Encouragement.  It's powerful and life affirming. 

The first part of my sabbatical was to focus on family milestones.  We had two big events: Boy Scout Eagle Court of Honor for Daniel and High School Graduation for Benjamin. 

At Daniel's Eagle celebration, he told a story of one of his "encouragers" in becoming Eagle.  Daniel has been a part of the GreyWolf, the Boy Scout leadership program for the past two years.  Grey Wolf staffers are held to and hold for themselves to the highest of standards in all areas of scouting, including the uniform inspections. Last year, when Daniel served on Staff, he took note of  the following conversation.

  Mr. Peterson, pointing to the rank insignia:  John, fix your uniform.                                      

John: What? What's wrong with it?  I measured it.  It's in the right place.                                  

 Mr. Peterson: What's the rank?                                                                                                    

John: Life.                                                                                                                                      

 Mr. Peterson: And what should it be?                                                                                        

John: Life.  I'm a life scout....(then...getting the hint) But it will be Eagle soon! I'm working on it!

The funny thing, is the "encourager" wasn't even talking to Daniel.  And.... he could have taken this exchange as being "pushy" or as "shameful."  But he didn't.  Instead, overhearing this little exchange encouraged Daniel.  HE did not want to be "called out."  But he also realized that he could do it - and he wanted to do it before the next Grey Wolf event this summer.  So, even though he is only 15 and scouts have until they are 18 to achieve the rank of Eagle, he pushed himself to complete the Eagle rank and have his Court of Honor before the  2015 summer program began. 

It made me wonder: how often do we encourage - or discourage - one another without even realizing it?  Reflecting back, the people of Faith-LIlac Way have been particularly good at encouraging my kids - and others - in their life and in their faith.   Sometimes we are harder on ourselves.  But your word for today is ENCOURAGEMENT!  I encourage you to not only be an encourager - but try to interpret the words that others say to you or around you as words of encouragement. 

In the scripture that we are dwelling on for this year, the Road to Emmaus, in an exchange that also could be interpreted as "frustrated," or as "shameful,"  Jesus encourages two of his followers to understand what he had been teaching them all along.  Jesus says, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”  But Jesus does not stop there. Instead, "beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures."

Sometimes being an "encourager" takes a little patience.  Sometimes it takes a friendly nudge. But let us be "encouragers" in our words - and in our actions.  That's one of the side benefits of belonging to and being part of a Christian community.  We encourage one another - and ourselves -- and those who are "listening in", perhaps without our even being aware. 

In my Sabbatical time away, I've attended other churches... but that's another blog for another time.  

Until then, peace!

Pastor Pam