This past Monday, Eugene Peterson died -- one of the great saints of the church. Eugene was a Presbyterian (PCUSA) pastor, but he is best known to many as the translator of "The Message" version of the Bible. I tell folks that if their reading of the Bible has gone flat, reading "The Message" is one way to kick-start things. You may also remember that last year I invited the whole congregation to read his book "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" as I preached on the Psalms. I mentioned Eugene Peterson just a few weeks ago in a sermon when we talked about "blessing."
Many of you may also remember that when I went on my sabbatical the summer before last, Eugene Peterson was one of the persons with whom I visited. Eugene and his wife Jan live in Montana, and he was the first person who agreed to meet with me. Once he said yes, then I began to ask others if they would also meet with me - but Eugene was the first.
One of the reasons I thought of visiting Eugene was because of a video I had seen on YouTube in which, Bono, the singer of the band U2, goes to Eugene's home to meet him. Bono and other members of the band had been influenced in their faith by Peterson's books. I have included a link below to the video, if you want to get a feel for what he was like. But, after watching that encounter, I wondered if he would meet with me. Graciously, he agreed to - and it was one of the highlights of my sabbatical!
When I think of "The Joy of Giving" and our upcoming Stewardship Dedication this Sunday, I recall the joy I experienced sitting in the presence of one of the great and wise saints of our time. Eugene and his wife Jan not only met me for lunch at a restaurant, they invited me to their home to talk further. That gift of time was priceless and I will never forget it. I am grateful to God for the gift of Eugene Peterson's life, and the gift of his time he gave to me!
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l40S5e90KY
P.S. Don't forget Kirkin' o' the Tartans is this Sunday at both services in The Great Hall.