By Rev. Tracey Leslie
Scripture: John 1: 35-51
The Atwater Eye Care Center at Indiana University changed my life. Many of you are aware that I have dry eye disease. Years ago, when I heard people talk about “dry eye,” I’d think to myself, “well, that must be annoying.” Let me tell you, annoying isn’t even the half of it. It’s just been within recent years that my condition developed. Initially, my optometrist prescribed over the counter drops. Her next step was to insert plugs into my tear ducts. That helped for about a year. But my condition worsened and that was all she had to offer me. Many of you remember Mary Moll. The reason for Marty losing her vision at the end of her life was dry eye disease. As my condition progressed, I could tell I was beginning to lose vision. Then, the pain became so intense it began to interfere with my ability to concentrate and to sleep. During the night I’d toss and turn, uncomfortable with the pain and never falling into a deep, recuperative sleep. I’d wake up every morning exhausted.
By Rev. Tracey Leslie
When I was six years old, my dad was about to graduate from seminary and our family planned to return to our home state of Pennsylvania. But the superintendent in Ohio liked my dad and was hoping to persuade him to remain there. He invited us to dinner at the district parsonage. Now, I don’t know the age of the carpeting in the superintendent’s dining room. But, I’m sure it was younger than I was at the time. It was beautiful – very plush. We sat down and drink orders were taken. I’d been prepped at home and opted for milk. I didn’t like milk as much as the other options, like Coca-Cola. But, milk washed out easily and was easily obscured if it dripped on the white linen tablecloth. After the beverages were served, the first course began. It was a lovely jell-o salad – with some fruit and nuts… and bright, vivid cherry jell-o. Someone served mine. But, my dad was not so lucky. He must not have gotten the spatula fully under the wobbly jell-o and before it had cleared the serving plate, it began to slide. Like a slow-motion instant replay, it seemed it took an eternity for that jell-o to teeter on the edge of the plate, and then slide off. It deflected from the edge of the table – which was covered, as I've already mentioned, with a white, linen tablecloth – and careened toward the floor, pausing but a moment on my father’s pant leg. In my anxiety, I gasped and my arms flung forward, knocking over my glass of milk that ran toward the edge of the table, dripped down the side of the cloth and landed to form a puddle around the mound of jell-o.
By Suzanne Clemenz
Scripture: Genesis 18: 1-15 and Matthew 25: 34-40
Have you ever had the experience of being a stranger in another person’s home? When I was 23, I had the unique opportunity to live with a family overseas, a family that I had not known before, for six months as their au pair, or their mother’s helper. It was an extraordinary experience, one that I will never forget. I lived with an American family in the south of France, taking care of their two sons, ages three and 18 months. The mother and I became the best of friends. The father was an acclaimed artist, and he had lived off and on in Europe for a few decades, first as an apprentice of an Italian fresco painter and then as an artist who traveled and lived wherever he could find work. His life depended on the hospitality of patrons and friends, and this had shaped in him a gracious hospitality.
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On a lifelong journey of seeking to live out God's call on my life and to reflect His grace.
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