Notes from Jan

Still Under Construction

May 29, 2017

Buechner’s words, “ God who speaks into the nonsense of our days”, tempered me as I threaded around cars turning into the parking lot of Gloucester’s Holy Family Parish.  It was the annual Strawberry plant sale. Gloucester’s not only home to many Catholics but apparently, to large numbers of hopeful strawberry farmers.

Since I was neither, I maneuvered around idling cars to run my errands. Once done, reversing the route, I noticed the church steeple, towering above Holy Family Parish and surrounding buildings.  Atop it all stood the cross, beneath it, scaffolding and signs of ongoing construction.

Into this ordinary day God seemed to whisper, “The Church, my children, still under construction.” The Cross? “It is finished.”

A look, an image, whispered words and I’m a child again, holding one side of a hymnal, my brother Dan, the other. We’re singing words beyond our years.

“Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,

the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;

a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,

from the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.”(Elizabeth Clephane)

Lyrics seared into memory, words learned before meanings grasped.

Under construction.







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  • Reply Dan Russ May 29, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    What a wonderful gift, Jan! If you grew up like I did, how dare God reveal such a profound truth through a Catholic Church? Some things about the times in which we live are a blessing.

  • Reply Marty Lefever May 29, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Oh yes! So very true! The finished product is NOT is on our time schedule!!! Love you, Jan…

  • Reply Valerie McCoy May 29, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    With so much tenderness do I love Buechner. Many years ago, when I was asked by Jud to do a devotion, I chose Buechner’s searing words. The devotion started out, “It’s me God…standing in the need of you and the need of prayer…”. For some reason the passage, as I shared it, brought me very low and to humble tears. After the service Jud came over to me and said, “wow, where was that quote from?” After I told him he was quick to add, “will you allow me a few days to borrow the book?”
    After the few days he returned the book with a note tucked inside; “thank you very much Valerie, I now have my own copy; a wonderful devotional.”
    And another Buechner fan fluorished, simply by the power of inestimable words on a page. And I can’t tell you how many times, including today, that my heart cries out, “it’s me Lord………standing in need of you and in need of prayer.”
    With love, Jan, for you and for the continuing reminder of Jud’s presence as we all continue to be under construction.

  • Reply wendy lane May 30, 2017 at 1:28 am

    What Buechner book would you recommend I start with?

  • Reply Dale Lefever May 30, 2017 at 1:56 am

    I am not sure any of my building materials still are in stock. I understand God don’t make no junk, but I think I represent a challenging “under construction” project. It’s a good thing He is a creative God who can make something out of nothing.

    Thanks for the continuing challenge words.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Radina Welton May 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    When I was raising teenagers, my mother did some lovely embroidery work, framed it, and gave it to one of my daughters to hang on her wall. It said, “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet”. That still hangs in my mind and applies to me at 76 as well. Our transforming is ever continuing from “glory to glory” the Apostle Paul says.

  • Reply Radina Welton May 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    PS: I love Buechner! I think I might have read all of his nonfiction books and own most of them. His devotional, “Listening to Your Life”, I’ve read more than once and is all marked up. And I’ve hiked through the gorgeous property owned by his in-laws and around where he spent most of his days in Rupert, Vermont.

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