Hard Bleachers and a Great God

welcomeI had a flashback last night.

Sitting in the Walker Middle School gymnasium for my son’s band concert took me back many years. It was more than the locker room smell. It was more than the hard plastic bleachers. It was more than the cackling girls and “trying to be macho” boys running around.

It had to do with the Band Teacher. I couldn’t stop watching him – animated and engaged. He loves the music. He loves teaching the music and hearing the music being played by young people. I could see the twinkle in his eyes from the angle of my bleacher seat.

I’ve seen that twinkle before…

It was in the eyes of Mr. Dwight Kinne.

He was my band and choir teacher (not to mention my parents band and choir teacher as well). He was my mentor and one of the most admired men in my life. He is now with the Lord but I think about him often and wonder if I am making that kind of impact upon those I come into contact with.

As I sat in that sparsely-filled gym, I was deeply moved. I leaned over to Denise and told her that I was getting “kinda emotional” (that’s guy talk) because I couldn’t stop thinking about Mr. Kinne. Every morning of my junior year I had a Music Appreciation course with him. I was the only student. When I walked into the band room he, without fail, would say: “How are you John?” Most often I would respond with a “Fine” or a “Good.” He would classically look me straight in the eyes and yell: “Fine…good…that’s it? How ‘bout GREAT?!?” A teenage smile would form on my face and I would sheepishly reply: “Yah, I’m GREAT!”

He would put his arm around me, we’d walk into his office and we’d talk about life and music while listening to big band records. Now I’m “kinda emotional” again as I write this.

Dear loved ones: I wish I could put an arm around each one of you right now. I wish each of us could sit and talk about life, work, family and God. I’m certain some of you would say you’re “fine” or “good”. Others would say life has been hard and relationships are painful. Some have experienced the hardship of a lost jobs or salary reduction. Still others might be struggling deeply through despair and frustration. You may not be feeling “GREAT,” but will you hear me when I say: Our God IS great. He is powerful and alive. He is working on your behalf and ministering to his loved ones (that’s you) whether you know it or not.

There in that sweaty gym, on those hard bleachers, I gave thanks again to my GREAT God. By the way, HE has a twinkle in HIS eyes as well…it is a burning, passionate love for us, his children.

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