The continuing Saga of the Harper Chronicles
Chuck Harper·Friday, January 1, 2016
This morning I rise to greet a new day and a new year. Last night as Cindy and I prayed in the new year. I laid in bed exhausted, aching and thankful. Now I sit at 5 am drinking a coffee reflecting on the year past and the year coming. The past year was a year of Cindy and I coming out of the Land Between. A place in the desert. We moved into a smaller place at the end of 2014, I organized with help, our 40th high school reunion, the birth of another grandchild a couple of months ago. Having my story published in the Billy Graham magazine, leaving John Howard and returning to the Mission to work. The second Homeless memorial service in Oct. The craziness that comes with preparing for Christmas and all the wonderful activities.
Now we are here today reflecting as I said. As with anything I share. My purpose is always to share how God is working in my life, the lives of those I know and how to encourage and help others. The journey in the land between for me was a time of great healing and change. Knowing that after losing my job 5 years ago was not the end of the world or life. Being able to forgive and to learn more about who I am in the eyes of God, has helped me help others.
This past year as the chaplaincy grew a bit. I was able to build relationships with a number of people. I started a dinner bible study. The second annual homeless memorial went very well. It was amazing to see the community rally around again. That we can continue to advocate for men and women who will continue to lose their lives. I was able to connect with other people in the province who want to stem the tide of homeless related deaths.
This year saw change in my employment too. I had worked with John Howard for 5 years. I had developed some great friendships with a number of my fellow employees and supervisors. As well as building relationships with some of the guys we serve. It was a surprise and a hard decision to leave the safety and security of the known and to return to a place that hurt me and changed my life forever. It was Cindy who convinced me to take the plunge. She is a wise woman. I am excited and feel alive again.
The birth of our 8th grandchild. Was another big event for us and for me. Being in the hospital and greeting our newest granddaughter was a special blessing. I have started a new tradition in my family. With each new birth as I greet the newest member of our family I hold them and pray over them. I feel so very blest that I get to be their grandpa or papa. The sound of that word melts my heart in an instant.
Which brings me to today. I prepare to preach this weekend. As well while I type these words I am thinking about the coming year and some of the things that are in process. Something that is very important is life and health. As I age I am finding I ain’t no teenager no more. Even if I am accused of still being one. I think of two of my nephews who in October went through liver transplants. My nephew Josh donated 63% of his healthy liver to his older brother. As they both continue to heal and get back to normal. I hear that Josh (the donor) is having a harder time recouperating than his older brother Chris. The word heroic is a word that comes to mind when I think of the sacrifice Josh made for his brother.
I think of all my family member’s who have or may inherit the Huntington’s gene. I think of others I know who suffer with other diseases and illness’es. Some may have cures or not. Friends and family members who have passed away.
I think of lives lost more locally than globally. My mind cannot go to the Syrian refuge crisis, the wreck and ruin from earthquakes, tornado’s, disease and man’s inhumanity to man. My mind goes the crisis of homeless deaths. What ever the reason, men and women are dying on the streets of our country, in our provinces and our cities. The issues are so complex at times, yet so very simple. We need to do more! The weeks before Christmas and on boxing day we lost three more of our community. The reasons for their deaths are not know to me at this time. But the causes are clear. So in the new year I will be looking at another memorial service(s) Don’t get me wrong I see it an honor to serve with others in blessing the ones who lose their loved ones. But come on, when is enough? I get that when the news shows a little boy washed up on a shore. His lifeless body being picked up. Who in their right mind wouldn’t find that disturbing? But when one of our homeless population is found dead with a needle in their arm, or from a heart attack from using too much drugs. Or falling asleep on a bench because the shelters are full. Why doesn’t that make the evening news? Why doesn’t the government and others make a big deal?
So… as you can tell I am passionate about this subject. This will continue to be one of the areas I will fight for and talk about.
As I think about the coming year. A couple of important events are coming up. The big one for me right now is the Ordination process. In Feb I head to Carey Hall in Vancouver to begin the process and in May I will stand before a council and they will decide whether or not I will be ordained. As I understand this, this is a big deal.
But the people on the other side of the table making the decisions have no idea how big a deal it is. I remember walking by the Free Methodist church in Summerland as a teen saying: “I don’t want to be a Christian because then I would have to be a preacher and tell people about Jesus.” Crazily enough I have spent most of my adult life serving in many roles that have allowed me the privilege of sharing the message of Jesus. Bringing hope to the hopeless and healing to those who are broken. My mother and many others of that generation have said it’s a miracle. So for me to even be considered is an honor.
Some other things I am working on are things like street church. In a few weeks we will be holding our first street church at the Mission. As Chaplain Chuck I will be spearheading this new adventure. We will try it once a month and increase it if the folks want to do so.
As well I will be continuing to work on the Homeless memorial for 2016. We never know what each day will bring. So for me it is important to cherish the day, the family and friends that I have. I hope I can help somebody out today and everyday. That my Lord will invite me into His day and use me. It is my hope that you too will find peace, hope and forgiveness.
For me personally I want to continue to change, to be more of a man of God. A person who reflects the light of God. A person who walks his talk. To be as my buddies from StreetLevel say.
Be a truthteller and a peacemaker! May you be so to!
Happy New Year and keep them prayer pokes coming.