Day 318 | Sunday, 31 January 2021
Day 318 | Sunday, 31 January 2021
The assigned Scripture readings for this the fourth Sunday after Epiphany are: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28.
Mark 1:21-28 Jesus throws a demon out (CEB)
21 Jesus and his followers went into Capernaum. Immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and started teaching. 22 The people were amazed by his teaching, for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts. 23 Suddenly, there in the synagogue, a person with an evil spirit screamed, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the holy one from God.”
25 “Silence!” Jesus said, speaking harshly to the demon. “Come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit shook him and screamed, then it came out.
27 Everyone was shaken and questioned among themselves, “What’s this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands unclean spirits and they obey him!” 28 Right away the news about him spread throughout the entire region of Galilee.
21 Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching.
22 They were surprised at his teaching - so forthright, so confident - not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.
23 Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out,
24 "What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to! You're the Holy One of God, and you've come to destroy us!"
25 Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!"
26 The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly - and got out.
27 Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. "What's going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!"
28 News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.
In this first chapter of Mark, we are witnessing the early period of Jesus’ ministry which demonstrates his authority and power. “Jesus calls his first disciples. Without hesitation they leave their work and follow him. James and John even leave their father, Zebedee, leaving behind only hired hands to help him, an action that people in Jesus’ culture would consider scandalous. Jesus’ authority is apparent to hearers of his teachings. In this context, authority refers to Jesus’ role as God’s designated representative. Hence, he is the true interpreter of Scripture. This authority is confirmed through exorcism of demons. The unclean spirit recognizes that Jesus is God’s holy one who is able to destroy the demonic. One explanation of these passages is that Jesus wishes to demonstrate behavior that is humble rather than self- seeking. In Jesus’ world, people expected a favor to be repaid by a favor, a gift by a gift.” That was not Jesus’ way. (Wesley Study Bible, Contemporary English Bible pages 1252-1253)
Holy God, thank you for the Gospel writers who help us understand Jesus. We selfishly wish he were walking our streets today riding our society of the evil that exists. Be with us, your servants, as we find ways to do our part to eliminate the evil around us. When we feel the demons with us, guide our thoughts and prayers. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
COVID update as of 1/29 4PM Total cases in the county – 6,561; 409 active; 2,308 isolated; 1,678 in zip 14701 with 16 new; 266 in Lakewood; 1,234 in Dunkirk with 14 new. Total deaths are now at 103.
Day 317 | Saturday, 30 January 2021
I want to share with you Psalm 145:1-12 and ask you to pay particular attention to verses 10 and 11. These are the verses associated with the great hymn “All Creatures of our God and King”.
I will lift you up high, my God, the true king. I will bless your name forever and always.
2 I will bless you every day. I will praise your name forever and always.
3 The Lord is great and so worthy of praise! God’s greatness can’t be grasped.
4 One generation will praise your works to the next one, proclaiming your mighty acts.
5 They will talk all about the glorious splendor of your majesty; I will contemplate your wondrous works.
6 They will speak of the power of your awesome deeds; I will declare your great accomplishments.
7 They will rave in celebration of your abundant goodness; they will shout joyfully about your righteousness:
8 “The Lord is merciful and compassionate, very patient, and full of faithful love.
9 The Lord is good to everyone and everything; God’s compassion extends to all his handiwork!”
10 All that you have made gives thanks to you, Lord; all your faithful ones bless you!
11 They speak of the glory of your kingdom; they talk all about your power,
12 to inform all human beings about God’s power and the majestic glory of God’s kingdom.
