Today, our second child and first son, Dominic turns 15. His name means “Belonging to God” and to watch him pray at the altar with others and respond in worship encourages us that he is living up to his name. May he daily discover and rediscover the love of a Father that is much greater than that of his earthly father and may that carry him throughout his entire life.
Happy Birthday Dominic!
Now, allow me to reach back to last week. Having spent the week in Belgium at Liz’s parents we got to visit with her brother and his family as well as several cousins.
Friday we headed east, to the city of Liège, where I’d lived from 1990-1992. We spent a bit of time downtown where I found a sense of familiarity amidst a great deal of change. We then arrived to a flurry of activity as people prepared for the wedding. While we ate pizza, Sophie and the groom’s niece had their hair straightened. Seeing Timo’s curly locks… the groom’s sister Rosalie offered to straighten his hair as well…. this is the result. Timo – giddy at first – loved his new style.
Speaking of style, a friend of the groom works for BMW and was able to borrow this ‘I8’ for the big day – luxury travel for the married couple. If you’ve ever wondered what a 140,000€ ($155,000 USD / $205,000 CDN) car looked like… now you know!
It was an honor for me to stand up with my friend Dominique. He was my first neighborhood friend back in 1989 and when I returned for two years, in 1990, his family quickly took me in.
It was also an honor to perform the blessing ceremony on their wedding. In Belgium (as elsewhere in Europe) couples are married at city hall first. This ceremony establishes the legal state of marriage and any religious ceremonies (legally speaking) are strictly symbolic.
I spoke from Deuteronomy 28… where God lays out the blessings that his people can expect if they seek to hear and obey his voice and put into practice his laws. God goes so far as to say that if they will… he will command blessing to accompany his people. Then, as now, God’s blessing is predicated on our willingness to walk in his ways.
The rest of the evening was a time of connecting and reconnecting:
Kids and adults were seated separately so (after sticking close to mom & dad most of the day) our kids got to know others and had a blast! Two of the three other kids here are sons of another good friend from when I lived in Belgium, Tony Montagnino. How cool that from our friendship 28 years ago, our kids are now snap-chatting back-n-forth!
As Tony and I got talking he brought things up that I’d said to or done for him during my stay… things that I had long forgotten. It’s funny how simple little things can leave a lasting impression on people.
When you express the love of God to people, don’t always be concerned with the size of the gesture… that’s not necessarily what counts. Rather, it’s what motivates the gesture that is engraved deep on the heart.
It’s neat how God uses voices from even the distant past to remind us of timeless principles: Whenever we have the chance to do good, do it, for “night cometh when no man can work”… seize the moment and let a gesture show the love of God to someone new… it may pay lasting dividends.
Below is a short update of what God has been doing over the past few weeks. If you’re a pastor and would like to include a short missions feature during one of your services, the settings allow you to download it (click “share” for the download option).
Thank you for stopping by today.
God has a plan for France and we’re honored to be part of it.
God bless you and yours!