A Path to Joy
One of the less desirable aspects of Southern California is the traffic.
The I-10 around Beaumont has had its share of highway “improvements” of late. Lanes and exit ramps have been closed. It seems better now that improvements have moved to the east. I will say the I-60 is much better after months of “moving mountains”. But road work leads to frustration, short tempers and shorter room between cars.
In our preschool, one of the lessons we work on is “taking your turn”. For some it is a hard lesson to learn. They are not used to considering others or even their surroundings. They wander oblivious to their fellow students or even walls, doors, or steps. The teachers need to be on consent alert.
In our gospel text for Sunday (Luke 14: 7 – 14). Jesus has a lesson on the advantages of humility. He notices people pushing their way forward, ahead of others, to places of honor. He suggests that when invited to a wedding feast do not push ahead to a place of honor because someone more distinguished than you might show up and the host would need to come to you and ask you to “take a lower place.” You would be embarrassed as you slink your way to a lower spot.
His suggestion is to take the lowest place and then the host will come and say: “Friend, move higher.”
This advice seems out of sync with the times. The people who get attention are the ones pushing their way to the front of the crowd or the stage or the cameras. Having Twitter or TikTok followers is vital is not it?
Humility has never been that much in vogue. In Jesus day there evidently was plenty of shoving going on. He, himself, had to take up the basin and towel to wash the disciples’ feet at the last supper.
Still, I think if you look back on your life the people that influenced you the most are not the people who had to have the last word or those who spent much of the energy of their lives fashioning an image which they projected to the world. Rather it was the ones who were humble enough to sit with you at your weakest moments, when you were at your lowest seat, listened to you and told you to “Friend, come higher.”
As I look back on the history of our country, we were fortunate to have two great presidents when our country was at its lowest. When I was a child, it was the birthdays, of Washington and Lincoln that we celebrated, not a generic “Presidents Day”. Common to both was a sense of humility that rings out in the words of Lincoln and the actions of Washington when he limited himself to two terms of office.
As a church we are fortunate to not only have the example of Jesus and the disciples, but Martin Luther as well. He was man who felt for humble people.
The pope at the time was Leo the Tenth. He had purchased his way into the papacy with the backing of his wealthy Medici family. He would fight a war to secure his nephew as Duke of Urbino. To pay for the war and the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica, he sold indulgences to the gullible masses.
Martin Luther stood opposed to taking money from gullible people for the sake of the “worldliness” of the church. True to form, at the end of his life as Luther traveled to Eisleben, to arbitrate a family dispute between two brothers, the counts of Mansfield. He was there for them at a low point. Through his mediation, the two reconciled.
Luther, just sixty-two years old when he made the trip, was never truly in the best of health, he fell ill. He died in Eisleben on February 18, 1546, within sight of the font where he was baptized as an infant. His last words were: “We are beggars. This is true.”
Luther’s body was carried to Wittenberg as thousands of mourners lined the route and church bells tolled. Luther was buried, appropriately, at the base of the pulpit in the Castle Church of Wittenberg, where twenty-nine years earlier, he had nailed his Ninety-five Theses on its door.
His wife, Katherine, wrote: “For who would not be sad and afflicted at the loss of such a precious man as my dear lord was. He did great things not just for a city or a single land, but for the whole world.”
May you reflect this week on the people who humbly sat with you when you were at the lowest of seats and like our host of Eucharist say, “Friend come higher”.
PRAYER attributed to Sir Francis Drake:
Disturb us, Lord, when We are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true Because we have dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things, we possess
We have lost our thirst for the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, We have ceased to dream of eternity And in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes; And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
Grace & Peace.
This coming week –
Council Meeting August 23 @ 1:00 pm.
Sunday Worship @ 10 am. We conclude our focus on the Lord’s Prayer.
Confirmation Class continues after church services.
Pantry Our next pantry day is this week August 27. If you know of someone in need of food who cannot make our normal second and fourth Saturday mornings, please give Carol Jensen a call @ (951) 217-2838.
Coming Up Soon
WELCA had a nice group of ladies at their meeting on August 6. Their next meeting is September 3 @ 9:30 am.
Thanks to all who assisted with the funeral for Glenda Kirker it was a wonderful celebration of life. The celebration of erwin Buschauer’s birthday was great as well. He sent this Thank you.
Thank you for the warm welcoming I received last Sunday. It`s a comfort to know that so many people still remember Lynda and I affectionately, and expressed it with cards, gifts, and most importantly, hugs. Circumstances are such that I cannot yet reenter the life I once had, but I will make an effort to worship with you more often. It was a wonderful walk down memory lane.
Thanks to all with love from Lynda and I,
PRESCHOOL GOOD NEWS
If you have not yet heard. The state totally approved the preschool classroom expansion including modifications we made to the infant care nursery. We now have the capacity for 42 children at any given time, up from 32 previously. Kudos to our director, Heather Uribe, Dee, Joy and Jennifer and the entire staff for going above and beyond. Thanks as well to Heather’s husband, Manny, who with Heather on Sunday sawing bolts to help make the gate fit in the infant room.
Office – Back to Monday and Tuesday. Next week, August 29 and 30. The Halls who have been so helpful will need to discontinue their office coverage at the end of the month. Mary Wambsganss’ friend Morrine “Mo” Hinkforth has volunteered to assist for now. She has been a church administrator at our church in Oahu.
Quilting – If you’d like to aid in quilting, please talk to Eleanor @ 951-623-3496. She is currently assisting her mother Marcella Hernandez who is still at Riverside Community Hospital. She would appreciate your prayers.
MEMBER UPDATES AND PRAYERS
- Bud Watson turned 90 years old on the 23rd. He has been a member for nearly 50 years.
- Mike Shea is back at Redlands Health Care and now has Covid.
- Eleanor Diaz would like us to pray for her mother, Marcella Hernandez, who is in Riverside Community Hospital and she would appreciate prayers for her friends with Covid Javier and Marasoi Reyes.
- Lynda Buschauer is “eating” better with Ensure but sleeping a lot and still losing weight.
- Burrel Wooding is suffering from a loss of kidney function and a vein may need to be repaired. Dialysis is yet to come.
- Jan would like us to pray for her friend whose daughter Heidi was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
- Geri Witwer continues to deal bravely with her health issues.
- Becky Malinowski has months of cancer treatments remaining.
- Bill Martin awaiting help for his knees and walking.
- Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
Caring Servants – Nelson and Carol are visiting members of our church who have requested it with their loving presence and Christ’s presence in communion. If you know of someone in need of visitation, give the church office or Nelson Hall a call.