We are in our later seventies and after 36 years, my wife and I just moved ourselves (with a little help from our friends) to a different house.
I know it sounds like an opening to an old comedian’s joke but at my stage of life, it’s not funny. In the move, the picture frame backing that held my diploma from Johnson Bible College came apart. I just put all the pieces carefully in a box to reframe later.
So, today I reassembled the backing pieces that held the diploma to the glass inside the frame. There were a few pieces of paper along with a blue felt cloth that created a border for the diploma, which brought the display flush with the frame so I could re-tape it and hang it.
One of those pieces of paper that I used many years ago to flush the diploma with the inside edge of the frame was a surprise! I may have used that piece of paper on purpose, but I don’t remember. It was the perfect size for the backing that I needed.
One side of it was a white blank sheet, but the other side was a picture … a picture of Jesus!
It was an artist’s rendering of Jesus. All these years since I first framed my diploma from Bible college, the picture behind what my B.A. diploma was Jesus.
I would like to think that what is true about what my diploma represents is also true of my life.
I could choose some other pictures that have helped frame my life — my mother and my father were very supportive of the path I followed, and my preacher, Bro. Ed, too. The girl I married 55 years ago, who has supported every one of our moves, and resettled us into each church community, could have her picture there.
But without Jesus being behind us in the lead role for our lives, it is so easy for us to go astray from what God desires for us. Just look at the culture. If his picture is not there, while we may have a lot of people who love us, we are in a desperate condition.
I preached the funeral services recently of two men who died in December. One was in Kentucky, and the other was here in Greenfield. The accomplishments of both men in their careers and in their contribution to their communities were significant. If you looked behind the framework of their lives you will find one most important picture — Jesus!
Take to heart what Jesus said in Mark 8:38: “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
David Woods is founding pastor of Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.