We have a lot of new people on our email mailing list (and fold on Facebook now, too), and I thought I’d share a bit of Orange Moon history since it’s been quite a while since last doing so.
The theme began for Frances and me on her birthday one year (I think it was September 2, 1987 or ‘88). We came home from a celebration of the day at her parent’s house, and at dusk, I sat on our back steps with my guitar. A stunningly beautiful moon rose through the trees as I played, and to this day I don’t think I’ve seen another one so brilliantly and fiery orange. I gazed at it in wonder as chords, melodies, and lyrics of a love song for Frances seemed to drift down from the glorious scene in the sky. As a favorite musician said about one of his pieces, “It was floating around, looking for a home, and found me.” It felt very much like that as I seemed to listen to the song rather than play and sing it for the first time.
Frances loved the song (entitled, of course, “Orange Moon”), and the concept gradually became somewhat of a theme for our lives and ministry. Indeed, to this day, when an orange moon appears somewhere in the sky, somebody calls or sends an email (or these days, a text) to let me know that they’ve seen the wondrous sight. In their journeys, our children have contacted us from college campuses, Great Britain, and the war zone of Iraq to let us know they’ve been reminded of mom and dad. Many of you have done the same, and it blesses us beyond measure.
How does this lead to an “Orange Moon Cafe?” Or a “Special of the Day” from it? A blessed deliverance from insanity answers that question. In the mid 90s, Frances and I both entertained the notion of opening a coffee shop with a Christian emphasis. We love such environs, and what other name could we give such a place than “The Orange Moon Cafe?” Thankfully, a friend who knew about our notion invited me to breakfast, looked across the table, and basically told me I was nuts! He was right, of course. Frances and I had no business experience, we were already busy in ministry, and we were still in the process of raising a family. I came to my senses across that breakfast table, and shelved the idea as the most fanciful of notions, and the most blessed of deliverances. No Orange Moon Cafe came to pass, and I often breathe a sigh of relief when I gratefully think of the matter (interestingly, in Augusta, Georgia, there was a restaurant the bore the name until it recently closed. We had always hoped to visit some day).
Not long after, however, our version of such a “place” did come to pass. In October, 1998, Frances began to send passages of a favorite devotional book to friends and family by email. There was likely no problem with this, but we did both wonder about copyright infringement. The thought came to me that we should write and send out our own email devotional, again, just to family and a few friends. We began, and the title seemed ready at hand. Thus, “The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe” was born in bytes and bits rather than brick and mortar. Little did we realize how many friends in Christ would grace our lives as a result, or that fifteen years and more than four thousand devotionals later, we’d still be writing and sending, and you’d still be reading.
Reciting the story always causes me to think of the truth that sometimes our Heavenly Father has something in mind that we don’t fully comprehend. Israel, in response to hundreds of prophecies, looked for a Messiah to deliver them from their bondage. The Lord faithfully fulfilled His promises, but did so in His first coming by offering escape from the mastery of sin in the heart. God’s earthly people largely missed their Deliverer as a result, failing to realize that we don’t always process the Lord’s promises as clearly and accurately as necessary. He tells us what He will do in His Word. He doesn’t always tell us how He will do it, and we must be ready always for promises fulfilled through unlikely ways and means. “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
I’m so grateful that we realized the Lord’s intentions, both in avoiding brick and mortar, with all its complications, and embracing bytes and bits, with all its blessings. You are that blessing to us, and I will always be grateful for that moon from so long ago, which led to the ongoing gift of your friendship and fellowship. As I told a dear friend the other day, I never feel more at peace than when writing the Orange Moon devotionals. And I never feel more amazed by grace than to know that you read and hopefully benefit from them. Our Lord is kind, and I thank Him, and I thank you.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen.”
Weekly Memory Verse
Thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for Thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.