Who is that Masked Man?
Some of you might remember the Lone Ranger television series. The “Hi-ho, Silver!” to the beat of the William Tell Overture.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto would enter a town as strangers. After receiving their help, the grateful town’s people would ask: “Who was that masked Man?”
In our day and time there are a lot of masked men, women and children. Now that the preschool is back open, we wear masks in the office area even though we are vaccinated – for the sake of the children and their families.
The original masked man was Moses. When he came from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the ten commandments in his hand, his face shone, because he had been talking to God. (Exodus 34:29). The light was so bright, the people were afraid of him. So, when he spoke to the people, he put a veil on his face. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3: 12-13 that after a while Moses used the veil to hide the fact that his splendor was fading. The laws on those tablets at first looked doable. The future was bright with possibilities. But in time, as we also see ourselves, they stumbled and fell. The splendor faded. Last week, I watched my vaulted KC Chiefs fumble the ball near the end of the game and lose by one point to the Ravens.
Paul suggests that the glory of the Holy Spirit in our lives will not fade. There is a New Covenant offered to us. We live out our lives within the grace of God, catching us when we stumble. When we look in the mirror, we see not ourselves alone but the Holy Spirit with us. Thus, the brilliance of Christ shines through, even as Lord continues to work within us, shining us up.
Our Gospel text for Sunday comes from Mark 9. The disciples had been arguing about who is the greatest. They were counting on their personal glory. Jesus tries straightening them out. He has a better opportunity for the disciples. They run across someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name. He was not one of them. So, they want him to stop. How is he able to do what they should be doing? Jealousy boils to the surface. Jesus says: “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me.” (9:39) Someone who gives a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus will, “by no means lose their reward.”
The fact that we are saved by grace means that we do not need to envy others. If they are doing the work of God, GREAT. We ought to promote such actions, not put stumbling blocks in their way. We stumble and God is there for us. We should share this Good News, not put obstacles in the way of others, especially children.
I visited a man recently who is part of a lawsuit against the Boy Scout of America. He was molested years ago which led him down a twisted path of drug abuse. He recovered and is helping others recover as well, but it took a toll in years wasted and opportunities ruined. When he looks in the mirror now, he can see the image of God at work in him.
I was a part of the Boy Scouts and truly enjoyed my experience. Those who caused this man and others to stumble have fractured a truly worthy enterprise. Jesus has words of harsh judgment for those who take advantage of the young. We read about them daily — it seems athletes, altar boys, youths taken by sex traffickers.
We know when we stumble, the grace of God is there for us. We can look in the mirror and rejoice in the brilliance of Jesus given to us. We are cautioned not to distort the image of others. But rather help them look in the mirror and see the same unfading Light we do.
Blessed Savior, thank you for catching us when we stumble and being an unfading light in our lives. May we help others not to stumble but rather help them to see in the mirror a reflection of You. Amen.
Grace and Peace, Pastor John Bunge
SUNDAY @ 10 am. live stream and recording available on our website. Sorry about last week. I did record the sermon. Refreshments after services.
We could use additional Readers and Worship Assistants. Call or email Pastor or Carol if you can assist. Thanks to Barbara Kuerzinger for volunteering to read.
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS: This coming Week Monday and Tuesday. September 20 and 21. Jeanne will be only in on Mondays.
INFORMATION: We want to celebrate birthdays and anniversary with you. Could you let us know your birthdays and anniversaries? Just reply to this email or call the church office. Thanks to those who have responded.
PRESCHOOL: We are OPEN. Spread the word! We have nine attending and another six on deck. We have room for 28. Those interested can call the church at 909-790-1816 for tours and more information.
WOMEN meeting the first Saturdays of the month @ 9:30 am in the Fireside Room for a continental breakfast, devotions, and prayer. Next meeting October 1.
YOUTH Children’s Church continues. Are you interested in assisting? Let us know at the church office or give Robyn Blue a call. We are hoping to open confirmation classes soon.
Next pantry Saturday, September 25. Thanks to all who are assisting. The pantry needs Tuna Helper (we’ve got the tuna).
Property We will be working on the left half of the front yard next week.
Quilting continues 65 quilts and over 66 lap blankets –vaccinated volunteers are returning. They will be on display October 10 and 17.
MEMBER UPDATES AND CONTINUAL PRAYERS
- Kim Guevara’s brother-in-law, Paul, was taken off the ventilator. The family was able to pay their last respects. Kim’s parents both have low oxygen levels.
- Thank you for your prayer for my sister Marcia, her breast cancer surgery was successful and the lymph nodes were clear. My mother, Myrene, is also out of COVID isolation. Connie continues her positive recovery.
- Pray for Cliff, Fred is housing him for now.
- Gerri Witwer is moving back home this week.
- Cesar Guevara will have a cardiac ablation after he recovers from extensive surgery on his broken foot. Mike Koger and Michael Shea will be facing surgery soon as well.
- Bill and Judy Martin’s daughter, Laura, who lives in Kansas started her radiation treatments.
- Motschall’s niece, Linda Odde, with a brain tumor.
- Pray for Eloise Johnson her back pain is unrelenting.
- erwin for strength and Lynda for healing. I saw him and Lynda last week delivering eggs to the pantry.
- Continued Godly journey for Brendan, son of Bonnie Strack and Rebecca, daughter of Michael Shea.
HAVE A MARVELOUS WEEK!