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This week, I am preparing a church service script – I write the whole service for lay people to deliver.

It’s a kind of work-from-home way for me to contribute as a retired minister.

With any service preparation, I read the lectionary passages on Monday morning and choose one to focus on. The next task is to think about what the passage means, ponder what the writer thought they were saying. Then I have to ask why the group of people who will listen to the sermon would care about this message.

This week, I also asked myself why the people who read my column would care about that message. The thing is, I feel like I can only think through one idea at a time.

My focus this week comes from a letter that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to try to quell the conflicts raging in their community.

Overall, he argues that seeking admiration gets relationships in trouble. Seeking position gets the community in trouble. Trying to look smart creates conflict. Everything must be guided by love.

Paul begins his letter with a discussion of wisdom. One would think that wisdom is a good guide, but Paul warns that it is hard to find true wisdom. Some things the society agrees on are not wise at all. There are the ideas a society agrees on that are considered wise or at least sensible. The model of true wisdom is the sacrifice of Jesus. Although he does not yet mention the word love yet, that is his point: only a wisdom grounded in love will bring healing to fractured relationships.

Back to process for a moment. After I figure out why the people listening to my words would care about them, I need to find a hook, an example that will get us all thinking along the same lines. When I am stuck or foggy, I may scroll through facebook for posts that stimulate my thinking. This week, I came across a quote about Eeyore that I have seen before. Back to that in a moment.

Though I had a hook, I kept reading and came across an anonymous story that went something like this: “I know I should not have done this, but I am 83 years old, and I was in the drive through at McDonalds this morning, and the young woman behind me honked her horn and leaned out her window mouthing something because I was taking too long to place my order. So when I got to the first window, I paid for her order as well as my own. The cashier must have told her what I had done, because she leaned out the window and mouthed Thank you, obviously embarrassed that I had repaid her rudeness with kindness.”

At this point, we are smiling and nodding at another story of paying it forward and helping another to see that kind actions can heal. But the story did not end there.

The storyteller went on: “When I got to the second window, I showed them both receipts and took her food as well as my own. She had to go back to the end of the line. Don’t blow your horn at old people; we’ve been around a long time.”

Perhaps the young woman learned her lesson. Or perhaps she was already running late and was now hungry and even later. Angrier. There may have been a certain vengeful wisdom in the 83 year old’s actions, and maybe they taught the young woman a lesson, but this kind of action deepens the fractures in a community.

Eeyore gloomyplace

Back to the quote about Eeyore that I came across. Again, this is anonymous, at least I have never seen it attributed to someone in particular.

The author writes, “One awesome thing about Eyeore is that although he is basically clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with his friends. They never ask him to pretend to be happy, they never leave him behind or expect him to change. They just show him love.”


Eeyore 01 Eeyore 02 Eeyore 03


That is an attitude that heals community: welcome people as they are; respect people as they are. Never think we are better than them just because we have Tigger’s energy or Christopher Robin’s kindness. This is Paul’s message in his first letter to the church in Corinth: proving you are wise will not heal the divisions in the community; acting with love will.

Cathy Hird lives on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation.




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