Listening to “Others”

September 24, 2020

Good afternoon,

” On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.    Matthew 2:11-12Other people show us the way to God. I mean people from outside our faith show us things we cannot see, or choose not to see. The Magi, or The Wise Men, are not of the Jewish faith. Jesus was Jewish. The Wise Men came from the east, and were probably Persian. They came from a long way to visit the child in the manger. As they met the child, they bowed down and worshipped there in Bethlehem. Matthew chooses to tell this story, but the other three Gospel writers do not tell this part of the birth story. The Wise Men ( Guys ) show up, and then they leave, but we continue to tell their story at Christmas time. They are the “others” in our faith story.

Has anyone shown God to you, and they were not of our Mennonite or Christian faith ? In Floradale, where I lived for 24 years, there was a cat lady. Her name was Violet Lichty. She had lived there for over 40 years. She has been a waitress in Elmira, and everyone knew her. Her husband died in the 1960’s , and she remained living in their home.  It happened gradually that she acquired over 40 cats. She fed the strays, and then people knew she had a lot of them, so they started dropping off cats at her doorstep. She did not neuter any of them, because as she said, ” they deserved to have some fun “. She drowned some of them out back. She fed the cats tuna and hamburger. They were well-fed.
She disliked the church, Her family owned the hotel in Glen Allan, and the churchmen came late at night, and drank whiskey, and then during the day looked down on her and her family. It was the time of prohibition, and the church denounced drinking, as the people of the church drank in secret. Though, she liked the church people in Floradale who did not look down on her. She loved Nancy Bauman, who lived on the farm across from her house. Nancy made ceramic cats for Violet.

I led the funeral service for her at the local funeral home. I realized as I was speaking, that she was ” Christ” to me, and I was not “Christ” to her. My relationship with her deepened my call to be a follower of Jesus. She showed me the way, rather than the reverse. She was the evangelist to me. The “other” was good for my soul. What has been your experience with “others” or strangers.

You are all over this world.

You come to us,in the clothing and voices of others.

The others, including cats, are also part of your creation,

and can show us the way to you.

Help us to honour the others in our lives.AMEN.


Tread on bold new paths!

Fireflies flash the direction

Hope springs eternal !          Monica Pieper Landoni 2020