Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Heritage of Esther Burgess

Lois and I recently attended the Memorial for Esther Word Burgess, wife of Tom. Hundreds came. We saw people from Florida, Puerto Rico, and India.

It was moving to hear their daughter Jean affirm that she wanted to be a Christian woman like Esther. Son Jon has been a stalwart of the faith since childhood.

I thought of the God-related decisions that had contributed so much to Esther’s highly-regarded life. Her parents loved the Lord and raised her to love him, too. Her dad was the controversial and to some people – abrasive Archie Word, among the last of the great revivalists. He was loved in mill towns and disdained in college cities.

Brother Word had a heritage from the John Mulkey movement in Kentucky. This is the preach-it-hard group that many church historians discount. John Mulkey of Tomkinsville, Kentucky stood up for what he believed. He was agressive. His son, John Newton Mulkey, spent his years preaching the same message at Glasgow, Kentucky.

Archie Word's mother Maggie (whom this writer knew) lived at the edge of Glasgow and attended the Glasgow church as a girl. Archie Word's pre-school church experiences would have been under the influence of the Mulkeys clan and their hard-driving preaching.

In turn, John Mulkey had been raised to love Jesus by his father Jonathan, a preacher. Jonathan’s own father Philip had been converted to Christ by one John Newton while studying Isaiah 53. We could step back to Shubal Stearns who made the decision to follow Christ from hearing Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield about 1740. Starns studied on his own to learn about the role of baptism in salvation.

When Philip Mulkey gave up fiddling for dances and turned his considerable talent toward heavenly causes, he could never had dreamed that in five or six generations, an heir would become renown because God had given her an extreme measure of musical talent and that it was all used to bring praise to the heavenly realm, perhaps even competing with the angels.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Healed Again

My aneurysm is gone. It was behind my eye.

Four months ago, my optometrist sent me to a doctor specializing in diseases of the eye. He found my field of vision was below normal and that I had an aneurysm (balloon-like expansion) behind one eye. He asked me to return later so he could monitor its progress. When it broke, I would lose vision in that eye.

During today’s visit, my field of vision was back in the normal range. But he was puzzled that he could not locate the aneurysm. He showed me the November X-ray with the bulge and today’s where the same blood veins were quite normal. I told him that I would thank my boss.

On the previous visit, I had told the Dr. about recovering from macular degeneration. He dismissed this entirely. One doesn’t recover from that disorder. Now he has a story that he can’t deny because he provided all of the evidence.

How we thank the Lord for his graciousness, even in these throwaway bodies that are a template for our eternal ones.