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Can’t Get There from Here!

On Sunday, December 4th, as you make your way to Lenape Valley to celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent, you may feel like you ‘can’t get there from here.’  SEPTA has planned to replace the railroad tracks that cross Butler Ave. just north of Bristol Rd.  The commuters in our area will appreciate SEPTA’s attention to track safety.  But for those of us using four-wheel transportation, the road closure over the 1st weekend in December will make it feel like we ‘can’t get there from here.’  You can follow the detour down Bristol to Upper State to Almshouse to Butler. (Ignore the road closure sign at Butler- Local traffic can take a left to access the church.) Or you can detour up Main St. in Chalfont to Park to Ferry to Keeley to Sioux to Lenape to Butler.  Did you follow those directions?

Many of you remember when the Butler Ave bridge was under construction. I often felt like Little Red Riding Hood- “over the river and through the woods”- as I made my way to church.  It took some creative navigation and a determined will to get past that road closure.  On Sunday, you may feel like you need a GPS and a trail guide to get to church, but let me assure you, the detour is worth the effort.  Christmas carols and Advent candles await.  And I can already smell the pancakes and bacon that will be served by our youth at our first Pancake Breakfast since 2019.  Don’t let the ‘can’t get there from here’ feeling stop you from coming!

I faced my own ‘can’t get there from here’ experience the day before Thanksgiving.  That morning, I received a call that one of our members was in Wills Eye Hospital at 8th and Walnut in the city.  My schedule was already full of visits that needed to be made, so Wills Eye would have to be my last stop.  That evening, the trip into the city was surprisingly easy. But when I began my journey home, I discovered the city in full locked-down mode.  On Thanksgiving Day, Philadelphia hosts a grand parade complete with floats to delight the crowds.  The night before the parade, those floats are stored on the streets of the city, creating one road closure after the next.  As I began my drive home, I had no detour guide.  My GPS was no help.  I found myself turning right and then left, losing all sense of direction.  When my husband called to check on my progress, I honestly had no idea where I was or how to get home.  I just kept driving.  I wasn’t going to let the ‘can’t get there from here’ feeling stop me from getting home for dinner that night.

Last Sunday, Joe Brereton, the Principal of Barclay Elementary School, joined us for worship.  For the last two and a half years, Lenape Valley Church has partnered with the Barclay Farmer’s Market to feed hungry families in the Central Bucks school district.  We bring bags of dry goods to church and Joe’s team gets the food into the hands of our neighbors who are struggling to feed their children.  On Sunday, Joe shared that over a thousand of our neighbor’s children are hungry.  Hunger impacts their health and education.  Hunger will stunt their future reality.  How can it be that in this wealthy community children go to bed hungry every night?  Principal Brereton shared his vision to end childhood hunger in our community.  What an audacious dream!  Many would say that Joe is an idealist… that in this broken world we can’t get to that dream from here.  But when I put my bag of dry goods in our LVC cart on Sunday, I am choosing to join Principal Joe Brereton in his audacious dream!

Loren Eiseley, an anthropologist and educator from the early 1900’s, told the parable of a man walking along a beach one day.  He noticed a boy picking up a starfish and gently throwing it into the ocean.  He approached the boy and asked, “What are you doing?”  The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.  The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”  “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beaches and hundreds of starfish?  You can’t make a difference.”  After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the surf.  “I made a difference for that one… (he threw another) and that one… (he threw another) and that one…”  How many starfish are on our path today?  Imagine if each of us saved just one… and then perhaps another…

This Advent season, we will have the opportunity to partner with those who believe that every starfish matters- that we CAN get there from here.  Books for our Preschool children- to encourage reading.  Gift cards and donations to help struggling families to create Christmas for their children.  Gifts for Baby Jesus to bless little ones at the Cradle of Hope.  Dry goods for the Barclay Farmer’s Market.  Each child we help bears the face of Jesus.  What a privilege to be part of God’s audacious dream to heal a broken world!  Friends, by the grace of God, we CAN get there from here.

With you throwing a few starfish today…
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