I'll never forget the day she died. And me, two days after when I thought I might be able to bear it, standing alone at the raw wound of her fresh grave, wondering how I might go on. My heart felt as cold as the bitter November wind that plowed through the cemetery. Mother. Gone. She'd suffered twice with cancer and then a series of strokes that had left her unable to think clearly or speak more than a few disjointed words. In the end, she'd died at home with her husband and children at her bedside---the way she'd wanted. But what now?, I thought. This force of nature and my best friend--silent and gone. Today, within a month of the ten-year anniversary of her passing, not a day goes by that some memory of her doesn't burst into my heart. In that way, she's still very much with me. A mother's love isn't stopped by death or the passing of years. Love persists. Love triumphs.
The relationship between mother and child is at the core of our earthly lives. It's so foundational and so important that God planned for every human person to come into the world through a mother. No other human relationship is as laden with meaning and implication as that between a child and their mother. It's this way with God's mother, as well. The Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of the Word, Jesus, the Incarnation of God. Some Christians may chafe at the title of Mother of God as if being His mother made her to exist before God somehow or makes Mary to be the equal of God. Neither of these is true, of course. God could have saved us without being born as a man, without need of a mother at all. Yet that was His plan. And when we look at God's plan for our salvation, we can come to know more about His heart. And having a mother meant so much to God that He put her at the center of the greatest love story ever known.
St. Paul writes so beautifully of a doctrine called "the Mystical Body of Christ"(Colossians 1:18; Ephe-sians 4:15). Through Paul, we understand that Christ is the Head of this Body, which is the Church. Head and Body, then make up the Mystical Body of Christ. The Body is one and cannot be divided. The various parts survive in relationship to one another. Mary gave birth to the Head of the Body, Who is Jesus. She didn't give birth to a theory or an idea but to a baby. If we believe Scripture, we believe that through Mary, salvation came into the world. Her total cooperation with God and conformity to His will is the perfect model for all Christians. Her final words recorded in Scripture are a five-word summary of the Christian life: "Do whatever He tell you"(John 2:5). Just as Mary nurtured, fed, guided, and protected Je-sus, she does the same for us as our mother (John 19:26-27). This isn't some new belief but one present since the earliest Church. Indeed, St. Paul's doctrine illuminates the unity of Christ's Mystical Body and the maternal relationship between Mary and the Church. Simply put, if God willed and allowed for Him-self to be born of her and chose her as His mother, shouldn't we choose her for ourselves? God put His complete trust in Mary. That's good enough for me.
Just as in a human family, a mother is not optional, Mary's role as mother of the Mystical Body of Christ isn't optional. She is at the heart of God's plan for our salvation. He created her with Himself in mind. He formed her sinless in her mother's womb as the perfect vessel to bear the Word. He made her as the model of mothers. And for us, her children, when we neglect our relationship with her, we miss out on the fountainhead of grace, which fills her, as the angel revealed (Luke 1:28). Just as the child Je-sus rain to her for help and comfort, it pleases God when we do the same thing. This isn't "just another Catholic doctrine." This is God's love for us, revealed in Holy Scripture and in the practice and teach-ings of His Church since the very earliest years of the Apostles. Mary always leads us to her Son. From the stable in Bethlehem to the foot of the Cross, her eyes were ever fixed on Christ. A mother's love for her children is never lost. We may be separated for a while from our earthly mothers, but we'll be re-united again. Mary's love for us is as fierce and immediate as it is for her Son. Through Christ, the Vir-gin reaches out to us to draw us ever closer to the heart of God. I don't know about you, but I can never have too much of a mother's love.
"With my mother's death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis." ---C.S. Lewis
(In loving memory of my mother, known to all as "Scooter," (1924-2002)
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Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
We had beautiful weather over the weekend. The leaves are showing off their fall colors now. We had a good day on Sunday. Sunday night's service was to be held around the campfire, followed by snacks and a time of fellowship.
Friday, October 26 between 6 and 8 p.m. will be the "blanket ride" and "Trunk and Treat" for the chil-dren. Saturday, November 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. there will be a Fall Festival in the fellowship hall for the children. Also on November 3, there will be a chili cook off with the men versus the women and a bake sale. At 6 p.m. there will be a chili supper with a charge of $3.00 per plate with all proceeds going to the youth program. Finally, there will be a candlelight service at 7 p.m. Mark this date on your calendar and plan to attend.
Special get well wishes to Christopher Barton who broke his arm in a fall at school and to McIver Ensley who broke his arm playing football.
Continue to pray for James Davidson, Mary Eslinger, Holly Stockburger, Chubb Blevins' sister Janie Arch, James Johnson, Rev. Wayne Hamrick, Archie and Susie McNish, Brenda Callahan, and others. Re-covering from surgery are Janice Watkins, Rev. Danny Henson, Rebeccah Johnson, Mike Teague and Josh Trent, who suffered a broken neck in an auto accident. It was good to see Janice Watkins back in church on Sunday but she would still appreciate our prayers as she recovers.
