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Pastor Gen - Thoughts from a Sabbatical #14

a rocky beach with a partly-cloudy sky. The waves are breaking on the beach. The image is doubled, with one showin in black and white and the other in color

Dear Veradale Friends,

It has been another week of wonderful blessings and giving thanks.I have been working on the images from the last day in New Zealand as well as on the things around my home. I was able to help a neighbor and to work on entering my expenses from the sabbatical into an Excel based document. One of the blessings of accounting for the expenses is the way I am reminded of how much has happened. What an adventure!

Thoughts and Reflections

This week we have two opportunities to do something together. One of these has already happened at the time you hear this letter. It is the return to Pacific Standard Time. Most of us have smart phones who adjust the time without us putting in much effort. Still, it is an odd and somewhat amazing event. Throughout our country, everyone (with the acceptation of those in Arizona and Hawaii) will change their clocks back an hour. While there are lots of reasons to look forward to the end of this practice, for now, we "fall back”. For the sake of being able to do business, make plans, schedule appointments, we must agree on the month, day, and time in which we live as a society. For the people of our country to agree to do even one thing together for the sake of being together, is a rare delight.

This brings forward the second and more demanding of the opportunities we have this week — voting. When the kids were little, we would sit at the kitchen table with the voter’s guide and talk. I would ask them what they thought about the people and topics on the ballot. On Election Day, we would go to vote in a neighbor’s garage. (The kids loved getting the little “I voted” stickers.) Now, those kids are adults turning in their own ballots at a drop box. While the act of voting has come under attack by some who cannot accept the will of all the people, voting still offers us hope that we might act together for the good of all.

The effort to consider what is good for all people certainly can seem lost in the drama of campaign ads and arguments. I thought about this often as I worked on this week’s gallery from the last day in New Zealand. On that last day together, we spent part of our time looking at what compositions make good black and white images. The two images at the top of this letter are the same except one is in black and white and one is in color. The image in black and white causes the drama to intensify with soft, menacing clouds; foamy, moving water; and sharp, shadowy rocks. The color images has the same stormy clouds, powerful waves, and dangerous rocks. The difference with the color is in the little glimmers of blue sky and the beginnings of sunset colors that seem to say there is more to this story than the drama.

While working on these images and thinking about voting, the thought came that there is much more to the story than just the drama. If you haven’t turned in your ballot yet, if you have been feeling caught up in that drama and discouraged by the ads, this is the opportunity to see things with more color and more hope. Vote on or before this Tuesday.

Remember the story of the man who leaves his talents of gold with three different servants in Matthew 25:14-30. The first and second servant invest the talents while the third servant does nothing. To those who tried to do something, the man says ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in my happiness!’ To the one who didn’t try -- well the man had very unkind words. Even with all the drama out there, study the candidates and issues on the ballot and vote. It may not be much and it is the blue sky of hope in the storms of our nation.

With a grateful and hopeful heart,

Pastor Gen

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