This Spring, for the first time in my life, I grew tomato plants from seed.  In the past I’ve always bought plants from a nursery.  But last year I had a particularly vigorous tomato plant and I wanted to see if its offspring would continue its prolific ways.  I told a lot of people about it (to their boredom at times) but I felt like a kid going outside with a jar collecting new bugs in summertime.  When the little seedlings cracked through the top of the potting soil, I wanted to shout with joy.  Right now they have two narrow un-tomato looking  leaves (who knew?) and I am waiting for the serrated leaves to appear.  I check them two or three times a day with great joy.
     Whenever we do something different, or experience something new, it seems to awaken senses which may have become dormant with repetition.  Whenever I travel to a place I’ve never been before, it seems like my senses are hyper-aware as I try to soak in the new sights.  I want to make sense of what I’m experiencing and have it fit in with what I already have learned.
     At our 10:30 am service, the message will be “On the Road Again” based on passage from Luke 24:13-35.  Two followers of Jesus were walking away from Jerusalem after Jesus had been killed.  They were in a very new and raw place.  All their hopes seemed to have been crushed.  Then they are joined by a stranger who asks them what they are talking about.  They relate the story of Jesus:  his powerful ministry, and his recent execution by the Romans a few days earlier.  But they also said they heard reports from some in their group that Jesus was alive, but this did not make sense.  This stranger connected the story of Jesus with all they knew in the Old Testament, and showed them the big picture of God’s work in the world.  As they come to the end of their journey, they invite this stronger to eat with them.  Curiously, the stranger assumes the position of host, and breaks the bread – and at that moment, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him as Jesus.  They realized that their hearts were on fire as Jesus made connections between himself and the Scriptures they knew so well.
     As we go on our pilgrim journey of faith here in this lifetime, maybe Jesus comes up beside us at times when we are unaware.  Maybe it is in the simple events of community that we can see the presence of Jesus in a palpable way.  Perhaps it is when we are at our lowest that Jesus is most likely to come near us in some way to give us support.
     If you cannot make the morning time or if you are interested in a more contemporary and informal “come as you are” service, join us Sunday at 5:00 p.m. for our Second Chance service which follows a different format than the morning service and a more contemporary style of worship.  Grace happens, by God!