Thursday, February 26, 2015

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

(Also, in case you are following along at home with our new "The Last Week" sermon series that just started last Sunday for Lent that goes day by day through Holy Week as told by the Gospel of Mark, I'll repost the entire outline of the series at the end of my column.  E.A.)

March 2015:   "For the Dogs" 

Dear Church,

As many of you know, Carrie and I became the proud humans of two lovely rescue dogs from a no-kill shelter up in Olympia. Having Freida and Henry around as the two newest members of our little household has taught me a lot about companionship and caring, but they have also taught me, oddly enough a lot of things that are pretty true about church life, such as:

You can always try to keep someone from doing something that is harmful to them--like, say, engaging in substance abuse, or in trying to chase down that giant German Shepherd that is four million times your size--but that isn't always going to keep them from trying to harm themselves. Love them anyways.

You can provide something amazing for someone in their life--like your constant presence, or an endless supply of sausage treats--but there is still such a thing as too much of a good thing. Sometimes we have to hold back for the betterment of those whom we love the most, lest they get sick, either of us or from too many sausage treats.

You can do everything in your power to look out for someone, but they still might end up hurting you, whether through an especially painful word, or a fight, or a nipped finger while putting on their harness for an early morning walk. Forgive them those trespasses, painful though they might feel in the moment.

And sometimes, all you really need is a hug and some attention. Both people and dogs are great for that.

I continue to be amazed at where and how I learn about lessons that are applicable to so much of my life. God works in many and mysterious ways, it's true, but it also seems those ways in which He works are constant, unending, and forever finding ways to grab my attention, no matter how distracted I can make myself at any given moment. In that way, I suppose I am (and, really, we all are) like Moses, preoccupied with the task at hand of doing his job and not even noticing the burning bush until God calls out to him by name.

Where in your life have you found God calling out to you by your name lately? And what can you do to help yourself be more attuned to God so that perhaps next time, God does not have to yell to get your attention, but merely has to whisper?

I am ready and available to help you tackle either or both of those questions!

(So are Freida and Henry, but you might have to bribe them with tummy rubs first.)

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

Lent 2015 sermon series: “The Last Week: Mark’s Retelling of the Passion Story,”

February 22: "Monday," Mark 11:12-19
March 1: “Tuesday,” Mark 12:28-34
March 8: “Wednesday,” Mark 14:1-11
March 15: “Thursday,” Mark 14:17-25
March 22: “Friday,” Mark 15:33-41
March 29: “Palm Sunday,” Mark 11:1-10

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