Manger Snatching

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Shiloh United Methodist Church in Bedford, Virginia has been robbed!  The majority of the figures in their

English: Nativity scene on the Buenos Aires Me...

English: Nativity scene on the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. Español: Portal de Belén en la Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires Français : Crèche de Noël dans la Cathédrale métropolitaine de Buenos-Aires (Argentine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

outdoor nativity scene were taken.  This nativity has been placed in front of the church for forty years.  Maybe it was a practical joke.  Maybe it was a decision made while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Maybe it was more than that.  Maybe someone is trying to get even with this church and congregation.  Maybe it is not even about this church and this congregation.

The church is full of humans.  We seek to do our best, but we all make mistakes.  We hurt other people.  Sometimes the pain is very deep.  Sometimes the pain is so great that individuals feel alienated from church.  They feel that must stay away from church.  Some may even feel the need to retaliate on either a conscious or unconscious level for the pain that a church or individuals in the church caused.  The pain is often very deep.

People do hurt us, sometimes people in church.  People hurt  us for all sorts of reasons.  The question for us is how are we going to respond to the pain of the hurt.  We can choose to let it fester within in us, or we can choose a different course of action.  We can choose to let go of the pain.  We can choose to forgive others.  We can choose to let the hurt go so that we are no longer experiencing pain.  Letting go of pain does not mean we allow someone to continue hurting us.  It also does not mean that we do not seek justice.  Instead it means that we forgive those who have hurt us.  We forgive in order to stop experiencing pain.  Sometimes we are able to do this alone.  Sometimes we need help working through our pain.

The people of Shiloh United Methodist Church were interviewed on the local news.  They would like their manger scene back, including baby Jesus.  If the perpetrators will just leave it in the driveway, they will take care of the rest.  Also, they are willing to pray with the person.  The church members offered forgiveness and assistance to the ones who stole their manger scene.  What do you offer to the world?

 

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Shaky Ground

Children in Jerusalem.

Image via Wikipedia

Was that thunder?  No!  It was another aftershock.  It was 2.6 this time.  The schools were evacuated as a precaution.  It was raining.  The students eventually went back into the building, wet but okay.  The students were literally on shaking ground for a brief moment.  Some may also be on shaky ground in other ways.  They may be on shaky ground academically.  There may be things that they just don’t understand.  There may  be foundational learnings that they are missing.  Without these foundational pieces, the students will struggle with their education.  They may be on shaky ground behaviorally.  There are many young people who are unable or unwilling to behave in a socially acceptable manner.  If they are not able to learn how to behave appropriately, they will suffer socially and emotionally.  They will be hindered in their life progress if they cannot conform to societies expectations to some extent.  The children may be on shaky ground emotionally.  They may feel unsure of their worth, the stability of their family, or the love of others for them.  The pain of emotional hurts can stay with them for their entire lives.  The emotional baggage that they carry from childhood could affect all relationships in their future.

 

For so many reasons the children in my community and in all communities are on shaky ground.  We as Christians are called to reach out to the least, the last, and the lost.  We are called to help those who are shaky ground.  So, what are we doing for the children of our community?  Is there a child who could use your help to reach solid ground?

 

We make our excuses that we are too busy, no good with children, or just not sure how to get involved.  If we prayerfully open ourselves to the possibilities, then God will show us a way to help the children to find solid ground.  We stand, as the song says, on Christ the solid rock.  How can you help children onto the solid ground that is Christ?

 

Earthquakes and aftershocks may not be happening in your community, but children in every community are on shaky ground.  Help them.

Diversified Interest

DSC24593, Darioush Winery, Napa Valley, California, USAphoto © 2008 Jim G | more info (via: Wylio) Donald Trump has announced that he is not running for President.  His son, Eric Trump, gave an interview about the Trump interests in a winery.  Recently the Trumps purchased Kluge Estate Winery, here in central Virginia.  Apparently they are interested in becoming wine makers.  Wine making and the presidency are very different interests.  There is a lesson to be learned from the Trumps.

Each one of us are uniquely and wonderfully made in the image of God with a wide variety of interests and passions.  Often we feel that because we are interested in a certain thing we cannot pursue our other interests.  We often plot our path with just one interest in mind.  This limits the possibilities of our living.  We have been fearfully and wonderfully made.  We need to celebrate the passions that God has ignited within us rather than limiting ourselves.  We need to be willing to explore and develop new interests, hobbies, and passions so that we can develop more fully into the people God created us to be.

Maybe that is part of our fascination with Donald Trump.  His diverse interests have led to an incredible amount of fortune.  By pursuing our own interests we may find that our lives are indeed richer than if we had just stuck to predictable interests.  Go for the new thing.  Be brave.  Be daring.  Be the person God has created you to be.