Saturday, October 8, 2016

Jonathan David

Angels Names Association
October 8, 2016 Memorial Service Speech

My name is Dean Brown and I serve as Lead Pastor of Vantage Pointe Church in Queensbury, NY. I also serve 39 Wesleyan Churches in Eastern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as District Secretary. I am, too, Chaplain for the Corinth Fire Department. While all of this might seem to provide fodder for a handsome resume, behind all of the titles and uniforms is a human being whose life has been touched, as has yours, by too-soon separation from a child.

His name was Jonathan David. His young mother eagerly anticipated his arrival to her world. She sang to him the songs of Zion, rocked him to rest as often as she could, and whispered to him her silly stories that surely made him grin in utero. Like every mother who caresses the child of her love, she knew he would make her so happy one day and his face touching hers would make the world seem a much safer place for them both.

But one morning pangs of dread wrapped around her heart like a tangled fishnet upon the tail of a restless sea mammal and she knew her body was being dragged under a merciless wave of rejection and nothing she could do, or pray, or wish could stop the insistent trajectory of loss that was tearing her baby boy from her frame.

She would have parroted the words of John Green’s, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, where it was said, “I'm so proud of you that it makes me proud of me. I hope you know that.”

But now certain pride turned its back on her and hope took the last train to a faraway place where she could neither go nor leave at will. Her womb and her will were emptied and what remained would need to be carried silently, secretively, surreptitiously, almost covertly because she knew, like those she’d observed before, that no one would understand and ignorant souls would toll to her, “Come on. Move on. There’s nothing to be done now.”  

I met this woman on a -19-degree day in January, the day John F. Kennedy was inaugurated President of these United States. She heard his clarion call: “Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.” And turned the phrase - by affirming: “Ask not what your family can do for you-ask what you can do for your family” and she did it. And she committed. And she sacrificed everything to be certain that had Jonathan David lived, he would have been proud to call her, “Momma”.

How did I know this woman? She was my maternal grandmother. And I, I took the place of Jonathan, and received the warmth of her embrace, and learned the songs of Zion, and grinned at her silly stories and felt the heat of her face against mine and knew more than once that the world was a safer place because she was in it with me.
I leave with you her hopeful determinations so as not to let HIS life be swept away. And may they be for you instructive and encouraging:

  • ·      Nan could not forget her boy, JD, and never let us forget him, either
  • ·      Nan reserved a garden in her heart where she could slip away to be with him whenever the need arose
  • ·      Nan carried on, had another child and invested in both her children – and their children – with a ferocity of love and care and faith that was staggering to behold, comforting to experience and transformative for generations to come
  • ·     *Her loss became the world’s gain and the same can be true for you, too

Thank you, Nan, for showing us the way around the hurt by living through it. The first flower will be for you!

Friday, February 19, 2016

John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Final Moments of Beulah Camp

Remembering Beulah Camp tonight as a result of finding this on the internet. Anyone remember singing this old hymn before we launched out into the world and back into our ministries?

Before I die I hope to be in attendance for another service on the hill.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bible and Prayer. Me?

Plain and simple: we're fooling ourselves if we think we can live "Christianly" apart from regular intake of God's Word and purposeful prayer. Funnily, we go about singing the words of Cinderella and try to apply them to our faith walk:

In my own little corner in my own little chair
I can be whatever I want to be.
On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere
And the world will open it's arms to me.

That may be true in a Broadway musical but not in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. In our own little corner, in our favourite easy chair, we'd best strive for being what Jesus wants us to be. Then the kingdom will open to us and the world will be damned to our affection. Then we can fly on wings of faith that lift us into His presence where their is fullness of joy!