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Introduction #2

Add the hazards of a pandemic to our world full of ills, and know there is no guarantee that we will escape the misery of a Coronavirus infection. If “social distancing” bothers some, it beats being “six feet under.” Sometimes I wonder if my smile is visible when I wear the mask at my local market. What if my infectious smile could give someone a lift, or my enthusiasm for premium Rainier cherries prove to be contagious?


A newspaper article in March 2021 brought out the cantankerous person in me. Titled, “Christian prophets are on the rise,” it pointed out the decline of denominational Christianity, allowing “magnetic independent leaders to step into the void.” Some of these foretold the end of Covid-19 by a certain date, and who conclusively would occupy the White House. Bickering over failed predictions notwithstanding, “the popularity of self-appointed prophets shows no signs of waning.” Unaware of a vaccine against such a scary slide into apostasy, I choose to get my shot in the arm from Paul


In 1 Cor. 14:1 and 3 he writes, “Make love your aim and earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy…For he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” Long ago, at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, I was privileged to teach a 7-week course on the Second Letter of John, “The Elder to the elect Lady.” As a mixed bunch of students getting the hang of Pauline “forthtelling,” we were having a ball mining the Scriptures for context, and loving on each other. To Bernice, a strikingly attractive older black woman, it was all excitingly new. She was thrilled to learn about the Holy Spirit and to begin sensing what I like to call the “nearness and dearness of Jesus.” But just as mysteriously as she had popped up in our group, so she disappeared. When by chance I learned that Bernice was in the psych ward in a Santa Monica hospital, I went to see her immediately and we had a most joyous reunion. When I got ready to leave, she insisted on parading me around her floor and introducing me to staff as “my friend Vreni, the elect lady.”


I’m too lazy-old now to travel all over town, but if any reader wants the kind of shot in the arm that builds up, encourages, and consoles, I’d be happy to invite you into my home for an informal visit. Your infectious smile could make my day, and your walk with Jesus could spur me on to deepen mine. I grew up as a Swiss and they are mocked for having no sense of humor. Hah! I hogged it all to bring it with me when I came to America at age 21. So, brace yourself for some giggles and good stories as well. Please tip me off at my email address: vrenischiess@verizon.net.

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