September 19, 2016

mother-teresa

On September 4, 2016, nineteen years after her death, Mother Teresa became Saint Teresa.  I’m having difficulty adjusting to this change, because I identified with the Mother in Mother Teresa.  She seemed almost within reach.    When tending to one or all of my four children during the “endless” flu and cold season, exhausted, I would say,

“Phew, I feel like Mother Teresa.”  My children would understand, and give a  sympathetic smile.   Saint Teresa just isn’t the same.   Regardless of my concerns, she has gone through the lengthy process of canonization and has been heralded a saint.  With her unwavering mission of helping the poorest of the poor, she was an inspiration to many.

Mother Teresa never gave birth to her own children but she had hundreds of children.  She saw children and adults ravaged by war, by disease, by disfigurement, by emotional alienation. Rather than being angry with God for their hurt, she became more loving, more focused on her children of “pure light.”  She found those close to death to be the pure of heart.  Open hearted they yearned to see the face of God. They were deeply grateful for her care and keenly felt the love of Jesus Christ through her.  Mother Teresa’s mission was to turn their souls to Christ, so they too could sing His praises.  She was Christ’s instrument, and referred to herself as “the little bride of Christ.”  At one point, Saint Teresa said,

“By blood, I am Albanian, by citizenship, Indian.  By faith, I am a Catholic nun.  As to my calling, I belong to the world.  As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus. “

She was born and baptized Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Macedonia on August 26, 1910.   Being born into a devout Catholic family, meant  she learned from a very young age to share what she had to feed the hungry.  Drana Bojaxhiu, her mother had a deep commitment to charity.  She once told her daughter,

“My child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others.”  Quite often their household fed the sick and the homeless since their dinner table was frequented by the less fortunate.   Mother Teresa gave her mother credit for her generosity.  After the unexpected loss of her father, Agnes became even closer to her mother.  At age twelve, while on a school pilgrimage to the church of the Black Madonna, she received a call to religious life.  Her journey took her on a circuitous route first to Dublin, Ireland to train with the Loreto Sisters.  She took the name of here favorite saint, Saint Therese because it symbolized entering a new phase in her spiritual life.  Saint Therese was also known as “the little flower” and was given the title of “the sacred keeper of the garden” by Pope Paul XI.   It is easy to understand why she chose the name of this saint.  Once that decision was made to take the oath of poverty and the vows of the religious life, she never saw her own mother again.

The next part of her journey was spent in Calcutta, India.  Here she taught at Saint Mary’s High School for Girls.  She learned to speak Bengali and Hindi and her mission was to alleviate poverty through education.  Six years later she took her Final Vows to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience.  It was at that time she added the title of Mother to her name.  After teaching at St. Mary’s school for girls in India for seventeen years, she received a “call within a call.”  This  took her life in a new direction. On September 10, 1946, on a train ride from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills bound for a retreat, Christ spoke to her again.  He told her to abandon teaching and care for the poorest and sickest in the slums of Calcutta.  Listening to the call of Jesus was the easiest part because convincing those in authority over her was a tall order.   Since she had taken the oath of obedience, she could not venture out on her own without permission.  She had to lobby the authorities, which she did tirelessly for a year and a half.  Finally, in 1948 it was approved and she developed a new order called The Sisters of Charity.  She donned a blue and white sari, which became the trademark of her order, and she headed for the streets of Calcutta. Her mission: to care for the unwanted.  Her order established a hospice for the dying, new centers for the blind, aged and disabled, as well as, a leper colony.  This venture had an enormous worldwide impact.  She received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work.  The Sisters of Charity continue to carry on her work around the globe today.  Mother Teresa was awarded the Jewel of India, the highest honor given to an Indian civilian.  The Soviet Union bestowed on her the Gold Medal of the Soviet Peace Committee

The discovery after her death is what made her a saint in my eyes.   To those she served, her eyes were filled with light and love.  Her delightful sense of humor was playful especially with the children she cherished.  At times she doubled over with laughter, and people remarked on the glow of peace on her face.  However, after her death, those close to her revealed that she suffered for fifty years with what St John of the Cross described as the “dark night of the soul.”  Although she heard Christ’s call on the train to the Himalayas, she felt the misery of being abandoned by God.  Some liken this experience to a soldier who leaves his beloved behind to go to war.   The warrior is confident that his lover will be faithful, so he continues doing what he must without any contact with the beloved.  This describes Mother Teresa as she faithfully and slavishly served Jesus Christ while tending to the needs of the poorest of the poor in Calcutta and around the world.   She reported a brief period of relief in 1958 when Jesus touched her heart.  He came to her during a Mass celebrated shortly after the death of Pope Pius XII, the person who gave her permission to leave the Loreto sisters to work among the poor.

