Sunday, November 09, 2008

PTSW: Dirty Dishes

I have had the privilege of hearing excellent thought-provoking sermons often. Sheila and I have been members of Trinity United Methodist Church for several decades now. Our pastors have included James Sanders, Paul Hanna, David Naglee, George Freeman and other excellent speakers.
Our current young pastor, David Campbell, speaks from the heart, without notes, and delivers some of the best constructed sermons I've ever heard.
A while back Jim Turrentine, my brother by way of marriage to my sister Joan, retired from fulltime ministry and came to our church as a parttime associate minister, so I get to hear his excellent sermons fairly often.
My father was a Methodist minister during my first 39 years, so I got to squirm each Sunday, hoping he wouldn't use me as an illustration!
And tonight I once again got to hear another of my favorite pastors, my mother Ruth Shaw. You can read her blog at Ruthlace.
Mother began her full-time ministry two Sundays after my father's death in 1986. She completed seminary at Emory's Candler School of Theology and became a fully ordained Methodist Elder a few years later. She is now retired but, as the youngest 85-year-old you'll ever see, still frequently preaches at our Sunday evening services.
Tonight she spoke about thankfulness. She used Luke's account of Jesus healing the ten lepers, only one of whom took time to thank Jesus.
As an illustration Mother told about the weekend she stayed home in our tiny apartment in Wilmore, Kentucky, with little Debi who was two months old and very sick while Daddy traveled to Dunkinsville, Ohio to preach at his parttime appointment at three churches in that area. (Our parsonage at Dunkinsville was a nice little house, as I remember it, three bedrooms and a path.) When fretting Debi finally got to sleep mother still had chores to do, so she turned on the radio in the kitchen and started washing the big mound of dirty dishes she and her five children had used that day. As it happened the radio preacher asked a relevant question as my young mother's water-wrinkled hands scrubbed plates and rinsed them: Have you ever thanked God for dirty dishes? "Hardly!" she thought. Then he recited this little poem.

Thank God for Dirty Dishes

author unknown

Thank God for Dirty Dishes,
They have a tale to tell.
While others are going hungry,
We're eating very well.

With home and health and happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss.
For by this stack of evidence,
God's very good to us.

Mother said she had never seen the poem in print but she could still recite it. I googled it as soon as I got home and found it sown all about the internet. No one seems to know the poet's name.

I find it easy to be thankful for the "goosebump moments" my mother mentioned elsewhere in her sermon, but for the next few days I may find myself expressing a silent prayer of thanks for things like grass to mow, broken gutters to mend, joints that ache, papers to grade, expensive gas to buy, -- maybe even taxes to pay.

God's been very good to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment