Bless the peacemakers

Many of us have just anticipated and then celebrated the birth of Jesus. At our house we just took down our tree yesterday (Jan. 6) and lit the candles on our three pottery kings to celebrate the 12th day of Christmas on Epiphany, a day of special memory for me since my dad’s funeral was on that day 25 years ago.

With all the focus on the baby Jesus, it is easy to lose the fact that after the angels sang the good news of “peace on Earth,” good will to all, the baby Jesus grew up and taught nonviolence and love of neighbor and even enemies and was called the Prince of Peace who gave his life for others.

Yet near the end of our holiday celebrations came the jarring news that our president from his Florida golf resort ordered the assassination of a leader of Iran and others and many have already died in the aftermath. Doesn’t violence lead to more violence? What would Jesus do? Didn’t he bless the peacemakers?

I am praying for our president, for our leaders in Washington, for our service men and women in harm’s way, for all in danger from bombs and bullets and drones, for peace on Earth.

The Rev. Stewart Edward Ellis


Protecting our dogs

So many of us have dogs these days. They are wonderful companions. It’s a joy when they have an opportunity to run free and really be themselves.

We are very fortunate to have several dog parks in Forsyth County. Unfortunately, it seems that my neighborhood park, Miller Park, has turned into a free-range dog park. In this park, dogs run all over the place while their people walk idly not very close by, often on the phone or otherwise distracted.

But some dogs, often rescue dogs with challenging histories, have anxiety that can result in their misreading social cues of other dogs, especially dogs running uncontrolled. If an anxious dog, like mine, is approached by a dog off-leash, she perceives it as a threat. Her perception may not be right, but someone could get hurt.

I admit, 20 years ago, I let my dogs chase squirrels at will. I’ve learned a lot since then. Not all dogs are friendly with other dogs because they don’t feel safe in the presence of other dogs.

When someone takes an off-leash dog to the park, it creates unnecessary risk and can eliminate someone else’s opportunity to enjoy the park. Leash laws are meant to protect our dogs and us. Dogs have the right to be walked through parks on lead with an attentive human, but right now it doesn’t work that way.

My dog pulls toward the park every day, but taking her is a risk that I don’t want to take.

Lisha Mejan


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