“Today my soul is filled with love, with joy untold with an unbroken union of  love.”  But, just four weeks later, she again described the pain of abandonment to her spiritual director. “He is gone again, leaving me alone.”  She lived in this darkness until the end of her life, and her secret life was a living hell. Some speculate that this profound sadness helped her empathize with those who were unwanted and alone.  Whatever the reason, Saint Teresa soldiered on giving the world her best, which was a full measure of Christ’s love.

 

Peace always,

Kathryn Den Houter

September 12, 2016

candle_supplies_faith__peace__hope__love

 

For the past five years, the Presbyterian Church has designated the weeks leading up to World Communion Sunday as a Season of Peace.  We are encouraged to use this period from now until October 2 as a time to learn about, to pray about and to act on “the things that make for peace”.  This a surely a challenge, fifteen years after the catastrophic events of 9/11, when we see so much anger and fear-mongering, fighting and conflict in our communities, in our nation and around the world.

 

In thinking about the work of peace, I return often to the words of Doug Baker, a long-time PC(USA) mission worker with years of experience in peace-building in Ireland.  A few years back, Doug wrote:

 

The word “peace” is often used in a primarily negative way, meaning the end of war or the absence of fighting.  But when peace is spoken of in the Bible, it derives its meaning from the Hebrew word, “Shalom”.  That word includes wholeness, well-being, and harmony.  Shalom is experiencing true prosperity and salvation.  It has to do with the state of relationships between individuals and God as well as between different people and groups.  It is the intended order for creation and for human beings’ relations to one another.  Such peace, according to scripture, is both God’s gift and purpose”   (From Doug Baker, Living Toward a Culture of Peace).

 

If that is God’s plan for this world, what are we called on to do, as we seek to live peace-focused, faith-filled lives?  Responses can come on many levels.  They include the ways in which we respond to difficult neighbors or family members with whom we always seem to be at cross purposes.  They include the officials we elect and the policies we support, as we struggle to establish laws and institutions that confront evil with restorative justice, seeking responses to violence that are not built simply on the use of overwhelming force.  Further afield, we resist the temptation to turn our backs on the tens of millions of people (yes, that reads TENS OF MILLIONS) who have been displaced from their homes and who now find themselves adrift in a world where they have lost their sense of community and sources of income.

 

I offer stories from two faithful friends who seek to put these ideas into action.  The first comes from Rev. Shannon Beck, an ordained Presbyterian minister with long experience in peace work.  Shannon shared some notes about a recent encounter:

 

4-hour delay lead to breaking up a fight at the airport.  Two young men.  I focused on the man who was throwing swings.  We sat, I talked, had him look in my eyes, reminded him that he had what he needed and that he would get to his destination if he could calm himself down.   The police who worked with him were awesome.

We don’t know people’s stories.  It’s not so complicated to open up a space for someone to trust themselves a little.  They are empowered by it.

 

A second story comes from Elmarie Parker, a Presbyterian mission worker base in Beirut, whose area of work includes Syria and Iraq.  Her latest newsletter tells about her friend, Rev. Mofid Karajieli, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Homs, Syria.  Rev. Karajieli had the opportunity to emigrate with his family to Sweden, but chose to stay in Syria and continue serving in Christ’s name, as a “visible reminder that God has not abandoned the people of Syria or Christ’s church in Syria.”  Elmarie wrote:

 

The young adults of the Presbyterian Church in Homs have developed a program called “‘Space for Hope.”  They are old enough to remember life in Syria from before the war, where they as children played in the streets with friends of other faith traditions – Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Alawite, and Sunni.  They went to each other’s birthday parties and shared life together.  Their first concern was NOT: are you Christian or are you Muslim.  But the proxy sectarian fighting in Syria has torn this social fabric apart, leaving behind suspicion and mistrust.  So during “Space for Hope,” these Presbyterian young adults now bring together young children who have only known this time of war; who have only known sheltered play in their own yards, away from kids who are different from them.  The children come from Christian and Muslim families.  They meet at the Evangelical School – a trusted location.  Together they play team-building games – the context for meeting the “other” and beginning to learn how to see God in the face of the other.

