My wife and I attended Northern Chesapeake Sheltie Rescue’s annual picnic on September 23rd. This year we went alone as our own Shetland Sheepdog, Chipper, passed away last spring. We have been grieving his loss ever since and this picnic was a good opportunity to get...
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“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) There is hope, even in these turbulent times. The spirit of the world is divisive, angry, hateful and racist. Those forces can deeply...
Aptly named, our seniors’ Joy Luncheon at Severn Run is truly a joy to be part of. Primarily geared toward seniors, Severn Run’s monthly Joy Luncheon provides an excellent way for members of the congregation to get together, share experiences, and have a good time while enjoying a...
The last two months have been tough for America; we were horrified by the Orlando massacre and the Dallas assassinations. We sense evil amongst us and we can easily fall into despair. What will happen next? How do we stop the carnage? When senseless horrors like these occur, we are...
Find Freedom in Jesus “Then one was brought to him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Matthew 12:22) Isn’t it remarkable? Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute...
Most people have heard of communion, buy many are unfamiliar with either its meaning or significance.
The Cross--an instrument of cruel death--was used by God to bring life to all. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the...
My wife and I attended Northern Chesapeake Sheltie Rescue’s annual picnic on September 23rd. This year we went alone as our own Shetland Sheepdog, Chipper, passed away last spring.
We have been grieving his loss ever since and this picnic was a good opportunity to get reacquainted with those we had met over the years as well as to get our Sheltie fix.
Jackson is a nine-year-old rescue Sheltie who, in the first seven years of his life, was kept confined and isolated in a barn with little to eat or drink. He was abused and even though being in a loving home for the past two years, he still bears the scars and fears of his former life. When he was first rescued he did not bark and now he is happy to join the other shelties with his new voice.
Jackson is devoted to his adoptive mother and follows her everywhere, but he is afraid of strangers. At the picnic, our families sat near one another. Jackson was skittish and wary of my overtures of friendship but, under the watchful eye of “Mom,” I was able to pet him and, eventually, lift him up onto my lap.
Once there, he was happy and felt safe. Together, we experienced about an hour of mutual therapy.
Since his adoption, Jackson has been slowly healing from his abusive past and is becoming more comfortable around other dogs. However, he remains timid and fearful of people. His healing will be a lifelong process, which has been helped by the adoption of two more sheltie rescues to mentor him in his loving home.
It was certainly a pleasure on my part to not only be able to extend love to this sweet sheltie, but to know that – as he was giving me therapy – I was also showing him that he could be loved by other people. (The world is not as dark and fearful as he thinks.)
Despite our time together, just a short time later, as we were departing, Jackson again shied away from me. His wounds run deep, as so often do the wounds in our own human hearts.
Many of the shelties at this picnic come from abused backgrounds. That is why they have been rescued and adopted into loving homes. Most are very friendly and approachable. A few, like Jackson, need more time and encouragement.
It occurred to me that people are like that, too. We all come with our own – very mixed – baggage. There is no one universal approach to healing. We must be alert to the nuances of each situation and story.
For those most wounded, like Jackson, patience, persistence, and love are required. Like some people, Jackson expects the worst from others, including those who may intend no harm and actually have pure love to share.
Jonah Goldberg notes that, almost uniquely among animals, dogs “can read human body language and expressions.” For wounded creatures (human and animal), suspicions and fears can paralyze us and dull our senses. (Our perceptions are not always reality.)
Darkness has a way of blinding us to truth, to love, and to the good that surrounds us. It can blind us to the wounds within other people. And it can blind us to the love that our heavenly Father wants to share with His children.
In our case, we have Jesus to share with others. Let us help heal the Jacksons of this world with the love of Jesus, one encounter at a time, moment by moment, until the Light fully dispels the darkness.
If you’ve experienced times when God has picked you up, placed you on His lap, and lavished His love on you, then share those experiences with others. You never know whose heart might be healed. (It might even be your own.)
[Jackson’s mom emailed me writing, “Thank you for 'seeing' Jackson as he is.” It made me think; do we see God’s creatures through His eyes or through the lens of our own prejudices, pain, and fear?]
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
There is hope, even in these turbulent times. The spirit of the world is divisive, angry, hateful and racist. Those forces can deeply affect how we view ourselves and those around us. But looking to Jesus brings us clarity, charity and peace.
Increasing racial tensions can quickly resurrect old wounds and cause them to burn with a vengeance. We can find bitterness an easy path to take, but it is one which wounds us even more deeply.
In our broken world, we are all wounded, often deeply, by the differences that divide us. Racism – and other divisive beliefs and attitudes – permeate this world, wounding and dividing us. But we can be at peace – and be peacemakers – in the midst of this turmoil.
Jesus rejected racism and identity politics. In him, we “are all one” – transcending all racial, class and gender distinctions. Jesus prayed to our Father: “ I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:22-23).
How is that possible? Because we have Christ incarnate in us. The glory Jesus gave us is himself.
