September 17:  Today’s gospel reading is all about being a forgiving people.  Long ago my Dad heard the following story that’s kinda funny and offers food for some thought.  The squirrels at least thought it was funny!!
There was a man who was bitten by a dog, not a Sheltie of course! Later it was discovered that the dog had Rabies. This was back when there was no cure for Rabies. His doctor brought him the bad news. “Everything possible will be done to make you comfortable,” he said, “but we can’t offer any false hope. My best advice to you is to put your affairs in order as soon as possible.” The man very calmly got out a piece of paper and began furiously writing. The doctor said: "What are you doing, making out your will?" He said: "Oh no, I'm writing out a list of people I'm going to bite." 
So, who would be on your list of people to bite?  Our message today is forgiveness. How many times must I forgive someone who has hurt me, abused me, exploited me? That is Simon Peter’s question. How many times? Would seven times be enough? Just something we all can think about this week, eh?! 

September 10:  This Thursday Mother Church commemorates the liturgical feast of “The Exaltation of the Holy Cross.” There’s a really cool story I’ve heard my Dad tell about the cross, how it means to many things to so many people. If my Sheltie memory serves me correctly (and it about always does), I’d like to share with you that story. It’s about a story of a woman named Ann. She was at a garage sale with her friend Betty. Ann had just sorted through a tray of trinkets. Betty came up and asked, “Any luck?” “No!” said Ann. “It’s just a pile of junk.” She stepped aside to let Betty see for herself. Betty took one look at the pile, picked up a tarnished old cross and said, “I can’t believe it. I’ve found a treasure! This cross is made of antique silver.” When Ann’s friend got home, she cleaned the cross and polished it. It was indeed a treasure. Ann ended the story saying, “Betty and I both looked at the same cross. I only saw junk; Betty saw a treasure.” Later Betty’s seven-year-old son, Bobby picked up the cross, held it reverently in his hands, and looked at it for a long time. Suddenly he began to cry. “What’s wrong?” asked Betty. Bobby said, “I can’t help it. I was looking at Jesus on the cross.” Three people looked at the same cross. One saw junk, another saw a treasure; a third saw Jesus. Today’s feast reminds us to see Jesus and appreciate the price he paid for our salvation each time we look at a cross or crucifix.

I guess what the real question is: “What does the cross mean to each of you?” I’m hoping today’s celebration will give some reflection on the power of the cross and the true significance of John 3:16 “God so loved the world he gave his only Son.” Amen?! 

September 3:  A very clever email was sent my way this week I shared with all the squirrels and rabbits and now I want to share with you as well.  Seems the answers to life’s biggest questions can all be summed up in the following!! 
Everything I need to know about life, I earned from Noah’s Ark
1.  Don’t miss the boat
2.  Remember that we are all in the same boat
3.  Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark
4.  Stay fit.  When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big!
5.  Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6.  Build your future on high ground.
7.  For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
8.  Speed isn’t always an advantage.  The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
9.  When you’re stressed, float a while.
10.  Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
11.  No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting!

August 27:  Sometimes I wonder why people can’t get along like the squirrels, rabbits and Shelties do.  Yeah, I like to chase those pesky rabbits and bark at the squirrels but I think they all know we’re all friends and God’s favorite creatures (especially Shelties!)  But with the recent racial divides, I’m thinking our nation’s ills can be traced back to the breakdown of the family structure and the marginalizing of God.

There is a Chinese proverb that is as follows:
   If there is right in the soul, there will be beauty in the person.
   If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the home.
   If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. 
   If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world!

Right in the soul, is where it begins and that begins at home.  If the parents have no moral compass, it’s not likely the child will either.  Without knowing God and following God’s firm foundation and non-negotiable laws, we as individuals, and as a nation, will continue to lose our way and pay the price. 

For more of Maggie's musings, see our online bulletin archives.  Maggie's column appears on page 3.