 

May our own faith be informed and inspired by such stories that remind us that the Holy Spirit is alive and at work in the midst of conflicts, large and small.  May God give us wisdom and persistence for our own faithful, shalom-guided living.

 

Written by Don Mead

September 6, 2016

Life isn’t Fair

 

Jesus tells one of his parables that has been a source of confusion and frustration for the modern church.  The story went something like this.  A farmer needed to hire some help to pick his field of strawberries.  He hired ten young men, and promised to pay them $100 to pick strawberries through the day.  The men were happy with that.  At noon, the farmer saw he needed some more workers, so he hired five more.  The weather was turning threatening for the next day, so the farmer hired  more workers at 3 o clock and again at 6.  By the time it was dark, the fields had been picked and the farmer was happy.  The workers lined up for their pay, and each received a check for $100.

Whoa!  Once those who had sweated through the 12 hour day found out that the latecomers received the same pay, they felt they were cheated. The $100 that seemed good enough at the beginning of the day turned out to be not enough.    “That’s not fair!”  A common lament!  Life does not treat us fairly.  We don’t receive what we deserve.  Others get all the breaks.

Where do we get the idea that our life together on earth should be fair? I look at the variety of situations and circumstances into which a child is born, and do not see fairness.  I consider the losses so many people experience throughout their lives, and do not believe they are fairly distributed among us.  We hear of the huge disparity in our nation and our world between a few who have and the many who have not.  That is not fair.  Illness and tragedy do not come because we deserve suffering.  Nor do the benefits of good health or a happy life come because we deserve good health and happiness.

For us as disciples of Jesus, there is a need to take seriously that life is not fair.  We cannot blame the poor for not being responsible.  We cannot take offense that those who are struggling to have a decent life are taking advantage of tax payer money. I wonder why that would bother us more than all the efforts we make to have the tax payer money work for us.  As I often say, we are all on welfare.

Because life is not fair, we need a generous God who often provides us more than we deserve.  Don’t you think the parable points in that direction?  To a gracious God who enables us to cope with what can be unfair? And beyond that, to forgive what is unfair?  As servants of Christ, we move beyond complaining to forgiving what is a reality in life.

We welcome God who surprises us with gifts that we consider more than we deserve.  We worship the God who does not seem to be motivated so much by fairness as by love and grace, paying more attention to the least and the little ones.

I think of this parable as a story to consider in this season of stewardship when we are reminded we are “blessed to be a blessing.”  That some of us have “more” is to have us consider how unfair that can be and what we are able to do to make up the difference.   As I write, the flooding in Louisiana is creating thousands of victims and untold suffering.  That is not fair!   But from the safety and security of our homes, we have been blessed to give what we can to help.

 

 

Bob McQuilkin

August 15, 2016

There were six of us piled into our rental car.  We had just hiked on some of the most arid land I had ever seen.  To make matters worse, we had one of those friendly guides who kept saying, “oh, it’s just a little bit farther” and would point to a hill in the distance!  When we had survived the hike and were finally back to the car, all we wanted was water and something for lunch!

 

Following the directions from our enthusiastic guide, we headed off to a get food and a drink,  and we made a wrong turn!  But, as I look back on that mistake, I can hear the end of the Robert Frost poem that says “that has made all the difference”.  For we came up over a dune, and as far as we could see, there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cairns stretching across a wide beach and down to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

A cairn/kern/n is a pile of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark.  I had never known what the stone towers were until a friend talked of building one as part of a retreat.  She said that for her it marked a time of renewal of her faith.  

