With the weather on its best behaviour, the twelfth annual gathering of local churches in the park proved a stellar Sunday for the hundreds gathered. Singers and musicians from the various churches, led by the United Church’s Harry Morgan performed their usual wonders in words and music.
Pastor Brian Plouffe’s heartfelt message on the discipline and other-centeredness essential to the Christian walk hit the spot for many in attendance. Basing much of what he said on Paul’s convicting words in Hebrew 12, Bill Gliddon ‘warmed us up’ with a reading from Hebrews 12:4-13. Those last few verses remind us:
“While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
“So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!” [Heb. 12:9-13, The Message]
We WILL stumble, we WILL be disciplined, and yet it’s all to the good, Brian reminded us. And it’s absolutely nothing compared to what Jesus went through on the cross, just for us. We must keep our eyes focused on Him, endure and persevere, and the joy does and will come.
He concluded with a delightfully apropos poem called Two Frogs in Cream:
Two frogs fell into a can of cream,
Or so I’ve heard it told.
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold.
“Oh, what’s the use?” croaked Number 1,
“Tis fate; no help’s around.
Good-bye, my friends; good-bye, sad world!”
and weeping still, he drowned.
But Number 2, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise.
The while he wiped his creamy face
And dried his creamy eyes.
“I’ll swim awhile, at least,” he said,
Or so I’ve heard he said.
“It really wouldn’t help the world
If one more frog were dead.”
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter;
But kicked and kicked and swam and kicked …
Then hopped out, via butter.