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May 8 Minister’s Message

“Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Matthew 13:16-17

Just this past week I spoke with a church member headed north to the place she’s called home for decades. Though now home in Florida much of the year, her heart tugs northward to that place where her boys played ball as kids, her husband regaled guests over barbecue in the backyard, and neighbors still walked by for a chat when they saw you out in the yard on a warm summer’s night.

Memory anchors our life to those we’ve loved who have grown and moved away or left too soon or late for glory. We know we’ll one day follow. Though far-flung from here to eternity, we’re gathered and held in memories as tangible as a dream, indiscernible from the real when we waken in the night. Eyes strain to re-assemble our location in the dark.

Jesus told stories to help his followers re-member who they were and whose they were. He taught them to see what others missed. He wanted to awaken them from the God they thought they knew through the law, yet now experienced through love. Jesus’ way of being in the world connected memory from their past religious experience to a new story of God loosed in the world. Often enough they didn’t at first get what Jesus wanted them to see.

Attempts to wake them up to the God who was there all along, reminds me of a sweet boy named David who grew up down the street from us. We were school mates, attended the same church and shared a common view of the world. I didn’t see him at all until we were in middle school, and then he started showing up. First it would seem as if he just happened to be walking by, and he’d stop to chat on the driveway. A few days later he’d pause outside for a bit, shuffling his feet awkwardly until my mother drew me out of some book I would have been reading to tell me that David was out in the front yard.

That summer, David pushed a lawn mower up the street and asked if he could mow the yard. My mother smiled at me, saying, “That poor boy’s in love.” “With who?” I asked her. “With you, silly girl, can’t you see?” I couldn’t, I hadn’t, I didn’t, until someone showed me the love that had been there all along.

Jesus does that for us, standing in our living room. He gazes out our picture window towards some far horizon we tend to miss, preoccupied as we are with our daily round. That boy next door grew up and left our small town for whatever his life turned out to be. Yet Jesus remains. “Can you see just there, the Holy One everywhere for love’s sake, crazy for you.”

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for wrapping us up in a love that will not let us go. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland

Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida

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