 

The six of us found individual rocks on the beach and a piece of beach glass.   We built a cairn  together on that day when we got lost.  At the time, for me it represented our friendship and love for each other.  As I have thought back on that day, the cairn also represented something else for me.  It had been a hard few months for many in our family circle.  I needed something to build, to see, to touch..  I needed a reminder that it is God who is faithful.  I put some stones from that beach in my pocket.  With some of my favorite stones from other beaches, I built a little cairn on a shelf in my kitchen.  Every time I see that little pile of rough stones, I am reminded of that day, of those dear friends and of our God who does not fail.

 

Judy Harnish

July 25, 2016

Community

As I ponder the ways in which Faith Matters, my mind is drawn to another pair of words: Faith Communities.  These days, Carol and I live in two different worlds: we spend about half of our year in Louisville, Kentucky, the other half in Michigan.  When people in each place ask us about what we like about the other, our answer always centers around the faith communities which welcome, encourage and sustain us in each place.

 

I am convinced that faith is like that.  Lived alone, it tends to shrivel up and dry out.  It is the several  communities of which we are a part – our physical neighbors, those we see on a regular basis, often at church, as well as those we see more rarely and interact with mostly electronically – with whom we share our worries and concerns, who enrich our lives not only with joy of spending time together but also with their reminders of the faith-based roots that sustain our energies and our hopes.

 

This thinking leads me to deep gratitude for those who are engaged in those faith communities along with us, for the institutions that provide the framework in which they operate, and for the work of the Holy Spirit, which  provides the bedrock, the lubrication, the energy and encouragement driving and sustaining those faith-based relationships.

 

I well know that it requires a commitment of time, energy, and yes, also of financial resources, to sustain the institutions and relationships that keep those communities of faith strong.  In these early days of this year’s stewardship drive at St. Andrews, I am glad to add my words of support in reminding people of how blessed we are to be part of a church that is itself a community of faith and that provides the context in which many of these relationships are established and sustained. I am thankful for each of the friends with whom I am able to share those relationships, for the church that provides the context in which many of them grow, and most of all, for the gift of the  Holy Spirit, an active participant in each of those communities.  What a blessing these communities of faith are for each of us.  May we do all we can to nurture them and keep them strong.

 

Don Mead, Author

July 11, 2016

bible faith

“Carefully Taught”

The year was 1949.  In post-World War II America, new hope was rising and new vigor was inspiring the rebuilding of the world following the devastating death and destruction of the war.  My Dad had returned from the Pacific theater and started his family with twins–and since I am the second born, I will be forever grateful!  I was only two years old and knew nothing of the underbelly of American society at that time, the ugly remnants of racism, the injustice of Jim Crow in the south, the plight of African Americans who had risked their lives for their country in the war but still couldn’t sit at lunch counter or use the toilet in many parts of the country. (For a chilling account of the treatment of black Americans in Florida all the way up into the 70’s, read “The Devil In the Grove” by Gilbert King.  The distrust of the police by African Americans has deep roots.)

Rogers and Hammerstein understood. So they used their incredible talent to set a story in the context of a celebration of those who had served in the war; a story which would intentionally confront the racial divisions of the nation long before the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s or the Black Lives Matter movement today.  Of course, they called it “South Pacific” and it remains one of the most beloved American musicals of all time. Even 66 years later, it still challenges us with the lingering prejudices which bedevils our society today. In what must be one of the shortest songs of the American musical stage, they satirically identify the problem:

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught from year to year,

It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,  You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid, of people whose eyes are oddly made, 

And people whose skin is a different shade, You’ve got to be carefully taught. 

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight, 

To hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully taught!

In some ways, Benzie County is not unlike the small town where I grew up in the post-war ‘50’s. With relatively little ethnic diversity, it would be easy to pretend that the pain of Dallas doesn’t reach us in our pleasant corner of the world. But the deeper issue is about the attitudes we carry and the lessons we pass on to our children. Even in our corner of the world, the church is called to give witness to God’s all-inclusive grace and the sacred worth of every person. That’s the lesson which needs to be “carefully taught” today.

