Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ground Hog Day

Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:43-44

A few years back we visited Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania during the Christmas holidays. We were out in Western Pennsylvania, visiting my husband's mother, and we took a side trip for a few hours. We went to the visitor's center and the zoo to see the groundhog they call Phil. And we saw a town covered in Groundhog statues, a town identified with a ceremony and a rodent that happens once a year, for a few moments in the early hours of the morning. This little town is overrun with tourists for this very short season. The ground hog is usually pulled from his hiding spot and if he sees his shadow, there are six more weeks of winter. All this for a little speculative, at best, weather prediction. Many folks make fun of this custom, which seems to be inaccurate and foolish to outsiders. The people of Punsutawney genuinely seem to love their little claim to fame and have every possible ground hog day souvenir available.

There is grumbling in our gospel reading today from those who think Jesus' claim to being the bread of heaven is a bit much. He is claiming a lofty position for himself and claiming that he has the power to make us the children of God, forever. Predictions of any sort or often meet with grumbling. Promises make us uncomfortable and skeptical. And it seems as if Jesus understands their humnaity and concern.

Today, I want to give thanks for the many people who celebrate with great joy the customs and identity they have been given. Passion is a great gift and I want to live passionately within this place and among these people. Today, I want to celebrate the many unique gifts that come my way. And I want to trust that God is the author of the special and unique gifts and people in my life. May we all celebrate those people and things that bless us and make us a unique people.

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