Last Saturday, I had the chance to become reacquainted with old friends I hadn’t thought much about for more than half a century. Wilbur and Charlotte.
If the names Wilbur and Charlotte don’t immediately ring a bell for you, you should stop reading this immediately and head straight to your local library or to Amazon and obtain a copy of the best selling children’s paperback of all time.
With 45 million copies in print in 23 languages, it shouldn’t be hard for you to get your hands on a copy of the Newbery Award winning children’s book Charlotte’s Web.
Mary Ann and I took two of our grandchildren with us to see the production of Charlotte’s Web at the Arkansas Arts Center. Over the years, I had forgotten that Wilbur really was “some pig.”
If it’s been a few years since you’ve read Charlotte’s Web, and if you want to learn something about kindness being an essential element of genuine love, it’s probably time to dust off a copy of the E.B. White classic and revisit the story of Zuckerman’s Famous Pig.
For those who may need to have their memory jogged, here are the Cliff notes. Wilbur the pig was the runt of the litter and was spared the farmer’s axe by the petitions of his daughter Fern, who adopted and named the piglet and treated him as her pet. When he became too big for Fern to care for, Wilbur was shipped off to Uncle Homer’s barn to await his eventual demise.
The heroine of the story is Charlotte the spider, whose web is spun in the corner of the barn where she can watch all that is happening with Wilbur. Charlotte befriends the pig and determines that she must come to his aid and find a way to prevent his impending execution.
Charlotte’s plan involves writing words in her web, beginning with the declaration “some pig,” followed by “terrific,” “radiant,” and “humble.” Her web artistry is spotted by Uncle Homer, and in the process, Wilbur becomes a local celebrity and the eventual winner of a special prize at the county fair.
Charlotte’s handiwork leads to a stay of execution for Wilbur, but between the web spinning and producing her egg sac, Charlotte soon realizes that her own days are numbered. She breaks the news to Wilbur that she does not have long to live.
Wilbur is distraught, unable to imagine life without Charlotte’s friendship. “Why did you do all this for me,” he asks her. “I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” the spider replies. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” (footnote?).
Anyone who has ever read Charlotte’s Web recognizes the great irony that the self-sacrificing protagonist is a spider, an insect most of us find frightening or loathsome. And don’t miss the fact that the object of her kindness is a pig, and the runt of the litter at that.
I don’t know if E.B. White had ever read the Gospel of John before writing his award winning story, but Charlotte’s Web is a parable that illustrates clearly Jesus’ words in John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Do you have anyone in your life who has been the kind of friend to you that Charlotte was to Wilbur? Someone who has been your cheerleader, your advocate, your supporter and your ally? Someone who has sacrificed for you?
We all have people in our lives like that. People we should recognize and acknowledge and thank. Parents. Spouses. Family members. Co-workers. Neighbors. People who have been real friends to us.
Who has been a Charlotte to you? Take five minutes today and write a note of gratitude to one or two friends who have been true friends to you.
And then ask yourself the question “Who can I serve today? Whose life can I enrich? To whom can I be a Charlotte today?
“By this,” Jesus says, “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Last Sunday was a pretty great day. With our Sharpies in hand, we wrote scriptures and prayers and blessings on the studs of our new building.
Then we gathered outside in the sun and prayed that God would use our building for His purposes and for His glory for decades to come.
Finally, we went into the worship center, sang a hymn together and had our picture taken.
As we move closer to the completion date for the
construction, can we ask you to do one of two things for us in the next
- Make a contribution to the building fund
- If you can’t make a gift right now (I get it – we just wrote a check to the IRS this week…), would you consider putting a note in the giving box and let us know what you think you will be able to give to the building fund in the next five months over an above your current church giving. This will help us determine what purchases we can move forward with and what items we need to wait on for now.
We still have about $7,000 waiting to be matched. Any donation you make today will be matched with money from those funds.
You can give on line or at church.
And please pray!! Pray for the project, for the workers, for our financial needs, and for our new home to be greatly used by God!
As is our custom, we will pause to reflect on the death of Jesus on Good Friday at 7:00 pm. The service will last for an hour and will include communion. Please plan to be part of this very special service.
Ladies, you should be receiving a separate email soon about the women’s worship night happening on Friday, April 26. Look for details soon, but mark your calendar now.
Do you have a son or daughter you’d like to publicly dedicate to the Lord? We’ll be having our next Baby Dedication on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12 during our morning worship service. Again, look for more details soon.
If you’ve ever wondered what path to follow to find joy, the Apostle
John has an answer for you. And we’ll talk about it this Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!