The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Nancy Bacon

Sun, sand, surf: we 'otter' play more

From the Pastor’s Desk


This past week I attended a meeting at the beach in Santa Barbara. While meetings can be dull, this one allowed me to see the beautiful ocean up close and the cutest adolescent sea lion I have ever witnessed. The little guy was playing in the water. Over and over again, he kept throwing a piece of plastic up into the air and catching it with his nose. Our meeting eventually stopped, as none of us could keep our eyes off of him. What a delight. The little fellow seemed to be having a blast, just like a child, with a favorite ball or toy.

The meeting was a regional group of pastors and we were meant to be discussing issues related to church ministry. However, this little sea lion couldn’t quit playing and drawing us toward contemplating him, the garbage he had claimed as a toy, and the miracle of his astounding movements. It would have been fun to play catch with him, and I wondered if he was hoping we might play with him. His actions spoke deeply to me.

One of my church’s mottos is, “God is still speaking.” We affirm that God didn’t stop speaking 2000 years ago, with all of God’s words trapped in one holy book. We affirm that God continues speaking today, and through whatever means God chooses. As I watched the ongoing playful stamina of the young sea lion, I felt God was surely speaking through this encounter. Life is precious and brief and we are all connected through our astounding environment. We “otter” play and laugh and rejoice. There is so much around us to be grateful for. Let nature, God’s playground, grab your attention. Let yourself take in just how good it is to be alive right now.

Our work and responsibilities will always be calling and they, too, can be spiritual actions and practices we do to help and serve others. It’s the balance that needs our attention. Too much of either work or play leaves us out of sync with ourselves, our environment, God, and those who must put up dealing with us.

The biblical story of Mary and Martha tells of two sisters attending in different ways to what they perceive God calling them to do. Martha is busy working to provide hospitality to guests - a fine and loving act of service - while Mary perceives that her time is best spent simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to him, during the short time she has available to be with him.

Perhaps many of us can relate to Mary and Martha. People and our environment need our hospitality, responsibility and care, but they also need our undivided attention sometimes and we need to truly be present with them as well. These are the key moments of life - when we are most alive. When two or more are gathered and fully present we may experience some profound divine encounters.

May your summer be blessed by people who tend to your needs for food and comfort, may you provide those blessings to others, and may you deeply sense God speaking to your heart, showing you what is most important for you to attend to.

Love, Pastor Nancy

About Tehachapi Community Congregational UCC:

No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here!

The Tehachapi Community Congregational UCC is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person’s unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.

We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. Worship and Sunday School are at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Please join us for coffee and fellowship at our Friendship Hall after worship (approximately 11:30 a.m.). All are welcome.


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