The Mystery of Life

June 10, 2024

How is your garden looking?

I had some luck with cilantro last year by planting them from seeds rather than potted plants. Encouraged, Connie and I are trying our hand at tomatoes and cucumbers this year. Our neighbor brought over tomatoes she had grown, and they were GREAT. So, we are giving it a try.

Jesus tells a parable in Mark 4:26 – 29 about a seed that grows to fruition without the gardener understanding how it could happen. When I returned after 40 years to the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, this parable was on my mind.

40 years ago, that church was in East Germany under communist rule. Churches were not appreciated. Below is a picture of St. Paul which was built in 1231 as the church for the Dominican monastery Leipzig. Martin Luther was there in 1545 to inaugurate it as the University church. Amazingly it survived WWII nearly unscathed.

In 1968 however, it was dynamited to the ground by the East German communist regime. The rationale was that after four and a half centuries this space was needed to enlarge the university. More likely the popularity of a young priest with students was too much for the government to allow.

Saint Thomas Church has spared such a fate because JS Bach is buried there and tourist dollars, like the ones I spent 40 years ago, were much sought after. Hard currency they called it.  My sister, Marcia, had come to know the Lutheran Pastor of that church, Pastor Gerbner. Connie and I met him and his family. I assisted him in distributing communion.

He toiled at St. Thomas, under the glare of the government for the benefit and appreciation of his congregation. His salary was paid by the congregation and only the most minimum repairs were done to the church by the government to keep the tourist dollars coming.  Happily, Pastor Gerbner lived long enough to see Germany reunited. St. Paul’s was rebuilt as pictured below. St. Thomas church has also been refurbished.

For years Pastor Gerbner labored for the church with little compensation and even less consideration by the government. Still faithfully he served until his death and the seed of his ministry grew to a harvest. His son became a pastor.

I appreciate the picture to the left — St. Nikolai Lutheran in Leipzig, which was also refurbished. I like the columns with the growth at the top like palm trees. We heard a church choir from Norway sing JS Bach, as young families gathered to hear a youthful pastor encourage the faithful.

We do not always know how the seed of the Gospel grows.  We, like Pastor Gerber, need to trust that it will.

PRAYER – Jesus, thank you for faithful Christians like Pastor Gerber. Bless you for the harvest of his ministry. Help us to continue to faithfully share the seed of the Gospel and have eyes to see when the harvest comes.  Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor John

The BELLS – are back for the summer beginning this Sunday morning at 9:00 am.

GRADS and DADS will be recognized this Sunday. Congratulations to Dads and Charlotte and Evan on their High School graduation.

WELCA – The Next Women’s Bible Study is June 1. They will begin a 3-part Bible series on living in faith after certainty. Thank you so much for assisting with the funeral for Dennis Kottmeier. It was a blessed time of remembering his life.

Interested in joining Faith?  We are planning a new member orientation in June. Let Pastor Bunge know of your interest.


Please save Stater Bros. grocery bags for the pantry.  All bags are welcome, but Stater Bros. bags fit the paper bags used for distribution and are desperately needed. Pantry is 8 to 10:30 every 2nd & 4th Saturday, so June 8 and 22.

Our Synod Azoombly (assembly online Zoom) will be on June 15th. Want to be a delegate? Let Pastor Bunge know.

Grief Support – There is a GriefShare program available in our community. Char Lampe helps in leading it her number is 951-218-8590.  It was recommended highly by one of our Faith families.

Support – Bless you for all the ways you support Faith Lutheran. The summer months can be tight so keep up your financial support as you are able.

Time of Meditation –meets Thursdays @ 1 pm. Welcome back, Nelson.

LAUREN SCHAFER is in the office Monday through Thursday from 12:15 to 2:45 p.

Pastor Bunge will be in the office on  Mondays and Tuesdays.

Confirmation Classes start again in August.

QUILTING – Emily Smith’s Group (909.255.2452) has completed 16 for Central City Lutheran Mission and 6 for Lutheran World Relief. They also gave 23 lap quilts to Smiles Seniors of Yucaipa, who sent a nice Thank you note.

PRAY for:

  • The family of Jacque Kottmeier. Dennis’s memorial was blessed.
  • Nelson is doing well recovering from hip surgery, walking outside, and was back at the Meditation Group on Thursday.
  • Nancy’s son, Gabe, is recovering after being attacked in the Riverside area.
  • erwin has been back in church, which is great.
  • The Watsons would appreciate prayers for Bud who is at home.
  • Eloise appreciates your prayers.
  • Jan Wheeler appreciates our prayers for Andrew Gentry, a co-worker of her son Brian.
  • The Koening’s appreciate your prayers.
  • Kyle and Dana’s son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law, Lisa, cancer was found even after surgery.
  • Cesar and Kim appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle. Her brother Jim is back in a critical state.
  • The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez who are in need of housing for themselves and the twins.
  • Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.

Thanks to all you have given shoes for Soles 4 Souls place your shoes in the boxes inside the Narthex and Fireside Room labeled “Soles 4 Souls.”




16       LOVE TO DADs & GRADS – Root Beer (and other flavors) FLOATS! in Fireside Room

23       BINGO!!!!    Please bring your bingo prizes. (We will be playing 2 times during the summer; by popular demand. Label BINGO & place on pew in office.  THX!) 

We will be serving spaghetti, salad, and dessert.

  30 – Jumpstart 4th of July.  Sloppy Joes, jello salad.  Nancy is providing fun poppers for the young at heart.

WANT To HELP?  We could use potato salad and chips


7          WELCA

 14th — 75th Anniversary Celebration HONORING THE PANTRY

            Fajatis, salad, dessert

WANT TO HELP?  We could use tortilla soft shells and a salad

21       BINGO!  Hamburger Casserole, salad and dessert

WANT to HELP?   We could use a salad and a dessert

28       CORNHOLE TOURNAMENT   Find your partner!

            Chicken Noodle Casserole, Salad, and dessert

WANT TO HELP?   We could use a person to help Pastor John run the tournament.      Also a Salad and dessert.


4          WELCA

11       90th Birthday Party for erwin!   (This will be his church family. His family will also have a party for him)

18       75th Anniversary Celebration HONORING THE YOUTH & EDUCATION with Back-to-School games.