Jack Harnish

 

June 27, 2016

 

We have in the midst of us, Christ’s healing power.  The source of this God-given   power comes to us through people, through prayer, and through communion with each other.  This healing power might seem foreign to us, so we don’t quite trust it.  For sure, we don’t want to be fooled by a “snake oil” salesman.  It seems to us like a fantasy or wishful thinking.  Is it really that easy?  Just say it and you’re healed.  Really? Yes, really!

 

We have something in psychology called abreaction, also known as the “talking cure.”  Successful outcomes in therapy, use abreaction liberally.  Unfortunately for us, we have to navigate living in society where we have to put on a “fake” face so we can hide our pain and our weaknesses.  We definitely don’t want other respectable people to see our dark side.  We keep that locked up and tucked away, so it never sees the light of day.  By doing this, we develop strongholds, where that dark side festers and grows.   Opening ourselves to the “talking cure” is a very important step in the healing process.  More recently, the term morphogenesis has been used to describe our fields of consciousness.  It is how we relate to the emotional content around us-a kind of resonance.  If we carry a resonance for peace, most likely we will be drawn to peaceful experiences, but if we have a high resonance for fear, we will be drawn to fearful experiences.  By becoming more conscious, we become clear enough to be less influenced by negative strongholds and resonate instead with more positive fields.

 

Paul refers to these spiritual “fortresses” or strongholds in 2 Corinthians.   Psychotherapy and Paul are in agreement here because in order to manage this dark side, it must be made conscious and brought out in the open. We need to talk it through-and even wrestle with it at times.  Transparency or what I call becoming “childlike” is how we heal. It is through this act of acknowledging our pain and weaknesses, that we destroy those strongholds.  In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul says,  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  These pretensions have to do with anything proud, man-centered, and self- absorbed.

 

Abigail Van Buren from “Dear Abby” newspaper fame,  graced us with good practical advice over the years.  One quotable quote  made an impression on me, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”       What we know about the healing of our emotional wounds is that we need to be open and transparent with those we love.   Ideally, if we can get past the facades, a Christian church is just the place for us to heal.

 

Hanging in the Grip of His Grace, I am

 

Kathryn Den Houter

June 20, 2016

In the 18th century, the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote about, “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! It wad frae mony a blunder free us.”  Applying Burns’ insight, it is sometimes interesting to see ourselves (Christians) as others (atheists) see us.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation gives an annual award – the “Emperor has No Clothes Award” – celebrating “plain speaking” on the shortcomings of religion by public figures.  In 2009, Ron Reagan (the President’s son) gave a speech in accepting this award.  Talking about his early years Reagan stated,

 

“I did grow up in a religious household, it’s true, but we weren’t very religious. We were Presbyterian, part of the great 19th century religious revival, here in the United States. I didn’t know any of that at the time. I just knew my parents went to a Presbyterian church. … We went to the Bel Air Presbyterian Church, actually. … There were homilies, there were benedictions, there were genuflections, there were all sorts of things that we had to do, a little musical interlude and then the hymns would come. I was thinking: This is a hell of an imposition on a Sunday morning. For God’s sake, you know, two hours we’ve got to do this? This is crazy!”

 

For an inquisitive youth, this lead to a dialogue between Reagan and his father.

 

So I asked my father, “Why do we have to go to church in the first place? I thought God was everywhere.” And he said, “Well” — he’d get very kind of avuncular with you — “Well, you know, God says, wherever two or more shall gather, there shall I be.”

 

I thought, “OK, so if you’re alone, and in a real jam, what — God can’t hear you anymore? What does that mean?” This seemed to be a god of pretty picayune rules, frankly. There’ve got to be more than two of you, and you’ve got to be in this building over here? Come on, he was supposed to be everywhere, right? That’s not the way you’d expect a grand, omniscient deity to behave.

 

Let me take a shot at answering Ron Reagan’s question to his father.  First it’s good to have some background from the Gospel according to John.  John writes:

 

The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory. … Jesus declard, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. … Did I not tell you that if you believed in me you would see the Glory of God?”

