Artistic friend, meet Pastor Mike. You’ll like him.
I’ve observed that our artists gravitate to Mike Freeman just as readily as paint clings to fingers. Mike is a pastor who understands your daily struggles, listens well, asks questions about your work, delights in all beauty everywhere, and maintains constant curiosity and wonder about the little things in life.
He also just began chemotherapy. They got all the cancer out, but they just want to make sure. A couple Sundays ago, the day before his first chemo session, Mike preached a message about the day Joshua told the sun to stand still.
His message captured our imaginations like God captured the sun for Joshua. Mike wove about as non-scientific explanation as you ever did hear. He said many scholars have written many commentaries trying to speculate how, within the laws of physics, this event might have been accomplished, trying to explain this wondrous, never-repeated MIRACLE. But Mike reminded us that the supernatural always defies natural explanation. And that is okay. Responding with human reasoning instead of wonder is not only a waste of time, but faith-shrinking.
“The proper response to any God-encounter,” Mike urged, “should be…” And right there on the stage, he threw his arms out wide, then froze with his mouth open, hands outward, in an expression of utter amazement. And he froze in that stance for a long time.
I was immediately compelled to capture that moment in my journal for all eternity (or for however long my Moleskine will last; at least it’s archival paper).
In all caps I repeated Mike’s words with my favorite pen: “Churches are to be CATHEDRALS OF WONDER, not schools of explanation!” I can still feel my throat tighten and my spirit soar at the memory of transcendence in that holy moment. Come Holy Spirit.
So I posted my drawing on Facebook. And I wasn’t the only one! I saw some of my artist friends posting their drawings of Mike as he preached the same sun-stand-still message:
Sherri wrote: “Chutzpah! Do you have it? My heart is so filled with the gladness over the privilege of being able to hear and see my friend Mike Freeman bless us with his passionate Chutzpah heart today. You are such a wonderful blessing Mike, and afterwards my husband gave a sermon at the assisted-living home on ‘Faith, and living like we believe Him.’ ”
Then I saw my friend Alyee had also drawn Mike:
Alyee told her friends on Facebook, “I drew Pastor Mike Freeman today in my notes from church! He is one of the most courageous people I know. And one kickarse pastor.” Alyee told me, “It makes me really really really happy to know that three artists drew Mike on Sunday, without knowing the others were drawing him, and that all of our drawings ended up in our journals and then on Facebook.”
Pastor Mike’s reply to our sketches of him:
“Oh my word, Jessie. You from the front, Sherri from the right, Alyee from the left (and I think I know who is behind me). Talk about full covering. :o) This is wonderful. Love it, love it, love it.”
You are VERY covered, Pastor Mike. And very loved.
Now that this moment of transcendence has passed… Lord, please get Mike through these trials. Sun go down, sun go down. Sun, go down quickly.
Until the next miracle comes along.