I want to wish everyone a happy Fourth of July. Celebrations will be quite different this year. A few years ago, Connie and I were in Carlsbad staying right next to Legoland. For their fireworks show, they shot off rockets from the top floor of the employee parking structure. Our suite overlooked the staging area so we were able to see every rocket from start to finish. Best show ever!
This year we will be heading back down there after services on Sunday. This year, however, Legoland is closed and the ususal Carlsbad fireworks show will not be happening. The beaches are limited to people in motion; no sitting under a pop-up for hours. So July 4th weekend, which we normally spending in Carlsbad, will be quite different this year. Perhaps, this will be an ocassion for us to consider our country and its history in a deeper way.
In our readings for Sunday, we hear from Paul and Jesus about the struggles of life.
Paul talks about wanting to do the right thing and finding himself falling back into sin.
Romans 7 I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25a Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Jesus, likewise, looks at the crowd around him and they do not seem to know what they want. When John the baptist was around with his austere life style, they were put off. When Jesus came to reach out to sinners and have meals with them, they called Jesus a drunkard and a glutton. Jesus goes on to say that the Father knows that he is the Son, the one to reveal the Truth about life. The Son knows the Father and he is sharing his knowledge with those that will listen.
There are a lot of voices out there right now calling for our attention — Protesters in the streets, statues being torn down, people refusing to wear masks and branishing guns, stocks in yo-yo mode. What are we called to do in this time? The bottom line is: Follow Paul’s example and walk the path Christ has set for us. The effort is not easy and there are forces that would prevent us from moving forward, forces Paul says that are even within ourselves. But as Abraham Lincoln said, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
Half the books in the New Testament are attributed to the Apostle Paul. If he had struggles with doing the right, we will as well. His journey with Jesus was never complete, but always an adventure, until his passing. Our journey and that of our country will also be a constant calling to advance.
I like this quote from Martin Luther –
“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
If all this seems too much to ask, the final words of our Gospel are a comfort. Matthew 10: 28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This week we again meet in worship. Last week, we had a disciples’ dozen. To those, who in wisdom did not come, we hope you will appreciate the online sermon. Last week the sound was poor, we did not send out the video. So, we sent back the camcorder and purchased two new mics for iPhones to record the service. The phone was better than the camcorder, how about that. If this does not work, I will record a message from the beach at Carlsbad.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being with me in my life’s struggles. Be with our country as well and thank you for allowing us to cast all our anxieties upon you, in your sweet care.
We will continue in-person worship July 5 at 10 am – you are invited, if it is prudent for you to come. We follow protocol with masks, social distancing and sanitizing. One comment was that it is safer to come here than go to Walmart.
We also now have Christ in our Home available in the narthex for the months of July, August and September. If you would like a copy, stop by or we could mail it to you. Just let us know.
We will start this week to enhance the south section of the south parking lot. A tree that was affecting the pavement is being removed along with other “stray” saplings by our gardener. We used Myrene Bunge’s Action Team to purchase weed block and other items. Carol Jensen has received her $250 for use to purchase rock covering. Debi Hitter has applied for one as well. Thank you all!
We are having our gardener install the dripline and weed block and the camp counselors from Oak Glen will hopefully help us with the rock. If you feel like getting out, we will have weed block fabric stored in the stairwell area along with shovels and a wheelbarrow. Rocks are coming for that area and bark for the north side of the lot. Please email me or call me, if interest. Celebrate the great outdoors and make our outdoors great at the church, any amount of work you can provide is helpful and appreciated.
We still have the small copy room left to paint. If you can help, please email me. We are getting ready for the day when we will be fully open again. Thanks much to Vicki who volunteered to paint the hallway by the Men’s Restroom and Laundry and to Connie who completed the baseboards in the office and will start on the doors.
Looking forward to seeing some of you Sunday.
Grace & Peace