Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The silence is deafening in our house. The bouncy seat is still. There are no bottles by the sink. Elisa, her mom and her brothers and sisters are visiting Liz's parents this week and it's too quiet! We have loved having Tommy for supper since they've been gone, but the fun is not complete without the rest of his family. When I asked him earlier in the week when they were coming home, he said, "Not soon enough." My sentiments exactly!

It's Holy Week and we're about to remember the darkest day in the Church and then celebrate the most joyous day--the day of resurrection. I am reminded of Tony Campolo telling of a "preaching competition" he had with a seasoned African American minister. Campolo gave his sermon his all, felt really good about his message and sat down, thinking he had that competition in the bag. Then the other minister stood and preached a five word message: "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming." He began slowly and quietly and over and over he preached those words, getting louder and louder until he finished with all the thunder and emotion he could muster: "IT'S FRIDAY, BUT SUNDAY'S COMING." Therein lies our hope.

It's March Madness--basketball, basketball, basketball. Our Mississippi State Bulldogs have done well this year and are playing Friday night in the NCAA Tournament. You can be sure we'll be watching. We were tuned in last Friday watching them in the SEC Tournament when, at the end of an exciting game and in over time, a tornado hit the side of the arena where they were playing. That's surely a game no State fan will forget. Six SEC teams are in the "Big Dance," as TV folks like to call it so we'll have lots of games to watch. At least two other SEC teams are playing in the NIT so we'll be watching them too. Jackson has hosted the NAIA Women's Basketball Tournament for nineteen years and it, too, is being played this week. Not only is it a boost to the economy, but local folks get involved with hosting and sponsoring visiting teams and take advantage of watching some good basketball at the downtown arena. We're going with a group from our church tomorrow. I wonder if there is such a thing as basketball overload.

We have some new guests--at least I think they are still here. Yesterday at breakfast I was watching our bird friends eating from the containers on our back porch. I noticed a small bird with a twig in its mouth, sitting on the hummingbird feeder looking around. Then it darted into the beautiful, hand painted gourd hanging on the porch for a decoration. It really is a birdhouse, but I bought it because a special lady made it and for its artistic value. The little bird, a wren, was joined by a second wren and I watched them dart in and out with leaves and twigs in their beaks all morning. My initial thought was, "No, not in my birdhouse." My second thought was a question: "Why not my birdhouse?" After all, it is a birdhouse and hanging it suggested to the wrens that they were welcome in it. Why would I say by my action, "Come on in" and then be a bit concerned that they actually did? There's bound to be a sermon illustration in that. I haven't seen the wrens today. I hope they are taking cover from the thunderstorms and not feeling unwelcome.

These things and income tax are on my mind.

Pastor Margaret

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