Going for Ride with Friends

Going for Ride with Friends

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hoof in My Hood

Tonight is a windy, temperate fall night. It’s the kind of night in which a loose aluminum gate blows in the wind and gently creeks. It’s the kind of night in which the sun slowly sank un-noticed while we had a family meeting filled with exuberant life and vigor. The three older girls rushed to their Christmas performance practice at church while Dasen, Elle and I tended to some matters on the farm.

It was shortly after 6 o’clock when Elle and I walked to the front pasture, carrying a halter and lead line for Hope, Hadiah’s 2 1/2 year old horse in training. Hadiah had had trouble getting her in from the field earlier in the day, and I told her I’d go out and put her in the corral to separate her from the other horses. I had a feed scoop to lure Hope toward me and provide a friendly gesture. She didn’t want the halter on, and as she threw her head around, I quickly sent Elle to the other side of the fence to be out of harm’s way. Then after applying the halter, I responded to her pulling up and away from me, with a few quick jerks on the lead line and firmly saying, “No.”

That’s when everything went terribly wrong. Hope reared much higher this time, very close to me as I had the lead line in my hands and she was less than an arm’s length’s away. Then it seemed moments held in time, while I tried to process what had just happened. My mind was sharpened to a present acuity that I have not experienced previously. I was in imminent danger as the horse’s hoof when rearing had gotten stuck in the hood of the winter coat I was wearing. It took me a while to process this and I jerked hungrily toward the hood and hoof, trying to seperate them. I yelled as loudly and clearly as I could for Dasen, realizing with the wind, and the truck engine he was working on, that he couldn’t hear me. My mind was very calm and orderly while the horse jerked and pulled. Next I yelled to Elle...”Go get Daddy”, which she did, but I knew he couldn’t get there in time, and there was no way he could rescue me. The next option, my mind focused on was “I have to remove this coat.” More jerking and pulling as my body was thrown around. I yanked at the zipper, thinking “I have to stay up, if she pulls me down I will be trampled and drug. I have to stay...." and bam, down to the ground I was thrown, with the hoof still lodged and thrashing inches from my head. All within the same instant of realizing Dasen couldn’t get there in time, and I couldn’t get the coat off, and I have to stay up, and the jerking motion of being pulled backward, I yelled....”Heavenly Father!”, knowing He was (and is) my only hope. Then in that instant, God worked a miracle. I was down on the ground with my head between her hooves while she pulled fiercely, and my jeans tearing as she pulled my body across the ground, and as soon as those words “Heavenly Father” broke between my lips, the hoof came dislodged, and amazingly she didn't stomp on me as she made contact with the ground again.

Much processing will be done with prayer and caution as we assess the safety of interacting with horses. My life was very nearly trampled with 1000 pounds of equine force in contact with my head- which is still very sore and swollen. Yet this I know...my Heavenly Father is real and He saved me. By no other Name can one be saved. He alone holds the power of horses and oceans, and He alone is mighty to save. I am still processing the shock and adrenaline and fear and bewilderment of how quickly things went awry and what could have/should have been done to prevent it. Yet my fear of nearly being killed or disabled, is succumbing to a joy because God rescued me. He personally heard me and cared. I cannot contemplate any others who feel they have not been rescued by God, all I know is that I called out loud and clear, sure of Him, and He rescued. My Heavenly Father is a Rescuer. There is nothing better than knowing Him and being in His personal care.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tiny Bioluminescent Luminaries

