June 12, 2016
"Following the Directions"

     How many times have you approached a simple task only to find it's not nearly as simple as you'd assumed?  I had a laugh at my own expense when I bought a handy little floor mop for my kitchen and then began to  remove it from the packaging.  I (foolishly) thought this would be a simple task, but then I realized the tabs on each end of the packaging were securely taped shut, the top through which the two parts of the handle went was secured to the center of the package in a remarkably complex fashion, and even when I'd pulled and puzzled my way to the point where it looked like one tug would free the mop, it stayed in the wrap-around package as firmly as ever.
Further turning and poking around finally revealed one last little piece of cardboard keeping the handle snugly in place.  Success!  The package featured pictures illustrating how to assemble the parts in three very simple steps, but they showed the mop no longer in the package.  The accompanying directions were, however, printed in three languages for my convenience.  Or not.  I am sadly limited to plain old English. 
  As the church year moves into observing the many Sundays of Pentecost, we have the opportunity to follow Jesus' teaching and preaching throughout his ministry.  Let's consider listening to the familiar stories from a little different perspective -- and perhaps we can gain an understanding of how they are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago.  We realize that the Samaritan who helped the injured man along the roadside was a good neighbor, but how do we apply that to the global neighborhood of the 21st century?  Seeds that fall on poor soil don't thrive, but those that are planted in good soil will grow and produce -- what kind of soil are we?  Lights that are covered do no good, but a lamp set on a table will bring illumination to the whole room -- and aren't there any number of dark corners in the world in need of light?

     The parable of the lost sheep tells of the dedicated shepherd searching far and wide for the one sheep who strayed from the large flock, and if all we hear is a story about sheep, it hardly resonates in our urban, technological era.  But with some thoughtful imagination, it becomes clear that we are being told that God cares for and values every one of us, and will seek until he finds those who go astray.  These illustrations and examples apply to us as individuals, communities, and nations, and if we read and listen with open hearts and minds, we will hear God providing us with the directions we need.
Your friend in Christ,
Mary Rogers

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Holy Communion
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  Sunday 9:30 am
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