We are a new creation in Jesus Christ, who reconciled us to God and “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Now, we can have healing in our hearts and in our relationships through Jesus Christ. Jesus can – and will – heal our deepest wounds and soften the hardness of our own hearts.
At the cross, we see other people by the value of Christ’s blood. We see people of infinite worth in God’s eyes. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
We all need transformed hearts that are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
It is especially at troubled times like these that we must listen to and talk with one another. In so doing – in extending the grace, love and forgiveness of God to others – we minister to them and bring reconciliation.
Let us not get caught up in the superficial, the outward appearance, but rather look to one another as equals – brothers and sisters of Christ who are all equal at the foot of the cross.
Let us love one another, as God loves us.
Aptly named, our seniors’ Joy Luncheon at Severn Run is truly a joy to be part of.
Primarily geared toward seniors, Severn Run’s monthly Joy Luncheon provides an excellent way for members of the congregation to get together, share experiences, and have a good time while enjoying a potluck meal. (Trust me, there’s always plenty of food.)
My own experiences (in June and August) were memorable. For those of you who may be more skittish or shy, let me put your hearts at ease. Everyone was friendly and welcoming to newcomers. Some approached me and my wife, Eileen, eagerly engaging us in conversation.
Two different people recognized Eileen’s Scottish accent and immediately introduced us to Marie, who has a lovely Irish brogue. War did not break out between the two. Far from it.
Hank and Jessie have been attending Severn Run since 1971. Like many who come, Hank had stories to tell of the origins and growth of this fellowship.
Hank gave an interesting presentation on Flag Day. His wife, Jessie, creates lovely table settings each month and her June setting perfectly fit his theme.
Shirley and Ed have lived in this area for decades. Ed remembers when the Baltimore and Washington beltways were being built.
Gwen Hubbard organizes each event and acts as emcee. She offers opening and closing prayers, greets newcomers, and gives announcements. Other church staff assist and attend, often with members of their family. It is a delight to see multiple generations share themselves and their experiences with one another.
Young Joe’s ever-smiling face was the very first one I saw when I arrived in June. He assisted in setting up each luncheon and was attentive to everyone’s needs. As it turns out, Joe participated in missions overseas and is now heading off to Hawaii to train other missionaries for overseas missions.
The staff strives to improve upon this successful activity. Suggestions for future luncheons include having a variety of themes, guest speakers, devotions, games, or topics of interest to seniors and adults. (Please provide your suggestions to Gwen.)
If you’ve never experienced this wonderful way of connecting with other Severn Run members, you have something to look forward to. Never dull, always friendly, ever positive – the Joy Luncheon lives up to its name.
You are invited to lunch at the Joy Luncheon (usually the second Monday of each month) Feel free to call the church office at (410) 551-6654 for more information.
The last two months have been tough for America; we were horrified by the Orlando massacre and the Dallas assassinations. We sense evil amongst us and we can easily fall into despair.
What will happen next? How do we stop the carnage?
When senseless horrors like these occur, we are confronted with the reality that we live in a very imperfect world.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We are all broken people living in a broken world where every community, every profession, and every human system is broken.
But there is a solution to all of the chaos and healing for the brokenness.
That solution does not rely upon fallible human beings. It relies on our infallible Creator.
How do we mend a human heart? (We don’t. God does.)
No man-made laws (however well-intentioned) can change the human heart. Only Jesus Christ can change our hearts.
Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus has overcome the world and he is, moment by moment, person by person, changing hearts and transforming lives.
Even now, Jesus is fixing our broken world by fixing broken hearts one by one. As people are adopted into his kingdom, healing will spring forth into changed hearts, which in turn, will change the world.
Senseless violence will cease to exist when the whole world realizes the truth of who Jesus is and what he can accomplish.
Let us take Jesus to the world for healing and restoration. We can rely on him. He is, after all, the Savior of the world
Find Freedom in Jesus
“Then one was brought to him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Matthew 12:22)
Isn’t it remarkable? Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Jesus freed him from his imprisonment to demons and darkness.
Jesus can free us, too.
In many ways, we all live inside our own prisons. Some prisons may be of our own making, through sin, addictions and wrong decisions.
Every bad choice we’ve made locks us up in some form of prison. It can be relational, emotional, financial or something else. As a result, we may experience despair and loss of freedom.
The difference between confinement and freedom is found in our answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”
The Pharisees claimed Jesus was a charlatan doing the work of the devil. Others realized that he is the Son of God.
Our answer and response to that question – Who is Jesus? – is the most important decision we will ever make.
Simply put, only Jesus can free us from our prisons and give us eternal life in paradise.
Jesus came to set us free.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).
With his sacrifice, Jesus declared us “Not guilty!” and opened our jail cells.
Will we accept the freedom that Jesus offers and walk through those open doors into his open arms? Or will we remain imprisoned by our sins, our addictions and our wrong behaviors?
God has given us freedom to choose. Let us choose wisely.