Sunday, September 25, 2005

Nothing to brag about...

Scottish tartans come in a vast variety of colors and patterns, each unique to an individual family. The best known are bright red with stripes of gold and white, such as the Royal Stewart or the Dress MacDonald. The colors have meaning: the more red, the more royalty. Yellow and white are indications of other aspects of power such as clercial standing, land or castle holdings, etc. Those families who were sea powers have light blue woven into the sett, or pattern, of their tartan.

My family was too small to have its own badge, motto and tartan. Don't try to look up "Mead" in Scottish clan directories. We aren't there. Our name wasn't Mead until the first decade of the 1600's when we changed it from the original, hurriedly, due to... uh... pressing legal reasons. Our family was taken in by the Gunn clan and we wear their tartan: green, darker green, one tiny stripe of red. No lands, no castles, no sea power, no royalty. Nothing to see here. Nothing to brag about.

So I can't brag on my standing among the Scots. How about my more immediate family? No... not really. My parents are solid Christians, but that is about it. Most of my family are so non-Christian that they are more likely to show up on "Cops" or "Jerry Springer" than they are to show up in church. Nothing to see here. Nothing to brag about.

I could try and brag about my righteousness, but that would be about as silly a thing as I could imagine. I am the man in Romans 7. Regardless of my best efforts and intentions I am absolutely unable to come up to an acceptable standard if measured by law. I have lived as a legalist and failed. I have tried to find some comfort in the fact that, at least, I knew the Bible well and went all over the world to teach it. But the more I learned the more I realized that my knowledge was imperfect and so was my teaching. Nothing to see here. Nothing to brag about.

I can't brag on my heritage, my family, my righteousness, my knowledge... or anything else. I have no sports skills, no rippling muscles, and my fireplace mantel is disturbingly free of trophies or plaques. I am three months away from becoming 49 and this isn't exactly what I planned to be when I was a kid. I wanted to be a ninja-cowboy-police-superspy-rockstar-football player. Didn't make it. Nothing to see here. Nothing to brag about.

But there is one thing: I believe in Jesus. Because of my faith, He calls me righteous. Because of His grace, I am an heir of heaven. I have a new family, a new name, and a new heritage. And the coolest thing of all? I CAN brag about this! It has nothing to do with me, but now I am surrounded by wonderful things because of the righteousness of Christ. Come see Him, for He is something to see. He is someone to brag about.

(NOTE: last call for going to sea with Patrick and Kami and Duncan Mead. There is one balcony room, one oceanview room, and a couple of inside staterooms left. Get in touch with Susan Yanaros at and book quickly. Plus, we have a single gentleman who needs a roomie and a single woman who needs a roomie. Know anyone who needs a break from winter on January 7th of next year? Remember -- we are raising a lot of money for missions by buying these cabins so you get to be warm, fellowship with about 100 Christians, worship at sea, and support two great mission works at the same time. What a deal!)


At 9/25/2005 08:52:00 PM , Blogger Jared Cramer said...

Amen, Patrick. Compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, even that which I might brag about is pure skobolos or *ahem* dung (Paul's nice little outburst of cussing in Phil 3).

I look forward to being with you in the Caribbean.

At 9/26/2005 08:03:00 AM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

My head knows those things but how do I get my heart to believe them? The legalist in me struggles with my lack of perfection...and, the older I get, the less it seems I know.

I, too, look forward to worship at sea with a hundred other Christians (and hopefully people from the ship!). This is one of my long-held dreams coming true!

At 9/26/2005 10:06:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

Your wonderful post reminds me of the song I mentioned on Mike's blog this morning......"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"!

Than Jesus's blood and righteousness!

Thanks for the reminder, Patrick.


At 9/26/2005 10:41:00 AM , Blogger Serena said...

That is one of my favorite hymns, David! I've got it all memorized years and years ago. There certainly is nothing here of note, beyond my Messiah living in me. Now HE is really something!
So Patrick, do you get bored with the look of your blog and change it every so often like my husband does the desktop appearance of the computer and our home page? Or do you want some help getting your own look like a good scottish plaid up there at the top? I've been figuring out how to change the templates and all the changes on our sites are from this particular template. It really is not that difficult. I could give you a hand at it if you would like.

At 9/26/2005 10:49:00 AM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Serena, I might need some of that help. I like the format of the one I finally settled on this weekend, but I would like to add more photos, links. etc. When I'm ready to launch on that I'll get in touch. Thank you!

At 9/26/2005 01:18:00 PM , Blogger markemason said...

Patrick -

Thanks for the reminder. You are not allowed to boast of yourself - but please allow us to brag on you a little. You have encouraged, built up, prodded along, humorized, and taught many of us through the years. Thank you.

I will never forget your trip to our congregation several years ago to speak to our youngest children about Creation. It was one of our best Super Saturday's. Do you remember the session when our kiddos entered having made yo-yos as a craft in the previous class, and they were whipping them around at each other, and anyone else in the way? Your response was classic, and typically you: "Oh no! They've armed them!"

Keep it up for another 49 years - OK?

At 9/26/2005 03:43:00 PM , Blogger Laurie said...

Hi Patrick:

That was a wonderful reminder about WHOSE we are and WHO can boast (or rather who can't). Isn't that line in When I survey the Wondrous Cross: Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my Lord! Thanks for your ministry to the saints here, one big job of the church, keeping the saved saved!

I, too, am very excited about the time coming in the Carribean!

Praise the Lord that this state is still standing after the second hurricane. Please pray for us too as we attempt to help those who come for aid. Note as well: Funds totalling over 2 million dollars for hurricane relief were funnelled to White's Ferry Road. I am amazed and humbled by this. Also, in some respects proud of the praying going on about the best use of funds and the best helping the church can do for those who are living in our building.

BE Blessed! Pray for us!!

At 9/26/2005 10:10:00 PM , Blogger Serena said...

I'll be glad to lend you a hand, Patrick. May Father bless you!

At 9/27/2005 11:44:00 AM , Blogger Stephen said...

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy is the chieftain of the clan my family is descended from (which we kinda cut ties to somewhere around 14 generations ago when a certain colonial forebear in Virginia married a Powhattan princess). We have our own micro-clan here in Ashtabula of Clan Fraser, though, and I seemingly am the Solicitor-General to it all too often. What an odd place Ashtabula can be (too many merry neocommunists thinking that they are "conservative" running amuck)...

Many good points about things to brag about. Thank you for the food for thought. Tim already advised me that I kinda swore (depends upon the cultural perspective) in the pulpit while presiding over communion perhaps I need some further inspiration as of late?

At 9/27/2005 12:24:00 PM , Blogger TCS said...

From one scot to another... I don't have a kilt, but would like one (they are way too expensive). In C of C circles it is a novel thing to be named Thomas Campbell Stewart, the Thomas Campbell part... it is also the two sides of my family. I have learned not to mention the Campbell side in Scottish circles! A nasty bunch of murderers. But no amount of red in the tartan amounts to much.

So glad that we can brag on our new name and I look forward to the name that will be on that white stone.

At 9/28/2005 10:53:00 AM , Blogger K. Rex Butts said...

Great post. The more we move along in life and be honest with ourselves concering our past, all that we have left is our hope in Jesus Christ -- and that IS something worth bragging about.


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