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Tuesday Tidings August 1, 2023

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are a variety of services, but the same Lord; and there are a variety of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

There’s a fair amount of traffic in and out of my office in any given week. I really am so grateful for the quick visits, the insightful questions that are brought to me, and for the longer more robust conversations that are often inspired in that special space called the “Pastor’s Study.”

I have faithfully monitored the traffic through the years and I’ve started to notice some trends. You see, on my desk is a ceramic baseball. It has been there for years. Inside that ceramic baseball there’s a pile of “Hershey’s Miniatures.” I just refilled it, so I know this to be true.

Oh, I’ve tried some other things. I had some caramels in there for awhile, that seemed to be a great disappointment to some and an outright affront to others. I also went on a “PayDay Bar” run, which I appreciated but others were not nearly as enthusiastic about. Those “PayDays” sat there for a good long while, ultimately I had to toss the remaining few after some pointed grumbling from the faithful about the quality of my hospitality.

Once I had the “Hershey’s Miniatures” back in stock, joy returned to the people of God. Yes, indeed they came with great confidence, right through the office door, straight to the baseball, and then the reach.

Here’s where things get interesting, everyone has their favorite. We have a fair number of “Krackel” people. “Krackel” folks are energetic, on the move, and don’t tend to linger long. By contrast, the “Hershey’s Special Dark” folks are refined, thoughtful, and savor their selection. The “Mr. Goodbar” gang, it’s always good to see them coming; self-assured, jovial, they’ll reach right in and dig around for what they’re looking for… and they’re also apt to pull up a chair and spend a little time. The regular “Hershey’s” people are solid people too, these friends are often imbued with a deep respect for tradition. They’re apt to be curious about the next time we’ll be singing “A Mighty Fortress.”

The variety of personalities, gifts, and interests is truly a wonder to behold. I am daily reminded of the richness and depth of our community. And as the “Krackel” wrapper goes flying over my head into the garbage can behind me I am compelled to concede… we are blessed.

There is this gracious inviting force that pulls us all together, offers us sustenance, and then sends us on our way. And by the grace of God, that’s enough to bring us together and propel us along the “Way” with vigor.

Question for reflection: In your humble opinion, what’s the best option for a candy dish?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

Gracious Lord, as so many of our young people begin to shift gears and consider returning to school… bless them with your assurance, still their spirits, gift them with enthusiasm, and genuinely curious hearts. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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