Comment from Ken; Spring is on its way. For the first time in my life, I saw an otter crossing the road. It was a black otter. At first, I thought it was injured, but it was just having a difficult time crossing the tar road. God’s creatures of the water and woods are seen so often where I now live; but then I saw a deer at our home in Attleboro, too, and a turkey, but never an otter.
SCRIPTURE (How do we build the Kingdom if we do not talk to others?)
18Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
It is Sunday afternoon, and the day here in Hopkinton, New Hampshire is cloudy. That is right it is cloudy. That’s a change in New England isn’t It? At least it is not raining. From what is said here near Concord, the sun has failed to shine its brightness upon us for day after day. I was hoping that might keep the little black flies from emerging in black clouds, but it has not made a difference – they are HERE!
I remember some years ago performing a wedding ceremony by Lake Winnipesaukee this time of year. As the black flies were attacking me, I was feeling more uncomfortable for the bride for her lace veil was catching them by the dozens. Up here, they even have a half marathon called the “Black fly Marathon. “ I guess we have to put up with those tiny bugs for spring brings us so many areas of beauty and new life.
We are in what I would call pollywog season. At my dad’s farm in Barrington, New Hampshire when the wetland, especially by the brook that divided one meadow from the other, would begin to dry out, one would find hundreds of black pollywogs. Sometimes you might even see a green one that was sprouting legs on its journey to become a frog. As a young boy, frogs and pollywogs were joyful creatures. Remember the saying, “ What are little boys made of? Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. That’s what little boys are made of!” As boys, we did not like hearing that girls were made of wonderful things – “Sugar and spice and everything nice.” At my present age, I think that I would not be defensive of that saying about boys, for I think frogs and snails and puppy dog tails are great creations.
Speaking of puppy dog tails, I had no idea that a dog could express so much love and enthusiasm with his or her tail. If you pat our dog Molly gently and speak softly, she will wag her tail back and forth in a nice pendulum pattern. But if Dale and I both approach Molly and start saying, “ Wow a doggie has come to live here. Oh wow, look at this beautiful dog.” Molly gets so excited when Dale and I start to pat and speak to her together. It is then that her tail becomes a rotor; it goes round and round and round like a propeller.
Molly loves to lie in the kneehole of my desk. As a matter of fact as I talk with you, Molly is lying at my feet under my desk. Molly follows us from room to room. She wants to be with us most all of the time. She is so faithful and loving that she always brings a smile to a sad face or a smile in a day without sun.
Now I must be careful how I say this but Molly so often reminds me of my Christian faith. She likes people. She loves to meet new people, sometimes too enthusiastically, but most of the time with a little caution and reserve. She is always open to finding a new friend. A Christian is supposed to be that way. People are the center of life for one who follows Jesus. Sometimes even the mean ones are to be reached out to according to our Lord. Those who are not very approachable have to be welcomed with kind words and soft tones.
Dale and I had to travel to the Rhode Island area last Saturday. Dale wished to check out Ann and Hope for some new curtains. So I parked in the Cumberland parking lot of Ann and Hope and took Molly, on a leash, out of the car. We have been there once before, and there is a table with a bench. It is off to the side of the entrance. Molly being a Mountain Dog likes to climb up on the table and survey the scene. Lying on the table, Molly watched the people coming and going as intently as did I. Many people did not even see her. Some were on their phones and others were just intent on their shopping tasks. Now here was a chance to meet a nice friendly person, I mean dog, but I was there too. Now I must admit I like to speak up to people who are passing by, and most of the time there is a friendly response. Molly brings people who love dogs to talk with me. I have learned if you want to meet new people one good way is to have a dog.
Two men came over and visited with Molly and me for a while; then came a woman who loves dogs, with her husband. She came right over and I introduced herself to Molly, and I learned that she has a golden lab. She told me if she were not on an errand with her husband she would sit down and chat for a while.
When I visit the clinic for my Coumadin check, I almost always bring Molly and leave her in my truck. Now when I go in anywhere and leave Molly for a short time, she goes and sits in my seat and looks out through the window waiting for me. I do not leave the window too wide open for I do not wish for anyone to be tempted to take her away. I want you to know she is not ever left in my truck if it is a hot day. No sir, I love that dog and watch over her as I would a child.
When I return to the truck, it is fun if a parent and child are entering the clinic to ask them if they would like to say “Hi” to Molly. That always brings a smile when they see her looking out the window even if they do not go over to greet her.
As I enter the clinic, I walk with my cane. I use a cane most of the time now. People are so considerate and polite. I thank them and wish them a wonderful day.
While I was sitting in the waiting room one day, there was a woman waiting as well. It was evident she was going to have a child. I said hello, and I talked with her about how it was when I was a boy, and there were no antibiotics or vaccinations for polio or measles. We chatted for a while about how important it is to use modern medical practices to prevent serious illnesses and even death, especially for a child.
It would be wrong for us to pretend we are Jesus – but we can act like Him. He saw so many who needed His kindness and his touch, and he reached out. We are presently a society that has less and less time to speak to others. We and so many of our children depend on our technology for our friendship. It is far better to speak in friendliness to someone then to sit silent and to spend your time gazing at your phone or tablet.
Jesus did not use a tablet or a phone to communicate with others. He was aware of His surroundings. He was cognizant of someone in need or pain. He spoke of love and kindness and of a loving God who wants us to love each other.
Now I am not going to loan you Molly, but the next time you are out in public how about saying hello to someone you do not know. Just a hello and the question, “How are you today?” If we reach out to others, even to the stranger, it makes our world a kinder more lovable place. Jesus taught us this, and we should seek to be like Him for our world needs to put into practice His wonderful teachings.
Dear God take away some of our shyness. We know there are times when we must be cautious in speaking to a stranger, yet our Lord reached out to the stranger. Help us to reach out in our distant world with warmth and caring and love. Give us a smile and a laughter that welcomes others into our midst. Give us words that touch the heart of our fellow human beings that our world might be one not of anger and hatred but one of comfort and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”