Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
I’m writing on Labor Day - last Monday, wondering if this letter will even see the light of day. Right now it looks like Irma might be coming our way. As they do every Monday, Annie and Cynthia and Bill F. came to count the collection. Holidays are no exception it seems.

I couldn’t help but think that no matter what the impending and/or threatening event that may be overshadowing the future, little things like counting the collection still go on. (By the way, no cheap shot intended regarding the size of the collection...)

I want to thank Annie and Nancy Adams for their Guest Twitches. I didn’t just read them to see what they said. I found myself really pausing and reflecting on what they said. They were both very good. I should have “guesting” more often. Do you think it might be stretching it a little to say that I am generously going to take more vacations so that people will have an opportunity to Guest Twitch? OK, you can’t blame me for being creative...

Speaking about great community support from the faith family, - watch this seamless shift in subject - in today’s gospel we heard Jesus speaking to the disciples about correction. “If someone sins against you, go talk to him... if he won’t listen take someone with you... if he doesn’t listen to them, then, Tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” In other words, remove him from the community. Why? Even though Jesus talks about forgiving 70 times 7, this guy is hazard!

The word ‘church’ is used only three times in all the gospels. You just read two of those occasions and the third is also in Matthew when Jesus tells Peter, “You are Rock and upon this rock I will build my church.” Later on the word ‘church’ will be used more than 100 times in the New Testament, primarily in Paul’s letters.
 
The reason I’m recalling all this is because it strikes me that sometimes we think “institutional” when we hear ‘church.’ It’s usage in the Gospel of Matthew means community, assembly, people coming together. And of course, that is also Paul’s usage.

Jesus is telling his disciples that being his followers means they need to be of one mind and one heart. If someone can’t forgive then he’s putting himself out of the relationship that defines being a disciple. You have to have the personal animosities cleared out of the way, people coming together, not stubbornly remaining apart.
That’s why Jesus can then go ahead and say, as we heard in today’s gospel, Matthew 18:19-20

Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly
Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.

Part of my vacation was a week on the Allure of the Seas. Thinking back on a great experience, it hit me that one reason it was so good was the genuine kindness and good spirits shown by the crew. They work really tough hours and yet they manage to stay cheerful. They probably have one heck of a training program, but for me it was so much more than training. It was a way of being. And you know what? The passengers were affected by that and everyone just seemed so cordial as well. Strangers in an elevator, passersby in a narrow hallway, and on and on. There was only one boob who was shouting at the very beginning of the cruise about his luggage not making it up to his room. For his poor wife’s sake maybe something rubbed off on him. Didn’t hear him again, thank God. Good begetting good! May we always gather,

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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