The Prayers Would Follow

Kathleen knew

The prayers would follow

Mum tucked in

A bit of the Front Page discussed

Peck on the cheek

And lights out.

There were two essays downstairs

Needing typing

Students would drop by

Tomorrow at four

Little darlings are up

To their eyeballs.

She had foregone three weeks

Of piano lessons

For the little ones

McMaster University just too busy

In the final term.

Kept her occupied though

And left time for Mum.

Six years now since Kathleen

Had taught for the Separate Board

But there were still visits

And Holiday cards

And a couple of the most promising ones

Sometimes attended the Cathedral.

Mum was so confused

So much unlike that stylish clerk

Of the Eaton’s Women’s Department.

Working with a smile and a friendly word

While Kathleen studied

And started out with the classes.

(Her beloved Music and English Lit.)

Yes the prayers would follow

Students. Faces.

Now grown. Married. Some Divorced.

Her children of sorts.

Her prayer platform.

Once the glorious images

Of a strengthening Saviour

Moved over to one side.

And His precious whisperings concluded.

Ruth, Rejoicing

Your fairness is undoubted

Your workers bless your grace

And I am here, a widow

Bereft of child and place.

And gleaning in your barley

So mercifully allowed

And finding much to gather

From one so well endowed.

Naomi says you’re special

With ties to all our men

And Jewish law invests in you

The means for me to smile again.

Enjoying lands once family-owned

A baby at my breast.

As Kinsman you redeem it all

And Ruth is doubly blessed.

I come now in the even-time

When you are deep in sleep

And settle quiet at your bed

And lay down at your feet.

Oh see me gentle Boaz

And do the works of law

And beckon elders at the gate

To heed that custom levirate.

Such wonder that this Gentile maid

Should leap from sad despair

And trust a farmer’s word and bond

And thrive within his care.


Note: Thinking of this beautiful story as Mother’s Day approaches.

Colton is Cool About It


Four year old Colton Burpo nearly scared his parents to death. Burst appendix and a crazy drive across Nebraska farmlands to the hospital. An anguished night of waiting.

But Colton leaves his body; sees circumstances around the hospital, the operating room, the chapel and the waiting room. In the vision/trance he then wanders over to his father’s Wesleyan Church and is serenaded in a gloriously altered sanctuary by angels.

Jesus walks down the aisle and invites him to take a trip. They pre-view Heaven and Colton is amazed at the brilliance of colours, the abundance of flowers and animals, and the throngs of happy, healed saints.

In increments he tells his Father Todd, a pastor of his experience. He assures that he wasn’t afraid of anything. It was all wonderful. He relates a meeting with Todd’s grandfather “Pop”. He had never met the man and the individual he met did not wear eyeglasses and had reverted to a much younger version of himself. Todd is overwhelmed. He had always struggled with Pop’s account of faith, or lack thereof.

Colton tells his Mom about having met a beautiful red-haired young girl who hugged him repeatedly and explained that she was the baby who had died years prior “in his Mummy’s tummy”. The gender of the miscarried child had never been made known to the parents, and the little one had never been named.

The community and the church community start to get wind of this extraordinary vision and many are disturbed in a negative sort of way. Had the child simply been brain-washed by his parents in ministry? Was this all a wishful hallucination at near death. Could the pastor be unhinged in his theology by the imaginings of a four year old?

One critical Sunday morning the Pastor decides to preach on his corroboration of the boy’s account. He knows that a majority of the congregation want to ditch him. His sermon should be heard by everyone!

The news on television has also been carrying a story about a pre-teen girl in Europe who has taken to producing breath-taking paintings based on her visions of a trip to Heaven. One of the pictures flashed on the screen is the face of Jesus. Young Colton seated in the recliner calmly affirms, “Yep, that’s Him.”

If at all possible see the movie entitled “Heaven Is For Real” starring Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly produced in part by T. D. Jakes.

The Man from Glengarry


Hilary has had some good talks with other patients on the ward.

One young man is Aaron. He has faced a number of tragedies lately; obviously intelligent and kindly disposed. This morning he opened up a talk about Jesus. He has had many problems with the presentation of the Church but he has great admiration for the Carpenter of Galilee. In our outing this afternoon Hilary loosed the “hound of used book stores” on a mission: “Doug find something with a very direct salvation message. This man is close to the Kingdom” Funny how you get a definite opinion about some people some times.

I gave a wry smile when I found a handy copy of The Man from Glengarry by Ralph Connor.

Consider one of my posts from years ago:

This is a classic of Canadian literature written by a prairie Presbyterian minister using the pen name Ralph Connor.

It traces the growth of a young Christian man in the Townships at the eastern end of Ontario and near the Ottawa River. The protagonist goes to work in a lumber operation and rises in the organization as he acquires quite honourably the favour of the owners.

It has been a long time since I read the book. The part that sticks in my memory has to do with the forest logging and the treacherous river ride of the cut logs in a huge mass contained within a boomed perimeter.

A French Canadian is heralded as the master at riding the logs with sturdy boots and gaffed pole. A severe workplace accident is described in detail as the man becomes isolated on a section which comes into furious rough water. Eventually he loses his balance and falls between the wooden monsters and is crushed and drowned.

