I’ve spent a total of at least four or five hours this week in our worship center with “The Board.” That’s what we’re calling it now: “The Board.” People are still calling me and e-mailing me about “The Board.” That valley of dry bones mural that contains those 5,000+ names of people in our families who are lost and living in sin is dominating the thoughts and prayers of a whole lot of you this week.
I’ve prayed to our God under that board every day this week. Quincy and I spent an hour in there together praying under and over and for that thing yesterday morning.
Investigating those names up close is a gripping exercise in the study of us as a congregation of God’s people. It tells me a lot. I recognize many of the last names on that board. I know a lot of the stories. And it breaks my heart to think that you are agonizing over relatives and loved ones who do not love our Lord. I can tell the age of the person who placed the name(s) on the board by the handwriting. There’s the labored, but precise, shaky cursive of an older man or woman. There’s the scribbly print, all caps, of an elementary aged boy or girl. The curls and smiley faces that betray our junior high kids. The hurried and barely legible print-cursive mix of people my age.
It moves me to realize that this burden knows no gender or generation. We are all, every one of us, impacted by the grief of knowing the people we love the most are living in sin.
I’m also moved by the personal sentiments expressed on this board:
“my friend, Mark”
“my brother-in-law, Steve”
“my dear Brandi”
“my wife and the mother of my children”
“our son, David”
“my whole family”
There’s love in these short words. And heartache. There’s ownership here. And sorrow.
I know many of you are still thinking about “The Board.” I realize it’s impacted all of us in different ways. Please don’t allow the main lessons to get lost: 1) realizing we all carry similar burdens should bring us closer together, and 2) only God is able to change these hearts and breathe his Spirit-life into these spiritually dead. And, most importantly, it is his holy will to do just that.
Keep praying. Keep calling and e-mailing. What are you doing today with “The Board?”