We were sorry to learn of the unexpected death of Tommy Helton last week from a heart attack. Our sympathy to his family and friends.
The Team Kids are now practicing their Christmas program each Sunday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
For you gospel music lovers, The New Liberty Boys will be presenting a concert on November 8 at New Liberty Baptist Church. There will be no charge for admission but a love offering will be taken to buy materials to be taken to Nicaragua by John Gaston and other educators on their annual mission trip. They work with both students and teachers in Nicarauga and share Jesus with them.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
They had a wonderful day at Pine Hill Sunday celebrating Pastor Lee’s 7th year anniversary at the church and it was just pastor’s appreciation day.
Several got up and spoke kind words of Bro. Lee and Dorothy. Bro. Stringer preached in the morning service and Bro. Jodie Leslie was there to sing and they all seemed to enjoy that. The house was full and it was good to see some of the folks we hadn’t seen in years.
Bro. Dwayne Cochran preached in both services at North Whitfield. They reported good services all day. We had one of the sweetest senior banquets on Saturday. Sue Cochran gave her testimony about her breast cancer and how the Lord healed her and she is such a blessing.
Our sympathy goes out to the family of Josie Plott Presswood who passed away Saturday night after being in the hospital and her sister Martha was taking care of her. She will be at Ponders funeral and her services will be on Tuesday in the chapel.
Richard Massingil lost his battle to cancer on last Wednesday.
Francis Keown did such a wonderful job decorating for the fall festival, her designs on the walls were just accents of fall with pumpkins and apples. It was all so special.
Bro. Todd Poteet preached at Welcome Hill on Sunday night. They will be having Pastor’s Apprecia-tion Day there on Sunday for Bro. Ed Parson and Winnie. We hope each one will go out and show their love for them. They have been through a lot the last year with Winnie’s sickness.
Continue praying for Jerry Clark he has been in I.C.U. unit for about three weeks. He seems to be los-ing ground but God is in control of his life. Pray for Harriet as she goes back and forth every day to Me-morial Hospital.
Pray for our sick, Edna Allen, Hubert Hawkins, Edith Middleton, Larry Keaton, Dale and Vicki Ashburn, they were at Pine Hill Sunday but they both have been sick. Ann and Jim Hall need your prayers. Ann just came out of the hospital after a stroke and she can’t get the rehab she needs and Jim has cancer. They are both in hospital beds and could use some help.
We will have our Fall Festival on Saturday the 27th at 6 p.m. There will be candy and entertainment for the children and will have hot dog and snacks too.
Pray for our boys, Eddie has been down and had a rough week. Pray for Polly Dilbeck she is still hav-ing problems from her hernia surgery back in June. They went to Pine Hill with us. Several people were there that Robert knew so he enjoyed talking with them.
James Wilson needs your prayers; he still has some health problems.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Bro. David preached Sunday Morning from Judges 7 on The Call of Gideon. This really tells us what God can do if we obey when He speaks to us. We need more Gideons in our Churches today.
We still have several out sick. Carolyn Denton is home and doing better. She is having therapy on her knee. Continue to pray for her. We really miss her. Alma Bryson was not able to be in church on Sunday. We miss her especially in the Ladies Sunday school class. She has been having lots of health problems.
Dewayne and Wanda Hill have been on a cruise. We miss them when they are away. Ken and Denise Pitts were also on this trip with them. I hope they all had a great time.
We send condolences to the Tommy Helton Family in his death. Pray for them.
Sunday Evening we had Bro. Tim Bryson preach for us. Tim is Bro. Junior Bryson's nephew. We need to really pray for these young preachers that are just starting out and encourage them in any way we can. His message was from Jeremiah 6:16 "Walk in the old paths" a very good message. We appreciate Tim and his family.
Others on our prayer list are Greg Gordy having surgery on his shoulder. Bill Pitts is not doing well. Amy Ingle has really been sick but seems to be some better but still needs prayer. Vanessa, Betty Pitts' niece, is back in the hospital and not doing well at all. Doris Pitts, Lula Petty, Ellie Pitts, Jan Elliott, Archie and Susie McNish, Holly Stockburger, Kim Owens, Junior and Ida Land, Benny Wilson, Johnny Chapman, Gladys Holsomback, Bernice Orr, Katherine Plemons, Edna Allen, Elsie Disheroon, Emma Lou Brown, Thurman and Norma Headrick, Jimmy and Joyce Blassingame, Charles Black, Louise Clark, the election, our missionaries and our military.
Happy Birthday wishes go to Christina Ivester, October 25. Monica Headrick, October 27. John Silvey, October 28. Brooklyn King, Terry and Jan Disheroon's granddaughter, October 31.