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Daily Encouragement - July 4

And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords; your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there-is it not a little one?-and my life will be saved!" He said to him, "Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there." Therefore the city was called Zoar. Genesis 19:18-22 The airplane landed on Wednesday evening and I stepped out into the warm muggy air of North Carolina.  After spending two weeks in Norwood where the air was neither warm nor muggy, I desperately tried to be at peace with the humidity.  The big news in Boston was not COVID because everyone (and I mean everyone) wears masks.  Their numbers have gone from thousands a day to (the day I left) 60...with no deaths.  The big news there (and you’ll roll your eyes) was Cam Newton’s one-year deal with the New England Patriots.  The quarterback that made the Carolina Panthers famous is now up north.  The quarterback that made the Patriots famous is Jacksonville, FL.  Both teams basically showed their prize quarterbacks the door because, well, the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be. This has caused me to ponder.  I can list a lot of famous quarterbacks who didn’t retire from the teams they made famous.  At my last church in Jacksonville NC I did the funerals of a lot of the charter members of that church which was started in 1959.  One of them was a career Marine from West Virginia.  He told me that he was the one who convinced the Staff-Parish Relations Committee to ask the pastor who started the move.  Humans who do well for their human institutions often end up leaving them; schools, churches, corporations, businesses, even things like civic clubs.  It’s like the human entity is bigger than the humans that made them.   Now that I’m in Genesis, I came to the passage of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot (Abraham’s nephew) was spared from the destruction by angels.  They told him to flee to the mountains.  He was afraid of the mountains.  He asked to go to another city and this was allowed...and the city was spared because of Lot.   The Bible often places a great deal of emphasis on the individual.  One individual’s righteousness can change the course of events.  One human’s treachery can bring destruction.  But, like all of life, the community’s survival is paramount to the individual.  It’s why we all work together to bring ourselves out of this pandemic.  Rachel is staying in Norwood to help with Simon.  I will have my work here as well as helping with a small church.  There is no room for selfishness or pride in a pandemic.  We all work together.  That’s how it is.  The sooner we do it, the better we’ll be. By the way, Lot DID end up in the mountains!  The rest of Genesis 19 is far more interesting than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and all those fireworks.  (Did you see what I did, there?)  But, please, don’t let your children read it.   All praise to our redeeming Lord, who joins us by his grace; And bids us, each to each restored, together seek his face. O God of all freedom, help us to be freed from our own selfish ends to be part of a community which heals together.  Amen. Pastor Rick Moser

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