posted Jul 17, 2020, 8:31 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you!

This summer I’ve acquired a new guest at Coventry House “Farm.” Her name is Roxie, and she is a raccoon. When I first met her, she was stealing the outside cats’ food and the deer corn, and quite combative about doing so. Jamie actually fought with her as she pulled the cat bowl away from him, growling all the time. She was a tenacious little critter and I chased her away as much as I could, thinking she was not deserving of the food I had left out for the cats and the deer. But she wouldn’t relent. And then, one twilight when she came down from her tree, I took a good look at her and saw what I had neglected to notice. Roxie is old, with a lot of gray hair, much more than other raccoons. She is blind in one eye, it being clouded and shrunken. And I noticed she had teats. So she must have given birth to babies, but, obviously they didn’t make it as they weren’t with her. It was then that I realized that old, feisty Roxie was just trying to survive, and I had been working against her survival because of my preconceived notions of what I thought she deserved. I had judged her before really looking at her and what she was trying to do to make it alive each and every day.

Lesson learned. As this lesson churned in my mind, I couldn’t help but think how we humans form opinions about others too quickly, like I did with Roxie, not knowing that some people are just attempting to make a way out of no way, but often judged for how they look or act. 

I think Jesus knew this. I think Jesus got this. 

And that’s why he was consistently caring for the poor, despised, and oppressed. As one of the least of these himself — born of an unwed mother, no place to lay his head, a jobless Rabbi whose followers were the rabble of society — he knew that loving and forgiving and extending grace to those who felt they could never have these things was the best gift he could give as God incarnate living on earth. 

And so it was. 

He gave hope to the hopeless. He gave love to those who felt unloved. And I’m pretty sure that these people were exceedingly grateful to receive such hope, Divine love, and grace in a world that told them they shouldn’t have it. As we should be. Because we are “these” people. Hope — because we are children of God. Unconditional love — lavished on us daily. Undeserved grace — and yet, we have it.

Come this Sunday when we will gather online at 10:15 AM to chat with one another, and then worship together at 10:30 AM. Our music was recorded in the Sanctuary, featuring Debbie Burke, Diane Grady, and Linda Schueler singing “Change My Heart, O God.” Judith Daugherty will be playing on piano "Buongiorno Principessa” for our Sermon-Prayer-Reflection and “Dresden Amen” on organ for our Benediction. I am preaching from Genesis 28.10-19a and Romans 8.12-25 and my sermon title is An Altar of Hope

And so now, each night when Roxie comes up she is welcomed, and I make sure I have some food for her. As she munches on whatever cat food and corn is there, and I call her name and speak to her gently, I can’t help but believe that she just might be a bit grateful. As am I for the lesson she taught me. 

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish