Pastor Henry's Memo

April 2018

Live and Rejoice!

The Christian Church finds itself in the 4th week of the Easter Season in the Year of Our Lord, 2018.  The weather feels more like Spring with every passing day.  And for that, I am grateful.  Being in such a pleasant mood is good for one's spirit.  Feeling a fresh breeze wafting through open windows and imagining picnics at the park and baseball under the stars, could life be any better?  Turning the page from the cold and blue days of winter to a time of year which provides naturally ordained visuals that reflect the risen character of nature gives hope to a world in need of resurrection. Yellow flowers bloom outside the front door at the parsonage.  Ducks are finding the water at Camelot Lakes suitable for swimming.  (Though it's far too cold for our granddaughter Audrey Isabelle to take her first dip of lake swimming.)  With so much about which to be buoyed in this fourth week of Easter, if I were to find a pithy phrase for a refrigerator magnet that I might be reminded over and over and over again about the blessedness of life, it would read: DEATH TO BOREDOM! 

Live and rejoice and bar-b-que and swim and eat peanuts and crackerjack and celebrate life's great adventure.  And not just for this particular fourth week, but every week God gives you.

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Mercy trumps Justice

Abraham Lincoln was a man with mercy in his soul.  As president, he granted as many pardons as possible to Union soldiers who were accused of desertion.  The rational he used was:

"If Almighty God gives a man a cowardly pair of legs how can he help their running away with him?”  When in doubt, President Lincoln tended to delay his decision on such cases: “I must put this by until I can settle in my mind whether this soldier can better serve the country dead than living.” David R. Locke, a journalist and humorist observed: “No man on earth hated blood as Lincoln did, and he seized eagerly upon any excuse to pardon a man when the charge could possibly justify it.

The paragraph above I copied from "".  It's a web page dedicated to Mr. Lincoln's White House, as you might imagine.  I quote it only to say American Presidents have the power to pardon any offence committed against the United States except impeachment.  Our presidents have pardoned thousands.  I will admit a very good many of them were political pardons.  Such is the scope of the president's constitutional purview.  It is what it is and we live with it and I'm good with it.  Now, as to mercy.  It is among the most precious acts a human can perform.  William Shakespeare wrote in the The Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strained.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The thronèd monarch better than his crown...

It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;

It is an attribute to God Himself...

In the end, mercy trumps justice every time.  It allows for the future to be of more value than the past.  Mercy enables the heart to succeed even when "the Valley of the Shadow of Death" retreats not.  Mercy is a bath of grace attesting to the ineffable value of human life beyond the measure of every human virtue.

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A New Alarm Clock!

"Death and taxes; the only two certain things in life."  I remember my dad telling me that when my brother and I had newspaper routes.  That would have been back in 1966/7.  We passed The Kokomo Morning Times.  It was an eighteen month span when I really needed an alarm clock.  We passed papers six days a week.  And the papers were promised on the porch by 6AM.  There was no Sunday edition.  We still had to get up for Church, but that was expected even when we didn't have papers to pass.  We were only teenagers.  He was 14 and I was 12.  We would collect from our customers on Thursday and Friday, and from that money, we had to "buy" our newspapers from the Times.  I think we earned 7 cents/paper/week.  Our 65-70 customers brought in a cool $4.70 plus tips.  Once a week we delivered "Shoppers."  That was bundle of advertisements for which we received 3 cents each for delivery to every single house on our regular routes.  That paid us an additional $7.00, give or take.  That meant my brother and I were flush with about $7.00 each in our pockets.  Dad made us save some of it, but we still had money for BB's and candy and bubble gum and baseball cards.  Oh, did I say we didn't earn enough to pay any taxes.  That obligation came sometime later and boy, was that a downer.   I don't know what happened to the alarm clock we used to awaken us at 4:30 am six mornings a week, but if I were passing papers now, I'd have a brand new one to keep me from sleeping over.  And, if you let me quote American playwright and composer George M. Cohan: "My mother thanks you; my father thanks you, my brother thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you."

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Easter: Welcome Spring!

Well, I'm just glad all this rain we're having isn't snow.  April Showers are difficult to bear in the volume we are receiving.  Flooding is not a happy prospect.  However, if these showers were snow, we'd be snowed in.  Spring Break would be a time for sledding and not for water skiing.  It's easy to complain about the weather when we know it won't last.  Indiana is a moderate state with regard to weather.  We enjoy four distinct seasons and if a couple of them drag on and seem not to end, well, have patience.  Spring will arrive and the rains will give the crops life.  And, in due time, the harvest will come and we will not have gone hungry.  That blessed sequence is not the rule over all the earth.  Drought and famine are far too prevalent on the earth.  Death comes to tens of thousands of people across the planet every year because the rain is either late or doesn't come at all.  Crops are sometimes so pitiful the livestock suffer and die right along with the farmers.  Easter is a kind of unofficial welcome to spring.  Christ being resurrected is often paired with new born lambs and fruitfully sown fields.  The prospect of a fertile land sown with life-giving crops is reason for celebrating.  The coming of more hospitable weather is not that far off.  The joy of new life will soon be known.  Thanks be to God!

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