The Lutheran Bear

Have you seen the bear?  He is waving at the cars passing by on Sixth Street.  Look for him outside the playground fence next to the sidewalk by a blue disabled parking sign.  When he stands up he is over six feet tall.  He is brown in color, weighs in around 350 pounds, and he's a southpaw, which means left-handed.  He hasn't been throwing lately because some pedestrians at the local coffee shop where he stood most of the summer months trimmed his nails.  
 
By the way his official name is the Claw Bear, and he is on loan to our church until his replacement comes after Thanksgiving vacation in the form of a huge Nutcracker over seven feet tall.  Until then we can call him anything we want.  So in the true spirit of the Reformation later this month, let’s just call him the Lutheran Bear.
 
During the off-season he is a part of the Brady Bear bunch of some 31 bears and their cubs currently residing at the Bear Hotel.  Vacie A. Berry, who has opened her own art studio in town since 1988, is the artisan who designed the Lutheran Bear.  She learned to appreciate animals in the rugged country where she grew up, the wild and free isolated borderlands of south Texas and Mexico.  She holds an art degree from the Rocky Mountain College of Fine Art in Denver, Colorado.  After graduation she studied at the Art Students League in New York.  Mrs. Berry is an art teacher who loves the environment and beautiful scenery of the Rogue River Valley.  She gives praise and thanksgiving to her Creator and hopes to share the beauty of nature around us in her art.  Just one of those art pieces is the Lutheran Bear.
 
Three years ago we were promised to have a bear on our church property.  When he was a no-show due to a change in personnel in his den, we remained hopeful.  Linda Friebus, our director of public relations assured us that he would come.  The other Linda, notorious for bearing all things at the church office, assured us that he would come.
 
Persistence I am told is the necessity for acquisition; in this case this is most certainly true because we now heave the Lutheran Bear.
 
Check him out.  There are “invisible” bears drawn on his body, which you can see from a closer look.  He does not bite, don’t worry.  He cannot be bought, which explains 95 Theses in 1517, his Diet of Worms in 1521, writing on justification by grace through faith in 1525, and famous words: “Here I stand.  I can do no other.”  What else would you expect from the Lutheran Bear?
 
See you in church.
 
Your Pastor and friend,
Pastor Tom