I was reminded of the peculiarity and genius of God's creation once more this week while on my regular evening stroll with my trusty companion, Andy. If you know Andy, you know it doesn't take much for his attention to be stolen by the next exciting thing - I don't know where he gets this! Given this trait we happen to have in common, we were separated with haste when his attention split for the squirrel running up a large tree at Wright Park and my my attention was drawn to a strange spiky thing falling from the sky. The poor little squirrel ran away from Andy's reach and we were reunited again when we bent down to check out a whole group of these things on the ground under a certain tree.
This week, I learned what a chestnut "al natural" looks like. The nut from the tree we encountered is not of the edible kind for humans, but my curiosity was peaked nonetheless to learn all I could about this strange looking wall of protection chestnuts grow around themselves in order to survive being plucked up and hollowed out by a nearby bird or critter. It's incredible - to think that this small, vulnerable nut, which serves as the life source for the next generation of trees, comes with its own built-in protection system; thicker skin to protect the inner heart from outside forces. This week, I've been thinking a lot about what kinds of thick skin people develop in life. Some thick skin is developed from mistrust in relationship; the violation of boundaries can leave us understandably uncertain about who or where we can trust again, if ever. Of course, this isn't always bad - we need thick skin to protect ourselves from being hurt or taken advantage of - this is important. But I also wonder about those ways I have developed thick skin around certain situations or people from my own experiences that were born more from a misunderstanding on my part than harm.
What is hard about humans is that none of us are perfect - which means we all have the ability to cause harm to one another, be that intentional or not. As I reflect on the work we have to do as a congregation, as a city, as a society in the name of protecting and supporting our most vulnerable neighbors, I can't also help but wonder what walls of thick skin I may have developed toward folx with whom I disagree or simply don't fully understand. I wonder what relationships never get the chance to sprout something new in my own life because I have put up my walls too quickly. I wonder if such a thing has happened a time or two in your life.
I wonder how the solutions we continue to work on in ending the stigmatization of those facing houselessness and the many elements that often contribute to their suffering could have new light shed on them if we were to find new intentional ways to name and dismantle those walls we put up that prevent us from understanding one another more fully. Where might we begin?
Among our Joys
We lift up with love and joy our dear friend, Anastasia Cox, who is celebrating her 91st year of life this week! God bless you, Anastasia, and the many who are blessed by your life and love in this world.
Among our Concerns
We continue to surround Susie Mosher with our love and prayers on the death of her beloved husband, Larry Mosher. A memorial service will be held at FCC this Sunday at 3pm. Click here for more information.
We lift up:
Rose Filgo, sister of Bill McDaniel who is battling cancer
Bear, Melanie Peabody's partner
Rachel Morford, daughter of Mary Morford
We pray for our homebound friends, Helen Bosley, Harry and Margaret Lobberegt, Jane Nelson, Marylu and Joseph Mills and Jim and Kay Thompson.
Among our local and global community concerns:
We continue to pray for all those affected by the recent surge of storms in the southeast U.S. and sourrounding region. Read more about how Week of Compassion is responding on the ground, and how you can help make a difference.
For those living at the village on 6th and Orchard and in many shelters in our region.
Lastly, please remember in our prayers our Global Ministries partners, this week in Korea.
If you'd like to share a prayer joy or concern, please contact Pastor Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the church office. Please indicate whether your prayer is to be shared publicly, or if you'd like it to be kept private.