The Second Cairn...
I was on a plane at the Greensboro, NC airport ready to head to several meetings in Philadelphia many years ago. I had purchased the airline ticket, reserved the hotel room and had people waiting to meet me to hear about our summer camp and register their children.
It was February and snow was everywhere. But the flight was not cancelled, we were all on-board, the plane had been “de-iced” and I was ready to enroll many campers for our summer camp over the weekend.
And yet, as I waited and waited for the plane to take off, the snow got heavier and heavier. And then we heard those dreadful words from the pilot, “Sorry folks, the flight has been cancelled due to inclement weather………”. I was not a very happy “frequent flier” that day. What a waste of time— and now I had to drive an hour back through two feet of snow!
I was living alone at this time, and I did not arrive home till almost midnight—disgruntled and debating with God why He let this happen to me in the first place! Again, the loss of time, money and all the disappointed folks in Philadelphia that wanted to hear about the camp, etc. So in my foul mood I decided to watch a movie in the hopes of calming down.
That night, on the history channel, a movie was playing called, Brother Sun, Sister Moon. This was a film about the early life of Saint Francis of Assisi. I sat there for two hours totally captivated by Franco Zeffirelli’s rendering of Saint Francis’ life. The actors and director seemed to capture the love and incredible journey of Saint Francis in a way no book I had read did. I marveled at the love this man had for God. Truly, He was in love with God!. And as I watched this film lay out this little monk’s life, it occurred to me that what generations of Christians have loved about Francis is this: he proved by his life that it is possible to live the beatitudes!
As I watched him on the screen I realized that I had never met a man or woman so purely in love with God as Saint Francis. Francis hoped for nothing except to love God and be loved by God. As I wept I prayed and I said to God, “You have brought incredible people into my life —devout Christians and wonderful preachers, teachers or missionaries. But I have never met anyone in love with you like Saint Francis. Why have I never met a man so in love with you as Saint Francis?” And then, for the second time in my life, I heard God speak. I had heard him years earlier say “no”, when I attempted to give up my religious education, but this time His words were quite specific and particular; He said to me, “You be that man.” His words were as clear as a bell and undeniable. He offered me no explanation as to why He had not allowed me to be mentored by a man in love with Him like Saint Francis was; instead He directed me to become that man in love with Him—-the kind of a man I wish I had known as a younger Christian.
But isn’t a man or woman in love with Jesus Christ the strongest advocation for the faith and the greatest attraction for someone who is lost?
And that my friends is my calling. Not to be a great camp director, pastor, evangelist, priest or author——but to be a man so in love with God that others want to fall in love with Him as well.
I may not be eloquent, highly intelligent or gifted in any other way, but I can (and quite frankly have) choose to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and be a living witness of the beatitudes—-to the glory of God and the dread of hell.
Are you in love with Him? I am…..