1. “All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing, O praise ye! Alleluia! O brother sun with golden beam, O sister moon with silver gleam! (Refrain) O praise ye! O praise ye! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
2. “O brother wind, air, clouds, and rain, by which all creatures ye sustain, O praise ye! Alleluia! Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, ye lights of evening, find a voice!” (Refrain)
3. “O sister water, flowing clear, make music for thy Lord to hear, Alleluia! Alleluia! O brother fire who lights the night, providing warmth, enhancing sight, (Refrain)”
4. “Dear mother earth, who day by day unfoldest blessings on our way, Alleluia! Alleluia! The flowers and fruits that in thee grow, let them God’s glory also show! (Refrain)”
5. “All ye who are of tender heart, forgiving others, take your part, O praise ye! Alleluia! Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, praise God and on him cast your Care! (Refrain)”
6. “And thou, our sister, gentle death, waiting to hush our latest breath, Alleluia! Alleluia! Thou leadest home the child of God, and Christ our Lord the way has trod, (Refrain)”
7. “Let all things their Creator bless, and worship him in humbleness, O praise ye! Alleluia! Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit, Three in One! O praise ye! O praise ye! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
“This inspiring expression of praise found in nearly every hymnal was originally written in 1225 by one of the most interesting figures in all of church history. Giovanni Bernardone, who was better known as Saint Francis of Assisi, was a mystic, medieval monk who spent his lifetime as an itinerant evangelist, preaching and helping the poor people of Italy. St. Francis was known as a great lover of nature, seeing the hand of God in all creation.”
“This hymn is said to have been written one hot summer day in 1225, one year before his death, while Francis was very ill and suffering the loss of his eyesight. This beautiful expression of praise is one of his hymns that has survived the passing of several hundred years. The English translation of this text was made by William Draper, a village rector in England.”
Lord, our God, thank you for your servants from the past like St. Francis, who have given us words that are an inspiration to this day. We offer our praise to you, always. Amen.
Day 316 | Friday, 29 January 2021
Day 316 | Friday, 29 January 2021
From the Church Mouse
Normally I don’t get into the Rev.’s area of expertise, but in this case I couldn’t resist. One of the most difficult things to explain to our parishioners over the years has always been the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…three in one. The best answer was presented to us years ago when we were running our summer camp for teens. We called it “Just Camp”. At the time there was “Horse Camp’ and Swim Camp and several others.
We knew that teens hated to get up for breakfast at 8:00 AM, so we decided to create “Just Camp”. We added a set of younger counselors so that we could adjust our schedule to suit teens in the summer. Doug and I went to bed after our last session at night and got up early for breakfast with the teens that signed up for our “morning session”. After breakfast, we offered several really wonderful craft sessions. The teens made things that they could keep: bracelets, copper art, and paintings.
The younger counselors were the “night shift”. They reported for duty at 1:00 AM after our worship service at midnight, The teens could sign up for an “all-nighter” with these counselors. The teens wanting to take part in the morning activities would go to bed after worship. Those that signed up for an all-nighter would take their mattresses (such as they were) to the activity center where they could play games, chat, and watch movies. This way they were in sight of the counselors at all times. This adjustment in schedules kept campers off the roof, ambushing other campers with buckets of water. The first meal of the day for the night shift was lunch at noon where both shifts came together.
Afternoons were for swimming and waterskiing, capture the flag and a great favorite, the “Build a Better Bod” contest. Each camper brought two cans of menthol- free shaving cream to us as they arrived at camp, We put their names on the cans and kept them for the day we held the contest. We divided the teams up into four girls and four boys. Since our camp was very popular, we had quite a few teams. The regular camp counselors served as judges. Each team chose one person to create a better bod for them over their bathing suits using their cans of shaving cream. By our second year, the creativity was amazing. The campers brought all sorts of accessories to use on their newly created bods. We had Elvis with a guitar and blazing with gems on his shaving cream. We had a volcano with a camper inside which would spew red colored water out of a squeeze bottle when the judge arrived. We had a Little Mermaid with a tail and gems in her hair and her music playing from a boom box brought to camp for the contest. We had the Creature from the Black Lagoon. One of my favorites was Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live… complete with big muscles and appropriately accented dialog. What fun we had!
