By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Nehemiah ch. 8 and Luke 4:16-30
When Britt and I were dating in seminary, I would grab him in my arms and say, “Kiss me, you fool.” I know; it’s really sappy. Now at that time, Britt was a big fan of Garfield the cat. He had a Garfield mug and some other paraphernalia. The first Christmas after we’d been dating, Britt spent Christmas Eve with his family in Cincinnati and drove up to Dayton early Christmas day so we could drive together back to Pennsylvania to see my family. We’d been dating for a while and we’d discussed the possibility of marriage. Just before Christmas, Britt called and told me he’d bought me a special gift. My heart leapt within me. Could it be an engagement ring? I called my mom and my sister and relayed the conversation to each of them. Britt arrived on Christmas morning and I opened my special gift before we began our drive to Pennsylvania. It was a small figurine of Garfield with the words, “Kiss me, you fool,” written across his chest. Now, had I not been expecting an engagement ring, this would have been a very cute and romantic gift. But, it was no ring and it was a long, difficult drive back to Johnstown where – upon entering my parents’ home – my mother and sister both grabbed hold of my hand to check for a ring. That evening Britt and I had a nice, long talk and the next day we visited a couple of jewelry stores. On New Years’ we went out to dinner. Between the main course and dessert, I went to the ladies’ room. When I returned to the table, there – in front of my plate – was the Garfield. A ring dangled from his paw. On his chest, the word “Kiss” had been X’ed out. In its place was written the word “Marry.” “Marry me, you fool.” Only one word was different. One word was changed and it changed my life.
Words are powerful. And – as I’ve noted in recent weeks – no word is more powerful than the Word of God.
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