Last night Dasen came home from work around 10:30 pm. I had finally finished a long day of home school, errands, meal making, clean-up, bedtime rountine, and writing an old friend. He invited me for a "romantic" walk down our driveway in the dark to retrieve the trash cans. I was less than thrilled. After 15 years of trying to explain to him what romance is, he clearly still did not get it. He took my hand and led me into the darkness, refusing to even let me turn the light on by the garage. "Let's take a walk in the darkness together, without any light" he said. I looked at the cloudy sky without moon or stars and felt a boost of bitterness surge in me. Remembering the words of a respectable speaker, I bit my tongue, weakly attempting to empower my husband rather than correct him. We headed into the night with a strong aroma of skunk encircling us. I clung to his arm as we couldn't even see the ground beneath our feet. A black shadow darted somewhere across our path and I shuddered before realizing it was a cat. The comfort of the famiilar was swallowed in the mystery of the unknown. I refused to let go of Dasen's arm even when we reached the trash cans. He graciously carried both trash cans in one arm, while allowing me to fiercing cling to the other. He chuckled as he realized anew that I am not always the brave girl whom I may pretend to be.
Slowly our eyes began adjusting to the night, and my clutch on his arm became more relaxed. We took a few steps on the gravel driveway turning back toward our beautiful home, and tiny, odd greenish lights showed us the path. Where the gravel met the grass, sporadically spaced, their were mystical illuminations. At first I thought my eyes were tricking me, or maybe somehow there were miniscule battery-powered luminaries placed there as some sort of odd prank. As we walked I saw the lights hold their glow for an extended period of time, then gradually fade and reappear. As we neared the house, I reached down into the utter darkness of the ground, unsure what I would feel, and I dug my fingers under the light and placed it securely in my palm with a closed fist. It was so dark that absolutely nothing of the object could be visualized in my own hand.
Upon reached the house I released the luminary into a tupperware container and saw a black, rather ugly, multi-segmented beetle, with a posterior tiny glow. How delightful, I thought, that God would take something so unbecoming and give it a radiance that lit our path. We were looking at a glowworm, a female version of the common male firefly. I've lived a rather urban life, and the only interaction I've had with glowworms is a plastic, stuffed toy ,my daughter was once given. I'd loved it then, not knowing it was a replica of a real creation.
Tonight I encouraged my daughters to be glowworms. There may be times in our lives when we can be a city on a hill, but I think mostly we may resemble glowworms. The radiance of Christ in our lives may take some time for strangers to see, and alone we may sometimes feel insignificant or unbecoming. Yet together as the universal Church we may form a luminary path marking the way to the One radiance who never dims.
Dasen is right... walking in the dark to retrieve trash cans is romantic. I'm so thankful to have a husband to pull me into the night, and to have a God who exchanges my bitterness with a marvelous mystery reaching into my mundane moments.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We are sitting at home on a beautiful Saturday at the end of summer in 2011. The dog is trying to test boundaries by having her paws and head across the divide of the homeschool room and dining room. Hannah is upset that Elle is yelling, re-enacting her Davy Crocket movie. Hannah is stating in a loud voice, "Don't you know I don't like loud noises." Hadiah is upset that Elle is bopping her in the face, once again re-enacting the fight scenes. Earlier Elle came rushing down from Sarah's room, running into her room and running back to Sarah's room caring a dress calling out, "I reckon I'll have to find myself a p-u-r-t-y dress." Soon after, Sarah and Elle modeled their changed dresses. Rebecca fried up some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with three of the girls rejecting the offing and making their own various things (as long as they clean-up).

This week, the Blairs came through for a visit as they came back from dropping their oldest daughter off at Milligan. Rebecca and I had spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon driving to Hindman Settlement School and back taking the classes to prepare for tutoring for Hannah. We are excited to get to work specifically on her dyslexia. While there Rebecca hunted down her great granparent's grave. They had a boarding home there. Once the Blairs came you can see, horse rides and carriage rides are fun for all. Miriam is exploring cooking now making such things as peach cobbler from scratch and collard greens and hamhock. I really like both, but I was on the minority with the collard greens. Hadiah received her upper braces to great excitement only to realize that after a day she could hardly chew due to pain. Rebecca and I think her age just jumped with the new image. Kindergarten continues with my great joy in trying to get to pick her up at noon to hear about her morning. She is in the "advanced" math with 5 boys and is reading. Of interest, was her statement one day about one of her teachers who has gray hair, "The teachers are old, but they know stuff." The Todds, our neighbors who we bought the house from, came over for steak last night. Rebecca had promised steak to them for some time and we finally got them invited. We have moved forward in that Rebecca didn't get fired-up once, and the girls know the general process of cleaning up. I must admit that we do move faster when Rebecca gets fired-up so we will have to get used to cleaning at a slower pace. May God bless. dasen