This is where the Trinity comes into play. In the evening, both groups met in the activity center for Bible study and worship service at midnight. Both sets of counselors took equal teams of girls and boys and were given a study topic to present to the entire group later. The Rev. assigned each team its topic. My assigned topic was the Trinity. (I’m sure ,to this day, that he did it on purpose.) My team began to brainstorm how to describe the Trinity to the group. I began to think that all was lost until Dave began to speak. Preacher Dave, as we came to call him, was a boy from Clarence, NY. He described the Trinity this way: The Trinity is like a piece of cherry pie: The crust is God, wrapping around everything. The cherries, the point of cherry pie, is Jesus. And then there is the gooey stuff, the Holy Spirit, that keeps the filling together. Although each thing is separate, you need all three to have cherry pie. I remember looking at him, my mouth hanging open, finally saying “We’ll go with you, Preacher Dave.” And so we did, and the Rev. has used Preacher Dave and his cherry pie in every church he has served.
The campers did ask me at that session, “How do you know if you are acting with the Holy Spirit”? I told them “pour a glass of milk: that’s you. Pour some Hershey’s syrup into the glass. That’s the Holy Spirit. See how it falls to the bottom and just lays there. That shows that you always have the Holy Spirit within you. But in order to work with the Holy Spirit, you have to do something: you have to stir it up. It’s up to you.” I also told them that working with the Holy Spirit is like punching a hole in the darkness, and each hole counts so very much.
Day 315 | Thursday, 28 January 2021
9 more deaths reported yesterday due to Covid
Most of us who read this daily epistle remember a time when retail stores, malls etc. were closed on Sunday. Restaurants were still opened for the Sunday worshipping crowds, which back then were much larger than today. That was a time in our history when people, whole families, would attend worship together and then spend the day together. Family meals were even around the dining room table – imagine that.
Along came the fast-food revolution. I can remember serving my first church in Sheridan, NY. The fast-food establishments in Fredonia consisted of Carol’s (remember that?); Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips; and Burger King. I do not remember when McDonald’s made its entry into the area. Now there are many more fast-food establishments and “we get to have it our way.”
Have you paid attention to how impatient we have become when driving through the drive thru at a fast-food place? We have become an “I want it now” society. We might even say that we are a society that is out of breath.
In our present world, Sunday is still a time of worship although Saturday evening services were added in some denominations. This became a service of convenience. A number of youth sports teams began practicing on Sunday’s and having competitions on Sunday as well – this took families away from being together for worship.
Is there a day of rest anymore?
Deuteronomy 5:13–15 The Message
13 Work six days, doing everything you have to do,
14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day - no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you.
15 Don't ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength. That's why God, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest.
When God told the Israelites to keep a Sabbath, He added an important reason: “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 5:15). There they’d been forced to work ceaselessly under Pharaoh’s excessive time constraints (Exodus 5:6–9). Now freed, they were to give themselves a whole day each week to ensure they and those who served them could rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). Under God’s rule, there were to be no flush-faced, out-of-breath people.
How often do you get impatient with people who keep you waiting? (Some of us may becoming impatient with the waiting for the vaccine which is rightfully ours to receive.) Let’s give ourselves and each other a break. As God’s children, we do not have to contribute to the culture of rush. Take a deep breath and hold it in for a while. Let it out slowly. Didn’t that feel good?
Lord, help me with my impatient moments and do it right now! Hear our prayers. Amen.
Day 314 | Wednesday, 27 January 2021
The county reported 11 more COVID related deaths yesterday - total now 88
We are winding down the first month of this new year. We were all glad to say goodbye to 2020 for a variety of reasons, chief among them the Corona Virus and the changes it brought to the whole world and our individual worlds. We certainly felt the weight of this pandemic.
January 2021 has continued to be “weighty” for us. I believe we felt the heaviness of the times when on Epiphany day, January 6th, our nations’ capitol was attacked, and the occupants felt the weight of fear and trembling caused by domestic terrorists.
From that day, we began to sense the weight of the political mine field as there was no normal transition of power taking place. We wondered about safety for our new president.
