A Cross of Stars

PurposePoints: Musing Ministry & Misc.

by Dr. James R. Brooks

I am thankful for the context of my life encourages my faith. As we plan for Easter celebrations, I am mindful of the many ways my faith is inspired by my surroundings. Visions of flower covered cross and seasonal banners are a glimpses of my thankfulness.

On recent walks, early spring flowers have decorated my neighborhood. Weekly, I get to share Bible study with friends of faith. Each Sunday, our little easters, I am invited to commune with Jesus. I am thankful my surroundings inspire my faith.

Years ago, I lived in Melbourne, Australia. I began my seminary studies overseas. It was an amazing opportunity. An opportunity that included an experience of Easter in the southern hemisphere.

The seasons are different “down under.” In January of that year, I left snowy USA to fly south. I quickly stowed layers of winter gear when we landed in the summer season. Chicago was at risk of closing the airport due to snow as I began my journey. I searched for shorts when I landed in Melbourne.

By Easter, fall was arriving. Plants were transitioning to their sleepy winter dormancy. My first celebration of the Risen Lord without the support of budding trees.

God provides.

I developed a practice to remind myself of the unique experience afforded me. After dark, leaving my apartment in Dandenong (a suburb of Melbourne), I would scan the skies. From the southern hemisphere I could see a new collection of stars. I could see the constellation known as the Southern Cross.

I knew that I would not be able to see this constellation when I returned to the states. It was a perfect reminder that I was on an adventure to grow and to learn. It encouraged me to remember all that had been done so I could have this experience. The support of my family, and of the seminary I would later attend in the states, and especially my Aussie church friends, classmates and professors who welcomed me.

God provided me a context that encouraged my faith. God provided a cross of stars.

I hope and dream for your faith to be encouraged. I pray you are able to take advantage of the opportunities at church to experience faith community. From Bible studies to fellowship and service groups, the church offers a multitude of ways to find encouragement.

Easter is soon to be celebrated. We are able to have 150 in worship. I hope you will come and participate in the protocols that keep us safe. Even more, I hope you come and participate in worship that encourages our faith in Jesus.