Dear friends,

This weekend we prepare to celebrate The Fourth of July. I find myself moved especially by gratitude for freedom. When I contemplate the Syrian refugees on the quest for a homeland where they can be free, I feel very grateful for a freedom that I was born

into that I “inherited”—was blessed with. I still think that the best way to say thank you is to use the gift well, to share it with others. And so I find myself dismayed, even disgusted, when I see Sweden with a total population of 9.7 million accepting 30,000 refugees (more per capita than any other nation) and Germany accepting over a million refugees and Trump is talking about building walls and sending Muslims back home and so many Americans resonate with him. Even Sweden, Germany and now Britain are wondering if they took in too many refugees and find themselves asking: if we share with others, will we have enough left for ourselves and “our” people? And so, I find myself asking, how do we free ourselves? How do we free others?

We enjoy many ‘freedoms’ in this country, but even these are limited by gender, station in life, sexual orientation, color of skin, gender identity, etc. Our gospel today from Luke is rich in images addressing the “abundant harvest,” the need for “laborers” to work the harvest, …. “lambs among wolves” …eating what is “set before you”…and “shaking the dust” of those who reject you….to name a few. Where are we in this story? Are we laborers working to bring forth abundant life for others…. Are we “lambs”….or are we the “wolves” who feed off the vulnerability of others? Are we embracing the gifts and challenges that life offers us, allowing our spirits to be nourished by what we are ‘given’….or are we always seeing the “green grass” of other’s lives? Do we (rather than shaking the dust) allow others to diminish our sense of self or daunt our spirits or disparage our beliefs and values? The many gifts of freedom that we hold in this country are like any gift in our lives…to be held with gratitude and to be shared with those whose freedoms are compromised by the reality of their lives.

These glorious days of summer invite us to rest and re-create…. And Ron and I are re-creating at our beach cottage with our children and grandchildren. This evening, we are delighted that Rev. Sharon will be presiding at liturgy. We will be returning next Sunday…full from feasting on the love and energy of our family…and the sand, sea and surf!

At The Spirit of Life, our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world. We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey. We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life.

With loving blessings,
Jean & Ron