Roanoke Church of Christ



In the adult Sunday school class last Sunday we were talking about what happens to those who reject God. Various ideas were put forth. Among them was that God will not give us what we don’t want, or refuse to accept. This lead us to wondering if a person could understand the blessings of God but because they had turned away for so long they could no longer bring themselves to want them. In other words, can a person drift so far from humanity that they can no longer identify with humanity as we know it? That’s a tough question. At any time we might find that person who is little, or no more than a wild animal, who lacks human conscience or compassion. We do not always know what happened to make them, as we say, inhuman. The home life? Born with mental illness? DNA? Drugs? What? All we know, from our limited experience, is that some humans seem devoid of usual human characteristics. As Christians it can face us with the question as to if a person is redeemable, though we are reluctant to say so. We might quote such a scripture as God giving them up to strong delusions, or, those who live and believe the lie, but even those descriptions can fall short of what we have experienced.

That reminded me of a story told by C. S. Lewis about a collie dog named, either Fury or Flurry. I heard the story from a very reliable source, and when I used it in a sermon years ago someone asked me to find it for them, or at least write it down for them. I don’t remember if I did or not. What I do know is that I have searched the internet for the story and can’t find it. Therefore, in retelling it I will be taking a certain amount of literary liberty. What I do remember is the plot.

I’m not an authority on C. S. Lewis. He has reached almost cult-like status. His works are studied like the works of other great theologians and philosophers. It is said that he used rather “colorful” language and drank too much sometimes. That may be one of the reasons he was so popular. He was reachable, not looking down from some ivory tower when he talked about God.

As I heard it, the story of Fury/Flurry was one of the most asked for when the college students came to sit around the fireplace and soak up what Lewis had to say. This is how I remember the story.

One day a family looked out their door and saw a collie dog standing in the lane leading up to the house. It shied away when the door opened, but stayed as if wanting someone or something. With some gentle coaxing the collie came closer and let herself be stroked and petted. They took her in where it was warm, gave her food and she lay down in front of the fireplace. I don’t remember why, but at some point they named her Fury, or Flurry.

The next morning they let her out to see if she would go home, but she just walked around, exploring her new surroundings. In town they asked if anyone knew her owner, but no one had ever seen or heard of her before. As the days past she seemed to be content with her new family. The children loved her and she watched over them as if they were her own pups

Then one day she seemed restless, and kept looking at the forest beyond the field. In the distance could be heard the howling of a roaming pack of dogs. Her ears pricked up at the sound and she started toward it as if it were calling her. When one of the family called her back to the house, she came, but with a backward glance.

A few days went by and the cry of the pack was heard again. This time they stood at the edge of the forest, looking down at the farmhouse. Fury/Flurry whined and started toward the dogs. This time when she was called back, she trotted onward and finally broke into a full gate. They watched as she disappeared into the forest. Had she returned to the pack?

In the morning, several days later, they found her laying on the stoop when they opened the door. She was full of burrs and her coat was tangled. When she stood up she was thin and limped slightly. They combed and bathed her, and once again she lay by the warm fireplace and slept. It seemed she had made her choice. She had found her true family.

It was two weeks later the sound of the pack aroused her. She pawed at the door to be let out. As she ran toward the forest she stopped and looked back as if she wanted to return to the love and safety of the home. Instead she turned and ran as fast as she could to the sound that was calling her. All the family could do was watch her disappear into the forest.

More than a week went by before she dragged herself back to the farm house. Again she was thin and worn. She’d lost the luster of her golden-red coat. Once again she was welcomed and cared for. The family wondered if going back to her old way of life was now out of her system. All they could do was love and care for her.

Just about the time the family began to believe the collie was content with her new life, the call from the forest came again. This time her head and ears raised, but she didn’t move. The howling came again and she stood up. Again it came, and the dogs appeared at the edge of the forest, looking down at her. Suddenly she broke into a run and was gone.

This time she did not return. They would sometimes hear the howling of the dogs and at the forest edge they would see her standing and looking down at what was once her home, the place she was safe and loved. In time when the pack was heard passing by they looked, but she stopped coming to the edge of the forest. The family knew she was somewhere out there. Fury had strayed so far away she could not return.

It’s easy to see why college students would want to hear the story of Fury. It presents the very nature of life and the choices we make.

The story asks at what point we might lose control and become a slave to the very things that will destroy us. At what point does the person we could be become beyond reach?

CONCERNS: Connie Crites’ brother is dealing with pneumonia as well as the cancer. Connie is visiting with him. Deanna McRoy has started chemotherapy. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, will be seeing several different doctors in various places to determine a course of treatment for his cancer. The little boy, Landon Cooper, has had heart surgery to repair a hole. His grandmother works with Teryn Gaynor. Martha Foy’s dad is recovering from back surgery and her mother is dealing with some issues that are hard to diagnose. Martha has two friends, Sharon Breeding and Lauren who need prayers. Sharon and Billy, friends of Del Bolin’s have cancer. Former member Ray Reiss is recovering from a motorcycle accident. They live in Texarkana, TX. Jenni Cullum is scheduled for hip replacement surgery in December. She is also recovering from an eye infection. Continue to remember Ron Matney, Alma Martin, Joni Beach’s mother and Tim Elder.

Monday: Matthew 18:10-20
Tuesday: Romans 14:1-18
Wednesday: II Thess. 3:1-16
Thursday: Genesis 45:4-28
Friday: Mark 10:17-31
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45

Monday: Ephesians 1:3-14
Tuesday: Philippians 1:3-14
Wednesday: II Corinthians 9:6-15
Thursday: Luke 5:17-26
Friday: I Timothy 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 111:1-10

This year the adult Christmas party will be earlier than usual. It will be on December 1st. A sign-up sheet is on the table in the foyer. Please sign up now. You may remember a few years ago it seemed no one was interested. After it was canceled many of you had just failed to let your intent be known. Judy McWhorter may have some recipes to hand out and those decorating will need some help. The time is on the sign-up sheet.

Sunday (today) is Super Sunday. This will be the first Super Sunday this year with a fire in the fireplace. Come and enjoy everything and everyone.

There will be a steering committee meeting in the library after the Super Sunday meal. A few members will be gone but there are things which need to be addressed. A 2013 Budget has been suggested and needs changes if necessary and approval. Other matters are on the table to be reviewed and discussed. We want to move on the new sound system and we have someone looking over the process. How to proceed with the video end is also needed.

As we have done in the past, there will be no Wednesday evening service on Thanksgiving eve, November 21.

In the preacher’s absence, today Wayne Phlegar will present the sermon and next Sunday Scott Blessing will preach. Be sure to thank these men for filling in.

We have received a sculpted piece from former member John Moeller. It will be displayed as soon as a suitable place is found. Until then it will be shown at the Super Sunday meal.

It is John’s depiction of how the inside of Jesus’ tomb looked after he was raised from the dead.

In a phone conversation with John he sent his love. He said the children are in college, Matty to be a nurse and the boy is going to be a teacher.

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