 

There was an excitement in Christ, and a thrill at being a part of his ministry.  This was momentarily interrupted by the sorrow of his crucifixion and death, but punctuated with the world’s greatest exclamation point in his resurrection.  After seeing Christ on Easter morning, John tells us that:

 

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:  I have seen the Lord!  And she told them that he had sad these things to her.

 

The thing about good news is that it is meant to be shared.  When we are filled with a joy, that joy is not complete until it is shared with another.  Think for a moment on an event in your life that brought you elation.  What did you do after the event?  Most likely you found your friends and loved ones and told them your great news.  Worship on Sunday mornings is (or should be) like that.

 

“No,” I might respond to young Ron, “you don’t have to go to church on Sunday mornings.  And of course God hears you at all times – even when you’re alone and scared.  But if you were the Beatles would you want to only perform in a rehearsal hall, or would you want to share your musical gift with others?  If you were Sandy Koufax, would you want to pitch in your back yard, or as part of a major league team?  If you were Ernest Hemingway, would you want your manuscripts to pile up unopened in your study, or would you want others to read them?”

Worship can (or should) be like that.  Don’t worry if you don’t have something obvious to share:  God has already provided that.  The important part is in sharing and being with other believers.

 

How does our own worship measure up to this standard?  Would our excitement be obvious to an observer?  Ron Reagan has let us know that he was watching, and he was taking notes.  Let’s take care that when others see us they see the expression of joy that Christ has planted in our lives, rather than a “hell of an imposition.”  In that way we can be certain that our Faith will Matter.

June 13, 2016

live in prayerDayton Edmunds, a Native-American theologian, when asked about prayer, told the story of how he was taught by the elders of his people to join with the community at the shore of the lake in the morning. In prayer to the Great Spirit and while facing the deep, they would walk into the water and dip themselves in the water three times, but “We did not say ‘Amen’.” Then they would turn around, walk out onto dry land, and go about their daily tasks. Finally, at the end of the day when night fell and Edmunds was about to go to sleep, he says, “Then I would say, ‘Amen’. Thus the whole day, all that I was and all that I did, was my prayer.”

What a wonderful way to be at prayer each day, from the moment one wakes to the moment one goes to sleep! What a powerful way for our congregation to be at prayer this summer as we more than double in size.

As we build old and new relationships, programs and hopes, let us remind ourselves, in the words of a favorite hymn, “The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord,” and that it is Christ who is the cornerstone of all we are and do.

 

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Anne

 

MAY 24, 2016

 

Do This In Remembrance…

Remember.  The whole of the Biblical narrative rides on the call to remember.  The journey of the People of Israel in the Old Testament is marked by the call to remember the Lord their God, to remember the Exodus and the story of deliverance, to remember what God has done in the past.  When the people cross into the land of promise Joshua tells them to gather up stones and pile them up on the other side of the river as a reminder of their journey.  And of course, in the Gospels Jesus’ simple command at the table gathers us around broken bread and shared cup with the words “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Next week we will mark a national day of remembrance.  Amid hot dogs and sailboats, beach side picnics and backyard bar-b-ques, hopefully we will all pause to remember.  I always remember my Uncle Jim, a twenty-three year old WWII pilot who made his last flight over Holland and never returned.  I remember gathering at the small town cemetery where he was laid to rest, standing with his brothers who made it home and my Grandfather who carried the memory deeper than anyone else.  My cousins and I were Cub Scouts and Brownies, marching in a small town parade, remembering an Uncle we never knew, just because it was important to remember.

But remembering has a reason.

The sacrament does not just look back, it looks forward.  As the liturgy says, we do this “…so that we might be for the world the Body of Christ.” We remember the gift so that we might become the gift for the sake of the world.  And on this Memorial Day we do not just look back, we look ahead praying that the memory of the price which has been paid through war would lead us to a day of peace.  Whenever I remember my Uncle Jim, I recommit myself to the task of peace-making so that another generation will never have to make the same sacrifice.  Regrettably, it seems we have a hard time learning that lesson and turning that hope a reality. So this Memorial Day, even as we pause to remember, the world is still at war and another generation of young men and women will take their place to small town cemeteries in America, in Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan.  So we remember and we recommit ourselves to the cause of peace for the sake of those who die and in the name of the One who calls us to remember.

Jack Harnish