Sunday, June 13, 2010
Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge 43 . . .For the Guys
Happy Sunday stampers! Its time for another challenge from Stampin' Sisters in Christ. This week's hostess is the talented Lisa, who has selected this verse: 2 Timothy 1-6 "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops."
Her challenge is to make a masculine card for Father's Day or just a guy type card.
I was ruminating on a completely different set of thoughts for this challenge until a few incidents this week gelled together with Lisa's selected verse, and pushed those other thoughts out of my mind for now. They will keep for another day.
First, my DH and I happen to have been reading at night this week from the book of Mark, chapters eleven through fourteen, from Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the crowds cheering enthusiastically, to his arrest and betrayal by Judas in the garden of Gethsemane.
Second, the city of Chicago hosted a huge ticker tape parade on Friday for the Blackhawks, winners of this year's Stanley Cup. My kids all went downtown along with a crush of some two million people to cheer them on. You can find photos of it online; the sea of people is enormous.
Third, the same morning of the rally, I drove my DH to the airport for a trip out of town. His grandmother died, but only one of us can travel to the funeral. There isn't much time to unload the car and say goodbye in the departure lane at O'Hare, it has to be quick. But I had time to observe, just behind our car, a tearful wife saying goodbye to her husband, clad in a camouflage uniform with his duffel bag in hand, ready to face who knows what sort of dangers serving in the U.S. military in some far off part of the world.
I don't begrudge the hockey team their parade, they're talented, excited and like any other city, Chicago likes to celebrate its winning sports teams. One nice tradition is that at the home games the Hawks have a pair of military members on the ice during the national anthem, as guests at the game. The cheering is intense. But I was wishing that man in uniform, flying away from his family on Friday morning, could have had two million people cheering him on to thank him for his service.
Almost to this exact date in 1986 I attended my one and only parade in Chicago, a celebration that June for the Vietnam veterans to thank them, quite belatedly, for their service to this country. They didn't come home to cheers and victory marches when they finished their tours of duty. But that day the streets were lined with people like myself, who cheered and clapped and tried in some small way to make up for the echoing silence, or worse, that greeted them upon their return from war.
On this side of heaven sometimes you'll run the race alone; sometimes in a crowd. Some race to accolades like sports heroes, some run a race nobody sees, like that soldier in his quiet departure at the airport Friday morning. But one thing Mark and the other gospels make clear is that Jesus understands our feelings. During his time on earth he experienced what it meant to be utterly alone and what it meant to be cheered and despised by the crowds.
There might be no one on this earth showering you with approval for the internal battles or struggles you fight daily. But as soldiers for Christ, as Christians with a job to do on this earth, no matter how large or small, the cheers and accolades are not our ultimate goal. Serving is our goal.
When we get to heaven we know we'll be part of a bigger party than the crush on Michigan Avenue. We'll be cheering and singing for the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings!
But before we get there, the exhortation in Lisa's chosen passage from Timothy is to shoulder our responsibilities and not shirk our duties, wherever those might lie. As stampers we've been given, among other things, creative talents and we each have opportunities to choose how we're going to use them. If you feel led to do so, remember you can donate your handmade cards to organizations like Operation Write Home, that puts your beautiful creations in the hands of our service members so they can send notes home. You can find out details of making cards for them on the Operation Write Home web site. That's what I made this card for and I hope to get a batch of them together to send in this week. Thanks for looking. Hope you can play along with Stampin' Sisters in Christ!
Stamps: Papertrey Ink Enjoy the Ride and Distressed Stripes
Ink: Hawaiian Shores, Poppy, brown stazon, Ranger Antique Linen (sponged around edges)
Paper: kraft, red
Other: copper brads, houndstooth embossing folder, copper pencil