Along with welcoming a new year, we were welcoming a vaccine for COVID-19. Once again, we were feeling the weight of this highly anticipated relief only to be weighed down with anxiety over when we might be able to receive the vaccine. Apparently, the supply was not what we were led to believe it was. So now many of us wonder, even though we meet the age requirements, when will we be able to receive the vaccine?
The numbers of cases and deaths in our county continue to rise. More people we know and who are acquaintances have tested positive. We feel the weight of uncertainty and may even be asking the question – will I be next to test positive?
Here is what I know and believe: “Regardless of what weighs me down, I know that the Lord is with me.”
Isaiah 43:1-3a, 5a Don’t fear
43 But now, says the Lord—the one who created you, Jacob,
the one who formed you, Israel: Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you.
3 I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your savior.
5 Don’t fear, I am with you.
“How Firm a Foundation” words: “K” in Rippon’s A Selection of Hymns, 1787
1. “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word! What more can he say than to you he hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?”
2. “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”
3. “When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow; for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
4. “When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply; the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
5. “The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”
“Dear God, when we are overwhelmed, remind us of the calm, strength, and counsel that faith in you provides. Amen”
Today: pray for those who are struggling with the weight of uncertainty.
Day 313 | Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Day 313 | Tuesday, 26 January 2021
I hope you enjoyed going down memory lane with the Church Mouse yesterday.
Last Saturday I shared some prayers for winter. One of the folks who receives these daily writings shared the following with me, so I am passing it along for your reading.
Winter Prayer: “Lord, In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce..... remind us of the warmth of your love. In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early..... remind us that in the darkness your light still shines. In the midst of Winter, when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth, when leaves are off the trees, and the world can seem bleak..... remind us that Easter is but a short time away. And when in our lives we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter, reach out to us with the power of your resurrection so that we may feel the warmth of your love and see your light that alone can take away the darkness of our soul. Amen”
COVID-19: 235 new cases over the weekend: total now at 6,253; 77 deaths. New: 49 in Jamestown; 45 in Dunkirk; 27 in Fredonia; 14 in Lakewood and 20 in Westfield.
Day 312 | Monday, 25 January 2021
Day 312 | Monday, 25 Janary 2021
From the Church Mouse
Friday I discussed my future, These were in my past, well maybe not Ricky Nelson
A very young Ricky Nelson.
Grandma’s old, square-faced watch.
A brown paper bag which we took for lunch.
A pair of bronzed, baby shoes with a plaque.
A library book, a card out of a library book signed and dated by how many people took it out.
Who can forget Smith Brothers Black cough drops?
Plastic pants to fit over d.iapers for babies
Stockings, that’s right two separate stockings held up with garters with seams right down the back and you had to make sure that they were straight.
A young person leaning against a blackboard after having written “I will not be late for class” about 100 times.
A tray hanging off the window of a car at a drive-up with soda and hamburger.
A hood with a big hose that women wore over their head as a hair dryer.
A rotary phone.
Merthiolate – First Aid for cuts and scrapes.
A mimeograph machine - boy do I remember running those holy rollers.
A wringer washer machine.
An old gasoline pump.
For the women, spoolies in the hair.
Those are just a few things from our past that 55 and younger would not remember. She shared these to go down memory lane and have a few laughs. Hope that you enjoyed using your own “visual” for this time.
Day 311 | Sunday, 24 January 2021
Day 311 | Sunday, 24 January 2021
The assigned scripture readings for this the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany are: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 and Mark 1:14-20.
Mark 1:14-20 The Message
14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: 15 "Time's up! God's kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message." 16 Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. 17 Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." 18 They didn't ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed. 19 A dozen yards or so down the beach, he saw the brothers James and John, Zebedee's sons. They were in the boat, mending their fishnets. 20 Right off, he made the same offer. Immediately, they left their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed.
