Altar Call –
Moments that take
your breath away
I love the idea that life is not
measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our
breath away. I find it a good exercise for my brain to stop now and then and
reflect on those precious moments, golden moments, that took my breath away.
Recently I had such a moment in church
when Anthony and Katelyn brought their infant son Samuel David Albritton to the
altar for holy baptism. Baptizing Sam, my 16th great grandchild,
took my breath away! Like all my great grandchildren, Sam is a brilliant and
Long ago, when I was 10, I had a
breath-taking moment on Christmas morning. Under the tree was a BB Gun, the
best gift Santa had ever given me. Growing up on a farm, I had seen the men go
forth to hunt game with shotguns. That day, with my own BB Gun, I felt like a
man. A shotgun and a rifle would come later in my teen years.
A golden moment occurred when I was 19
at Christmastime. Having fallen in love with a beautiful brunette who had been
my sweetheart for three years, I asked Dean to marry me. It took my breath away
when she smiled and said “Yes!” We bought rings that night and mine has been on
my hand ever since. The decision to marry Dean was the second greatest decision
of my life.
The greatest decision of my life was to
surrender my life to Jesus. That happened when I was 18. I had been going to
church all my life but it took me 18 years to realize that God had a plan for
my life that could only be realized by allowing Jesus to be Lord of my life. Sixty-seven
years into that journey, I am deeply thankful for the breathtaking moment when
I said “Yes” to Jesus.
I still cherish the moment when walking
up the street in misting rain my son David hugged my neck and said, “I love you
Daddy.” He was three then, suffering from leukemia, and would die in my arms
two months later. But that moment, and those precious words, remain etched in
my memory bank to this hour.
It was a golden moment when in 1956,
less than a month after the death of our son, I knelt before the Methodist
bishop who ordained me into the ministry. That night I made a vow to serve
where I was appointed, a vow I kept until I retired at age 70. While the United
Methodist Church is now in turmoil about its future, I remain thankful for a
church that gave me the privilege of serving Jesus for 48 years. About the
future I am not worried; God is still in charge and he will continue to call
people to participate in his plan to redeem the world.
The births later of four more sons were
breathtaking moments for Dean and me. No parents have ever been more thankful
to God for the miracle of birth. Our boys are all in their fifties now and we
are proud of the men they have become. They were gifts from God, gifts which
continue to bring joy to our aging hearts.
Many breathtaking moments have occurred
in my life as a pastor. Every time I knelt in prayer with someone who was
turning to Jesus for help was such a moment. Frequently my breath has been
taken away when I realized that in a particular moment, in a certain place, I
was right where God wanted me to be, trying to do what he wanted me to do. Such
moments are priceless. There are many which I treasure, like the time a
policeman who had arrested one of my sons came to my home and asked me help him
quit drinking and get right with God. Those are moments you never forget.
In these years it remains exciting to awaken
each morning and wonder what breathtaking moments are yet to be experienced.
They are indeed the way life should be measured. I am confident there are many
more to come! + + +