In an expanding, aging, diverse population, the need and urgency for proclaiming the gospel is before us more than ever before.

Recently I went through the agonizingly hard process of selling my mother's house.

Looking back at past events

It was a little place, not very fancy, and located in a nondescript neighborhood that had seen many changes over the years. But it was home. It was where she and Dad had lived out their married lives.

It's where they had raised five kids. Its floors were now creaky, walls that had heard the sounds of laughter and sadness from the parade of our family's four generations needed paint, and the threshold to the kitchen door had worn down to the point of needing replacing.

After the final moments of the formal closing of the sale at the attorney's office, I decided to take one more drive by the house before I made my way to the health-care center where my mother was now living to tell her the details. As I slowly drove down the street past the house, I reflected on what the years had done to the neighborhood, the people that used to live there, and what might lie ahead for all of us.

Things around Mom's house have really changed. What used to be a goat yard has become a bank's parking lot. The large open field that had been our family garden plot is now filled with the school district's large steel bus garage. The nearby small creek and the wetland it used to drain, where we used to catch frogs and pick cowslips and pussy willows for Mom's table, is now filled. Piles of insulation, roofing materials, and the ever-smoking hot tar pots that are the materials of a large roofing company stand there in readiness for the next job.

The people and the activities in the neighborhood have changed as well. Some of the folks are gone forever. Others are much slower in their movements. A couple peek out of their windows in white-headed curiosity as I slowly drive by. The sounds of bleating nannies, barking dogs, and laughing children are gone.

I left the avenue of my youth, turned on to the county line, accelerated in escape, and drove on, soon arriving at the health-care center that is now called by Mom, "my new home." While walking to her room, I was greeted by several residents with cheery smiles and extended hands. They recognized me as Katherine's boy, the one that's the preacher. "Pastor," Mother's roommate, Elaine, said, "Your mom's in the dining room. I think she's waiting for you for lunch."