Newsletter June 2022

  Dear Family and Friends at Trinity,


 When I was in college, during the summers I worked in a restaurant in Nisswa, MN, to earn tuition.  I loved that job. I worked with other young women from all over the US, I met interesting customers, and I was in my very favorite part of the world, northern MN, God’s country.

  As it happened one day as I was waiting on a family group, the man looked at me in a rather curious way, not quite a stare, but more than a cursory glance and then said, “May I ask you a question?” “Sure,” I replied,  If I don’t want to answer it, I won’t”.  It was obviously going to be a personal question and not an inquiry about the menu.  ‘Are you by chance Annie Brownlee’s daughter?”  I was stunned. “Yes, I am, but how do you know that?  Do I know you?”  He laughed and explained, “Annie Brownlee was my teacher years ago  When I saw you walking towards us I said to myself, ‘That is Miss Brownlee my teacher!’ You look just like I remember her looking.

 This was not the first time something like that had happened, although it was the first time a total stranger, miles from the Truman area had made the connection. I was often told I looked like my mother, or I reminded people of my mother.  There are baby pictures of her and me that are virtually indistinguishable from one another except for the clothes.  When I look at my hands, I see her hands, and once in a while I catch myself doing something exactly like she would have done it, although I didn’t plan it that way, and also once in a while I even catch myself saying something she would have said,  Oh No! I sound just like my mother! I said I would never say that!”  But mostly I do not think I look like my mother.

  I am sure you have had similar experiences in which by something you said, or the way you looked, you have been identified as related to another person.  I have a friend I can spot in any crowd because he walks exactly like his father walked and his son walks exactly like he does!  When I worked in social services years ago, I was helping a young woman complete the then necessary paternity action papers for child support.  She turned her child toward me, and I said, ‘You don’t even have to tell me who your baby’s father is. I know”. The child was the proverbial “spitting image” of someone with whom I had gone to school!

  Like it or not, we are often identified by our appearance, characteristics, voice,  personalities, or skills, as belonging to a specific family.

  In Scripture we are reminded again and again, that if we are Christians, followers of Christ, and children of God, people should know that by looking at us.  They should recognize us as belonging to the family of God by the things we say, by the way in which we deal with other people, by our ability to be hopeful when all seems hopeless, to be able to rejoice when there seems little about which to be joyful, to forgive instead of harboring hatred or ill-will, to be merciful when others cry only for revenge, and above all to love, especially the un-loveable. We are called to reflect the very image of God.  We are to bear the family resemblance so that others might eagerly come into the family too.

  In II Corinthians 4:10, in the Phillips Modern English, is this interesting little line: “…so that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal bodies”.  It is the textual basis for a beautiful old prayer song, by Albert Osborn.

      “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. All His wonderful passion and purity.

        O, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine, Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me”.


 The question which each of us must answer is simply (or not so simply) this: “When people look at me, do they see a member of the family of God?”


Have a great June!


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