Yesterday afternoon (in the morning Beth and the boys went to a pumpkin patch--see her blog link on the right) we took advantage of more nice fall weather and went for a "nature walk" at Serpentine Fen. I'm not sure if it counts as a nature walk when it borders a major double-lane highway on one side and another major road on another--we couldn't escape the sound of cars, or airplanes flying overhead for that matter. But we were surrounded by the wetlands (fens) along the Serpentine River--and views of the mountains around us. We're at the tail end of migration--there had been a fair amount of ducks and geese stopping over a few weeks ago--but there were still a fair amount of birds around: ducks, geese (Canadian, of course), grebes, cormorants, eagles, herons and other waterfowl and song birds. We've actually seen more Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons (GBHs as we fondly call them) since we've been here than in our whole life before.
It was a 4km loop with 3 observation towers along the way. Anders was pretty careful to avoid stepping in dog excrement (irresponsible dog walkers is a whole other rant). But somewhere along the way his foot managed to find a pile of poop, I discovered as I was carrying him on my shoulders at the end of the walk. We tried to wipe it off on the grass--with little luck. Dog poop sticks with you, it seems--and it seems to smell worse the longer it's around.
Today was Friends Sunday at church (it's a more casual service with a meal afterward that people are supposed to invite friends to--personally, don't think we should change the way we worship for the sake of making church more "inviting." I think we should be inviting people to experience Jesus through our life (explore the faith through talks or a friendly Bible study) and let worship be a place where believers come to glorify God and visitors can experience true worship. But that's just my opinion, and I'm glad to work within the system as need be). Anyway, the point I'm working toward is that the Worship Committee asked Beth to share some of her life story today (no sermon--just a testimony on these Sundays). She talked about forgiveness: the incidents in her life that have required it, how hard it is to face still, the amazingness of God's example in forgiving us.
Not forgiving (and all sin, for that matter) is a little like dog poop on a shoe. You can ignore it and leave it there all you want, but it's just going to get worse. And no good comes of keeping it there. I'm always saddened when I hear people on the news (Christians, especially) who have gone through a tragedy in their lives, but refuse to offer forgiveness. Anger, bitterness and grudges (besides leading to the dark side) eat away at us. They do no good. We think that in not forgiving, we maintain strength and power--but instead, we've let unforgiveness take control of us. True strength comes in forgiving (plus, Jesus says God won't forgive us if we don't forgive others). So wash that poop off your shoe!