Monday, August 15, 2011

Much has happened in the Eubank Ritchey family over the last few weeks. Rebecca had her birthday and our goal of getting her some time off alone turned into a week in Chicago taking a refresher PA course for her board renewal. Before she left, we went on our first trail ride with Montana and Sky. (Montana has anxiety when feelingleft alone so he always adds some spice to the proceedings. We hope to work on lowering the spice level. The main problem is that Rebecca is the main person to work with him and she left for a week. He is back to his naughtiness.) That same weekend we went up and hiked as a family near Cumberland Falls. (Did you know that one of the only "moonbows" from a waterfall is at Cumberland Falls?) We found an inlet spring and all took a refreshing swim as the hike is much better when rewarded with a swim. Sunday Rebecca left us for the week. We survived quite well, and Rebecca assures us that she is much smarter and knowledgeable now. She took classes from 7am to 6pm with a half hour lunch. She then took a two hour practice test each night. She came home to us in time to share our time with Katy, our next door neighbor in Middletown, and Carrie, Corbett, and Callie this past week.

They all seemed to have a great time between horsing around, creeking, and eating ice cream. This Saturday, we tried out Pony Club, but sadly found that we weren't Pony Club material right now. Our pony was too small (per the trainer). Our 18 year horse had a lame back left hoof for some reason (everyone has their opinion on cause, treatment, and care). Our girls wore such passe clothes like jeans. They had their fancy trailers, thoroughbred jumping horses, light tan riding pants. Everyone was nice, but we'll try that again in the distant future (or maybe never). We'll see what 4H is like next. Regina came to pick up Katy yesterday bringing two baskets of ripe, sweet peaches from our old home's two year old tree. We had planted it where the old crabapple tree had died.

For my Mother, I even took pictures of the front of our house yesterday. Today, we picked up Hadiah's Hope. She has some funny combo name with Appaloosa, Paint, Arabian mushed together. She is smallish and obedient. We'll try not to ruin her.

The sun is setting in all the purple tints that make the evening so pretty. Elle is in bed because she now has Kindergarten to go to in the morning. The other girls are shutting down the farm with Rebecca. I guess I'll say, "Goodnight," also.

You thought that I'ld put in pictures to integrate with the dialogue. Well, I tricked you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The baby pigeon died

But the baby chicks are still happy and all alive. I was called at work this past Tuesday while Hadiah was at Kentucky Heartland Outreach service camp by a stressed wife. The morning had started without a hitch with all the birds, including the baby pigeon, alive eating watered and happy. After lunch when the family had come back from horse riding lessons, Miriam reported out of breath to Rebecca. The pigeon baby was dead. There was a snake. I was glad to be in the office seeing patients. I told Rebecca that everyone in the office said to kill the snake. There was no way I was going to leave my dear patients. The coward that I am was glad to realize that this problem was far away. Well, after the front desk clerk at my office told her mom who lost all respect for me, I got a call from Rebecca stating that our neighbor was willing to come down and take care of the snake. I had to laugh later that day when I heard the rest of the story. The snake had buried itself as best as it could in the corner of the bird shed. The neighbor was going to leave it alone, but Elle, our dear Elle, gave him a stick and said, "stick it in there and just try to get it out." A grown man has a hard time not obeying that order so after some pitchfork and hoe work the snakes head was gone. All was well. I was safe.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Independence Day

