A New Beginning in Prospect Harbor, Maine
Another beautiful day begins on the Maine Coast, where there is always something old to be taught and something new to learn …
Down east accents murmur and drift across the water as this old salt and his unseasoned stern man (maybe father and son) plan the day and begin their work adventure together. During the course of the next few hours, their conversations will shift from idle banter and gentle ribbing to long and comfortable pauses. They will vacillate from solving crucial, national and world political and social issues to a more practical, informal, but essential mentoring on how to lobster fish. At day’s end, the young sternman may not have realized it but will have become more knowledgeable about the “where and how ” of lobstering. He will have received solid, time-proven information and skills that one day will help him be successful on his own.
Mentoring has been the “best practices” method of generational teaching since antiquity. Thousands of years ago, Moses stressed that the key to raising a successful nation was teaching children in their homes about the greatness of God, about His awesome efforts to save and restore people, and about His godly principles for living: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied……”. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
The Psalmist concurs: “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:3-6)
“… tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done…. that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; (Psalms 78:2-8)
Those commands are eternally important reminders that this sacred responsibility to teach and to model God to children and family primarily belongs to parents, not to Churches or Synagogues, Church Schools, Sunday School teachers, or sermons and catechisms. Those have important supportive roles to play but are not meant to be the primary ones.
God has given each of us unique stories of His goodness to share. As we live out and tell the accounts of our lives, hopefully we will consider and relate how God weaves His great redemptive love story through out all of history including our own personal histories. He pursues us to do good for us, to save us, and restore us to Himself. That narrative stretches throughout all generations, centers on the crucified and risen Christ, and will continue until time ceases. That message brings meaning and confidence to life. It is crucial that God’s unchanging story be shared so others may live in light of His love, purposes, and eternal hope.
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1)
We can do that even on a lobster boat!
Meet Chris Mace
Christopher Mace graduated from Bowdoin College and Tufts University School of Medicine. Served as a Navy Doctor in Vietnam and has practiced medicine in Downeast Maine since 1970. He is now an Elder at United Baptist Church in Ellsworth Maine. Chris is the author of two books, Listening to God and Dancing with God. You can read more from Chris here: http://sweetwordsfrommaine.music.blog/. He is married and has four children and three grand children.