We then come to the logging camp funeral where the superintendent is called upon to say a few kind words. He mentions the years of dedication, the tireless effort of each work day and the happy esprit de corps. Surely the good logger will be missed. God rest his soul.

But that is not all. An old Scot who has been with the Company longer than most is the reputed spiritual mentor of the men. Always a willingness with sincere and appropriate prayer. Always a facility in saying a good word in season from the Book of books. But his countenance now is troubled. He must be entirely honest before the men for sake of their own souls. He speaks bracing words:

“Aye, and the gewd Jacque*  wull trewly be messed. But ah must say men that a’am lewkin’ fer the signs – signs of peace made with ower Holy Gawd. Signs of a broken an’ contrite sperit, havin’ gone threw the Vale o’ Repentance. A’ve seen it not, an’ ah moost warn ye men that a gewd disposition and a hearty desire to dew one’s best wull not do the busness of salvation. One moost ne’er be too certain of oneself.

Ah pray trewly that there’s summat a’ve messed. The judgment is the thing I’ll be warnin’ ye of. Bless all yew fine men.”

(Note: We have all attended funerals where the words have been kind and the preacher has attempted to celebrate a life and apply the hope of glory to that life. What must be the pain when the preacher sees no signs of grace in operation? I sent a copy of this book to a Canon of a nearby Anglican Diocese. He had been an old boyhood school chum. He never acknowledged receiving it.

Let us pray that this solid adventure book from days of timber around the Ottawa River will bear fruit.)

(*name escapes me)

Stop That Buzzing!

Back in about 1985 I attended a three-day meeting featuring Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke at Cobo Hall, Detroit. Early in one of his messages the sound system acted up with irritating buzzing. He tried to get through patiently while technicians scurried. At last he stopped and asked the assembly to pray with him. That lion’s voice pleaded for the help of God and rebuked the devil and this interference. The buzzing stopped completely. One could hear the incredulous murmering of the crowd. ‘It stopped, it really stopped’, they whispered. The evangelist could sense it, and his face registered deep disappointment.

Here was a man who let prayer arrows fly in Africa against thunder storms, wind storms, crazed shamans and violent tribal agitators. And God would answer. But Detroit hardly had the ammo to come against an amplifier or two.

That City has a great Gospel media machine. It has had to go through immense financial setback and population loss. But back then it was fat and self-satisfied, churches included.

I sense that even then Bonnke knew the antidote…much suffering, much pleading, much waiting, much anointing, much authority. This is proving to be Africa’s path to spiritual power and deliverance.

Undoubtedly prayer warriors throughout North America are importuning “Crush us Lord, crush us for sake of the Harvest, for sake of the Glory”.

All talk of revival short of this fact will be proved to be pointless.

Psalm 32: 4-7

For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Lion of Judah: many summers I would hear the lions roar at the Detroit Zoo


Lynn was a friend at The Westmount Seniors Long Term Care Residence in Kitchener. Suffering from MS since her early 20’s. Stuck in a wheelchair. Once a very capable nurse of some qualification. Never married. Lover of cats and all domestic animals. Writer of poetry.

She loved our little reading-discussion group and would contribute many incisive comments. She would come front and centre to Chapel.

There were repetitive breathing problems. More and more she was confined to her bed. The residence cat would drop by and pop up onto her covers expecting some “Little Friskies”. Never disappointed.

I learned this Sunday that she had just died the previous evening at St. Mary’s Hospital from pneumonia. Laurie, the Home Chaplain, told me as graciously as she could following service. We sat in the front foyer remembering this kind friend and her stellar patience with circumstances. I was about to leave when I noticed that the woman at the front desk had been listening. I went over and mentioned Lynn Pearcey. The woman was reading a document that I recognized, “The Story of My Life” by Lynn Pearcey. Each of my daughter Lauren and I had a copy. This had been a project for a community college student who attended upon our friend for a number of weeks to help prepare a little autobiography.

The female student’s little “Afterward” in the photocopied piece spoke of a remarkably patient and gracious woman who had become a friend.

The desk lady’s eyes were moist. She told me Lynn was about 53 years of age. Missed but now in full blossom with Jesus.

Corrie ten Boom on a Death-bed

Yes I could feel it

Third day now and flat on the bed

Strange tightening under the left breast

Friend and nurse fussing about me so.

But I had my ticket for the next trip

Folks wanted to hear my saga from the Camp.

They would accept prayer.

They would countenance healing and forgiveness.

Nope, my mission was not yet done.

I started to offer thanks.

In my heart’s voice

I told God of my love for Him

Told Jesus of my thanks to him.

For an instant I saw my Father

Happy Dutch watchmaker

And then the Camp

And my last earthly look upon his face

As they led him off.

With some dear Jews.

He would be waiting

Also my princess sister Betje.

She had been stacked like so much cordwood.

Shocking, undeserved translation.

And all those precious women

Bunk-mates, fighting

The monotony and humiliation.

Gathering, at night, together

‘Round the one hidden New Testament.

But not yet…not yet.

And the peace came

And the chest settled.

I could almost spot the time

When the blood flow smoothed.

When my own clock turned the corner

Unto recovery and renewed vigour.

I slept, contentedly.

In the morning my Friend bathed me.

And I put on that new dress

Heading for the Sun Porch.

Nope, mission not finished.

And so He tells me.

(1892-1983) Acts 14: 19, 20