Thursday, November 15, 2012
From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long
Dear Inner Circle,
Breathtaking, happy, uplifting! There is a gospel music concert happening tonight in Paddington Town Hall from 7pm to 8.30pm featuring 110 people from an African American church in Chicago, USA. No matter what the state of your life right now, this choir will reach deep into your soul and lift and inspire. You'll recognise in the gospel music of the African American tradition so much that has influenced much of the music that we love and has formed us. Twenty members of the choir gave a mini performance at Wayside yesterday and blew everyone away. You can watch one of the songs here.
The choir is giving this concert for Wayside and so admission will be by donation. If you're tired and pressured by a busy life, then make a special effort to come and for an hour and a bit soar above all those things that weigh you down. I'd love to see you there. Parking is a real headache around Paddington so catch a cab or bus but do whatever it takes and make sure you don't miss this once in a lifetime musical treat.
A man that I know by sight greeted me in Hughes St this morning as I walked to Wayside. He put his hand out to shake mine and said, "Good morning. I'm God the Father Almighty". "Wow," I said. "Welcome. I thought I'd meet you in a burning bush or a cloudy pillar or even a clap of thunder." "Well," he said, "It's me". "Come on down to Wayside and enjoy your creation for a while," I told him. He agreed to come down the street with me because he said that there would be others there that would benefit from meeting him. I agreed but asked only that he didn't change our water into wine. I think 'the almighty' thought I was being a little flippant in his presence.
There is a fellow that I've come to love and respect who comes to Wayside a couple of times a week. He doesn't talk much but when he does, his sensitivity, insight and compassion capture me. He decided that yesterday was the day that he would share with me some of his serious medical problems. I felt honoured to be trusted with this information. As the conversation came to an end he reminded me of my awesome responsibility at Wayside. I didn't need much reminding but to hear it from this man arrested me because he was more or less saying that it was important to him that I do what I do. Finally, he blew me right out of the water by saying, "I can see that your son is beside you at all times." He said, "I can see that when you are being loving to someone that you are loving your son and that you and your son together are loving that person. I can even see that if you are annoyed with someone it is because they are throwing their life away when your son who loved life, lost life. So even then your son is beside you." This fellow has a reputation for being a bit of a cranky pants but he knows how to reach right into my heart and bring me into his presence.
My sweet old Mum has graduated to a dementia ward and Robyn and I are off to visit her in Adelaide this weekend. My 7 year old grand daughter pointed out that I would not share my birthday with her because I'd be in Adelaide. She asked, "So will Grandma buy you some presents". "Darling," I said, "Papa has everything a man could want. What on earth could I wish for that I don't already have?" She replied, "A memory".
If you're in Sydney, do yourself a favour and join us tonight at Paddington Town Hall at 7pm and thanks for being part of this inner circle,
Rev Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel