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Same road

Pastoral Messages | March 9, 2017

Monday night I was driving back to the Quad Cities from the north. You may remember it was a little stormy that night. After significant delays and the opportunity to make some new friends who huddled with me in the restroom at a BP gas station, I headed south on U.S. Highway 61. There was rain and wind, but the drive was uneventful until I came to a spot just north of the exit for Scott County Park, about 20 miles north of Davenport.

There, all four lanes of traffic were stopped. We were stopped long enough for folks to get out of their cars and walk forward to see what the holdup was all about. The report I received from one gentleman when he passed my vehicle as he returned to his own was a downed power line. In total, we remained parked for an hour and 45 minutes while crews cleared the way.

Over time, I’ve gotten to know many people who work for utility companies, mostly as linemen. I thought of them right away and remembered how much greater the inconvenience was to those called away from their families that night to make the road safe for the rest of us. But that wasn’t the only example of the value of community I saw as we loitered on the highway.

The indefinite wait motivated some drivers to take their chances in the median so they could turn around and head north. It worked for the first few vehicles, but the ground was soft from heavy rain, and it wasn’t long before a mini-van got stuck. I heard the tires spinning and the engine revving, and when I looked back I could see a little smoke each time the driver decided to give it another go. Right away, however, my eyes caught something else. Two young men from a car in front of me running back to help. I could hear the instructions they gave to the driver for a few minutes as others joined them to push.

Moments passed without success, but then a truck driver entered my headlights carrying cables. Soon the van was linked to another vehicle and was slowly drawn back to the pavement.  Before the operation was complete, I heard a cry, “Stand clear of the cable!  If it snaps it will take your head off.”  Then another voice through my own window: “Sir, could you pull up a few feet?” We had to make space for the van on the road again.

Witnessing strangers pitch in to help one another reminded me of something I had read earlier that same day – that many communities have lost or outsourced the “capacity to care.” The author explains, “What I once went to an uncle or neighbor for, I now pay a professional to do. What this produces is a hollow neighborhood that does not value coming together around troubles.”

That stranded driver was only getting help that night if it came from others who were stranded on the same stretch of highway at the same time and decided to jump in to do what they could do. Jesus commands us to love our neighbor and makes it clear that our neighbor is whoever is in front of us at any given moment. I’m so grateful for neighbors who are linemen, neighbors who carry cables in their trucks, and neighbors who aren’t afraid to get a little messy when others get stuck. I hope I can do a better job of remembering that we’re all on the same road, and we all have the power to help each other get where we’re going.

Ryan Bailey, director of faith formation

4 Comments on “Same road”

  • DIANE FRY

    March 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Your story was great. We should always try to held and do what we can.

  • Rose Nuernberger

    March 9, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    I couldn’t wait to read your “storm-helping” writing!!!! It was filled with vivid emotions and HOPE for our world that seems to have such a reputation of “who cares anyway” attitude. Maybe they used their “thinking in categories” skills in helping!!!!! Ha! Our conversation this noon with your telling of your “life in serving God” was truly heartfelt! You ARE an excellent “TEACHER” AND PREACHER! Our class is very lucky to have you witnessing your JOY and HOPE in Christ and His Word to us in your very personable, unique way! (Peterson agrees wholeheartedly too!) Rose and Ken

  • Heidi Watkins

    March 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Good words for Lent. Thanks, Ryan.

  • Myrna Miller

    March 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    These stories assure us of the goodness in this world. Thank you!

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”