Happy freezing Monday to everyone! It looks like the cold snap here around Tampa may end in the next couple of days but it's been an interesting diversion for us tropical types!
“Get into the shelter!” he yelled, literally shoving his family through the door.
The bomb hit directly across the street, completely demolishing three adjacent homes. At my mother’s house every window and door was blown out; every ceiling came crashing down; every piece of glass was shattered and the dining room table was thrown across the living room, almost crushing the kitchen wall. The next-door neighbor was standing behind his front entry and the door killed him - shot like a bullet shot from a gun.
Later, after V-E Day, my mother’s church started a ministry to German prisoners of war. They sponsored a weekly Sunday-afternoon reception, contributing tea and snacks from their own ration cards.
Just a short while previously huge German bombs had destroyed much of the neighborhood, people were killed, and my mother’s home had been severely damaged. But war, and the potential for hatred didn't stand a chance against grace. My mother’s church extended grace because they knew Jesus - they simply followed the pilgrim way of Christlike love.
A young soldier named Gunter found a place in the Kemp family's hearts. When he was eventually repatriated, Gunter's home was behind the Iron Curtain and my mother's family lost touch. But eventually, almost five decades later and after the demolition of the Berlin Wall, my mother - along with my dad - was finally able to visit her old friend.
“I never knew what real love was,” Gunter told them, “until those days after the war when your church reached out with God’s love to me and to the other soldiers.”
Grace is active, it is insistent, it is counter-cultural and it is difficult to understand. Grace does not allow evil to dictate the boundaries of its expression; instead, it gets up and does something that makes a lifetime of difference...
My prayer is that this week will be grace-filled for each one of us - DEREK