We continue to enjoy the different aspects of our new place in the world. I came home from rounding at the hospital on Friday with the family in an uproar getting ready for the 4th of July Parade in Eubank. By the time we got the miniature horse in the borrowed trailer we were ready to be off. The horse had wiggled his way out of the "stall" and into the front of the trailer. We decided he was fine. As usual, we were the last ones to arrive and brought up the rear of the parade. Sarah and I watched as the many fire engines, tractors, Shriners miniature trucks, semi-trucks, and ATVs went buy until the last best group arrived. My family was the only walking group with Hadiah pulling Elle and her patriotic [chichen] with Hannah holding Prancer with Miriam riding. I can only say that it is good that walking can still be a part of the parade, and my family was by far the cutest group in the parade. Later that night we watched the fireworks from the back of our Ford diesel pickup truck. I guess we have arrived in the rural South. Yesterday, I walked out to the corral where Rebecca was dealing with a spoiled, mad Montana (16+ hand Tennessee Walking horse) who wasn't in the pasture with his friends so he wanted to rear and swing around and just be naughty. He settled down and later when she was on his back he behaved himself. We seem to be in new areas again. Last year at this time we had just arrived in Cameroon overlooking one of the prettiest valleys and hills that I've ever seen. We even road horses there up into the hills getting caught in a cold downpour while shooing away a stallion who was causing problems with our stallions that we were riding. God has been merciful to us and we hope to obey him.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Rebecca and I took a drive through the country last night to get to a restaurant called "Bread of Life." It is attached with a home for children called the Gallilean Home. The food was good as a buffet, and I had frog legs to boot. I haven't had frog legs in a while, but I still like the frog legs from Ungaran fried in "mentega," butter. The country here is quite pretty with its winding roads and river valleys. We seem to have tramped around the country side a bit as we have looked for horses and taken some visits back to the Cincy area and gone to Atlanta for a wedding. The girls and Rebecca were able to celebrate Priya's birthday again with the Branes at the home for the disabled. They didn't have the full outside carnival this time but spent time in the group homes. Our girls have become quite comfortable in these setting, and I am so happy that they are able to interact and serve. We have many little stories to tell like the trip Rebecca and Hadiah took to pick up our pony, Apache. They borrowed the previous owners of our house's pick-up and trailer. One of the trailer's wheel's tread came off on the interstate. Rebecca had to limp along to the second exit they came to where by God's mercy they found a place (actually it took two places to come up with the wheels) that had four wheels they could use. They were on their way to Georgetown which is above Lexington. Rebecca thought it a wonderful way to show Hadiah how God can come through with help as one problem solves. Rebecca and the girls also enjoyed homeschool camp up around Cincinnati. Rebecca was the camp nurse again. Hadiah enjoyed this camp again commenting that just getting to go to the camp makes homeschooling an ongoing option. Hadiah went to a week of orchestra-music camp at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond the week before last. She got to stay in a dorm room with a fellow camper (a vocal camp 8th grader who was from Richmond) and spend whole days working on music (maybe a little too much music for her taste). We have struggled finding a violin teacher for her as there aren't any Suzuki teachers here. The closest teacher is Danville. We have tried a local teacher, but he didn't seem to gel well with the girls. The day after camp let out, we awoke and left the house at 0500 to get to Atlanta by 11oo for Rebecca's practice as bridesmaid. Yulia, our good friend from Bulgaria, was getting married to a lawyer there in the old courthouse in Decatur. We stayed at Stone Mountain and spent all Sunday afternoon at the wedding. The younger three girls became flower girls as Yulia's niece from Turkey (2 yo) couldn't follow the direction. What a treat. It was a beautiful wedding and we got to spend some time as a family not doing much on Monday but swimming for a couple hours.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer has come

Friends and family,

We have now been gone from Cameroon for six months and are still sorting life out. As I have come to learn from an old saying, "Life happens while you're waiting." Today we have been home during a beautiful summer day. It seems that this is a rare.

