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Reflections on four lovely days spent at ACU:  I know that There is Beyond the Azure Blue (728b) is the Church of Christ national anthem and Nashville is thought of as the Church of Christ Mecca but Abilene must be close.  If Nashville is our Mecca then Abilene is Medina. The bell tower chimed “Oh to be Like Thee” on the way to the morning lecture for cryin’ out loud.  Man, that is C of C through and through.

Either it’s pledge week or there is also a stewardess conference going on here this week.  Groups of freshmen (and freshwomen) are marching around in crazy uniforms: canary yellow skirts, Muppet red dresses, guys decked out in white dress shirts and ties every day.  I’ve been wearing stockings and pumps all week but I don’t think they’re going to let me in.

The weather has been fantastic.  It ‘dipped’ into the 70s and people started wearing touques.  I love it.  I’m out on the lawn in shorts and a T-shirt while everyone else is wearing a jacket.  They stopped asking if I was Canadian on Tuesday.

No less than three times this week I had the “Oh you’re from Canada?!  I know someone from Canada,” conversation.  It’s over 1400 miles away and there are 33 million people but surely you know them.  Sure enough, the mystery Canadians went on to be:

  • Bill Bunting (good friend of Wayford and Wilma Smith)
  • Harold Parker (my former Bible teacher of mine at GLCC.)  It was his Granddaughter that asked me.
  • Jim and Carol Adams (parents of one of my best friends in high school (the only person I have ever managed to get to shoot perfectly formed jets of chocolate milk out of both nostrils))

I hate it when it works.  I want to be able to say, “Canada is a big country.  There’s no chance I know who you are talking about” but it seems like a smaller world than I would think. Oh well.

I love the weather!  Love it.  Warm and sunny.  When it rains you can see the thunderstorm coming for miles.  For the past two nights the clouds have begun stacking up on top of each other as the sun sets and you can watch the lightning cascade up and up and up into the sky for what seems like forever.  The program at ACU is great too.

A few years ago they changed the name from ‘Lectures’ to ‘Summit’.  Brilliant.  Summit is such a great image; a great metaphor for what goes on at the program.  In order to be a part of the program you ‘climb the hill’, and the climb is not always easy.  You have to get people to cover for you back home and make complex travel plans.  You miss family and familiar surroundings but when you get here, to the top of the summit you are afforded a view of your ministry landscape back home in your mind’s eye.  You have time to pause and reflect on where you came from.  What am I doing for God’s glory back home?  What is this work all about? At the same time you can also see down the other side of the summit to where you will be going; even though dimly.  You can catch of glimpse of what could be.  You can dream a bit of what could come to pass.  The Spirit whispers a preferred future that is there for you.  The air is thin up here and you can get giddy thinking about how your church family could be led into missional engagement with your community.  You also see the things that you already had planned in a new light.  The Spirit of Christ is already back home, preparing the soil, causing the growth.

After a few days on the mountain top it is soon time to pack your bags and get to bed early.  You will have to say goodbye to the summit tomorrow before dawn and head down the slope into your future.

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