When I was young, growing up in southern Minnesota, we learned a lot about corn. No doubt, the first advice was the old saying, "knee high by the Fourth of July." It was an important marker for the corn fields that blanketed the countryside. Later we learned the signs of tasseling and the differences between field corn and sweet corn. Believe me, you only have to make that mistake once.
James Bender, in his book "How to Talk Well," relates the story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year the farmer entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. Surprised, the reporter asked, "How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" The farmer answered, "Why sir, didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn." The farmer understood the connectedness of life. His prize-winning corn could not have improved unless his neighbor's corn also improved. Those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all. If we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.
On this Fourth of July, I would like to share with you my hope that as a community of faith, and as citizens of this great nation, we will continue to work for the good of our neighbors and for their prosperity. It's a bit like raising prize-winning, blue-ribbon corn. We can only enjoy the gifts of a fruitful nation and society when we grow tall and productive together.
Peace, Pastor Arden Haug