Yesterday, a Florida Black Bear came to visit our church. Bears are often spotted in our neighborhoods around the church but this is the first on-property sighting we have had in many years. The last time we saw a bear here, it was near the dumpster, which makes sense since Yogi and his friends like to find people food, wherever they can.
But yesterday’s visitor was in the Memorial and Mediation Garden. Not only IN the garden but all of the way into the garden, walking under the covered walkway, right outside the nursery and toddler rooms, heading toward the side sanctuary doors.
This appears to be a juvenile bear, not a cub and not full grown. People have wondered aloud why the bear might have visited us, and so closely, around 3:30 in the afternoon. Maybe it came to have a drink or even a dip in the fountain – it was so hot yesterday it felt like 101 degrees. Of course, to the question, "What is that bear doing at church?" the correct answer is, "Anything it wants to do."
It may or may not be a coincidence that our Old Testament lesson for my sermon this past Sunday included this verse: David said, “The LORD, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” (I Samuel 17:37)