agony because of a broken heart, a lost loved one, the grief of death, or financial hardship, Jesus understands. If enduring weakness in body, separation from loved ones, or illness, Christ is provoked by our feelings. If the enemy of our soul is tormenting us with lies, fear, or temptation, Jesus knows our point of need. And, . . . He is able to deliver, . . . strengthen, . . . restore, . . . heal, . . . soothe, . . . bless, . . . mend, . . . give grace. For, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

Those few short moments Palm Sunday 1983 took me from a perilous cliff of pride and pain to the cleft of a rock, where I found peace, safety, healing, and hope. The love and compassion of a meek man of God, the warmth and generosity of God's people, and the fresh reality of a God Who sees and cares softened fallow ground in my heart, melted my pride, and sweetened the Marah-like water of my soul.

During this Holy Week, I am remembering the suffering of my Lord and Savior, and I am counting and recounting His many interventions in my life, knowing that he paid the dearest price that could ever be paid to rescue me from every imaginable threat to my salvation. What is now in our lives and what will be was purchased by His passion. He is El Roi, the God Who sees, and He is ever present. Where His love abides, no sin can hide, no bitter weed live, and no fear triumph. As you remember His suffering, also remember those blessed times of your life for which he suffered. Make this time be one of holy remembrance and passionate praise.

Easter Sunday, 1983
Text quoted is from the New King James Version and research is from e-Sword.


  1. Andrea,
    I'm disappointed, we're not neighbors. :( I live in South Carolina. I was so in hopes! Oh well, I am still so thankful God led me to your blog. You're very kind and your blog has already added such beauty and wisdom to my life. I hope you have a lovely Easter! He is risen!

  2. This Post moved me beyond reason. I'm too torn up to even comment except to say that far too often we hold back the gift of ourselves and choose instead to turn away from the needy before us. I can't help but think about my mother (a Pastor's Wife) who for years and years wore the same dresses over and over and over again...

    I pray I will always remember that I am the hands and feet of Christ...

    Meaningful, loving, timely, relevant thoughts...

    Love, Rebecca

  3. This is a wonderful contemplation this week as you said. Truly, Jesus our high priest knows every suffering we face and that makes me feel so close to Him. Very well written, Andrea, as always! I love your gentle spirit and bold love of our Lord.

    I bet the pic is of Easter Sunday that year. What a good looking family!

  4. What a lovely post. You look so beautiful in what seems to be your new dress. Thank you for the suggestion to remember all that our Lord has delivered us from and all the times he suffered for our grief. In these troubleing times it is good to be able to recount what the Lord has done for us to keep our wittness fresh when so many are in need of hearing about the power of our Savior.

  5. Andrea, That is so beautiful and touching. My mother was a pastor's dad the pastor, of course. I am so thankful that you had the wonderful elderly pastor in your congregation who "understood". He was sort of like "The God Who Sees" in tangible form wasn't he? Thank you for sharing this. I needed to read it. xo rachel

  6. Andrea, May you have a BLESSED EASTER this Sunday as we celebrate our RISEN LORD. May we sense His presence in our lives, in our physical bodies and souls as our spiritman resurrects the joy of our salvation!

    Your post today is outstanding and so sweet.
    Beautifully written. I thank you for sharing this tender writing and am so glad that I stopped by to read.

    You are a talently writer and I would enjoy reading a book of devotions authored by you.

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Deanna from the Kansas Flinthills

  7. Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog. I appreciate them. Your blog is beautiful! I love what you write.

  8. What a precious post about such a tender moment in your life! My Grandmother and Granddaddy had their needs met many times during their pastorate by similar situations. God is so good and faithful to supply our needs and then obedient hearts respond to Him and become His extended hand. Thank you so much for sharing this special memory.....

  9. Andrea-
    your post nearly brought tears to my eyes. We had friends at church offer us a Christmas "bonus" shortly after I lost my job last year. Two days later my husband's car battery died and we had the extra money that we hadn't planned on spending. It never ceases to amaze me that God knows everything we need, and always takes care of us- be it spiritual, physical, emotional, or financial. Bless you and may you have an amazing Easter basking in the Glory of our Risen Savior!

  10. Thank you for the comment on my blog It is SO incouriging to know that there are other's out there that love the Lord. What a lovly and wonderful blog you have here! I love all the pictures on the side panel! Have a blessed day!

    Your Sister in Christ alone,

    P.S. Have a good Easter!

  11. Andrea, this is my first vist to A Parson's Wife - I am ENTHRALLED! I love the music, the feel I get of an English garden and your beautiful writing. After a thirteen hour work day, I arrived here by God's design. As I listened, looked and read, I felt the cares of the day melt from my shoulders. The post made me cry in a good way. Thank you - I'll be back!

  12. Where His love abides no sin can hide. That is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I'm always in awe of what He can do in our lives when we surrender to His will instead of our own. It sounds like you had a precious congregation. Something not easily found in this day and age.
    I hope you have a wonderful Easter Andrea.

    xoxo Cori G.

  13. Oh my word! That has to be one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read. I guess since I have had such a week of torment from the enemy I so needed to read this. Thank you so much! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter.

  14. Andrea...we have many blessings in common. What a wonderful post.What a wonderful Saviour! May you and your family have an especially blessed Easter this year.

  15. This is a great post, I felt God bumps all over, touched my heart!
    Praise Him my friend!! He is sooo Worthy Amen! It's a good day, because we have Jesus in our life!
    Have a Great Resurrection Sunday!

  16. Andrea,

    My mother told me that you had another lovely post. So I stopped by and you do! Thank you for sharing your story of Psalm Sunday. It was refreshing to me.

    Have a lovely Easter Sunday!!

  17. What a beautiful post and a lovely picture at the end:) Your story moved me to tears. I find that as I contemplate the true depth of all that happened on this holiest of weeks I am often moved to tears-some for the horrible suffering Christ endured and some for the joy of knowing that He loves me.



  18. Thank God for this pastor's sensitive spirit. I know it ministered to you, even as I known the ministering of some of our church body over the years. Looking back on things, I'm sure you have a deep heart of thankfulness for so many reasons. I'm getting there, but there are days I deeply struggle with this "call" to ministry life. This week has been one of them.

    blessed Easter to you and your family.


  19. Hi, I hopped over from Gail's blog. I sometimes do that, hoping to discover a gem... and I did! I read a few of your recent posts. This one moved me deeply. You have a beautiful heartwarming blog, makes me want to come visit again and stay a while. Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday.

  20. Hello there! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have got right here on this post.
    I will be returning to your web site for more soon.

    Feel free to visit my web page: drinking coffee


Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,