John Stott helps me at the bus stop.
I love the collection of kids at our bus stop, and our walk to school in the morning. The walk is a communal event, where adults converse and kids are integrated into the life of our street. They become known by more than just their own parents. Our journey looks like the circus has come to town; kids walking, kids on razor scooters, kids in strollers, kids walking a dog, adults awake, adults clutching coffee like it’s the last drop of heaven’s sweetest nectar.
The walk itself can be informative (learning about recess, or the weekend, or relatives), scary (kids zipping into the street without looking for the four cars of the apocalypse), frustrating (how can kids on razors be slower than my walking pace?), or hilarious (jokes and stories about all that has happened in a day of fourth grade). I love saying goodbye to my kids, and ‘our kids’, as they head into class. I get the range of responses; hugs from blood and neighborhood relatives, indifference, waves and goodbyes.
I think of these kids and families often for it’s a grace that God dropped us into this street and with these people who bless us again and again. And as I walk to and from school I think about how I can be a blessing to them. This is where John Stott comes in.
One of the most fruitful disciplines of my life over the past year has been daily to pray the Trinitarian Prayer this godly and humble man used to pray each morning:
Good morning heavenly Father,
Good morning Lord Jesus,
Good morning Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.
Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.
Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more.
Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.
Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me. Amen.
The past year or so I’ve been captivated by the request of the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit cultivate his fruit in my life. I find myself imagining a tree full of fruit that feeds all who come near to it. This is what I hope God makes me with our friends and during our walk to school; a tree where kids know they will find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Where they will hear words of blessing and laughter, questions of interest, ears that listen. That they will taste of God’s fruit in some sweet way.
Dean Miller is a husband, a father of three, and a priest at The Falls Church Anglican. A graduate of Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. he loves a good book, ice cream, walks instead of car rides, all sports, and any great story. He can be reached at [email protected].