Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

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Finding the Key to Hope

                                                                                     December 6, 2017
Dear Friends,

We've all had those moments when we do things without thinking.  The
problem is that there are always consequences.  That's why I had to laugh
as my friend went dumpster diving this week.  I stood and watched as he
was pulling garbage bags out of the dumpster at church.

"I think I accidentally threw my car keys in a garbage bag." he said.  "I
heard a clink when I tossed the McDonald's wrappers in.  I just wasn't
thinking.  I believe my keys were in my hand at the time."  Unfortunately
it was pick up day and the dumpster was full.  What a mess!

He went through the trash bags one by one.  Coffee grinds, tree trimmings,
leftovers from our church luncheon.  He couldn't have chosen a worse week
for it to happen.  Every bag was loaded with the sticky, dripping, remains
of a long holiday weekend at church.

Fortunately he brought along his gloves.  Like a forensic scientist, he laid
out each of the bags along the ground beside the dumpster while trying to
recreate the exact moment when his keys settled into the abyss.  He was
ready to give up as he pulled out the last bag.

That's when he found it.  The look on his face was reminiscent of a child
on Christmas morn.  You would have thought someone had just delivered
a pony.  At that instant I couldn't help but think of the parable Jesus told
in Luke 15 about the woman with the lost coin.

She was ecstatic when she found it.  Jesus compared that moment to the
rejoicing in heaven over a lost sinner who comes home.  Despite what you
my have heard in the past, God loves us so much that he pulls out all the
stops when it comes to finding us when we go astray.

This is the heart of the Christmas message.  Love came down at Christmas.
Embodied in the Christ child was the abiding presence of God himself.
This was "the good news of great joy for all people" that the shepherds
heard.  No wonder they left and went out telling the world.

If you are looking for hope in a world filled with pain, sorrow, and injustice,
you will never find it.  That's like searching through the dumpster.  Look to
the manger instead. You will find an unending supply of grace and bright
hope for tomorrow in the swaddling clothes. For God's love is the true key
to happiness.

God bless! See you in church.  
Cal
Pastor Cal Lord's Weekly Epistle
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