Monday, October 20, 2003

October 20, 2003

8:54 PM Bruce Thorn called tonight and we talked for 25 minutes. Our friendship goes back almost forty years, to the days when we grew up together in Russellville, Alabama. He and Anna and Elliot live in Sheffield, Alabama. Every time Bruce calls, he shares insights about the Lord that I don’t get anywhere else. We talked about how it’s one thing to know the Lord’s presence, but it’s something else to experience the Lord’s glory. The revelation of God’s glory is available to anyone who will seek it with a whole heart. And that “glory” isn’t necessarily a feeling or even an experience; it’s the fruit that comes from walking with God daily. Often we discover that “fruit” in the desert of pain and adversity. We think, “Lord, I don’t want to go to the desert. It’s hot and lonely out there. There’s nothing out there for me.” But the Lord says, “My child, follow me into the desert, for I am here, and where I am, there you will find all that you seek.” It’s a paradox—the fruit we seek sometimes can only be found in the place we don’t want to be. As Bruce and I talked, we agreed that God is raising up people who will seek him above everything else. When that army of God-seekers is let loose on the world, unbelievers will see that it’s not about religion and it never was. It’s about knowing Jesus and drawing near to him. 7:59 PM Bike riding upate: 3018 miles so far this year. 10:42 AM Steven Riddle shares a 16th-century prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake. Here is the first stanza:

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore.

To read the entire prayer, click here. 10:10 AM I frist started doing Billy Sunday ten years ago. It must have been in 1992 or 1993 that I read an article in the Wednesday Journal that advertised a “Cemetery Walk” sponsored by the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest. The idea of walking through an old cemetery and hearing about some of the people buried there fascinated me, and I was doubly interested when I read that Billy Sunday was buried in Forest Home Cemetery. At the time, I didn’t know much about him, except that he had been a famous evangelist. So one Sunday afternoon I went to the cemetery and joined one of the groups on the tour. It happened that Jan Dressel from the Historical Society was leading my group. We visited many of the noteworthy graves, including Billy Sunday and the Haymarket Martyrs Memorial. I remember that there was someone giving a lecture at the Haymarket monument but Jan did the rest of the explaining on her own. I peppered her with questions about Billy Sunday, and when she found out that I was a local pastor, she mentioned that they hoped to have local people portray various folks for the tour the next year. I told her to call me, which she did, and I read several books, wrote a little presentation (actually I made some notes and sort of made it up as I went along that first year—1993 or 1994). Mari Burda helped with the props, as she has every year we’ve done Billy Sunday. Marlene and the boys were there along with a few other children. We didn’t add the Billy Sunday Singers until Pastor Andrew Irvin joined the staff a few years ago. If my memory serves me, we’ve done the Billy Sunday presentation 8 out of the last 10 years. Yesterday one of the guides from the Historical Society told one of the groups that, “We like to give Reverend Pritchard a year off sometimes but if we do, everyone wants to know what happened to Billy Sunday.” So I guess we’ve become a fixture on the Tale of the Tombstones. This morning my voice is shot and my legs are sore from doing all the running during the program, but I was glad to do it. I saw Jan Dressel yesterday leading one of the groups, and I want to say thanks again to her for inviting me to Billy Sunday a decade ago. 10:09 AM Here’s a list of the children who helped us with the Billy Sunday presentation yesterday: Donald and Ann Childs, John Mark and Alline Goeke, Ray, Amber and Missy Gaskill, Taylor Bryant, Logan Feley.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?