The Winds are blowing across our country with many moral dilemmas on the landscape of the church. It is hard to fully know the mind of Christ even as His follower since the teachings of Christ cover a portion of His life. We do have the insights from the Old Testament which explain the nature of God-being more of a judgmental being and the New Testament version of Jesus as God as more forgiving and loving. I only wish that I could have been there at Creation.
I have been told that we are living letters that are read by others. Inso doing, we have to be careful in how we live our lives because we will be read. Most days the mail that I receive is of no major importance except to toss it out-usual credit card offerings and the like. Our lives can not be slit open like envelopes can in an instant. It can take much time and thought to present ourselves correctly to others to be read. I can be distant at times which makes it harder for others to get an accurate read on myself. It can be an exciting time to receive good news of someone's baby that was born or of someone's good fortune in his or her life. That is why our testimony -both spoken and silent-are so important.
In the twilight of the day, I looked up and saw passing before me an old cemetery with the trees surrounding the tombstones and angels adorning the grave markers. A quiet place to go by that I never saw in that light before.
Over the past week, the world has paid much attention to the life of Pope John Paul II's life and his impact on the world. He was a man who lived his calling to serve others. He also was sensitized the suffering of others from his experiences during the era of World War II. From that experience, he could identify with the poor just as Mother Theresa did in Calcutta. From the era of the 1st century when Jesus was born into the world, he had an impact that is felt today. His words echo through our generations to today when we hear of His miracles and teachings during our weekly church services. The sound of a rushing waterfall going over the rocks as it cascades into the resting pond below is a very refreshing sound. As I have visited nature centers in the past, it is always good to hear that sound. This is a constant cycle that renews itself back to its source. Water is a symbol for life in literature and the christian faith. It is a symbol for many believers in becoming a part of a church family. Just as water is refreshing-so is rest. When Jesus finished one of his teachings, he went to the mount of olives and rested within the mount. This gives a picture of rest and abandonment to God. This must have been refreshing to Him since he was very busy ministering to the needs of those around Him. During the next month at our church, we are being challenged to reach out to others and minister to them. It is easy to expect a pastor to do the work of God, but it can be very limiting to its effect. Just as in the corporate world, many employees do the work. And this gets the task done much more effectively. It is easy to sit back and relax at times. Sometimes it is necessary even with the example of Jesus resting. But then to get back up and continue in service can be very rewarding. The work that Christ did while He was on our earth was through the teachings and performing of miracles. The miracles were temporary and demonstrated His power and authority over nature. But Jesus says that we can do even greater things than He ever did in that we build connections with each other and relationships can have a long lasting impact long after we die. Just as we witnessed in the past week of an impact even a 1 minute encounter can come with a visit from the Pope.
A breath of fresh air is slowly emerging from the city of Bridgeport. The earth is slowly being moved and rays of opportunity are beginning to emerge. For many years, the Bridgeport earth has remained fallow and barren. But seeds of opportunity are beginning to sprout. Bridgeport is an old industrial city. I began as a full-time resident fo the city in 1986 when our family moved there from our spacious colonial in Fairfield. I visited the city in prior years for occassional visits to doctors and Scientific Shoe Fitters on Broad Street. And I worked several summers as an employee of People's Bank. On one of the first trips to the city was when I worked at Connecticut Bank and Trust in Fairfield. It was a late afternoon summer day when there was a raging rainstorm that had hurricane strength winds. Too intimidated to approach the apartment at the age of 21, I called my dad to get me safely home. Change whirled at that time with the new surroundings of home and the eventual settling into a new home. My side of the city is within a suburban context. The streets have trees and shrubs that line North Avenue. Old colonial homes line the street and a Christian Science church sits on the corner of Clinton and North Avenue. That would be the route that I walked many mornings and evenings from my bus stop. This area has also been home for the Barnum Street Parade. For the first year of my employment after Fairfield University, I worked at the BankMart in downtown Bridgeport on Main Street. I met Willard Sillers who was a vibrant Black businessman who had a warm smile and enthusiasm for what he did. Here was an opportunity to grow and become accustomed to full-time work within the city. Many an afternoon lunch hour was spent at the next door Wendy's restaurant. I loved their cups of Chili and Frostys. And on the other side of the bank was the NewsCorner which had many news publications from the area with the Morning Telegram and the Evening Post being sold there. Rows of magazines lined the store and books filled the aisles too. Around the corner the Hi-Ho mall was there with a fountain in the center of the mall with an elevator that went to the second level. It was a peaceful place with businesses such as a bookshop and several good restaurants to eat at and department stores also. Fromt that first year of work, there were plenty of opportunities to find work to do and ways to spend an afternoon lunch hour. Currently, the city has added attractions such as the arena at Harbor Yard and the Ballpark at Harbor yard where I have seen our Bluefish play baseball and several concerts. As these seeds have formed, the city has added many special faces with smiles. I can see the enthusiasm an usher at the Arena has when he shares with other bus riders the various concerts that are being worked at and booked. The ushers are dressed in their vests with the Arena logo on them. Seeds of change are happening. It is important to remember that as these seeds are forming, they must die in the ground and begin to emerge as life. This is now happening through the Loft apartments and several new restaurants and stores emerging throughout the city.