July 4th

Here on the shore of Lake Michigan about 150 miles north of Chicago 150 years ago some Franciscan monks built an Indian Mission church on land donated by a French immigrant named Jean Baptiste.  They were a mission outpost surrounded by wild country and native Americans (Ottawa, Chippewa) who had little comprehension of the Christian traditions and values.  We, too, are an out post surrounded by a culture that takes us for granted but doesn't understand us.  We need to realize that we must reach out into our neighborhood and community and invite friends and neighbors because they don't often come to us without invitation any more than Native Americans flooded into the Indian Mission just because someone built it near them.  Ottawa Indians and local settler types recently worked together to restore the old mission church building, so that effort brought people together in community- helping to fulfill the mission of the Franciscan priests who came here 150 years ago to bring Christ to the Ottawa and Chippewa.

Last evening I was at my brother's home about 2 miles from the mission church in Michigan.  His house sits about 20 feet from the dock where he keeps his 60-foot sailboat on a protected harbor, "Bay Harbor." I took a picture of his sailboat from the back porch as the 4th of July fireworks were starting and the sun was setting.  My Sister-In-Law, Nancy McKinstry (who'd have thought there could be two of these on Earth and somehow my brother and I would each marry one?) put c.d.'s of patriotic music on as the fireworks popped and exploded outdoors.  It was a beautiful evening.

Peace, John