Tag Archive | Come Lord Jesus Be Our Guest

I should have known better …

Marian at desk2Last Tuesday I did something really dumb. As a 65-year-old, I should have known better. The day started out fine. I spent the morning working on my computer in my home office. I was working on a mailing to promote my new book, Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest. I knew I just had the morning to work, so I got right to work and was very focused and efficient.

In the afternoon I had an eye doctor appointment in Madison. Although the drive should be about half an hour, Mim and I allowed an hour, anticipating road construction. We arrived 25 minutes early. Apparently, the clinic was ahead of schedule, so less than 10 minutes after I checked in, I was taken back to the exam room, where all the preliminary questions, testing, and eye drops were taken care of. Then I waited and waited and waited. After more than 90 minutes of waiting, I was moved to another exam room to wait a little longer. As a nice gesture, Mim and I were offered a cup of coffee, which we accepted. (I think that was the first dumb thing I did that day.) Finally the eye doctor came, examined my eyes, and said everything was looking good and I should come back in a year, unless I had any more flare-ups like I’d had a few months ago.

mocha freezeSo Mim and I left, just in time to hit the beginning of rush hour. We went to Staples to get some envelopes for my mailing, and then we drove to Costco. It was a classic hot, humid summer day. We were both craving a mocha freeze, one of Costco’s specialty drinks. They are so refreshing! We needed a few items that we always get at Costco anyway, so going home via Costco seemed like a smart idea, not the dumb one that it actually was. I knew I had already had a cup of coffee at the eye doctor, so another cup of caffeine would not be a good idea. But those mocha freezes are so good I couldn’t resist. We sipped on the mochas as we wandered through the store.

We made one more quick stop at a grocery store on our way home, and got home about 6:30. We skipped supper. We weren’t hungry because of all the samples we’d snacked on at Costco. I spent the next hour cleaning out my email inbox. Then I put on TV to just relax for a couple hours before going to bed.

By 10:00 I wasn’t very sleepy yet, but I went to bed anyway. I knew the alarm would go off at 5:00 a.m. That’s the time we need to give our resident her first pills of the day. It’s also the best time to go for a vigorous walk, our usual morning exercise routine.

By 11:00 p.m., I was really regretting my caffeine indulgences of the afternoon. I tried to make good use of my wide-awake time in bed. I prayed for Mim. I prayed for my brother Danny and his family. I prayed for all my nieces and nephews. I prayed for Maria, the woman in prison I wrote about a few weeks ago.

By midnight I told myself that if I wasn’t asleep by 12:30 I’d get up and read the novel I had started to read a few days ago. By 12:30 I got up and read until 3:00. By then I was beginning to get sleepy.

By 3:30 I was back in bed and playing some of my favorite hymns on the piano in my mind.

By 5:00 when the radio alarm clock came on, I had finally gotten to sleep, but I woke up enough to listen to the news. Then I got up. I decided to skip my morning walk. The heat index was already 86 degrees at 5:00 in the morning!

Then this amazing thing happened. Before starting to work on my mailing project again, I read from my devotional books. One of them is Sarah Young’s newest book, Jesus Today. In this book, she writes in the same style as her other book, Jesus Calling, writing as though Jesus is speaking directly to the reader. Listen to what I read that morning:

Jesus Today coverRemember Me on your bed; think of Me through the watches of the night. When you are wakeful during the night, thoughts can fly at you from all directions. Unless you take charge of them, you are likely to become anxious. Your best strategy is to think about Me during your night watches. Start communicating with Me about whatever is on your mind. Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you. I am taking care of you! This makes it possible for you to relax and rejoice in the shadow of My wings.

When you remember Me during the night, think about who I really am. Ponder My perfections: My Love, Joy, and Peace. Rejoice in My majesty, wisdom, grace, and mercy. Find comfort in My names: Shepherd, Savior, Immanuel, Prince of Peace. Be awed by My Power and Glory, for I am King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus you worship Me and enjoy My Presence. These thoughts of Me will clear your mind – helping you see things from My perspective – and refresh your entire being. (p. 188)

Next time I can’t sleep at night, I’ll still pray for everyone who comes to mind, but I’ll also try to think more about who God really is. I think I was getting on track with that when I was playing those favorite hymns on the piano in my mind. I guess I’ll do more of that.

Or, maybe I’ll learn not to drink more than one cup of caffeine in the afternoon. But if I succumb to the temptation of a mocha freeze, at least I know a better way to spend the wide-awake hours of the night.

Marian-Abbey faces bronze

Abbey agrees –
I should have known better, but at least I’ll know better for next time.

A Time to Change Plans

Yesterday afternoon I wrote a blurb for the back cover of my new book on hospitality, COME, LORD JESUS, BE OUR GUEST. I plan to submit my edited manuscript along with cover suggestions to my publisher, Inspiring Voices (a division of GUIDEPOSTS) this afternoon. I’m pretty excited. This is the book I’ve been working on for more than three years. Here’s what I drafted for the back cover:

“Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest.” And he came – as a homeless man, a stranger, a friend.

Marian Korth and her partner Mim Jacobson have served breakfast to thousands of overnight guests in their home, but they didn’t bother to offer a cup of coffee to a homeless man huddling on their doorstep one cold winter morning. Why didn’t they welcome this “Jesus” into their home?

