"You Don't Have To Be Original"
(By: Michael T. Smith)

10-4-2006 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #411
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Welcome
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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

I'm flying out early this morning to be in San Diego for a week. I'll be bringing the laptop along, so this week's Sunday Service will be coming from there (though if I hadn't told you, you wouldn't even have noticed ;-).

This past Sunday afternoon, my Mom Graduated from this big School we call Earth, and left us to begin her “higher education” in the next and better phase of her life. Her departure was not unexpected… she was 86 and had been living with severe Alzheimer's in a nursing home these past few years and then in Hospice for the last month or so. Mom Graduated “Magna cum Laude”! She was truly a Remarkable and Spirit-filled woman. “Bon Voyage” mom, I'll see you and dad there when my own time comes!!!

Today's SOW Seeds Story had a special meaning for me this morning as I read it for the first time. Growing up in San Diego, my mom and I always enjoyed listening to a very special bird who always perched high upon our TV antenna to serenade us… it was a mocking bird.

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Patije

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Story of the Week
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You Don't Have To Be Original
(By: Michael T. Smith)

I sat on my deck, enjoying the evening. Birds chirped and fluttered around the birdfeeder in the backyard. Finches clung to a bag of thistle hanging on a tree branch, only ten feet from me. They'd grown used to my presence and no longer flew away, when I stepped out for fresh air. I sat and watched them pull the thistle through the tiny openings in the fabric. Their feathers, red, purple and yellow, pleased my eye.

From a distant tree, I heard the song of a cardinal: purdy, purdy, purdy. The song changed. It was a starling. Next, it was a version of the robin's evening song. A little later it was a song I couldn't identify.

It was a mocking bird. For more than thirty minutes, he sang through his repertoire of songs. He was loud; his singing perfect. He didn't have a song of his own. He mocked the songs of other birds, pieced them together, and created a concert for my enjoyment.

I was reminded of "American Idol," a show my stepdaughter, Heather, has me addicted to. Hopeful singers competed against each other, singing the songs of others, judged by a panel of three. The top contestants went to Hollywood, where they competed against others. Each week they were faced with new challenges. One-by-one they were eliminated until a winner was chosen.

A carpenter built a house. He used skills, learned as a young man, to construct a basic house. Over time, the carpenter learned more. He added his personal touch to his work. He took the basics he learned from those before him and made it a creation of his own.

The mocking bird, the winner of "American Idol," and the carpenter have a common link. They took the ideas of others, copied and learned from them. They added to what they learned and created their own works of art.

We don't have to be original. We start with the building blocks placed in our path by those before us. We have a choice: we can continue to copy, or we can add our own blocks for the next to follow and learn from.

I have to run. I think I hear my mocking bird outside. I want to hear what he has created for my enjoyment today.

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The Prayer
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Dear God,        
        Help me always to make the most out of life with what you have given me. Oh! And would you please give her a Big Hug for me and tell her how Proud I am of her and how Very Much I Love her? Thanks!

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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