Yesterday morning I learned that a friend and mentor passed away. When I was in my first year in seminary I was assigned a teaching church, and Dave Breen was the Senior Minister. We developed a relationship as we met weekly so I could gain a better sense of what it meant to faithfully follow the call to ministry.
Several years later he approached me about moving to Texas to start a church. In the process, he also taught me a valuable lesson about being “called” somewhere. He insisted that Tena was a part of every conversation because, as he put it, “You’re not called to a new place unless Tena feels the same way!” I know it seems like this would be commonsense, but it is easy to leverage the “God card” and talk about being faithful to the “call” to get what one wants! Dave wouldn’t allow that.
As I was going through Facebook posts and pictures, I came across a picture from his final days. He’s lying in a hospital bed with a teenage granddaughter nestled across his chest, looking adoringly at her grandfather. I’ve rarely come across a photo with so much love expressed without words.
This is heavy on my heart as we approach this Sunday’s sermon topic, “Generations,” which examines the importance of relationships across age groups. It is a time when we will also be celebrating the children and volunteers who part of our Sunday School program.
As I think about the photo of Dave and his granddaughter, I’m reminded that because many of us are transplants to the city, we have become one another’s aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers. We, in a very real sense, are one another’s family. It is easy to take for granted. But today I am reminded of what a gift it is in our lives.