Growing up, I had a collie named Penny. She was a rescue. A friend of Dad’s found her in a ditch and we adopted her. I loved that dog. She was a sweet, kind, loving and nurturing dog. Penny, like so many other dogs, always knew when I needed her.
Behind our house in rural Hanover County, was a path that lead to the creek and would wind around to my grandparents’ property. Penny would accompany me on my treks though the woods. She would always walk next me, but most of the time she would run ahead of me. Then, she would wait for me to catch up before running ahead again.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:1-2, NRSV).
I had done everything I could think of to do.
It was a warm, sunny day. My six-year-old self left no parts of the rural countryside undiscovered.I had trampled through the small creek trying to catch frogs. I had successfully jumped over my grandfather’s fence, which was there to keep the goats in the lot, and to keep the grandchildren out of the lot.
I carefully tip-toed bare foot inside the old shed that served as a shelter for Old Billy. I ran through the lot, dodging the piles of little, round pellets the goats had left behind. I attempted to climb up long, stringy moss hanging from the trees.
I skipped through the strawberry patch, picking a few for myself. I got as close as I could to the beehive, without disturbing their work. I climbed high up into the old pine tree next to my grandparents’ home.
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We have heard the phrase, “fair and square,” and “cheaters never prosper.” We usually hear them in the context of sports or in education. Remember playing a pickup game of baseball in the backyard and someone, maybe you, telling your friends that something was “fair and square?”
It can speak to a sense of justice and integrity.
In the Mickey Mouse short below, Mickey is faced with the challenge of cheating (like everyone else) or being faithful to the spirit of fair play.
by Rev. Lyndsie Blakely
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be shamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.” (Psalm 25:1-10)
My two-year-old son has a new favorite show called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” which is a spin off from “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” It does a fantastic job of teaching morals and life lessons using little jingles that are sung over and over throughout the episode.
By Rev. Jacob Sahms
Read Psalm 51:1-7.
Mercy. It’s not a word we hear frequently in today’s society. Judgment? Fairness? Crime and punishment?
Those terms are more comfortable in our black and white worlds. But in Psalm 51, David knows he needs mercy, even though he doesn’t deserve it, because the prophet Nathan pointed it out to him. He couldn’t see his sin on his own, but his ‘friend’ helped him recognize what he had done. In reality, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed (2 Samuel 11). That’s why he’s here, begging for God to forgive him.