Distressed Decisions on a Pleasant Morning

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES IT IS A FINE AND PLEASANT MORNING. In true Minnesota fashion we are grateful that it is 15 degrees below zero in March, and not 35 below. The snow is sparkling in the Churchyard, the stumps all have white, high-top hats on, the tall pines all reach for the heavens just like the great cathedrals of Europe, and the amateur church choir sings from the green loft. There is no organ accompaniment in the trees as Someone has evidently turned off the wind machine.

The Pileated Woodpecker is here, hammering away at the donut tray in Fellowship Hall. The Holy Water birdbath, refilled yesterday, is popular as always. Chickadees and Siskins are busy and gossipy, the Bluejays noisy, and Sparky The Cardinal warms up in the side chapel for his big solo. He has lately been practicing his spring flourishes, as he somehow believes that spring is near.

Our congregation was distressed to hear rumors this week of new Executive Decisions in the United Methodist Church (a shirttail affiliation of our Furred and Feathered Denomination) to ban or excommunicate or mightily discourage or otherwise make Unwelcome various members, ministers, and congregations who include gay people and others in their services and ceremonies. The existence of such folks is somehow deeply threatening to certain Church Authorities ( also known as Pharisees and Sadducees) and counter to Law. In our humble church, as in Jesus’ teachings, the Letter of the Law runs a very distant second to the Spirit of the Law–which, if poor memory serves, has something to do with loving ‘thy neighbor as thyself’ and even includes people like Samaritans (!) as ‘neighbors.’ Maybe LGBTQ brothers and sisters, too. In our congregation it is Foxes who raise eyebrows–yet they are still considered our neighbors and are welcomed in if they promise not to eat their fellow neighbors during Sunday Morning Services.

It is a strange world in which squirrels and woodchucks and birds provide moral and spiritual guidance to their human counterparts, but such has always been the case, and we are grateful for the instruction. And are hopeful that the Methodists will again find their way. Meanwhile life goes on at the Church O’ The Pines, on a beautiful mid-winter day misplaced into meteorological Spring. We have faith and firm belief that spring will yet arrive–both climatologically and spiritualogically. And our congregation wishes you a very Good Sabbath.

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