Pastor's Ponderings

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Pastor Pondering September 27, 2017

Pastor Pondering

 When you visit a place, you end up bringing a piece of that place back home with you. When you make friends in faraway places, those places no longer seem so far away. We’ve all heard the news: flooding in Texas, earthquakes in Mexico, wildfires out west, wind and water damage in Florida and the two storms that came hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. There a lot of tragedy to take in and lives have been disrupted in ways that will go on for months or really years to come. We certainly have connections to Texas and Florida, we also have connections with the people in Puerto Rico.

 Back in July, we had 25 people from Calvary and two other congregations volunteer their time and energy to the church and people of Vieques, Puerto Rico. We ate meals with the people there, worshipped and prayed together, enjoyed the beautiful beaches and paddled kayaks in the bioluminescent bay. And this is the third time the church has sent a crew to work in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria hit the island head-on with sustained winds of 150 + mph stripping off roofs, tearing the leaves and bark of trees, and dropping enormous amounts of rain. When the storm was over, the troubles were not. The island of roughly 9,000 people depends upon shipping from other islands. The port was heavily damaged making it difficult for people to obtained gasoline, food and water and medical supplies. Powerlines have been knocked down. And being on an island, you can’t just drive away from the problem.

 We can pray that the situation improves. We can also ask/insist that our government take swift action to alleviate the suffering of these U.S. citizens who are every bit in need of help as those who live in Houston and Tampa. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow citizens, and friends also.

 Blessings,

 Pastor Steve Larsen

Pastor Ponderings

 

Pastor Pondering  10/18

 What I’ve been reading

I haven’t gotten to all the books that I had plan to read this summer, but I did read some great books. One of them is Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Phibrick. (2016) a NY Times bestseller. It  tells the story of just how close we came to losing the revolutionary and the war for independence

 “We all know the story: how a defiant and undisciplined collection of citizen soldiers banded together to defeat the mightiest army on earth. But as those who lived through the nearly decadelong saga of the American Revolution were well aware, that was not how it actually happened, “writes Philbrick. One of the greatest heroes of the struggle turned out to have very nearly brought about the collapse of the whole experiment and the people who called for liberty and independence had to find a way to band themselves together and make the sacrifice that was called for to be a new nation. The tension that was present during this period pitted families and states and armies against one another. It’s a fascinating story that actually resonates with the current division and divisiveness we see around us these days. It ain’t easy to be united!

 On the face of it, this is not a theological book at all. But as a pastor, I see that it has much to say about what it means for people to come together and become a community with a common purpose. Community and nationhood requires that individuals respond to some higher value than their own self-interest. We see this as people respond with compassion and generosity as others face flooding and damage from recent hurricanes. We see this also when we recognize that God calls us to a common life together in Jesus Christ.  Pastor Shannon has been helping us to see that in our baptism vows, we can see such a higher calling spelled out.

 See you in church.

Pastor Steve

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