This week we are assisting our son Eric by watching his dog, Keona, for a few of days, while he is at work and his wife, Michelle, is away with family. She is very friendly, affectionate, and always ready for walk. Dogs are lovable pets.
We had dogs in our house as pets during my growing years and the growing up years of my children. I enjoyed their zest for life and their joy in seeing me return home. I also remember as a young boy having a small turtle as a pet, not so lovable in my experience. Not a lot of zest for life and not too interested in my returning home, neither was it cuddly or cute.
I know people who do have large turtles as pets. They are enjoyable to watch as they amble through life. Michelle’s parents have turtles and when Keona stays there, she gets them moving. Their exoskeleton keeps them protected from Keona’s curiosity. Protected in this way, turtles can live a long time.
John 17: 6 – 14 is the Gospel text for this Sunday. Jesus is praying for protection for his disciples. He will be leaving them. In fact, Ascension Day is celebrated on Thursday, May 13. Jesus ascends into heaven 40 days after his resurrection.
While he was around, he was able to offer them protection from the world. “Not one of them was lost, except the son of destruction.” The words he gave them, the connection he established with them linked them to his Father in Heaven. All seemed well. However, the bond with the Father resulted in a disconnect with the world. The world is a bit more like a turtle. It ambles along, ready to withdraw, protective of itself, not a lot of zest for life or interest in the movements of others.
The disciples received and responded to the truth that the character of creator of the universe is Love. They have been chosen and loved, which gave them a zest for life and interest in the world around them. Their love for each other, their ability to radiant the Grace of God was a contrast to the ways of world. “They are not of the world, just as Jesus was not of this world.”
After Jesus ascended, the disciples sent 10 days in prayer. Jesus had prayed that they be “Sent into the world” like he was. On Pentecost, they were — like joyful pups filled with hopefulness, they addressed the people of Jerusalem. The joy of Jesus was “fulfilled in them.”
The small turtle I had as a boy died. Not likely the right diet. It died from the inside out, despite its protective shell. So, we too can die from the inside out if we take refuge in our shell too long. Jesus would have us become more puppy-like, filled with zest and interest in others. Our protection is not in an exterior shell, but in our faith that the power of love and hope will overcome all.
With COVID in decline, people are finally feeling safe enough to reengage the world. When it safe for you to reembrace the world, remember Jesus is praying for your protection. The protection that comes not from a shell but faith in the power of love.
Prayer: Thank you God for the gifts you have bestowed on our lives. Your glory is revealed when we extend your love and care to others. You encourage us to embrace the world around us when it is safe. As we come out of our shells, may we remember that you are praying for our protection. Amen.
Robyn Blue, Michael Shea and I had the chance to be a part of the Synod Assembly last Saturday. Robyn wrote some notes I want to share those along with a link to the Assembly Recording and Review. There were 282 attendees in all.
Some of the highlights were:
The year 2020 marked 50 years of women ordained in ministry. Because of Covid, the assembly did not meet last year, so we celebrated this anniversary this year. During the assembly 3 women pastors in California presented Bible studies via zoom from their parishes. The lessons were very thoughtful, comforting, and encouraging. They talked about how Jesus brings us all together, embracing our diversity, and trials. The church is there to hold each other up through hard times like we have seen so much this past year.
Also speaking about diversity were Lutheran representatives, pastors, from Palestine. They spoke of “Peace, not Walls”. The city and churches they showed looked beautiful and welcoming. It made me want to visit these places! I could see God’s work there.
The resolution to support Lutheran Retreats, Camps, and Conferences was voted on and passed. We all enjoyed the zoom format for the assembly. The link below includes videos of the work of the wider church. The one from Luther Glen stars Glen and Alex Egertson who were here on Saturday. It is especially entertaining.
Join us as we worship in the sanctuary, each Sunday @ 10 am. Indoors with masks and proper social distancing and a special time for the children. I also send out a link each week and put it up on our Website. We are still working on a live stream the service, till then you can join us for our zoom meeting is each Sunday at 10 am. ID: 891 1879 2862 and Passcode: Faith – the link is:
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS have retruned to normal, Mondays and Tuesdays.
- Children’s Church continues. Are you interested in assisting? Let us know at the church office or give Robyn Blue a call.
- CAMP is open for Grades 3 – 10 is July 18 – 3 @ Oak Glen. We are putting together a list of interested youth. Scholarships are available. Call or email the office.
- We are also hoping to put together VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL this summer with the help of camp personnel. We need to know if you are interested in camp and/or VBS. Please call the church office or email FaithYucaipa@gmail.com.
MEMBER UPDATES AND CONTINUAL PRAYERS
- Diane Watson who fell and is recovering at home now with Bud.
- Roxanne Foss’s niece, Ginny.
- erwin for strength and Lynda for healing
- Jerry Mills is doing well, now faces chemo therapy.
- Continued Godly journey for Brendan, son of Bonnie Strack and Rebecca, daughter of Michael Shea.
- Bill and Judy Martin’s daughter, Laura, living in Texas.
- Pattie, a friend of the Halls with thyroid cancer, treatments have started.
- Lorraine Hoeptner’s friend, Diana.
- The front is taking shape, thanks to Tom Ziech and George Motschall for working on the watering system for the front area of the church. George brought some extra plants. Tom got the system working on the side of the church as well. The garden area is NICE. Joe Koenig and Debi Hitter are watering the new plants for now.
- May 8th was a workday – Joe Koenig, Lou and Debi Hitter and Pastor brought in gravel and bark to put around the donated Mother’s Day plants and sign in the front area. Lou and Debi were moving a few more rocks on Wed. Joe Koenig arranged for delivery of larger rocks by David London, a retired veteran and police officer, brought us larger rocks. He has a lot of rental services. The office has more information.
- Glen and Alex Egertson from the camp put together our last gazebo. Steve Cady is working on a way to “sing in the rain” on the way from the church doors to the fellowship building without getting wet.
- Mother’s Day Donations plants were dedicated in memory of Jennifer Fetla, stepdaughter of Kim Guevara (who left behind two children) and Kim’s mother Caroline Beaudry, Clementina Guevara (Cesar’s mom), Myrene and Connie Bunge, Bonnie Mills via Jason Mills and Bonnie Mills in honor of Her mother, Elna Krestensen, and Jerry’s mother, Gertude Mills; and Eleanor Diaz in honor of her mother, Marcella Hernandez.
- We could use grocery bags and egg cartons for the pantry, which is open again this Saturday May 22.
- Quilting continues – we could use some flat king size sheets if you have them.
- We receive a $2,000 grant from the ELCA for our pantry, through the Camp. We were also recognized at the Synod Assembly for the grant from a Synod benefactor who helped us purchase a more efficient refrigerator for the pantry.
Most recently, they approved a matching grant of up to $2,000 for a video system to live stream our service. If you would like to help with the church portion of the matching grant, let the church office know. John Wilson of Hope Lutheran in Palm Desert will be here to assist with setting it up on Monday.
HAVE A MARVELOUS WEEK!