Jonah 3:1-5, 10 1 Next, God spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 "Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They're in a bad way and I can't ignore it any longer." 3 This time Jonah started off straight for Nineveh, obeying God's orders to the letter.
4 Jonah entered the city, went one day's walk and preached, "In forty days Nineveh will be smashed." 5 The people of Nineveh listened, and trusted God. They proclaimed a citywide fast and dressed in burlap to show their repentance. Everyone did it - rich and poor, famous and obscure, leaders and followers.
10 God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives. He did change his mind about them. What he said he would do to them he didn't do.
First, we have Jesus calling his first disciples – come and follow me, an invitation that Jesus extends to all of us even today. Will we follow? How will we follow?
Then I share the passage from Jonah who was asked to follow God but who was reluctant to do so but God did not let go of Jonah, God persisted. Jonah finally agrees and the people of Nineveh listen and repent by changing their evil behavior. The chapter ends with God changing God’s mind – we would say that God granted grace to the people of Nineveh.
What is your understanding of God’s grace?
Let me offer food for thought from “Wesleyan Core Term Grace”.
“The term grace is a basic yet misunderstood concept. Some consider grace as a nice, gift-wrapped, unearned present from God. This mistaken idea of grace as a substance, cure-all, or prescription for our ills has a long history.”
“Grace is actually a relational concept: God’s active presence and transformative power in our lives. The name Emmanuel speaks to this reality – “God with us.” We perceive the divine presence by the results of the divine energy working within us, enlightening, convicting, forgiving, liberating, assuring, chastising, empowering, strengthening, comforting – assisting us to become what God intended humankind to be, faithful creatures whose love for God and their neighbors is manifest through works of piety and mercy.”
“Grace is a Trinitarian concept, grounded in the love and mercy of God the Father; especially manifest in the life, death, and resurrection of God the Son; and experienced through the work of God the Holy Spirit in our lives.” Wesley Study Bible, CEB, page 1151
God, thank you for your grace which is universally available and will transform our lives. Lord hear our prayers. Amen
Day 310 | Saturday, 23 January 2021
As we have had a week of winter weather, here are some thoughts and prayers around winter.
A Winter Beginning Thought
“Searching for our true home, we shall be led on the path.
Longing for the warmth of the hearth, we shall find the fire of God's presence.
Looking for a place to be ourselves, we shall find acceptance.
Yearning to find someone who cares, we shall know God's love.
Hoping for a joy stronger than gray, cold mornings and long, dark nights,
We shall know the music of eternity and forever sing praise.”
A Winter Prayer
Hibernating animals join people who need to slow down now, O God. The short days remind us of the need to sleep. They also beckon us to warm fires and rocking chairs and places of comfort. Let what we do in this season be a sign of warmth to the cold world.
Let us appreciate our sweaters and our boots and our jackets. Let us love the way you made the world, as a place that changes and is almost never repetitive, one day of the other. Let us love the big storms and the little storms, those in life and those in weather. And keep the words of complaint far from our lips. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
A Winter Prayer from Our Daily Prayer
“Holy God we praise You for the seasonal change that so many of us witness first-hand each year. Even though we can predict an inevitable shift in weather, each time a new wave of beauty ushers onto the scene we are reminded of the amazing way You have created the earth. The beauty in each season reminds us of Your creativity and finite care for life, especially ours.
Winter brings its own set of characteristic landscapes, with blankets of snow and powdery tree branches. Though the winter storms batter us and chill us to the bone, the sun shines onto the sparkling snow, thereafter, reminding us that You make beauty out of all things.”
“Your creation is marvelous. It has the power to pull us out of the doldrums. Thank You for Your faithfulness to remind us today how powerful our remembrance of Your character is. Even in the darkest depressive state, buried under a snowfall that has turned shoveled sidewalks into tunnels, we know that worship can spin our hearts on a dime.”
“The winter is exciting at first, as is every new season.”
