Saturday, April 29, 2006

2424 Eleven minutes a day

There are books and websites filled with stories and ideas for sermons. Jesus told parables to illustrate a point, and many preachers follow his example. I sort of liked this one found at Bible Study and Sermon Resource Articles, although my take is a bit different:

"The amazing potential of only eleven minutes

Years ago, there was a man who drove a street car in a big city. In the middle of the day each day, he would get to the end of his run, and stop and take a break, and then turn and begin his run back in the other direction. Before he started back on the evening run, he had an eleven minute break there at the end of the line. The streetcar stopped at an empty lot on the edge of town. It was an old deserted lot that nobody wanted. It was spoiled by trash and rubbish that had washed over it in rainy weather, and trash that people had dumped on it while nobody was looking. There were broken bottles and rusty cans and trash of all kinds laying everywhere.

One day, as the streetcar driver was standing around taking his eleven minute break, it occurred to him that he could make better use of his break by occupying his time cleaning up the lot. At first, he started picking up the paper that he saw. Then the cans, then the bottles and broken glass.

After several days, spending only eleven minutes at a time, the property began to look dramatically different. With a sickle, he cut the grass a little at a time. In the spring, he planted flower seeds, small shrubs, and cuttings from shrubs. Just using a little time each day, the streetcar operator converted the ugly vacant lot into a beautiful place that looked like a park. Everyone that saw it was impressed and delighted."

The above being a sermon resource and not a call for Earth Day, it then moves on to the spiritual disciplines, and what could a small amount of time each day do for the human spirit. If I tried that routine, I'd fail for sure. However, for me going out and cleaning up trash on my walk would turn into a spiritual discipline. I would feel better about the community I was creating, people might follow my example (maybe some dog walkers would remember to bring their little baggies with them), I could contemplate God's creation while doing it, and I could remember my mother who used to say while digging thistles instead of using chemicals, "I can't save the world but I can clean up four acres."

Trash in the creek

Pop on the rocks

Ubiquitous bags

I took these photos this morning walking along the creek that surrounds our complex. They could have been tossed from a car miles away.

Addendum: You've seen the ads that Google places on websites? Certain words in the text key the ads. This particular article has ads for waste management, haz-mat handling and used garbage trucks.

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