Walls

I learned this lesson a long time ago.  Over the years we tried gardening at the family cabin up north.  No matter how much wire we added to the enclosed fence, we could not keep out God’s creature’s great and small.  The usual line up of suspects included deer, grouse, squirrels, crows and birds, a ground hog and only God know who else.

    

What is it about America’s love for walls?  Yes, some walls need to be built for safety, marking boundaries and creating reasonable order.  On the other hand, what are walls supposed to do?  Keep one safe?  Keep one’s possessions safe?  Keep out undesirable people?  Keep out unhealthy influences?   

 

 

 

What is it about America’s love for walls?  Yes, some walls need to be built for safety, marking boundaries and creating reasonable order.  On the other hand, what are walls supposed to do?  Keep one safe?  Keep one’s possessions safe?  Keep out undesirable people?  Keep out unhealthy influences?      

 

 

 I heard the story of a group of people who worked out an arrangement with the local lumber yard to build a short section of the Great Wall of Mexico.  Then three groups of people were given this mission:  How fast you can get over the wall; dig under the wall or go through the wall?  The three teams accomplished their tasks in minutes.  Is this a parable for our times? 

 

The strongest and most hurtful walls today are not built from wood, steel and stone but shaped by racial attitudes, and prejudices of people.  Jesus talked about “hardened hearts” and not being able to “hear” or “see” and “obey” the neighborly life we share with others.  These walls are an anathema to God.  Surely life is more than building walls.  For Christians a table of bread and wine says it clearly: “All are welcome.”       

 

 

He drew a circle that shut me out –                                                                                                          

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout  ,                                                                                                              

But Love and I had the wit to win                                                                                                            

We drew a circle that took him in.”            

Edwin Markham  1852 - 1940   

                                      

                                                                    

 

 

-Dan Schmiechen    

 

                               

 

 

 


Let the Scriptures Speak

Buy An Understandable Bible Translation: Speak to Pastors Eliot and Lawrence for recommendations.

 

Church Year: Epiphany means “to show”, “to make known”, “to reveal” the church’s service to the wider world.  This season runs till Ash Wednesday, March 1 – beginning of Lent.  Colors are gold and white. 

 

Daily Scripture Reading: *Choose time of day  *Choose a quiet place  *Light a candle (symbol of God’s presence)  *Begin with a prayer (Open my heart to your Word, O God.”   *Close with a prayer (May your presence be with me today.”

 

In Conversation with Scripture:  The Bible is filled with a variety of writings.  A few examples – poetry (Psalms); history (Joshua and judges); prophets (Joel, Isaiah, Micah); Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John); the early Christian Church (Paul’s Letters) and end times (Revelation).  It is helpful to know what type of writings you are reading.  Again, check background information in your Bible.  

 

Spiritual Practice:  *When you read scripture, what word/thought comes to your attention)?  *What do these words say to you?  *What do you hear God saying to you?

 

Bible Readings For The Week:  Sunday January 22: John 5:2-28; Monday January 23: Mark 5:21-43;  Tuesday January 24: Mark 6:1-13;  Wednesday January 25: Mark 6:14-29;  Thursday January 26: Mark 6:30 - 4:6;  Friday January 27: Mark 6:47-56; Saturday January 28: Mark 7:1-23.  Pray your own prayers. 

   

 

 Dan Schmiechen is a retired minister and member of Linden Hills United Church of Christ.

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