Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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May 5 Blog Post

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”So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” - I Corinthians 10:31 NIV

I eat ice cream for the glory of God. Somebody has to do it. It might as well be me. When I was a little kid, we made homemade ice cream every summer. We’d crank out a gallon of ice cream on the back porch, alternating salt and ice until we could crank no more. Then we’d pull out the paddle and my mother and I would tease one each other over whose turn it was to lick the paddle. The argument always ended in a draw, with both our spoons digging into the spoils of victory.

Our generosity ended there. We were gluttons. We packed the ice cream maker with rugs just long enough to hold the temperature while we laid out bowls and toppings. And then the feast began. Our first bowl intoxicates memory to this day. The pure bowl without garnish. The second bowl might add fresh strawberries, while the third perched atop angel food cake. The fourth bowl might be somewhat smaller, saving room at the side for a brownie or fudge. After that, we might not feel so great, so it was down to spoon licking. We reluctantly packed up the remains into Tupperware for the freezer, to be enjoyed another day.

Ice cream was never about dessert. It was always about the abundance of love in our household, a sign of the unmerited grace of God. We had to do our part to be sure, each in turn sitting on the stoop and turning the crank until our arms ached. In the end, we knew it wasn’t our actions alone, but some process as mysterious as milk into ice cream, or water into wine, that brought us such joy.

You don’t have to eat a whole tub of ice cream to have a real good time. If you want to know the ecstasy of God’s abundant love, enjoy an ice cream cone. And whatever you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Prayer: God of abundance, help me to express gratitude for the simple joys of life. Like ice cream on a steamy summer afternoon, remind us of the treat, the sweetness of your love for us, that knows no end. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Community Church of Vero Beach
Vero Beach, Florida

April 28 Post

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“If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink…do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:20-21

It’s all fun and games until the dog bites. At the height of summer when my new home town empties of everybody who lives or travels north, there’s a place I go where crisp mornings require a jacket. By mid-day in July, the weather warms deliciously to the 70’s in Colorado, on what we might consider a perfect January morning here in Florida.

Wherever I travel, our Portuguese Water dog Jazz trots along. He’s an equal opportunity nature lover, dividing his time between wave chasing at the shore most of the year, and scampering up mountain trails after the scent of mammals much greater in size in the summer.

We’re mindful of the migration of wild animals, though the greater risk comes from a cantankerous neighbor or feral dog. There’s a particular cabin in our western wilderness, where such a man lives with his ferocious sounding creature, thinly kept behind a fence he didn’t used to know he could escape in a bound.

One day, my neighbor was walking her dog past this same house when said dog created a fierce-some racket. Much to the shock of both my friend and her dog, the captive beast made its escape and tore into my friend’s leashed pet. The owner came out, words were exchanged, and dogs retreated. In due season, the bite marks healed.

Yet something was nagging at my friend. She’d been on the receiving end of his uncharitable words, and it was her dog who had been injured. By every account, she had a right to feel indignant, or angry. It took a few days, but she got to thinking about it. She wondered what might be happening in the life of this generally disagreeable person with his equally disagreeable dog. So, she called him up and asked him about his life. She learned that he had been quite ill, and would soon undergo a difficult surgery.

Shortly thereafter, I heard her call for prayer for him at church, and then she delivered a special gift that she hoped would bring him comfort. Her generosity of spirit and trust in the Lord’s wisdom moved me. She understood the invitation of scripture to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us. And in the process, God increased her compassion and she gained a friend.

We don’t really know how our faith will hold, until the dog bites. Then God reveals to us a more excellent way than the ways of the world. “If your enemies are hungry, feed them…overcome evil with good.”

Prayer: God of Life, it is beyond tempting to talk negatively about our neighbors with a friend, or post something unkind about them on Facebook. Pepper our thoughts with compassion and our speech with kindness, that all may know your love through us. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Community Church of Vero Beach

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