Anna's Alcove

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Tag: children

A Time and a Season for Everything

Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013 – It was Promotion Sunday…

The first few rows of pews were full of kids, preschool through 12th grade, who were sitting with each of their Sunday School teachers upstairs in the sanctuary during the first service. Each teacher would present the students who were moving up from their class and talk a little bit about what they do during Sunday School.

The preschool teachers stood and presented the two children who were moving up from their class, gently coaxing the nervous kids to stand and smile at the congregation, and then they passed the mic on to the Kindergarten and 1st grade class.

Mr. Walt Semenyna, the kids’ Sunday School teacher, stood up in front of the congregation and said how glad he was that he had this chance to share with the congregation what their normal morning routine looks like. He was talking about how the kids enjoyed singing along with the songs he played on his keyboard and started to describe the lesson time, when he suddenly collapsed, clutching his chest.

Time seemed to stand still.

Then, it slowly seemed to pick up speed again, as people rushed up to help, including a local EMT who attends our services. The Sunday School classes were escorted out by their teachers, one person called 911 and one of our church leaders led the congregation in a group prayer. The ambulance arrived and we all filed out of the sanctuary to give them privacy to do what they needed to do.

Everyone gathered in small groups throughout the foyer to pray, talk or just to be together in silence while we waited to hear the news. When the ambulance took Mr. Walt away, we were told that he was still not responding and the situation seemed critical.

By the end of the second service, we received word that God had called Mr. Walt home to be with Him in heaven.

Having served in the children’s ministry (AWANA, Sunday School and VBS) at Bethel Memorial Baptist Church for 30 years, Mr Walt had been doing the work that he loved when God chose to take him out of this world.

It’s events like this that make you think. We live life as if we’re going to be here forever and as if it doesn’t matter what we do from moment to moment. Yes, we have the hope of eternal life with Jesus and we know that we’ll go to be with Him in heaven some day… but where’s the proof of that belief? Who are we to tell God what needs to be done or how we want things to go in our lives?

David makes a good point in Psalm 139:14-16

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

Every single one of our lives, our days and our moments are written down in God’s book. He has this master plan that we’re all a part of and, while we may not see the big picture just yet, each of us has a significant part to play.

It was interesting too, because on that very same Sunday that Mr. Walt went to be the our Savior, our pastor’s sermon was based off of Ecclesiastes 3, which starts off like this:

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.”

There is a time for everything.. and our Creator is sovereign over time. We can’t rush things and we can’t slow things down. It may seem like God is too far away to care about us down here on earth, but there is evidence all around that He is very present in each of our lives.

My pastor then read Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says,

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

We may never fully understand what God is doing from moment to moment or how much of an impact we can have on someone’s life, but in the end, we have a hope… the hope that “we belong to eternity, but are presently stranded in time… that we can know our eternal destiny and can walk with God in our earthly lives.” (as my pastor said)

So, what are you doing with your life? Are you living as if nothing could take you down, as if you’re “unstoppable”? Or are you seizing the moment, using every opportunity you get to make a difference in someone’s life?

Take every moment and find a way to use it for the glory of God. That’s really the best kind of legacy to have once you leave this earth.. living a life that is glorifying to God 🙂

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Snowball Fight

Balls of snow and ice, formed with care
Explode unexpectedly as they fly through the air
Bundled up children running and rolling
Behind trees and snowdrifts, passerby strolling
Through a danger zone and completely unaware
A shock and spatter of snow shoots through air
Finds the one opening in between the layers
Whooping, laughing, the small and young players
Run away, proud that they never missed
The shivering businessman behind them, shaking his fist.
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Static Scene

A blood red sun shone through a thick veil of smoke over an ominously quiet town. Black ashes fluttered in the wind, like the snow of death. Traces of gasoline lingered on the light breeze blowing through the skeletal structure of what was once a house. Charred doors stood as if still attached to a non-existent wall and shards of glass littered the surrounding grass. Large crows with black, beady eyes pecked among the burnt remnants of what was once a kitchen. Blackened cupboards with their doors lopsidedly hanging, melted trash cans, and a shattered cookie jar yielded their contents to the persistent pecking. Metal bed frames stood out in stark contrast to the ghostly white remains of a bedroom wall that easily flaked at the slightest touch. A smoky mirror hung, cock-eyed, in what was once a bedroom. At its foot lay the broken pieces of picture frames, a young child’s smiling face peeking out between the remains of a hand-crafted frame that had managed to escape the hungry flames. Outside, on the scarred lawn covered in debris, there stood a sturdy sycamore tree. Several of its branches had been suddenly amputated and a large chunk had been gouged out of its trunk. Tucked in the nook of the roots at the base of the tree, a well-worn rag doll sat with a childlike, yet expectant look on its face. Her body was disproportionate from years of cuddling and the smile on her face, though nearly worn off from numerous kisses, was one that even tragedy could not erase. 

– Written October 6, 2011 for Creative Writing 

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