Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Even in an unstylish brown suit, he was a god. Not God, mind you, but in my 12 year old mind, a god. His name was Mr. Hagstrom. He was a lawyer. He stood behind what seemed like a two story high eagle and proclaimed the Word of God. You see, at Christ Church, our podium for reading the lessons was fashioned with an eagle. If you were in the front row, you looked up just like in the movies when you had to sit in the front row. His voice was deep and rich and he spoke God's Word as if it were God speaking. To me, he was larger than life.


That is, until one day when I saw him "out of uniform." He was in slacks and an open shirt in the church basement during our annual bazaar. He ran the "game if skill" for the kids. He may have worn an embarrassingly stupid looking hat. The game was not important. What was important was the Texaco Fire Chief fire engine that went to the very occasional winner. Mr. Hagstrom was appealing to my worldliness. I wanted that truck (never got it, however.) Mr. Hagstrom was warm, approachable and, well, fun. He relished his role as church carnie. Mr. Hagstrom was both a man of god and a man of the people.


I learned as I grew that God is both BIG and DENSE and SCARY and INTIMIDATING as well as LIFE SIZE and CLOSE and WARM and APPROACHABLE. All too often, we categorize both people and God in one extreme or the other. It is our loss. Labels make filing easier but make relationships harder. God is a God of relationships.


Look for both faces of God in your travels today. Life's richness collapses when the mysteries in our life give way our need for labels and order. Relationships are messy but they are the air we breathe as well.

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