Teach us to rest in a weary world; Teach us to rest in a world too proud. Help us to be humble salt—salt to provide flavor; salt that preserves; salt that graces every table—in a world too busy to notice. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, teach us to offer rest to the weary among us. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
“For it will be like a man going on a journey,
who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.
To one he gave five talents, to another two,
to another one, to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.” (Matt 25:14-15)
The Prince George’s Post
By Stephen W. Hiemstra
When I was seven we moved to Trexler Road
which begins with Good Luck Road and backs up to Greenbelt Park .
We were the second family to move to the neighborhood
and the houses were brand spanking new.
About a year later when I was eight
someone asked if I would carry papers for the Prince George’s Post.
I was new to the business,
but it seemed like a good way to earn some spending money
So I said okay.
The Post came out on Thursdays and cost a nickel.
Once a month I collected twenty cents and earned a nickel.
With 120 customers that meant about six dollars
to spend on building model airplanes and collecting coins—
Things too expensive for my allowance alone—
I even opened a saving account at the bank.
The papers came tied up in a bundle.
At first, the bundle would seem heavy
But pretty soon the carrying bag would be more manageable—
Even when riding my bike.
Most of my customers were on Trexler and Nashville Roads,
But I had a few customers on Wihelm Drive and Jodie Street.
I tried leaving sample papers with houses on other roads,
But things never seemed to work out.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
We praise you for your example in life. In you, the law and the prophets are fulfilled, not in words, but in actions.
We are no longer without hope—good news is preached; broken hearts are healed; liberty is proclaimed for the captives.
In you, there is jubilee; in you, there is comfort; in you, death is forever banished. That we may never mourn again. Amen and amen.
By Stephen W. Hiemstra
I learned to ride a bike when we lived on King Street,
but I mostly remember the wall that I ran into first.
The wall was next to a turn in the sidewalk
And it was made of brick—I simply went too fast around that corner.
That was the year that President Kennedy was inaugurated,
but I mostly remember the snow drifts that I jumped in
which were almost as tall as I was.
Dad and Mom preferred to watch the speeches and parades.
I attended first grade when we lived on King Street,
My teacher used to read us stories sitting on a chair
while we sat on the floor
wondering why she did not wear any underwear.
That was year I learned that guys were supposed to have girl friends,
but I do not remember why.
So I walked around the cafeteria table and
Asked each girl—will you be my girlfriend?—until one said: yes.
After that we played together in school and out.
Oh dear Lord,
I give thanks that you are ever near to me—not too proud to linger with your servant and call me friend. Bless me with your spirit of humility and generosity—generous in time, generous in friendship, and generous in sharing yourself. Keep me safe from bad company; keep me safe from pious arrogance; keep me safe from my own sinful heart. Let me always be ever near to you, now and always, through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bugs and Shells
By Stephen W. Hiemstra
Dad collected things that were just amazing.
He shot rabbits and squirrels, but the best thing he ever shot was a bright colored pheasant. He had a turntable and about a hundred albums with all sorts of music. For a long time, an album came in the mail about once a week. And he played them just about every evening after I went to bed.
He brought home a television set with black and white pictures of all these famous people—Like Billy Graham who was always asking us to come on down—he’d wait—he was a patient man because so many people did come on down to pray with him. And like President Eisenhower who was a general and who came on now and then to let us know how things were going here and there. But I mostly watched RomperRoom and the Micky Mouse club and Captain Kangaroo.
Dad had a great rock collection, some big shells, and many, many stamps and coins. I collected those things too, but I really liked the butterflies and bugs that the teenage guys upstairs collected. I had my own net and I chased every bug in town—I even caught a green parakeet one time! The guys upstairs also had all kinds of neat model boats and planes that they built—too bad that they moved away. Dad helped me build models too, but I am not sure that he cared much for the bugs…
Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Holiness,
We praise you for blessing us with life, a vision of how to live it, and family to share it with. We praise you for your faithful presence on good days and not so good days. Forgive us for our willfulness. Forgive us for sins against those around us and sins against you. Plant in us seeds of forgiveness and the patience to watch them grow. Plant in us the desire to follow you and to prosper your kingdom. Not just asking for blessings, but becoming blessings to those around us. Blessing not only those easy to love but those who are not so easy to love. Grant us strength for the day, grace for those we meet, and peace in all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you
that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
(John 14:1-3 ESV)
By Stephen W. Hiemstra
Kindergarden in California was unsettling.
To get to class I had to walk east down the street,
out of the neighborhood,
across a big road and left around the cornor with lots of palm trees.
Then, it was just around the side of the building,
up the steps and into the room.
My seat was in the middle.
But I missed my friends.
They all attended a school on our side of the road.
It was north through the neighborhood,
Then you just followed the street up a hill.
Then, it was just around the other side of the building,
Up the steps and into the room.
The empty seat was against the wall on the left.
My friends told me about it and there it was.
…On the way, a man in a car offered me a ride.
But my mom told me not to accept rides with strangers
So I told him: no thanks…
My friends were happy to see me.
The teacher at this school seemed a bit worried and upset.
She asked me a bunch of questions
and did not seem at all interested in teaching.
Pretty soon my mom came to get me.
She took me back to the other school
where they told me that I missed the Christmas party.
But because there wasn’t any snow I did not believe them