*[Our area is known as "D-C" or Dassel-Cokato - Dassel is 5 miles west of Cokato on U.S. 12.)
On Friday morning I talked with someone about the identity of our town. I suppose you could say "Corn-ka-to" but somehow "Cokato Cares" seemed to fit better. (If I knew how to put phonetic symbols here, I'd put a line over the "o," "a," and "o." All the vowels in Cokato are long. And the "c" is like the "c" in cares. You could write it Koe-Kay-Toe or something like that. This town isn't so well known--I tell people it's between Mankato and Cloquet.)
We are are caring community. My kids noticed, right away, that there was a difference. Yes, it has to do with "courtesy and respect," but those qualities only keep things from getting worse. Caring is what marks Christians more than anything else. If you don't love your "brother" who you have seen, you can't love God who you haven't seen.
Thank God that caring isn't reserved for pastors. Thank God that his church has many members of many denominations. Thank God for befrienders, official and unofficial, who grace our area with visits, prayers and consistent love.
Pat Kiefert of Luther Seminary and Church Innovations tells about someone who was hospitalized. People from her church visited her and prayed for her. She returned to health and home but was depressed. Someone asked her why. She said "my church doesn't care about me." Somehow, she had come to equate the church with the pastor. Thank God the church is bigger than one person. Thank God it's not that small.
D-C Cares. Through its eldercare, schools, professionals, neighbors and churches. We don't all run away. God has visited us, and God's love has grown in our midst.
See you tomorrow in church!