Abram V Leonardson
Of all the books in my bookcases, one has a treasured place in my heart. It is called Bible Biographies, edited by Robert Sears and published in 1848. It belonged to Rev. Abraham V Leonardson, my grandmother’s grandfather on my mother’s side. He received it as a gift of appreciation in 1880. Abram Leonardson, as he called himself, was a Methodist circuit-riding pastor between the Civil War and World War 1. I have a couple of his Bibles, a small number of scrapbooks and this volume on the lives of the people of the Bible that is illustrated with hundreds of engravings. He and I are living about 100 years apart. He was licensed to the Gospel ministry in 1867 and I was licensed in 1966.
My great-great grandfather served churches in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. He would pastor as many as four churches at a time, preaching one Sunday a month at each, taking his wagon, later his buggy, to the next church. He is remembered fondly in some of the local church histories. He was also a writer and turned many of his thoughts into newspaper articles, which he kept in his scrapbooks. Many of the scrapbooks were lost to time but of the few that I possess I can say he focused his articles on holy living, temperance, and prayer. His Bibles are filled with sermon notes and outlines, and even the occasional illustration.
In many of his sermons he cried out against worldliness. He longed for people to find holiness. To him worldliness was another word for materialism. For our day materialism has been dressed up and passed off as consumerism. Move out of the way Thanksgiving, the world of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and consumer greed is heading for Christmas. Same old sin, just way more costly than ever.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Seek holiness this holiday season. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
Like everyone from my generation, I remember where I was fifty years ago today. As a charter member of the Baby Boomers, I was sitting in the school auditorium with a hundred or so classmates in our history class. Televisions were placed throughout the auditorium for a class with a public educational broadcast. As the TV host was talking about the violent nature of mankind, the camera focused on a model of a caveman with a club. Then the narrator stopped mid-sentence. The camera did not move. After a long pause he announced that a bulletin reported that the President had been shot. Immediately one of our teachers turned the channel to hear the report. We sat in disbelief. Finally the class bell rang and I went to last period, Latin. We talked about what was unfolding and waited together. Later the principal’s voice announced that President Kennedy had died in an assassination in Dallas. Class ended and we all went home to a very surreal weekend.
Like the generation before me who knew where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor, or the generation after me of students watching with great expectancy the launch of the space shuttle Challenger carrying a school teacher into space, or this generation’s horror we call 9.11, we can close our eyes and still see the events unfold as if they were yesterday. This week we are rummaging around in our memories of November 22, 1963. We are reflecting on the unanswered questions of that day and the
“what if’s” of shattered lives. Walter Cronkite, wiping his eyes with the telling of the news, mirrors our own grief in the retelling of these events.
Now Thanksgiving Day is before us. The holiday season is already in full swing. For too many there is an empty chair at the table this year where once there was a love. We remember our own turning points of shattered dreams and anniversaries of pain that time really has not taken away. Dying is a part of living, but our stories do not stop with the tears. Living is hard on us, yet we are a people of hope and faith. We are loved with an everlasting love. No matter what has come, or what may come, God is always with us!
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Joy comes in the morning. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.