A Place for Faith in Christ to Shine
There is a cancer update at the end of this message.
CHIP STAM STEM CELL DRIVE: BE THE MATCH
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Last week I heard that Walter Wangerin, author of THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW and dozens of other award-winning volumes about the Christian faith, was battling terminal cancer and that he had just published a book of reflections on life and faith and living with cancer. Ninety seconds later, my copy was on order with my local bookstore. Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a couple of paragraphs from the prologue of this new book, LETTERS FROM THE LAND OF CANCER. I haven't finished it yet, but my eyes have filled with tears of faith and joy as he shares so powerfully some of the things that I have sought to understand and communicate through my cancer journey. His cancer is terminal; the judgment is still out on mine. But as he tells his story through a series of letters to family and friends, he is clear about his faith in God, the fact that he is not afraid to die, and how the battle with the disease gives him a platform beautifully to embrace a radical Christian faith.
A PLACE FOR FAITH IN CHRIST TO SHINE
I have cancer. It has dominated the time of my outward living. It has put death central inside of me. It isn't going away. For this there is no "cure."
On the other hand, my tumors—though present— have slowed their metabolic activities so much that I and my physicians have entered into a waiting game, a period of watching whether the cancer shall have jumped back to a busier life again.
It is in this time of surcease that I find it both good and possible to look back over the past two years of my experience with cancer and, thereby, with my approaching death. Perhaps my story will give shape and meaning to the stories of so many people who are involved with terminal conditions: those sick, those who love and comfort the sick—and even those who for other reasons find themselves thinking deeply of death, and of their own deaths particularly.
Here is the story which must ultimately embrace every living body, every physical person. Here, too, is the story in which our faith in Christ most can shine. Such faith will surprise the most faithful. A patient thinks she will be afraid to die—but then she finds herself (Astonishingly!) peaceful at the prospect, simply because there has never before been such an opportunity to test, to prove, to discover the real quality, of her faith, which is the presence of the Holy Spirit in her.
Let my story become your story too.
--Walter Wnagerin Jr. LETTERS FROM THE LAND OF CANCER. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010, pp. 11-12. ISBN-978-0-310-29281-4. Highly recommended for anyone who battles cancer or who loves someone who battles cancer.
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 1 (Ed Willmington):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 2 (Carl Stam):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 3 (Donald Hustad):
THE PLACE OF THE CHOIR IN WORSHIP: PART 4 (Ron Man):
Blessings to all!
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
HEALTH UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST
FOR CHIP STAM, CANCER PATIENT
Dear Praying Friends,
Thanks again for praying for my cancer treatment and for my healing. Don't give up. Please pray, too, for the success of our ongoing stem cell drive. The doctors are still looking for a perfect match for me. Here is the best place for information about the drive: www.carlstam.org/stemcelldrive. Over the weekend (March 18-19), another 500 samples were gathered at Notre Dame. What a blessing! To date we have gathered 1,430 new samples for the national registry and over $24,487 towards our goal of $45,000 to cover the processing of the samples. Maybe some people in your circle of acquaintances would be willing to "get a kit" or "give a kit."
Longer journal entries and some new photos about my cancer treatment are available at www.caringbridge.org/visit/carlstam (click on "journal" or "photos").
Honestly, I have not felt well this week. With reluctance I have gone to my stash of heavy pain medicines (OXYCODONE). That has helped. Lots of naps, small meals, limited activity, with a certain amount of moaning and whining about my general wellbeing. Tomorrow is a big day: on March 24 I will have a important PET scan to see how the lymphoma is responding to the current chemo treatments. The follow-up appointment with the doctors will be on Friday, March 26. At that time, if there is still not a perfect match from the national registry, the doctors will decide about using a mismatched donor; right now they are leaning towards using my younger brother, Billy, who lives in North Raleigh. The mismatched sibling option has some serious risks—mostly with Graft vs. Host Disease. ("Certain cures can kill you," the nurse told us.)
We are still fighting. Please keep praying; pray for a very wise decision about the donor and for protection from Graft vs. Host Disease. Don't forget to care for the cancer patients in your families, churches, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Pray that our stem cell drive will provide many, many cancer patients with life-saving options for their treatment.
In Christ's perfect love,
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