In the Midst of New Dimensions

ImageI had lunch with my friend Judy at the Roma Restaurant in Haverhill MA on Monday.  It was a perfect spring day so we decided to sit out on the patio overlooking the Merrimack River. Watching the rivers constant flow towards the ocean,  I spotted a large bird gliding on the updrafts towards us.  Was I really seeing what I thought I was seeing?  It was a bald eagle.

The eagle is very symbolic to me.   Not a lot of people know this about me but I spent over 10 years of my life in a wheelchair.  Over those ten years I often sang the words from Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall…run….and not grow weary, they shall…walk and not grow faint…’ “Teach me Lord to wait”.   In the early 1990’s my mother was pushing me in my wheelchair at the mall.  We were strolling by the window of the Hallmark store and there was a display of eagles and the verse from Isaiah.  I told her why I loved this verse because I  wanted to believe I would walk again.

In 1996  I began the journey towards that goal.  It would take me 8 years to walk on my own without aid. That year I had double knee replacement surgery and spent 4 months in the rehab hospital.  One day the doctors came to tell me the news that I had progressed as far as  possible. “NO! That can’t be! I can’t walk yet!” I said.  My primary doctor said, “We are not sure what your prognosis is going to be but we assure you, you will never suffer the pain you suffered before the surgery.”  I was devastated. That was a Friday.

At 5:30 am  that Sunday morning, the radio was softly playing at the nurse’s station. I could hear Bette Midler sing “Wind beneath My Wings” playing. It also happened to be Saint Patrick’s Day. On the wall were posters and on my side table figurines, all of eagles.   One of the posters was an eagle in full flight with one word: Soar! In that very moment something came over me and I knew that I knew I was going to walk.   That Monday the therapist came and I told her what happened and said I need to try. Not with a walker but with crutches, I fully believed God was in this with me.  That afternoon with all eyes on me, I walked! I walked about 60 feet then collapsed.  My journey toward walking coincided with my sense that God had a plan for me in full time ministry.

Sitting there on that patio with Judy discussing all the exciting possibilities of Phoenix Rising United Church of Christ  and seeing that eagle  and remembering my own reemerging ability to walk again, I saw a connection that moved me.    I felt that feeling you feel when you come home from a long journey.

The word soar means to rise!  Another verse of scripture, Roman’s 10:17 says, Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ. !  I am one person who made a choice to sing a scripture song and faith rose up in me.  This made me aware of God’s desire to care and provide for me and ultimately the experience of healing.  The reemerging Christian community of Phoenix Rising UCC will be a place that nurtures this kind of faith where the soul will soar… will rise!    So my friends, do you yearn for a genuine, authentic relationship with God?  Do you long for a place of belonging where faith comes alive to new possibilities?   If your answer is yes, my prayer is that the Lord of all creation will meet you where you are!  Get ready to witness what God has in store for you!

 

In the Midst of New Dimensions
Words and Music by Julian Rush CCLI #958649.

verse one
In the midst of new dimensions, in the face of changing ways.
Who will lead the pilgrim peoples wandering in their separate ways.

chorus
God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar.
We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more

verse three

We are man and we are woman, all persuasions, old and young,
Each a gift in your creation, each a love song to be sung.

chorus
God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar.
We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more

Verse four
Should the threats of dire predictions cause us to withdraw in pain,
May your blazing phoenix spirit, resurrect the church again.

chorus
God of rainbow, fiery pillar, leading where the eagles soar.
We your people, ours the journey now and ever, now and ever, now and ever more