"Will You Rub Some Off?"

          As I write this, I've been back in Decatur for almost a month.  I am thankful to have been given the month of July off, as Mary & I were able to do many of the things we had planned for the summer, during the month of July.  The month zipped by as we made trips to several states to visit friends, entertained family and friends at our Missouri home, gardened, cut grass, and even did some fishing. Thanks to Pr. Barbra for her good work during my July absence--she even had a written report for me on my desk when I returned!      

          Recently, I read about some of the astronauts orbiting the earth in the International Space Station--way out there in cold space on this hot, August day.  We don't normally think about them floating around up there, but they are.  One of the astronauts said he spends much of his free time looking down at the earth 200 miles below.  I think I would get to feeling really lonely and confined in outer space.  It's not on my "bucket list" of things I still want to do.  One thing he noted is that from up in space, there are no visible borders between countries.  I like that observation.  It's one for today's world to reflect on--a world which has so many borders and lines separating us.  I believe God never meant us to be so divided, but we humans draw lines and divide us by nation, race, and ideology. 

          Jesus Christ came to remove borders.  He came to show us that God loves all people and wants us to in return love God with all our heart, soul and mind, while we love our neighbor as our self.  God wants peace in the human family, but unfortunately our divisions keep that from happening. 

          A number of years ago, I had the privilege of visiting several Lutheran churches in the rural villages of central Tanzania as the guest of Pr. Gideon Soombe, a Pastor Evangelist of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT).  While in those remote villages, young Masai children would come up to us and curiously rub our arms.  Pr. Soombe told us they had never seen a white person, and they wanted to see if we would rub off on them!

          On the night before He was crucified, Jesus pleaded with God that God's love would rub off on His followers, so that they might be one.  He prayed, "That they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21).  Sadly, that love hasn't always rubbed off, even on Jesus' followers.  So my prayer is this:

          This week may we be given challenges instead of ease,

        urage instead of contentment, and opportunities instead of rest.

          We have a Savior who brings strength out of service,

                   faith out of struggle, and victory out of defeat.

          Go then, fearful of nothing, sure that in everything,

           we are held secure in the Master's steadfast love. 


May that love rub off on us.




 Pr. Jim