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Written by Rev. Dr. Tom MacMillan

After the services on Sunday, people were challenged to write what they were grateful for on small cards. We then hung the cards on a giant ficus tree-the tree of gratitude. I've spent some time walking around the tree reading the cards, smiling, agreeing, laughing, and remembering.
 

When Fred Rogers died in early 2003, there were many stories and remembrances of this kind and gentle man. One reporter remembered the day that Rogers was invited to address the prestigious National Press Club in Washington. The National Press Club is accustomed to hearing speeches from diplomats, top administration officials, and business leaders talking about the great issues of the day. Some members of the press had privately joked that with "Mister Rogers" on the podium, they were probably in for a "light lunch."

However, when Fred Rogers stood up to speak, he said that he knew the room was filled with many of the best reporters in the nation, men and women who had achieved much. He then took out a pocket watch and announced that he was going to keep two minutes of silence. He invited everybody in the room to remember people in their past - parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and others - who had made it possible for them to accomplish so much. And then Mister Rogers stood there, looking at his watch, saying nothing. The room became very quiet.

Before Mister Rogers tucked away his watch, one could hear all around the room people sniffling as they were moved by the memories of those who had made sacrifices on their behalf and helped them be who they were.  

Not such a light lunch after all.

They were reporters well-versed in accounting for events around them - but maybe not within them. Maybe they had gotten caught up in the myth that they had arrived where they were on their own will and volition and had lost track of the countless people behind the gift of their life.
 

Who are you grateful for? Who has blessed and inspired your life? Whose life is God inviting you to bless on this great day we've been given?

tom


 

 

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September Pastor's Page

 

A woman was shopping one day and decided to stop for a cup of coffee. She bought a little bag of cookies, put them into her purse, and entered the coffee shop. All tables were filled, except for one at which a man sat reading a newspaper. Seating herself in the opposite chair, she opened her purse, took out a magazine, and began reading.
 

After a while, she looked up and reached for a cookie, only to see the man across from her also taking a cookie. She glared at him; he just smiled at her, and she resumed her reading.
 

Moments later she reached for another cookie, just as the man across from her also took one. Now feeling quite angry, she stared at the one remaining cookie—where upon the man reached over, broke the cookie in half and offered her a piece. She grabbed it and stuffed it in her mouth, as the man smiled at her again, rose and left. 

Her coffee break now ruined, the woman was really steaming as she angrily opened her purse, and put her magazine away. And there was her bag of cookies. All along she’d unknowingly been helping herself to the cookies belonging to the gracious man whose table she’d shared.

Surely that’s a parable of our relationship with God. We think we’re sharing with God, when really God is sharing, willingly, with us.
 

For some years after I became a part of John Knox Church, I was the assigned “Stewardship Sermon Giver”…until whenever I was spotted in the pulpit people cringed or perhaps slipped out the side door. Now I don’t preach stewardship sermons much anymore, so I have to challenge you whenever I have a chance. Still…it’s something for all of us to think about: “Who’s sharing with whom?” 

 

—AL HART

 

 

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JOHN KNOX UPCOMING EVENTS 

           

 September 24
TNT Youth Group (grades 6-8)
Kick-off Meeting
5:30 pm 

 October 12
Inquirer Class Begin
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