Rebecca ran down the lane meeting a family at each end of our section of the lane. Each older person had lots to say, and one came later to drop off some tomatoes that he had grown from seed. He talked to Rebecca for some time about gardening and what not, and then while I was in the shed (the battery in the mower is always low and I have to attach it to a charger sometimes to get back to actually mowing instead of driving around when the blades won't kick back on if I've gone in reverse), he cornered me talking about this and that and how he could of made more money on computers in the 7o's, the neighbor's plan for their plot, etc. I now have changed our address to 320 Talker's Lane as it's shorter the Old Somerset Stanford Rd.

Between Rebecca's return from her run and the our neighbor's visit. We got Montana (our 16+ hand TN Walker) out and meandered around our new fenced in arena. He is a little untrustworthy so Rebecca appropriately wants me out there to work with him. He needs daily work outs. The purple martins dive bombing us doesn't help either. Rebecca, Hadiah, and I rode him around and the Apache, the Appaloosa type pony, was ridden around by Hannah and Hadiah bareback. We then got the miniature Prancer out for Miriam to ride around. I finally got the lawn mowed. Rebecca made pesto pasta in the wonderful way that she does. We rode in the truck to the local park to get the Iowa tests to take from another homeschool mom. That is the plan for next week. Rebecca and I are now off for a date. May God Bless, dasen

Sunday, March 6, 2011

We Continue On

We are now in the full rush to continue life. This means getting our home on the real estate market, figuring out a contract for surgery, and finding a house in the Somerset, KY area. The biggest event, however, is Hannah's baptism today. Hannah has been asking for about a year to get baptized. Rebecca and I have struggled with the timing as we continue to hope for maturation in action and understanding. Eventually, we agreed to proceed. We have come to believe that at the beginning of our Christian lives, we are babies. It is alright to be a baby if that is what we are. With repentance and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we look forward to her growth, now as my sister. Today, we went ahead after the second service with her baptism. What a blessing that many friends were willing to share it with us. To add to the day, we were up until 0130 this morning turning our house into the desirable place for the open house this afternoon. Since we couldn't come home, we went to Chuck E Cheeses with friends after the baptism. Now some would question the rationale of baptism leading into Chuck E Cheeses, but then again, so would I. May God be praised in all the quirkiness of our lives.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some Thoughts in Summary

I doubt that any long attempt at summation of our recent trip would do better than short analysis. The short analysis begins with God's blessings and ends with God's blessings. We went to Cameroon knowing very little about the people and situation. We came back knowing just a little more. The little more that we know has caused us to leave a little of our hearts and to continue in praying blessings and strength on those that embody Mbingo. Those embodying Mbingo are a part of that strange reality, the body of Christ. This body is transformational, and I have been told of the transforming reality that exists when a foreigner follower of Jesus lives in a community. The transformation proceeds as much in the foreigner as in the community. For us, this transformation will be actualized in time and is currently a vague idea. Hadiah talks about returning to Cameroon as a long-term missionary. Rebecca and I revel in the joy of friendships gained and marriage deepened. As to the transformation of the community, this too is only a vague idea. I didn't go with any amazing skill or technique nor did I change any person, resident, or system drastically. Rebecca mainly was a mom, daughter and wife. She was able to teach some and work in a clinic some. We came where people had thorns pointed outward in protection and competition, and we left with many thorns sanded down into a soft blanket for protection and cooperation. The parties and goodbyes were good and deep. That is it. That is my analysis. God will have to do the story telling at Mbingo. Our experience has made us want to remain parts of His story wherever he wants participants.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We have made it home

Thank you for your prayers and support. We have made it home to Middletown and are trying to settle into the "scene." We will write some summation blog at some point. Enjoy the winter more than I. dasen

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Eiffel Tower Sting Operation

Thursday morning brought us news of God’s unfailing love. Hannah was improving, though she still hadn’t eaten for a few day. After ho-humming around all morning trying to decide what to do, if we should all go out, or just a few, etc, we decided to make a family venture to the Eiffel Tower.

