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Reuben Welch wrote a book titled, We Really Do Need Each Other.  It is a wonderful book, based on the biblical book, I John.  There is a story at the back of the book that is worth the price of the book.  The story is about a small class of college students climbing Hennigar Flats, a small mountain adjacent to their campus.  To be successful, there had to be two attempts. 

So, do we need each other?

Absolutely.

A cow needs a herd.                                                                An ant needs a colony.

A duck needs a flock.                                                               A bee needs a hive.

A goose needs a gaggle.                                                          A chicken needs a clutch.

A lion needs a pride.                                                               A monkey needs a troop.

A quail needs a covey.                                                            A worm needs a bed.

We need each other.  We really do need each other.  Who we are with is of great importance.

Our name for our group may be “family.”  It could be “congregation.”  Deeper, “the people of God.”

Let me tell you a little bit of the two trips up Hennigar Flats.  The group of students had been learning about group dynamics.  That is why they thought they should do something together – the group needed to be dynamic with one another.  The mountain was there, so why not go to the top?

As Welch tells it, they “made the sandwiches, brought the cold drinks, and the back packs” and “they started up the mountain together.”

“But it wasn’t long until the strong, stalwart ones were up in front and the other ones were back in the middle and way back at the end of the line was a girl named Jane – who was, you might say, out of shape.”

The strong hollered at the weak telling them to try harder.  The others felt isolated and even alone.  Having weakness pointed out did not seem to help.  All did not make it to the top.  They failed at the group dynamics.  The group had divided up in various categories of strong and weak.  They were not satisfied with the failure.

They decided to do it again!  But this time they went together, the whole way.  No fast group; no slow group.  All the sandwiches were eaten, all the water bottles were empty, “but they all made it, together.”

As families, congregations and as the people of God, we try to go at group speed.  Sometimes that is slow, but we arrive together!  Darwin presented the thought of “the survival of the fittest”, but Jesus taught us to live and love, seeking the survival of the weakest. 

This is a great season to consider joining up with others as we seek to be the people we need to be.  We are celebrating the coming of Jesus.  He comes along side us to accompany us in this journey.  He sets the direction, but he walks with us.  Let’s go with him.  The group is so important.  Let’s go together.

growing together in God’s love, one heart at a time

We Really Do Need Each Other

Reuben Welch, Impact Books, pages 106-111

Thanksgiving

The other day I heard an interview with Norman Lear, the T.V. producer.  He was asked how he had remained so sharp over his 93 years of life.  He said, “Well, I can sum it up with two words – Over and Next.”  He explained that he had learned that when something is over, for whatever reason, it is best to acknowledge it and deal with it.  Then he talked about Next.  He had learned to anticipate the coming of something new, though it would be different.  There is a lot of truth in that approach to life.  Especially there is truth in it if God is a part of the equation.  Sometimes there is a long walk between the two, but God seems to always be involved in bringing about something new.  Easter declares this, but this is about Thanksgiving.

It is hard to believe it is November.  The weather is just beginning to give us a clue that there is a change in the seasons, yet it seems impossible that ten months of 2016 have gone by.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful season for most of us.  There is a group for which it can be a difficult holiday.  That group is on my mind right now.  That group of people have experienced something ending – the Over – and are not even ready for the Next.  Maybe you are in that group.  It may be that you have had a great grief in the last year or two.  The actual holiday or family dinner will be different for someone you have loved will be missed.  There can be several reasons for people being missed.  Some of those reasons are sad.  Some of those reasons are circumstantial.  Some people will never be able to be at the table with us again.

Let me share a thought or two about Thanksgiving and grief.

Please acknowledge as a family that you are different this year.  You may want to have an empty chair for the person being missed, and have a conversation covering the reasons you are thankful for the person you miss.  There is a great children’s book on grief titled The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst.  The author tells of Barney, a lovable cat, and his death.  The family of love, of course, grieved.  They had a funeral and named ten good things about Barney.  They claimed the goodness of the gift of Barney right along with the sadness.  You can do the same.  There will be napkins at the table, so you can cry.

Remembering is a great thing.  If you cannot remember things, we normally send you to a doctor.  It can be very scary to lose memory.  So don’t lose the memories of people you have loved.  This Thanksgiving and also Christmas, talk about the treasures you have experienced in the loves you have shared with others.

Oh, there may be some tears.  One psychologist said, “At first memories break your heart, but then the same memories begin to heal your heart.”  This can be true for many kinds of grief – death, job loss, divorce, moving.  So, don’t let good parts of your story get lost due to not talking about them. 

Make a list, maybe ten things, for which you are grateful.

God gave us a memory.  Use memory as you claim the treasure of people who have been gifts to you.

Francois Fenelon once wrote, “Let gratitude for the past inspire us with trust for the future.”  There are good reasons for our gratitude for God’s good gifts in our yesterdays and the hope for God’s next good gifts.  That is the way God is.

Let me add, that if your memories disturb you, please let someone help you interpret the meaning and power of those thoughts.  Being so story oriented as we humans are, we need to keep our history interpreted the best we can.  We can help you find a good story interpreter.  And for you, there is a Next.  

                                                                John

growing together in God’s love, one heart at a time

First Baptist Church - Richmond

502 S 5th Street, Richmond, TX 77469 
PH: 281-342-8664   FAX: 281-232-2773
Office Hours: 10:00am-3:00pm Monday and Friday; 8:30am-5:00pm Tuesday through Thursday

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