Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
You know how I feel about surprises. After 51 years of ministry and 38 years of writing weekly pastor's letters, this is a first.

As I write on Labor Day, my surprise is finding myself waiting with all of you to see how we make out with Dorian. If you are reading this, then I guess we made it. It will be really exciting if we have power, but being a good Irishman, I can't help feeling a little guilty for having it when I suspect many others won't.

As I said last Sunday, my greatest stress has been watching the northern Bahamas being decimated. At this point all I have are hints of the vast destruction, but as their closest neighbors we South Floridians need to do all we can to help them.

On a deeper personal level, I find myself thinking about yesterday's homily. Before the homily, I always ask you to, "Pray that the Lord will help me preach, and pray that we will hear what HE is saying, whether I say it or not."

As it often does, the homily evolved through the three Masses of last Saturday and Sunday. The themes of the liturgy had us thinking about humility. We said humility is truth. The truth is that we have been loved by God unconditionally. We said that all the gifts he gives each of us he gives to be shared. But we also said that what gives us value is not how many gifts we have, but only and exclusively that he loves us. "Agape" love. That's why we are valued. So, if we are loved and valued by God, then why Dorian? Aha.

Stunning events like Dorian have a way of getting our attention and bringing us back to basics. At least that's what started emerging last week when I talked about being created by God in his image, an image of perfection. Part of that perfection is freedom.
Genesis 1-3 is not great natural science, but it sure is fantastic theology. All that is God made and he made it good. Mankind, in its freedom, choose to walk away from that relationship of perfection. Eden is no more. More to the point, the result of walking away from God is so incredible that nature itself experiences chaos. Hence Dorian, and a thousand other things in our lives and in our histories that tempt us to say, "Why, God?" It would be one thing if 'stuff' only happened to the evil ones, but everyone gets hit.
Our theology is that God still loves us and proves it by sending his Son. We are not outcasts. What do you think last week's parable about inviting outcasts to your dinner was all about? US!

So, after you wade through the theology of Hurricane Dorian according to the sage of Marietta Drive, I hope you can join me in praying for all those whom Dorian affects.

I hope you can go one step beyond being grateful that we weren't badly affected. Be grateful for God valuing us so much that he sends Jesus to rescue us from nature's disruptions and mankind's ungodliness. After all, we're supposed to be acting in his image.

A final note, but hardly a postscript, I cannot thank Annie Gardner and Patricio Diaz-Pizarro for how great they have been throughout all the wondering and planning and hoping through the storm. Very simply, no them, no me.

Patricio and a friend beautifully painted our hall. The folks who refinished the floor blew it. They will come back and do a better job. What's so crazy is the floor problem really had me "annoyed" while all the Dorian stuff was happening. Go figure. Maybe I think I can kick - over a floor, but not hurricanes. Whatever. May we all be
In Jesus,    
sign frjim

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