We took a bus, a train, then another subway train, a walk… then there it was… still surprisingly large to us, and rather grand. I thought it would be silver, Hadiah had pictured it green like Kings Island, but it was a lovely chocolate brown color. We had a little picnic lunch on a bench right next to it. About every 60 seconds we were asked by a vendor, walking around with trinkets, if we wanted to buy something. Hadiah said with a smile, she felt at home, like she was back in Africa. We decided to cross the street toward the river to ask about boat cruises/tours. As we had packed up our lunch, we saw 3 men in army fatigues and big guns walking past us under the tower. As we crossed the street we noticed the street had been blocked off about 200 yds down with police cars. Dasen wondered if the president or some government official was passing. We made our way across toward a carousel and the cruise stand, when suddenly we heard six very large, brown horses running behind us on the street. Turning around we saw the vendors running fast all different directions to get away from the police on horses. Most of the vendors looked African and we had been told from some missionary friends we met in England, that they had seen a police man run after vendors too. This however seemed to be quite a bigger deal. We didn’t know whether to stand still or move out of the way. We were standing about 50 ft back from the road, at a corner of the intersection, in the middle top of a flight of large, curved cement stairs leading down to the river and boats. Vendors kept running past us, helter-skelter, so fast that they were brushing us as they went by. They would run down the stairs, then back up, they’d start down the bridge road next to us, then come back running full force with all their wares. It was all rather confusing and alarming. I’d say there were 30 or 40 of them running, carrying their miniature Eiffel Towers and trinkets wrapped up in cloth, and having things fall.

We turned around to look at some vendors who seemed to be unsuccessfully trying to hide out on a landing of stairs, about 5 steps below us. Suddenly men in black descended on the scene and started tackling the vendors. They tripped them backwards and grabbed their clothes. At first I thought they were regular people trying to interfere and help the police. But Dasen quickly explained that they were plain clothed police men, wearing antennae, black clothes and had a band around their arms that said “police.” Some of the vendors then surrendered, others had been taken down and had no choice, while others still ran. One guy darted back to the bridge, chased by horses, saw that on the other end of the bridge there were police, and then ran back between the horses, only to be chased by a police man, tripped and caught. This all went on for about 20 to 30 minutes before it was all over. We then noticed how many people in the crowd had been police, some on foot, some on scooters.

We were all a bit in shock; Hannah being the most traumatized. A man close to us picked up a miniature Eiffel Tower that had fallen and tried to give it to the police who said “keep it.” So I picked one up off the corner too. That little momento will hold more memories that merely seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I had planned to go up in the tower, but after all that, we slowly made our way across the river, and up to a viewing point for a photo op. We made our way back toward the hotel on the train/subway and stopped at the Rain Forest CafĂ© for dinner. Hannah ate her first meal in 3 days, and we had a rather peaceful ending to a crazy day.

In Paris

We arrived in France January 10, 2011. After getting half of our 14 pieces of luggage which we had stored at a hotel, we made our way to our “Explorers” hotel about 1 hour east of Paris. It’s in the area of Disneyland Paris, but not owned by Disney. The hotel is kid-friendly however with a padded climbing play area and a pool with 3 slides.

