Dad’s Best Sermon


Flowers in woods

Spring Wildflowers*

My dad was a Quaker (Friends) minister. He pastored small churches (30-50 congregants) in Western Indiana and Eastern Illinois during his 50-year ministry. His churches were not big but his ministry was respected in the area. In his later years, he was the preacher that non-church goers turned to when they lost a family member.  On the Sunday that he passed on, he spent part of the afternoon looking through a shoebox filled with memorial folders from the funerals he had preached. 

That evening, in the Number 11 Mission where he had given his life to Christ, he sat surrounded by his wife  and brothers and sisters. As they prepared to start the service, my mother and one of Dad’s brothers noticed Dad was intently watching a corner of the ceiling of the sanctuary. They looked but saw nothing. A few minutes later, the pianist looked back at the congregation and gasped. Dad had apparently died. Twenty years have passed since that spring evening.

I grew up hearing his sermons, but the one that I remember best was spoken as we walked through the woods when I was about nine years old. The first wildflowers were poking up through brown leaves. He stooped and picked a flower and held it between his thumb and forefinger. “Look, Mart,” he said as he traced the lines in the petals with his little finger, “look at those tiny little lines in this flower. Look at all the little perfect parts to this flower. How could anyone believe there is no God?” 

In Memory of Gleason J. Hawn

Martha Hawn VanCise©2013
*Photo by Dorothy Endicott



2 thoughts on “Dad’s Best Sermon

  1. Donna

    Martha, this is so very touching. It brings to mind the Spring days in Wisconsin when my sister and I went to Meyer’s Woods, a few blocks from our home, to pick May flowers and violets. We’d make tiers out of boxes covered with handkerchiefs and place small bouquets on them … our Easter decorations.

  2. Karen

    Hi Martha, I agree wholeheartedly! Keep the signpost coming I do look forward to what you say it always seems to meet the need I have just in time! Wow! It’s a God Thing! See ya,

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