When I was growing up my parents had a good friend named Albert. Albert and my Father had worked together and they often shared fishing vacations up north. When my Father was out in the boat fishing and the fish were biting, Albert would suddenly appear and pull up close to catch some fish. This irritated my Father who then would use the expression that Albert was “pulling an Albert”. This meant that instead of finding his own spot he was moving in on my Father’s spot and catching fish that were meant for my Father -after all he had found the spot! Albert and my Father were close, my Father was the one who had to tell him the State Police had come to the lake looking for him because his daughter had been killed in an automobile accident. I know Albert was there when my brother died, and my parents were grieving. Albert and my Father had a history. They were together through happy and sad times and never turned from each other even though my Father was irritated about the fishing spot. As long as I can remember “pulling an Albert” meant someone was grabbing your success. I think they learned to forget the irritations of small things because they had been together through the big things. I have had, and thanks be to God still have, good friends that I hope I have been there for, and I know they have been there for me. Not that there haven’t been days when we drove each other nuts. Families, friendships, church and relationships can be like that. We may irritate each other, but in the clutch, we are there. Jesus calls us to be in community with each other.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Lord we ask your forgiveness for when we are judgmental, when we are irritated, when we let anger lead us. Be with us in our relationships that we may show others your love. Be with those in our midst who are grieving, those who are hurting, those who are ill, those who suffer oppression. Be with our church that we may be a welcoming place that offers solace to the hurting, comfort to the afflicted, and light to those whose lives are in darkness. Be with our Pastor, our staff, and our leaders, may they feel your presence. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.