We were pretty tired when we arrived, and after eating dinner we retired to bed. We found the sheets dirty on the top bunk bed, and previously we had found the room very cold with the window wide open and the TV on. We changed some sheets that night, I felt a little disgruntled, and we lay down for the night. Hannah got very sick that night, and actually got strep throat, pink eye, and had terrible body aches and chills. She looked miserable. The next night (for the first time ever) she went sleep walking and wandered down the hall of the hotel, not clothed well for an outing. I had heard her talk in her sleep, then get up quickly and head for the bathroom, which is the door right next to the hallway/exit door. The door slammed, and I thought that’s odd, but my back was turned and I still thought she was just in the bathroom. A couple minutes later I heard a faint knock on the door, got up to get it, and there was Hannah in her shirt and panties. She was still very groggy and mostly asleep, and I asked her questions, prayed with her and sent her back to bed. She vaguely remembered it in the morning. I’m just so thankful so knocked on the right door to come back to our room. The next few nights Dasen and I had terrible nightmares about the family. We’ve also struggled with temptations here that we didn’t experience in Cameroon or England.

God is working healing in Hannah. Thankfully we had some amoxicillin, which we pray God uses to bring His recovery. I think the family slept better last night, although I oddly awoke every 1 ½ hours and prayed to go back to sleep. I think we’re all looking forward to getting back home. Elle asks me almost every day when we’ll go back to America. Only 3 more days now, yet I’m still glad to be here for that time.


Our last full day in London was Sunday. The family was struggling with colds, so I caught the subway by myself and went to a worship service at West Minster Abbey. This turned out to be the highlight of my time in London.

I waited outside in the cold for about 15 min until the ushers let us in for the 11:15 service. We were directed to the inner most area, beyond the normal folded chairs that one doesn’t pass in cathedrals on tours. I sat in the inner most seat of wooden pews, the ones parallel to each other facing the aisle through which the reverends and worship leaders enter. The leaders then stand in a circular center area, which still has some folded chairs on either side in the alcoves. The male choir in red robes sang in the wooden section on my left, with 12 men on either side of the aisle. I sat next to a kindly, older, single gentleman who had been there before and was was kind at directing me where to go.
It was such a beautiful service- so regal, meaningful and sincere. I felt like my spiritual hunger was being fed and I could better realize in psalms why David would delight in worshipping God in a temple. The lovliness and grandeur of the place, with the polished, beautifully carved wood, the lofty ceilings, the colored light cast by the sunshine through the stained glass, seemed more fitting for God than any other place I’ve worshipped.

The sermon was finely crafted, being brief and yet richly profound. “And here lies one of the key differences between Islam and Chrisitianity. The word “Islam” means to submit; and in Islam, Judaism and Christianity we are all called to submit to God. Yet here in Christ’s baptism we find that God has submitted to man.” The baptism of Christ is the initiation of His ministry that culminated on the cross in ultimate submission to man. I never understood that raw act of humility when Christ was baptized. And this morning when I read Luke 12, Jesus speaks of His sacrifice (quite a while after His baptism, yet not long before His crucifiction) by saying “I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed.”

Humility, I mean raw submission to others, is absolutely counterintuitive to me, especially when being mistreated or taken advantage of. I find examples of genuine humility rare, especially in people who are successful. I can honestly say, however, that I am blessed to have my husband be one of those examples to me. Recently I witnessed this when I scrubbed in a case with him in Cameroon. He was repairing a huge hernia, and after we had scrubbed at the sink, we entered the OR to get gowned and gloved. The scrub assistant was really quite lost, had prepared the wrong things, didn’t know how to glove Dasen and seemed overall rather lazy and a bit too disinterested from my perspective. The other people in the room started to grumble and the other surgeon yelled from the neighboring partition where he was doing surgery. Dasen, however, slowly talked the scrub through what to do step-by-step, often repeating himself. When it came time for us to leave Cameroon, the OR department invited Dasen and the whole family into the OR. They gave him an African shirt of honor worn by chiefs, and several people spoke on how grateful they were for Dasen’s service, and especially his humility.

At West Minster Abbey I learned how Christ’s baptism exemplified His courageous submission to wayward and wicked mankind. I’d love to adequately share those insights with you and tell you about the beauty of the communion ceremony at West Minster Abbey. To share Christ’s cup is no easy matter.

May you be blessed by Christ’s humility today, and may you in turn bless another likewise.