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For a short while before he wrote Peanuts, Charles Schultz wrote a comic strip called Li’l Folks. What I love about that title (and apparently, Schultz preferred it, too: he is reported to have hated the name Peanuts) is the hint at the depth Schultz was aiming at. He did not write comics strictly for children. He wrote about the human condition, the condition that all “folks” must deal with, big and little.

I grew up in a big, Italian family. Thanksgiving dinners, even when it was “just the family,” meant 30+ people. As you can imagine, that many people means a lot of prep work: buying and cooking the food – over several days and in multiple kitchens, gathering plates, moving furniture, sweeping the floors, settling the schedule (do we eat before or after “the game”?) and my favorite, getting the ice.

When, exactly, does Jesus work with us? What does the partnership look like. I think that at least sometimes, the part that Jesus plays is somewhere in the middle.

Matthew 10:2-4 names 12 men who, until this point, had made no mark on history. From other passages, we know they were mostly fishermen. There were no statesmen, no religious leaders, no military conquerers. Instead, there were guys with nicknames, somebody's brother, somebody's son, a tax collector and Simon, a man so obscure, scholars today have no clear idea what his name, "the Cananaean," really means. These were not well-know people.

The Psalms are full of drama: love and loss, hurt and longing. This morning I have been looking at the drama in Psalm 34. The little bit of “extra” that you get with a few of the Psalms says that David wrote this piece of poetry during a very intense time in his life: on the run from his king, Saul, separated from his best friend, Jonathan, and dismissed - after some desperate play acting - from the neighboring, enemy kingdom that he had tried to find refuge in. It is very likely that David wrote this Psalm sitting in a cave. (See 1 Samuel 21:10-22:1 for details.)