The house we moved into does not have an entrance into the back yard. In order to get there one has to exit through the front door or the front garage door and around to the gate in back. It is not a big inconvenience other than for us to take Simeon around to give him a place to stretch his legs. I am working on getting his underground fence in place in order to create for him a safe space that he can find his own way back without our assistance. Hopefully in the next week or so I can get that done.
He has been doing really well though, for the most part he does what he is told and I have been able to just let him out the front door walk with him telling him to “Heel” and “Come” and he follows to the back so I can let him through the gate into the fenced yard. Saturday we were coming back to the front of the house and across the street was a young man jogging with his dog. I saw Simeon’s brow wrinkle and his ears perk and at that moment I simply said, “Simeon, sit! Stay!” And he did, but he REALLY wanted to go play with that other dog, after all as I have mentioned before all living beings are for his enjoyment and why else would they be within his line of sight for any other reason than to play with him. But he sat; he was in a rather highly anxious state with just a little anticipatory wiggle that seemed to pulse through his whole body and with a slight hint of a whine. He REALLY wanted to go.
I knew it the moment he looked at me with those big brown eyes, I said in a quiet stern voice, “Sim…” And he was off!! Across and down the street he ran to meet his new friend with me calling him and chasing him down the street. He arrived to cut off the jogger who was very gracious in letting Simeon meet his own dog, arrived speaking apologies between huffs and puffs, scolding Simeon I took him by the collar and led him home to be banished to his bed by the fireplace in the living room.
You know, I was not a happy dog owner in those moments and at the same time I understand that is just who Simeon is, he loves to play, he loves other animals, both the two and four legged kind. There are very practical reasons for needing him to obey my commands in regards to safety for him, us, and those he might choose to encounter.
In life for us, rules and boundaries are important. There are very practical reasons they are in place for the safety of ourselves, others, and the world around us. Not unlike Simeon we need to know when to obey, stay, and toe the line. And then there are times when injustice and oppression ask us to bolt for the freedom and justice that is the right of all of us. Wisdom comes with knowing when to stay within the boundaries of safety, and when to step across those lines of injustice and oppression.
Jesus seemed to know the wisdom of staying within the bounds of the law and when it was time to challenge the status quo and press the boundaries of the law and step into the justice and freedom of grace. As we journey on here at College Hill I pray we stay committed to Wisdom, Boldness, and Grace as we continue as a beacon of welcome, grace, inclusion, and love in our community, conference, and state.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church.
Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.