Marian still has more to learn about hospitality, although she’s had more than 60 years of adventures in hospitality already. She can tell stories about being hospitable (or not) from:

    • Growing up on a farm
    • Living in Chicago
    • Turning their home into a bed and breakfast
    • Caring for people in their home as they are dying
    • Running their home as a spiritual retreat center

Kindness is the common thread that runs through all these adventures in hospitality. The first verse Marian memorized as a child was Ephesians 4:32, “Be ye kind, one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (She memorized it and still thinks about it in the King James Version.)

In these stories, Marian reflects on what God is telling her about living a life of hospitality. She thinks it’s pretty exciting to know that God has told us, “Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!” (Hebrews 13:2 The Message)

I’ll let you know when the book is available. I expect to hold it in my hands by summer, maybe earlier.

My first book, LISTENING FOR GOD: 52 REFLECTIONS ON EVERYDAY LIFE, is already available. The back cover blurb for that book begins,

Discover how God talks to us through everyday happenings.

    • One day, God tells us to hold our to-do lists lightly. There are more important things for today.
    • Another day, God’s message is to think a little harder about how we spend our money.
    • Some days, God just says to relax and enjoy the beauty of the earth…

The first bullet point on this cover certainly fits today’s to-do list for me. I had planned to write about a conversation I had with my dog, Abbey, for this morning’s blog post. I was going to talk about sometimes being too busy to take long walks, and the wisdom (or lack thereof) in that. Instead I spent time talking with my nephew about why people commit suicide. A friend of his killed himself yesterday.

On Mim’s recommendation, I’ve ordered a couple copies of the book, ANDREW, YOU DIED TOO SOON, by Corinne Chilstrom – one for my nephew and one for me. Mim says it’s an excellent book on suicide. Chilstrom is a Lutheran pastor and nurse whose son committed suicide.

Today’s revised to-do list makes time for listening. Maybe next week, I’ll have time to share the conversation between Abbey and me about being too busy… I might even offer my own paraphrase of Hebrews 13:2 – “Be ready with a meal or a bed or a listening ear when it’s needed…”

Abbey-Marian

Note:  If you want more information about either of my books, check out my author website, www.MarianKorth.com.

Making Progress

Holding Glasses over BibleFor thousands of years, from Abraham to Paul, God has been trying to teach us about hospitality – both by example and by instruction. From my mom to Mim, God has been teaching me to pay attention to all of these lessons. My second book, Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest:  Adventures in Hospitality, is my attempt to put everything I’ve learned about hospitality all together into one long, meandering story. There are many twists and turns in the story. Each episode tells about an event that happened in my life, that in retrospect, I can see – “Aha! That’s how God wants me to treat people.” Or – “Oh, that’s NOT what God wants me to do again.” Each episode begins with a Bible verse in which God may be saying, “See, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you in My Word.” Here’s an example of one of the shorter episodes early in the book.


WELCOMING THE FRIEND OF A FRIEND

Be kind to one another …
[Ephesians 4:32a NRSV]

I moved into Mim’s apartment in Chicago on February 1, 1973. I decided to get adjusted to my new job before I started to look for an apartment of my own. That was fine with Mim. We quickly learned to share the space, the food, and the expenses.

And we learned each other’s habits. One of Mim’s habits was inviting people into our home. One day she received a call from a college friend. A friend of this friend was taking the bus to Chicago. Mim’s friend asked her if she would take this young woman “under her wing” to be sure she was safely oriented to the city. Of course Mim agreed to do that.

greyhound busThe evening of this friend-of-a-friend’s arrival, Mim and I took the “el” down to the loop to the Greyhound Station to look for a young woman who would be looking for us, but none of us had a description of the other person. Eventually we figured out who was who, connected, and took the “el” home together. We gave her maps of the public transit system, described the safer and less safe areas of Chicago, let her sleep on our couch for a few nights, and then she was on her own.

Did we keep her safe? Did we help her out? I don’t really know. But I was beginning to think a little more about how we should treat strangers. With the same kindness you would treat your best friend, or Jesus himself, I guess. We need to “be kind to one another.”

—–

This week, I’m at Christmas Mountain for my last of three writing retreats I’ve taken over the past three months to complete the writing and revising of this book. Then I’ll begin the publishing process. If everything goes as planned, the book will be available in both paperback and e-book format by summer.

Last week, I tried to make the final changes to the third (and hopefully final) round of proofs on my first book, Listening for God:  52 Reflections on Everyday Life. Remember, this is my “learning curve” book. I’m learning quite a bit about the publishing process, which was my goal. Previously, I’ve never thought about whether or not I cared if the long tail on the drop-cap on the first word of each chapter actually touches the second letter of that word. Am I being too picky? Or, does that really make a difference in the readability of the text? Or does it make a significant difference in the overall appearance of the page and whether it looks inviting or sloppy? I’ll be glad to be done with this process. This isn’t the fun part of writing a book! Fortunately, the end is almost in sight, I think. I’ll let you know when the book becomes available.

One big thing I’ve learned already about writing and publishing books – I’d prefer to be doing just one book at a time! My mind gets too easily confused about what applies to each book. Pretty soon the first book will be done and available on Amazon.com. Then my mind can relax. Maybe…

The earliest picture I have of me thinking really hard about something - probably keeping 2 storybooks straight...

The earliest picture I have of me thinking really hard about something – probably keeping two storybooks straight…