A couple of recent events have caused me to think seriously about connections. The first is the reading of Mitch Albom’s latest offering, “Have A Little Faith.” My family bought me a Sony Reader for Christmas (which I love) and I received one free book with the Reader. The book I chose was Albom’s latest book. I was first introduced to Mitch Albom by my close friend, Chuck. Albom is an accomplished writer. His first book was the best selling, “Tuesday’s With Morrie,” which also became a TV movie. In this latest book Albom writes about the preacher of his youth asking him to give the eulogy at his funeral. This outstanding book details the conversations between Albom and his former minister that Albom would use in preparing the preacher’s eulogy. It is a delightful book which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
In one of the meetings the minister talks to Mitch about why he did the things he did and why he did them the way he did them. “My grandparents did these things. My parents, too. If I take the pattern and throw it out, what does that say about there lives? Or mine? From generation to generation, these rituals are how we remain...” Mitch says of the minister, “He rolled his hand, searching for the word.” “Connected?” I said. “Ah.” He smiled at me. “Connected.” (Thanks, Chuck for introducing me to Mitch Albom!)
The other event that has caused me to think about connections is the annual Freed Hardeman University Bible Lectures. For those of you who don’t know, Freed Hardeman is a Christian University that is in the small burg of Henderson, Tennessee (about ninety miles east of Memphis). This year is the seventy-fourth year the school has hosted a Bible lecture series. The estimate is that around five thousand people will attend the lectures (more people than live in the town of Henderson). By the way, while many say the day for lectureships is gone, it seems to me that there are more people here this week than we have had in a number of years. People will come from all over the country, as well as a number of foreign countries. I attended my first lectureship at FHU when I was a junior in high school. My dad allowed me to miss a week of school to attend. It has been my privilege to attend each year since 1976. It is one of my favorite weeks of each year. Most of the people who attend the lectures are preachers. Some are elders in the church and others are Christians who enjoy the fellowship, as well as the teaching.
I feel connected to Freed Hardeman for a number of reasons. I met the love of my life at Freed Hardeman. My parents attended FHU, Laura's parents attended FHU, our two children and their mates attended Freed Hardeman and we hope that someday our grandchildren will also attend. We made life long friends when we were in school at FHU. The Bible lectureship program reminds me of the importance of connections. It is during this week that I get to see many members of my family. There are some very dear friends that I see only one time a year, during the lectureship. Each year I see someone that I haven’t seen in many years. Each year it is a privilege to meet someone we have never known before. We are connected because of our love for FHU and the Bible lectures. We are connected by the type of messages that are delivered. We are connected primarily because of Christ. It is the cross of Jesus that binds us together. Galatians 3:26-27 says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
This article is not really about Mitch Albom or Freed Hardeman, however they both remind me of the importance of connections. My prayer for you is that you have some strong connections in your life and that these connections will always be dear to you. My prayer is that these connections will remind you constantly who you are and where you came from as you live your daily life. My prayer is that we will remember the great pain that occurs when connections are broken in families, in the church, and among close friends. My prayer is that we will remember that when we throw out long held patterns of our families it says something about our families, and it says something about us. Connections are a vital part of our lives. They remind us of where we have come from. They help shape our lives for the present as well as the future. Connections sustain us when times are difficult.
Dear God, please help us to realize how important the connections in our live are to us. We thank You, Father for the connections we enjoy because of our family and friends. We pray that our children and grandchildren will not throw away the connections that have been passed down to them. We ask that You will help us to be thankful for the strong connections that are a part of who we are.