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Life in Greencastle

I opened the door of our home and smelled the burning of hickory and oak pouring out of the wood furnace. Meanwhile, the snow silently fell like a million wishes from the heavens - the answer to the prayers of thousands of children. Snow day! What a gift and a joy so long as we are at home, and I hope that you are, safe and snug.

There are others of us who are at work, or who are away on business. There are students on trips. For them we pray today, asking God to care and protect and ultimately to deliver them back home to us. Still others have already flown the coop - heading south for the winter to nest where you can see grass and you don't have to scrap your car's windshield. But, even there I've heard they are not immune from this cold air that has swept down upon our country. Our entire nation is covered by the cold hues of blue and purple and a chilly white.

I heard upon the radio this week the whole world seems chilled. Europe, Russia, North America: all bewildered by deep freezes and winter flurries. We are in it together. And we cannot forget that. We cannot forget that it is never just about life in Greencastle. How could we? With our children and grandchildren spread across America, with the evening news connecting us to Yemen, and with more of us going to the computer to Facebook or to Skype with friends and family: we are constantly aware of the whole wide world. We do not live in isolation, even when the snow shuts us into our homes.

Our connection to one another is a treasure given by modern technology. But, there is also another type of connection that goes beyond streaming information. It is the connection we have through the Holy Spirit and by God's grace through Christ Jesus.

"For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." - Paul's first letter to the Corinthians

I remembered our connection in Christ again as I sat in the home of Don and Kay Weaver on Tuesday evening. While the world turned dark outside, Don and Kay's home was illuminated and filled with warmth and the smell of a West African meal prepared for three Americans and a Japanese woman. That woman was Kosumo Bang, the very same woman who was baptized in our old church 20 years ago and who returned to worship with us this past Sunday.

Before we sat down at the table to share a meal, Kosumo, Don and myself just sat and chatted. We talked about changes to Greencastle. We talked about Japanese culture. We talked about seminary life, and we talked about our church and churches in Japan. As Kosumo talked, though, one thing became abundantly clear: this community has deeply impacted her. Her life was radically shaped by her time with us. God began a work in her. Don and Kay and their family made a big impression. So did others. Consequently, this church came to be a home for her, a spiritual place of birth and formation.

That is why she returned. She came to remember. She came because there is something holy and mysterious about the places where we begin our journey of faith back to God. She came because she felt connected to us and to this place.

And that is true. She is connected to us. Kosumo is part of our family, and we are now connected to her family. That is the gift of God, given through grace, given through the wonderful, mysterious work of God in Jesus Christ. For in Christ there is no difference between those in the sun-belt and those in the rust-belt, there is no difference between Japanese or American, there is no difference between white-collar and blue-collar; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.


It looks like it is going to be cold on Sunday. The church will be warm, though, so hopefully you'll be able to get out and join us for worship. It would be great to see you.




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