“Forgive us for allowing the cold, gray skies and short dark winter days to steal the joy of our hearts. Help us use extra downtime to restore our energy and slow our schedules. Soften our hearts to look beyond the inconvenience of the season. For we know that without the tiring leg of the current season, the next one wouldn’t be so welcome and exciting of a change.
Thank You for bringing us to another Winter, and another New Year. Resolutions can seem like impossible tasks to take on when it’s cold outside and the lack of daylight makes the days seem shorter. “You are the Architect of the seasons.” The Architect of our hearts. You have gone before us and know what lies ahead. You are a good God, and Your love for us is perfect. We can trust You to pull us through the winter.”
“Bless us with hearts more like Jesus, patient and perseverant. Watch over our cloud of despair that threatens to set in with the gray skies. Bring bright memories of sunshine and warmth to the top of our minds when we need to be reminded that just as sure as the winter came, it will go. Help us to enjoy every day You bless us with on this earth, seeking Your purpose first, and always, through every kind of weather. In Jesus Name, Amen”
Today: Those who plow, shovel and salt our roads to help keep winter driving safer.
Day 309 | Friday, 22 January 2021
Day 309 | Friday, January 22, 2021
From the Church Mouse
I am pleased to be back with you. I felt that it was important that there be continuity through the blessed Christmas season until 12th night, so the Woodlands Shepherd walked beside you during that time. Then came January 6th. There was no question in my mind that he had to continue on a while longer until after the inauguration of President Biden. I needed his wisdom and maybe you did too.
Today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on our process of living through the unprecedented events of the last several weeks. In my line of work, I have seen three kinds of responses to such stressors. The first is the molten response: molten anger that wants retribution and revenge. Such brings no justice to anyone or for anyone. The second is the ostrich effect: Don’t talk to me about this; don’t mention this to me; I just want to pretend this isn’t happening. Such prevents learning from the event and prevents any positive changes that may move us forward toward a more perfect union. The third is the activist response: I have to do something about this; If I don’t do anything, nothing will change for the better; If I don’t contribute and nothing changes for the better, am I complicit in the on-going inequity?
Many, many years ago, when I was barely out of my 20s, I was part of the Recreation Committee for my town. We designed such things as children and adult team sports, playground equipment, and seasonal recreation opportunities. On our committee was a woman, older than I, from Austria. In one meeting, she began to denigrate one of our boys’ soccer coaches who happened to be Jewish. I don’t remember her point, but I have remembered my reaction my entire life. Although she used the most egregious epithets imaginable, I sat there …..wordless. I have been ashamed of that inaction my whole life.
You see, what the last few unprecedented weeks’ events have taught me is that I am an activist. Most of my life, I have been in a position where if I expressed an unwelcome opinion, it would bring social retribution to me or someone I loved, so I remained silent, and took the safe route. What has caused me to step out of my comfort zone to do something…..something for the greater good, was MLK. Martin Luther King Jr., whose day we celebrated this past Monday, said the following: “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it polite?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’. And there are times when you must take a stand that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but you must do it because it is right.” MLK: May 10, 1967
Remembering his words took me back to that committee meeting and to my shame. That shame and watching the events of January 6th, 2021 brought to this decision: I will act to make things better. So….I will be learning how to help people who have never voted to register to vote in our very next election. The remaining time of social distancing will give me time to gather information, establish helpful contacts and learn how to do this successfully. I will be reaching out to my friends to create a cadre of women who will do this during the day. In my mind I’m calling us the “Day Shift”.
If anyone is interested in this outreach, let me know. I’ll keep you informed from time to time to let you know how things are progressing. In one of the Rev.’s last lessons were words that I paraphrase here for my prayer: Dear God, May I, as your daughter, evaluate change wisely, and when I perceive your presence in it, help me to welcome the new, embrace the different and move forward in the great expectation that all things work together for good for those who love God.
Rev. Douglas M. Knopp has always said to all his churches: “I don’t have to be successful….only faithful”. I will keep that in my mind if there are doors slammed in my face.
Rev. Douglas Knopp, Pastor Emeritus