Dear Friends,
It’s not necessarily a good thing when our church is in the news, and it might not be this time.  But I am hopeful.  I would like a few days to gather information and process with a few colleagues the “Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation” statement you may have heard about.  I’ll share a few of my thoughts here a week from today.
For today though, I’m going to share something about teddy bears.  This comes from Mattie Stepanek, by way of Glen Hogin.  Glen read a poem, also by Mattie Stepanek at the 11 am service yesterday.  Both come from a book called Reflections of a Peacemaker, a collection of Mattie’s poems.
A little about Mattie.  President Carter called him the most extraordinary person he ever met.  Mattie suffered from a rare genetic disorder, “dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy.”  He had an amazing gift with poetry.  He preferred to be called a peacemaker, not a poet (which seems fitting this morning as our conflict with Iran continues to escalate).  Mattie only lived to be 13, but he did a lot of living in those few short years.  Here’s what he wrote about teddy bears, just before his 7th birthday:
Teddy bears are very important to life.
Even if they look a lot like the same,
No two teddy bears are exactly alike.
They are different . . . just like people.
Some have black fur, brown faces, and a red tie, and
Some have white fur, pluffy bodies, and no clothes.
Some have eyes you can hardly see behind the fur, and
Some have big blue or black or brown eyes that shine.
Some have little or big tails or paws or noses, and
Some have a heart on their chest that says “I love you.”
Some have voices that sound when you squeeze a paw, and 
Some have very quiet voices that you can only hear in your mind.
But all teddy bears speak to you when you need them, and 
When you are ready to listen to the lesson they will share.
Teddy bears love their people, and people love their teddy bears.
Teddy bears are warm and soft and cuddly.
They will snuggle up with you when you sleep.
They will go with you to the doctors, and when you die,
They will even go with you through the earth into Heaven.
Without a fuzzy little buddy, people will get very sad and lonely.
If everyone had a teddy bear,
The world could be a more cuddly and peaceful place, and
People would not be lonely or sad, or angry about whatever.
The whole world needs a teddy bear, and
That’s why teddy bears are so important to life.
 
Let’s pray that our world will become “a more cuddly and peaceful place.”
 
In Christ,
 
John