Wednesday, September 15, 2021



Dear All of Us,

Bob Dylan knew it then.

We know it now.

"The Times They Are a-Changn'."

They sure as heck are, 

and not at all for the better:

concern, chaos, conflict -

         such risk.

Who knows how things 

     will work out, 

         or not,

with democracies diminished, 

politics polarized to peril,

pandemic (or is it pandemics?),

fiscal uncertainties inflating, 

spiritually shallow religion, 

culture wars,

terrorism over there 

and right here,

nuclear and climate threats,

to name some of too many.

We've had the pins 

of presumptive invincibility

knocked out from under us.

There are Flat Stanleys and 

Flat Stellas all over

the floor of upset.

Could ever Red and Blue

blend to royal purple?

Are we at all capable of

getting in the same boat and

rowing in one direction?

So far, not so good.

People are freight fraught.

What the heaven can we 

do about it - literally, really?

Or are we fated to 

some sort of hell on earth

and powerless in its 

incendiary blasts?

We have very little control

over much many of the 

troubles pressing on us.

There are major movers

controlling them,

but we are not they.

Prayer puzzling all this 

over the weekend

it occurred to me 

that a good part 

of our spiritual lives 

out here on the street

of right now

is a call to do something 

about "The Troubles,"

to get close and personal,

and sensitively so,

to show and share


the shoring up 

of sagging spirits,

a reset on hope,

a strengthening 

for the stress.

That we can be and do.

It makes 

different world 

of just now for others.


etymologically and actually,

means to put heart into another,

      (L) cor = heart

        to give them 

       courage care

        under siege.

That happens as 

we share with another

The Love Who Is God

in personal and practical ways.

It has as many manners

and takes as many forms as 

there are people hurting

and those encouraging them.

It's finding appropriate ways 

to share care and support,

to companion in pain and peril.

It can mean words.

It can mean silence.

It can be as simple as a smile.

It can be as extensive as

forestalling an eviction.

Whatever the expression,

it's enfleshing, personalizing

   God's Bright Love 

for those darkened in difficulty.

  "But encourage one another

   day after day, as long as 

   it is still called "Today"...

       Hebrews 3:13


The New Testament has 

one hundred references to 


How be such and do such?

Being a "Do Gooder" 

doesn't do it.

It's a poor parody

of encouragement.

Too full of self show.

It just aggravates aggravation.

We don't overwhelm.

We come close carefully 

and respectfully.

Encouragement glows out

from deep in us.

It's God's Bright in us

warming, brightening.

It's attitude, presence, response

appropriate to the need

of others.

  Spirit Sensitivity

  is so essential.

It's not only what we do,

it's mostly how how we do.

We sense the sense of the other.

We sense what we might 

be and do in response.

Rather than drooping off 

clothing for a poor family, 

we do much better 

stopping in for a visit

and at the end 

of the visit mentioning 

"There's some clothing

in the car that our kids 

have outgrown and 

we'd be so grateful 

if you'd help us out

by passing it on 

to your little ones."

  Soul Sensing

  Being and Do


We can't fix every problem,

but we can show awareness, 

respect and care.

We can be and do 


    in all sorts of 




- Thank the weary check out clerk,

  offering a wish for a good day

generously tip service persons:

   the plumber, the wait staff,

   the packet deliverer

- on a scorching hot/humid day

  give the mail deliverer five dollars

  to get a cool drink and express 

  appreciation for the effort required

- text a "Hello" and good wishes to 

  those adjusting to college

- when someone new on the job

  makes ten stupid mistakes

  in a row, affirm all the energy 

  they are putting into 

  learning the ropes

- take time to kibitz with 

  neighbors at the bus stop

- listen respectfully as a friend

  tells their tale of woe

- take a lonely senior adult

  for a ride in the country

- email your child's teacher

  expressing appreciation

  for all it is taking to

  reorient children to school

  after a year and a half

  on the loose (and couch)

- without being "preachy,"

  celebrate goodness

  in conversations -

  a sprightly Fall day,

  a "stay awake, spunky sermon",

  how well the new neighbors are 

  taking care of their yard,

  the wonderful, new crossing guard

- have the family of an unemployed

  parent over for dinner and a movie

- if you can, anonymously cover 

  the rent for a family 

  about to be evicted

- don't get all over the painter

  who shows up for one of 

  every five promised dates

- hear and accept the fear 

  so many have about so much

In our own way and world 

we do what we can.

  "If I cannot do great things, 

    I can do small things 

    in a great way." 


  "Let's see how inventive 

   we can be in encouraging love 

   and helping out..."

       Hebrews 10:25

       The Message

   "Instruction does much, 

    but encouragement 

    does everything."


By encouragement we 

not only help each other

survive the storm,

but together we learn 

how to dance in the rain.

      John Frank



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       "Hi 5"

to this week's visitors 





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        Maya Angelou


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     Looking forward to it!