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Finding our way to Waynesville

by davesandel on July 12th, 2022

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Finding our way to Waynesville

Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear; let not your courage fail.

Marlene told us, “I never much felt like I heard words from God.” She was giving us her report on the State of the Church in Waynesville, Illinois.

“I was sitting in the school bus drivers’ break room with Skeet, another driver. We had both driven buses for a long time. He told me he had recently retired from the pulpit at Atlanta Christian Church, and I told him Waynesville was looking for a pastor.”

Skeet said he would pray about this, and Marlene said she couldn’t drive home fast enough, she was so excited to get there and call a few friends. “This was my word from God,” she said.

Skeet came, brought his books, and made the church office his own. He brought his own friendly style too. Under his long white beard and soft eyes, his mind flies. Skeet thinks, he prays, he studies, and he preaches. This year the growing congregation is studying the “red letters.” Last week he distinguished between Jesus’ use of the word judgment (judge not, lest ye be judged) and discernment (of truth) in Matthew 7.

What is truth?

That’s for next week. His sermons are on YouTube under his name (Maurice Skeet Stribling). But you know, it was the whole service as much as his sermon, just as it always was when Gary Johnson was the pastor in Waynesville. Skeet’s sermon and prayer time, Susie Freeman’s communion meditation, Liz Freeman Voyles’ worship … all of it was unhurried and personal, wise and loving. This was a band of brothers and sisters. We left Waynesville thirty-three years ago, and it felt on Sunday like we had come home again.

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. In the city of our God, on the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth.

Seemed like half the church went to Atlanta’s CountryAire Restaurant to have lunch. We were greeted there by the owner like long-lost friends. Mom and I went there for lunch many times. Mom often bought a whole lemon meringue pie to take home with us. Every entrée comes with soup or salad, vegetable, potatoes and a bowl of ice cream. So we had to take the pie home till we had room to eat it.

Jason Danner, an old friend of Marc’s, from Waynesville now living in Tennessee, was there. He took a selfie with our long table of friends. He told us stories about Ernie and Millie, his mom and dad, who live with them now. His mom Millie cooked for Little Galilee, our church camp. She opened a small restaurant which flourished in Waynesville for a time. She cared for stray animals and children, and always held up her end of the bargain. We loved her. We love her now.

At the other end of the restaurant my brother John and his friend Tim were just finishing lunch after their own church service at Open Arms in Lincoln, pastored by Larry Crawford, who many years ago was another part of our Waynesville story. I realized again how many people we are close to, one way or another, in this small part of Illinois. Many years ago when we encountered the diverging roads in the wood that Robert Frost made so famous, we took the path toward Waynesville. Everything in our lives has followed from that decision.

It has made all the difference.

(Isaiah 7, Psalm 48, Psalm 95, Matthew 11)

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  1. Millie permalink

    Hi Dave. I typed you a message the other day, but it got lost somewhere in the clouds! Lol As I was reading your message to Ernie, tears were streaming. I wanted so badly to be there at that meeting. But God sent my son, who had no idea you were there. You all hold a very special place in our hearts. Until we meet again. One day soon, we will be singing praises around His throne for eternity. What a joy that will be. Thank you so much for being a very important part of our lives, then and now! We love you all! Millie

    • davesandel permalink

      Yes! Until we meet again, here or up there. Thanks for your decades of love for us, Millie. Your fullness has filled so many of us up and up and up. And seeing Jason, what a joy! God bless you! Dave

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