On the Table– September 16 through 22

For the past three days, I’ve been distracted.  As I was packing up the tools on Sunday for work on Monday morning, I noticed an empty spot in one tool bag.  Where was my impact driver? 

This question became an obsession.  When I wasn’t driving screws (with my less efficient cordless drill) for several hours on Monday and Tuesday, I was wracking my brain.  

Oh.  It’s in another tool bag. 

Oh.  It is in the trunk of the car.  I took it on the camping trip. 

Oh.  It’s in the shed, near where I installed that bracket. 

Oh.  I left it at a nearby jobsite. 

At every step of the way, wondering why I didn’t hook it on my pocket like I always do?  Why didn’t I put it back in the bag? Checking and rechecking all of the leads I could generate. 

At quiet moments, my family would see me lost in thought. 

Was I losing my memory? 

Was I losing my mind? 

Would I ever again be able to claim the moral high ground and  answer my kids’ queries about the location of some certain thing with my patented Dad zinger, “It’s right where you left it!”

Where in the world had I left it?  

Had my tool been stolen? 

Toward this last possibility, I noted with interest that a similar tool was on sale at Home Depot… only to realize that this wasn’t the nifty brushless model I got on clearance last year.  The actual replacement model was *much* more expensive. And now I needed to buy another battery too. 

Yesterday, after several more hours of driving screws with the Plan B screw gun (along with her buddy the hammer drill, the rattling of which only added to my longing for the missing impact driver), I marched up the hill to the storage shed to chase down yet another (and thinner) theory.  As I moved a storage bin on the floor, I absentmindedly noted that it should be up in the loft.  THE LOFT!  That’s it!  I used the impact driver to free the surfboards from their shelf at the peak of the shed roof!  At which point I was preoccupied with finagling a way to get those giant things out of the storage loft and out the door… I grabbed a ladder and scrambled up to see the glorious sight (with three bars still glowing in the battery!)

The Lectionary reading from last Sunday came to mind: 

Luke 1: 1-10Common English Bible (CEB)
15 All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him.The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Jesus told them this parable:“Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it?And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders.When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
“Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it?When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’10  In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.”

And it’s true: I practically floated down the hill from the shed, walked through the doorway like a conquering warrior, and held my battered impact driver aloft as I strutted through the house before ceremoniously placing it in a prominent place in the kitchen.  I texted friends.  I sang a happy tune. I thought about taking a photo. I told the story to each and every one of my disinterested children. I didn’t kill a fatted calf, but I definitely considered making a special meal in honor of the beloved tool.  

I love my impact driver, but not nearly as much as God cares for you.  Each and every one of you, with all of your features and faults and quirks and curiosities.  And God loves our little church, trying its hardest to hang on and finish strong.  We are not forsaken– we are beloved, dearly cared for and dutifully pursued.  The Great Shepherd is a bit obsessive about his lambs.  

Last week’s discernment meeting went well, and we are closing in on a final date for the last meeting of Common Table.  We will keep you posted. In the meantime, please be asking yourself what you’d like to remember and celebrate about Common Table.  We can work through our thoughts in the weeks to follow. 

This week we are helping our Good Shepherd friends deliver food to Bethany House.  Let us know if you’d like to help in the effort. 

Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you soon.  

–Mike Stavlund


Mike is a solid, stand-up guy that enjoys writing poetry and prose, hanging out with family and friends, and long walks around a Weber kettle grill.

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