Pulpit Reflections

Pulpit Reflections By the Rev. Judith Johnson "People come and go so quickly here!"

That's what Dorothy says to Toto (and any of the Munchkins who are listening) after the tornado deposits Dorothy, Toto, and their Kansas farm house smack dab on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy finds herself in a strange land, longing and pining to find a way home ? which is why she ends up seeking out the Wizard who lives in the land of Oz.

We live in a community where, for many people, home is somewhere else.

While it is certainly true that there are people here who have lived in Vermillion all their lives, people who are indeed the descendants of some of the very earliest homesteaders to enter the Dakota Territory, and people of Native American descent whose families have been here all along, even so, our community is marked by a lot of coming and going, and sense on the part of many people that they are "just passing through."

We are a community of tremendous diversity, a community of people from so many different walks of life, a community of amazing talents and gifts. We are also a community where change is built right in and expected.

The problem comes when we allow the lack of permanence to keep us from putting down roots ("What's the point of getting settled, I'll only be staying a year or two") or when the thought that someone else might not be staying around here forever keeps us from allowing ourselves to get close to them ("Why bother getting acquainted when they're just going to move anyway, and then I'll get hurt!")

The problem is that all of life is only temporary; and we are always "just passing through." We are all of us on a journey. And if my sense of "home" is limited to the place where I began, then I'll always be looking over my shoulder: walking forward, but facing the past. That's not a good way to travel.

I saw a poster once that was a picture of a kitten curled up, sound asleep, in a flower pot. The caption was: "When you're at peace with yourself, any place is home." I don't know any way to get that kind of peace, except through faith: faith in the God who holds the past and the present and the future in his hands, faith in the God who said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you," faith in the God who raised Jesus from the dead and who is at work even now to bring us hope and life.

People do come and go quickly here. But God remains. And God goes with us when we go and stays with us when we stay.

It is my prayer that, while we are here, Vermillion will become home; that while we are here, we will put down roots � even if only for a little while; and it is my prayer that we will open our hearts and our lives to the strangers that we meet � even if only for a little while. It is out of those "little whiles" that human lives are made.

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