Pass the…Remote Control

I will praise God’s name with song; I will magnify him with thanks (Psalm 69:30, Common English Bible).

This is part 3 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

At some point, at just about every family Thanksgiving gathering of which I have been a part, I have heard the words, “Turn on the parade” come from someone at some point. As I have said already in this series, I am one of those people who will be early. Cindy usually wants to help with preparations however she can. So being a few minutes or an hour or more early isn’t a big deal to us.

I am not sure why, but watching one of the Thanksgiving Day parades is not a big deal to me unless I know someone in the parade. Let the kids from the local high school band be marching in the parade, I am there. Otherwise, I just don’t see what the excitement is about.

That being said, one of our family members used to work for Foley’s (now Macy’s) who was, for many years, the title sponsor of Houston’s Thanksgiving Day parade. A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving she called and asked if our oldest son, Wayne, might be interested in being in the parade. I guess Wayne was about seven at the time. Cindy’s brother was going to be in the parade and Wayne would be with him. We talked with Wayne and of course he was excited to be in the parade.

We got there several hours early, not because of my excessive earliness, though it may have played some role, but because we had to be there well before the parade’s start. Wayne and Cindy’s brother were to be with a Fiesta part of the parade. As we were getting Wayne to where he needed to be, someone came up to me and asked, “We are short a few people, wanna be in the parade.” I had never been a part of a parade like this. I had marched in a few parades with the Boy Scouts when I was a kid. While in the Navy I marched in a parade with the ship’s honor guard. But this was different.

I was to be a lamb. OK, I will pause and wait for the waves of laughter and hysteria to finish running through you at the mental image. Thank God, as far as I know, there are no pictures, freezing the image in time. At that time Channel 13 broadcast the parade. They may still have some video tape it if you are that desperate for blackmail material.

It was a misty, cold (well cold for Houston) day. As I walked the parade route as one of Little Bo Peep’s sheep I had a blast. It was a lot of fun, being part of entertaining others.

Now, each year, when I hear someone say, “Pass the remote, it’s time for the parade.” For a second or two I smile to myself and remember my day as a lamb. By the time the parade was over, a wet and a little smelly lamb.

In our lesson the psalmist calls on us to “magnify the Lord with thanks.” It seems to me, when we really start trying to be thankful people, not only on Thanksgiving Day and more than just the month of November, but throughout our daily lives, we are doing just that, magnifying the Lord with thanks.”

When I hear those words, “Pass the Remote” I also can’t help but think of the entertainment coming a little later in the day…… FOOTBALL (more about this tradition later in the month). “Pass the remote” means something to me. It is a sign, to be thankful for the things that entertain me and the people I love. Even when I am not particularly entertained because I don’t know anyone in the parade, I can still be thankful for entertainment because of the joy that comes to others in my life.

Their joy makes me thankful. So pass them the remote. The parade may not be my thing, but because it brings you joy, I will sit and watch it with you.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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