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Tuesday Tidings July 2, 2024




Dearest Members of Bethlehem,


“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; give thanks to him and call upon his Name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his faithfulness endures from age to age.” -Psalm 100, from the Book of Common Prayer


A couple of weeks ago the Men of Bethlehem went to a Pirates game at PNC Park.  We had met at church, figured out who was driving, and hit the road.  All went well on the way in, we found a parking spot, and made our way to the stadium.


Things got more interesting when we got to the security checkpoint.  We ambled our way through the metal detectors, and then one of the security guards pointed at me and said, “The guy in the white shirt, go over to personal screening.”  I said the only thing that made sense at the time, “Who me?”  He promptly responded, “Yeah, you.”


I walked off toward personal screening, at which point my good buddy Jeremy said, “You can’t take him, he’s a man of God!”  I appreciated Jeremy’s advocacy, and the fact that he had my back, but alas… I had to face this alone.


“Empty your pockets sir, everything!”  There on the table laid my keys, phone, wallet, and just to show that I am officially old, my glasses case.  


Those items were checked… truth is, you can hide almost anything in a glasses case.  I was thoroughly scanned with a handheld metal detector, and then went to reach for my personal items.  But then the gentleman said, “Hold it, turn around.”  Then my back was also scanned for any potentially sketchy stuff.  As it turned out, and you might find this surprising, I had nothing suspicious or dangerous on me.  So there, was one final bit of instruction, “Grab your stuff move along.”  


And then, weight lifted, crisis averted, I went through the gates.  Waiting on the other side, my guys… Jason, Cam and Jeremy were patiently standing there, and they were all smiles.  And I loved them for it, they had gotten in, but they had waited for me on the other side of the gates, so that we could carry on together.


“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, go into his courts with praise…”


Maybe it was a blessing (and all kidding aside, all of the security personnel are a blessing as they work so hard to keep us safe

while at the game) that they singled out the “man of God,” because in the end the slightly harrowing experience served as a welcome and glorious reminder that I shouldn’t ever assume that I am simply going to go strolling through “the gates” entirely of my own volition.  


My entry into the kingdom, is decidedly dependent upon Another.  There’s someone else who needs to say, “he’s clean, he’s good to go,” and that is the Savior who so patiently paves the way for me, who so graciously has reserved a seat for me… all so that I can be rejoined with all those that have gone before me.


In a strange way, my time singled out, alone, scrutinized, on the other side of the gate deepened my appreciation for the work Christ continues to do on our behalf.  I pray you have some moments this summer that deepen your devotion as well, but hopefully they’re a little less disconcerting.


Question for reflection: As we prepare for the celebration of Independence Day, I’d like to ask, how do you understand your freedom in Christ?



Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan


God of mercy, your goodness is a source of inspiration, your Spirit is a source of comfort, and your sacrament is a source of strength.  Remind us daily that we have everything we need to flourish in this journey of discipleship.  We pray that you would bless us with meaningful opportunities to serve in the week ahead, and may we know your joy all along the way.  We pray this in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, amen.


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