Sunday afternoon, two ground hogs at the bottom of the back stairs! Monday morning, the bluebird in the bird bath. And this morning, two young fawns in the garden. And, the chipmunk!

Beauty is unpredictable. St. Augustine expressed this memorably: "I asked the earth, I asked the sea and the deeps, among the living animals, the things that creep, I asked the winds that blow, I asked the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, and to all things that stand at the doors of my flesh ... My question was the gaze I turned to them. Their answer was their beauty."

And so, Amen.

                  -- Ellen Ratmeyer


The Universality of Joy
I recently attended my son’s graduation from Hostos Community College. The school is located in the South Bronx a neighborhood largely Latino in origin. As the procession of graduates entered the auditorium family members and loved ones erupted in shouts of joy, some shouting in English and others in their native tongue. While there may have been some differences in language, the joy expressed on the faces of those in attendance were one and the same. There was such a feeling of love and excitement in the air that one couldn’t help but get carried away by emotion. That is exactly what happened to me. Caught up in the joyful pandemonium taking place I spontaneously climbed over a row of seats in order to gain better access and take a picture of my son. Returning to the seat afterward helping hands were extended as I climbed back into my spot. Hebrews 13:2 reminds us “not to forget to show hospitality to strangers for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.” While I certainly don’t lay claim to being an angel I could very well have fit the profile of stranger, being one of a very small handful of Caucasians in a crowd of a few thousand. If only we, as Christians in general and Caucasians in particular were able to make the strangers in our society feel as comfortable as I felt that day. As I looked around me that afternoon it became clearly apparent that we have much more in common than whatever we choose to believe divides us. Fear and suspicion, whipped into a frenzy by social medias and technologies that limit basic human interaction have built walls between us far thicker than any physical structure being proposed. The poet Robert Frost wrote that “something there is that doesn’t love a wall” As Christians we are well aware that there is also a “someone” who doesn’t love a wall as well. May we all be given the strength to extend that helping hand to the stranger in our midst.
                                              -- Ray Reuter, Elder

Harlan E. Ratmeyer, Pastor

38 Church Rd.

Selkirk, New York