I do not like coconut. I never have. I do not believe that I ever will. When my younger brother was born, my mother’s friends took turns entertaining me. At five I saw the Mona Lisa three times. What I remember are very long lines, a tiny painting and being taken to Gifford’s ice cream parlor. One of my mother’s friends asked what flavor of ice cream I would like. Obviously, chocolate! A few moments later I was presented with what looked like a chocolate ice cream cone. I was delighted. Well, I was delighted until I tasted the cone and discovered that hidden inside that luscious chocolate was, yes, you guessed it, coconut. Attempting to be a well-behaved and compliant child, I quietly sat in my seat licking the cone. When I got a piece of dreaded coconut, I licked my hand to remove the coconut and then wiped my hand on the ceiling of the car. It seemed like a good strategy to me: enjoy the chocolate and get rid of the coconut. All was good, well, until my mother’s friend turned around and saw a patch of sticky brown ice cream on the roof over my seat in the back of her car.
We all know that life is forever changing. Perhaps it is good now and then to try new things. Perhaps it is good to know what we like and hold onto those things. Perhaps, with age, we learn to look closely and seek things hidden deep within. What we do know is that living is about balancing. As Saint Barnabas approaches yet another time of transition, as each of us approach times of change both great and small, we remember first and foremost that we do not walk this road alone: our God walks with us, always. We learn to open our eyes and our hearts to where God is making things new. We hold fast to those core truths that define who we are: followers of Christ.
In the days and weeks to come, remember God is with us. Attempt to open your hearts and minds seeking places where God is doing new things. Hold fast to your faith, where God has long been present and at work in your life. Where we have been leaves a mark, sometimes a sticky chocolate one, but a mark nonetheless, a marker of the choices that we make and the actions that we take. And oh, yes, I have left many marks since that chocolate ceiling, but I still do not like coconut!
The Rev. Sarah Nelson