My uncle, Zenos Hawkinson (1925-1997) was named after his Father’s beloved professor of Biblical Theology, Andrew Zenos. The name “Zenos” means stranger in greek. For the first 18 years of my life he lived down the alley in the beautiful house near the Sweden Shop. He taught history for 34 years at North Park University, and though I didn’t matriculate there, others have told me they would attend his lectures even if not in the class, because of how history came to life in his cadences. He was my father’s older brother by five years. I’m told when he was young he could hit a softball a mile, and once found himself expelled from the very institution he would give his life’s work to.
He sat with Navy comrades aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo bay when World War II came to its end. He was earthy and poetic, carried with him a certain delicious melancholy, and lived with faith and love. He made delicious fermented root beer in his basement, smoked his pipe to beat the band, and loved to sail. He was deeply involved in the urban development on the north side of the city.
I miss him so, with so many others who if they were still with us would be our wise sages through the challenges of life.
In the winter of 1978, before talking to the Covenant ministerium, during some challenging days in the church — when aren’t they!– here is how he prayed. It’s a fine prayer for these days:
Our Father, we give you glad thanks for this unbelievable, imperishable, unmerited fellowship. Help us to continue to enjoy each other as we pasture in your meadows, in places that have been made available to us through your grace, because you love us– not because we earned it, but because you love us, because you are who you are. And help us thus to love each other even when we disagree, even when we see things differently, but understanding that we are sheep of the same Shepherd, even our Lord Jesus Christ. Help that whatever is said or understood among us may suffer the winnowing of your good sense, that what is good seed may fall into good ground, and what is nonsense may dry up quickly, blow away, and be forgotten. For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Amen. May it be so.