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I have a new favorite movie these days. It’s a kind of live action Winnie the Pooh. There are lots of things in this movie that make me laugh. And some of the best parts actually tug at my heart. In one scene, the grown up Christopher Robin, wakes up surrounded by his childhood stuffed animal friends, who can, of course talk. And although he is somewhat happy to be with them, he needs to rush off and leave them. He gives Winnie the Pooh his compass and Pooh gives him a red balloon. They exchange belongings, things of some significance to each other which symbolizes their connection. It is a brief moment, but it underscores much of the theme of the movie, I think. And in that small moment they belong to each other.

I have found the desire to belong to someone is pretty powerful. I don’t want to be an object owned, but to be appreciated for who I am and what I can do by someone. Being a member of this congregation has given me a sense of belonging, for sure. But the deeper feeling of being loved for who I am, comes from my faith in God. Jesus reminds us that it’s nice to be part of the “chosen” but it’s more important to be a part of the larger community of humanity. And to include everyone in that circle of belonging. Not because they look the same, or act the same or even call God by the same name. But because God loves all, we are required to do the same. Is required the right word? I kind of think so. In order to be the people of God, God has asked us to be people who loves as the Almighty loves us. Without reservation. Without boundaries. Without specific qualifications.

Do you belong? Not to this congregation, necessarily. But to God? You betcha! And you don’t even have to give him a compass or red balloon. Just your heart. The Creator is waiting just for you.

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