Diana, Will and I want to thank everyone for the wonderful reception we have received from all of you as we entered life in Oakland. We have met so many people with so many good wishes that we were overwhelmed from the day we arrived and even up to this point as you continue to embrace us into your community. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
One of the ways you embraced us with love is the ears of sweet corn we have received and I must say you grow some really good sweet corn around here. In some communities I hear more about the raccoons than the bountiful harvest of corn. Now I know raccoons are in southwest Iowa as well as any other place in Iowa and the people in the Oakland area have the same battles in growing sweet corn as anyone else.
I know that sweet corn is a precious commodity that there is never enough or there is never enough to last long enough. I know a lot of you freeze your sweet corn, but once it is off the cob there is something lost. Whether it’s the hot, humid summer breeze passing over us as we chomp down on those golden kernels of corn at a backyard picnic table, and the heat and humidity no matter how bad are forgotten because of that sweet taste that is melting in your mouth. Or will most of us remember the sweet butter that is dripping down our fingers as we hold a fresh boiled ear of corn in our hands. Don’t get me wrong frozen corn is good stuff that I enjoy at any time of the year!!!
But sweet corn is an experience that we hold on to through winter and grow in anticipation in the spring as we prepare the ground to grow more sweet corn.
The Jesus we have met in you, the people of Oakland has been like that experience of sweet corn. Jesus is an experience that is sweet and filled with memories that embraces us so that those images will guide us through the winters of our lives as we grow with anticipation at what is going to happen in the spring as we all be renewed and grow through resurrection.
Our prayer is that we do the same for you. That the experience of Jesus we bring to you is just as sweet, dripping with butter and an experience that will sustain you through the winters of your lives but always leave you with anticipation of resurrection. Between all of us the opportunities of Jesus for our neighbor will be endless as Jesus is endless. But I warn you that it’s never a good thing to try to put Jesus in a bag or a jar and try to freeze Jesus as there is no need to because Jesus is always fresh whether: fall, winter, spring or summer. So go and enjoy some sweet corn and make it an out of this world experience.
See you Sunday!
Rev. Dennis Hopes