A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Berks County farm
As we traveled through Berks County yesterday we saw many snow-covered farm landscapes, but the view that especially caught our eye was the winding creek that went for what seemed miles flowing from one farm to the other.
Click on photo to enlarge
"Generations Come, Generations Go"
Message summary: Today, is there anyone in your family, in which you need to seek reconciliation?
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"Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre" (Genesis 25:8,9). "And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him" (Genesis 25:39). "Generations come and generations go" (Ecclesiastes 1:4).
We get many inquiries as to what we do as business chaplains. Distinct from the ministry role I had for over 25 years as a pastor, where Brooksyne served alongside me, when I oversaw a local church and preached regularly, our present role is primarily demonstrated by expressing care, which of course should be a foundational part of any ministry. Everybody, in one way or another needs cared for.
Just last evening we were notified of an employee's spouse who was taken to the hospital due to a heart attack. He underwent emergency bypass surgery and is now starting his very long journey to full recovery. We have remained in contact with the employee since being notified of the situation. She is also a long time friend as we have served this company for over ten years. Not only is the medical crisis an alarming time for patients and their family, but the severe restrictions hospitals place on the patient's loving and supportive family during COVID adds an even deeper layer of frustration and helplessness when they desperately want to physically rally around the one who needs them most. Of course, we who want to provide spiritual encouragement up close and in person are also restricted.
In another example of our role as chaplains, just last Friday two men who work in the same company shared with us that their fathers were dying. We listened as they told us about this inevitable part of life's journey they are now painfully experiencing. We are praying for them and their families during this most difficult time. On occasion, depending on the circumstance, we may be involved in the officiating of funerals, those of employees who die or a family member.
The men's story prompted a memory I went through over twenty years ago when my dad, Eugene Weber, whose birthday is today, died. (In earth years he would be 102.) In stark contrast to my dad breathing his first breath Brooksyne's father, Brooklyn Sherrell, breathed his last on this date 21 years ago, at 66 years of age (In earth years he would be 86.) The death of a parent and grandparent especially reminds us very personally that, "Generations come and generations go" (Ecclesiastes 1:4).
Our first two daily texts are perhaps easily overlooked as we read through the Scripture. They record the passing of Abraham and Isaac. In both cases their sons, who had been estranged through life, came together for the burial.
The photo to the left shows me along with my two older brothers at our mom's burial. Thankfully we had not been estranged and we have kept in close relationship since our parent's passing, which I believe is one of the greatest ways we posthumously honor our parents and practice the Fifth Commandment. My brother, Mike, standing on my left in the photo, lives in California and we talk regularly. My brother, Pat, who is standing beside me lives here in Pennsylvania about 100 miles away and we met, along with our wives, yesterday for breakfast.
A very common topic employees talk to us about is the emotional pain they are enduring due to some sort of estrangement; with parents, children, sometimes siblings or even a co-worker. Actually it's not unusual and merely demonstrates an ancient consequence of the Fall, when sin entered into the world. It didn't go well for the first two brothers, Cain and Abel, and the problem has persisted ever since that time.
It's nice that the sons of Abraham and the sons of Isaac were able to overcome their differences enough to get together for their father's burials but we are left to wonder how the brothers got along afterwards. And we consider all the years lost when they were growing their families, how different it would have been, had they enjoyed the loving family relationship God intended.
There is so much estrangement in the world; among nations, communities and even churches. The Bible says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people" (Romans 12:18). Today, is there anyone in your family or otherwise, in which you need to seek reconciliation?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the Psalmist rightly states that You "set the lonely in families" so that we don't have to navigate earth's journey alone, otherwise our perspective would be skewed and our experience would be that of extreme loneliness. We find great assurance in Your promise when You said, "Never will I leave You nor forsake You" though family members will arrive and family members will depart during our life's journey. Our time is brief so help us to make the most of every opportunity to let our families know we love them and are so grateful for their presence in our lives. Help us to allow for individuality that might otherwise separate us, for though we are family members, we often express ourselves differently. Above all, we want to prayerfully uplift each one within our family, that they might know You through the gift of salvation, so that we might be united as a family not just here on earth but for all eternity. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Psalm 68:6, Hebrews 13:5
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
We had projected icy roads yesterday but the temps were slightly higher than freezing and we had no issues getting to our chaplaincy visit in Lebanon County. However these trees at the Seyfert's Orchard were coated in with ice.
Following our first visit in Lebanon we headed over to Hamburg, PA to eat breakfast with my brother and his wife at a Cracker Barrel. As regular readers know, gathering at the fireplace in CB is our favorite spot and we were able to get it yesterday.
This old log cabin is on the grounds of a quirky old tourist attraction called, "Roadside America", which has sadly closed.
Fasnacht (also spelled fastnacht, faschnacht, fosnot, fosnaught, fausnaught) is a fried doughnut of German origin served traditionally on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent. Fasnachts were made as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar, fat, and butter, which were traditionally fasted from during Lent. Ever since we've lived in Lancaster, PA fasnaughts have been a big deal on Shrove Tuesdays, so in the spirit of Fasnacht Day we purchased a box of fasnachts yesterday and I shared them with several neighbors.
The Lord laid on my heart a woman whose husband died over the past year. When I knocked on her door I had prayed before ringing the doorbell that she might invite me in. And, indeed she did! She served me a cup of coffee and we got acquainted for the first time. I had reached out to her on a few occasions over the years, especially after learning of her husband's death, and though polite she seemed uninterested in developing a neighborly friendship. During my visit yesterday I learned that she is usually very shy, but she commented, "I don't know why I'm talking to you like I've known you for years, this isn't the way I usually am." I let her know that God had arranged our visit and I also realized she was missing the companionship of her husband. Loneliness will stretch us in ways that will surprise even ourselves. Sometimes we falsely assume an individual has rejected us, when in fact that person may simply be timid and uncomfortable in attempting to converse with a stranger.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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