July 2013 Newsletter, Peace Lutheran Church

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Transcript of July 2013 Newsletter, Peace Lutheran Church

  • 7/28/2019 July 2013 Newsletter, Peace Lutheran Church

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    By now, all yall have probably figured out I am a lover of story. Telling

    stories, reading stories, even writing stories; I love stories. I think they are an

    excellent way of communicating truths and engaging our imaginations. And so

    this morning is no exception. I want to tell you the story of what happened to a

    friend of mine. It a story about his trip home upon the death of his mother and

    what happened while he was in Ohio, in July of 2003. It is a story that involves a

    cup of coffee, a duck, and a toothless old man. I tell this story from a first per-son perspectiveI find it easier to get into the story that way. Let us begin.

    On the Tuesday following my mother's death, there was the usual flurry

    of activity -- people to call, arrangements with the funeral director, planning the

    service with the pastor, and time with family just remembering. Things went

    well, by the grace of God.

    I was staying in a motel in Troy, Ohio, only minutes from the hospital

    Mom had been in. I had been to Troy, but hadn't ever really seen this beautiful

    little city. So, after all was done, and I had said good-bye to my sisters and their

    families, I decided that rather than go back and sit in the motel alone to await

    my family's arrival the next day, I would just drive around and look at Troy.But, there was something I had to have first -- a cup of coffee to take

    with me. Right next door to the motel was a little restaurant called Crazy H's. To

    put the best light on it, we could call it "unassuming." It is the kind of restaurant

    where you always check your silverware and plates to make sure that they've

    been washed -- you know the kind I mean.

    I walked in and went up to the counter, where I was waited on by a

    smallish woman with rather sunken features. "Hard Life" was written in the

    deep lines that etched her face. She was probably in her forties, but could easily

    have passed for sixty. "May I have a cup of coffee to go, please?" I asked.

    "Sure," she replied. After hunting for a cup and lid, she poured the coffee and

    handed it to me as I handed her my money. "Ah," she said, "forget about it. Just

    do something nice for someone."

    She said that with a warm smile that overcame the deep lines in her face.

    I thanked her and left. As I drove away, I sipped the coffee. I want to tell you, it

    was the best cup of coffee I've ever had. It wasn't because of the taste. It wasn't

    because I got a freebie. It was because the coffee had the flavor of grace in it.

    Maybe if this had happened on any day other than one so filled with

    emotion and meaning for me, I might not have tasted the grace. But that day, I

    Passing the Peace

    P e a c e L u t h e r a n C h u r c h

    1 6 9 9 b e l v i d e r e D r , E l P a s o , T X 7 9 9 1 2 July 2013

    Volume 2, Issue 7

    Are We There Yet?Thoughts Along the Way by PJ

    (Continued on next page)

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    Page 2

    did. I was truly moved, and I savored that coffee, sip by sip, as I rode around Troy viewing the city and thinking

    about Mom. I really wanted to find someone to be nice to, but since I didn't know anyone in Troy, I had no idea

    how that would happen. So, all by myself, I savored this cup of coffee, flavored with grace.

    Grace is always undeserved. Grace is always a surprise. Grace is always one other thing, too. It is always

    something that has the power to transform us into persons we could not otherwise be. When that waitress said,

    "Just do something nice for someone," she transformed me into a person who truly wanted to touch someoneelse's life with an undeserved and unexpected measure of grace. But alas, I saw no one else that night.

    The next day, there was practically nothing to do but wait for Thursday's funeral service. My family had

    left Harleysville and was on its way to Ohio. I decided that this was a good time to drive to my hometown, Urba-

    na, and immerse myself in memories of Mom and Dad and friends and experiences that had shaped me. I was still

    thinking about that waitress' kindness as I drove the 45 minutes from Troy to Urbana.

    My first stop was the city park -- a place I just love. There is a big pond there with a tree-filled island in the

    middle and dozens of waterfowl -- three or four swans, many Canadian geese, and dozens of Mallard ducks -- all

    swimming peacefully. It was a good place to begin my memory tour.

    As I watched all those birds float gracefully on the pond, I suddenly became aware of a flurry of activity

    about a quarter of the way around the pond. I couldn't see clearly what was happening, except that about a dozenducks seemed to keep flying hard into another duck. I noticed thatduck wasn't moving -- just flapping its wings

    frantically. What could this be?

    I began to walk over to that place and, as I drew closer, I noticed that the unmoving duck had its beak

    straight up in the air. Closer in, I could tell it was hooked on something. Closer still, and I could see that it was

    hooked on a fishing hook and the line was snagged in a tree. The duck was truly stuck and the others, with all their

    bashing and bumping, were trying to free it. But, the duck was caught.

    I looked around, realized I was the only person in the park, and wondered what to do. I didn't have a knife

    and I didn't have a clue how to free the duck. It was awful to see. I bent near the spot where the captive and its

    friends were and tried to speak comfortingly to the terrified duck. I wanted so much to free it, but I couldn't. All I

    could do was try to soothe it."She's in a fix, eh?" The words from behind me startled me. I was sure I was alone, but suddenly there was

    this toothless old man in a kind of golf cart. I have no idea how I could have not heard him approach.

    "Well," he said, "let's see if we can help." He had a knife and, remarkably, he had a small pair of wire cut-

    ters on his belt. Together we tenderly pulled the duck from the water and he cut the line and then removed the

    hook from the duck's bill. Even more tenderly, he placed her back in the water and she swam off, surrounded by

    the other ducks, to the far side of the pond.

    "Hey," said the toothless old man, "that felt good, didn't it?" He laughed a bit as he watched the duck

    swim away. Then he called off to that duck, "Hey, Mrs. Duck, you go on and do something nice for another duck,

    okay?" My breath stuck in my throat.

    As he started to drive off, I thanked him and he replied, "Oh, it's what I do. I work here."

    I suddenly caught on. My experiences Tuesday night in Crazy H's and Wednesday morning at the park

    pond were not two events, but one -- a story to comfort me and to teach me.

    I had been approached by God in a hard-life-faced waitress and in a toothless old man.

    I was as helpless against my mother's death as was the little duck against the fish hook. But that is when

    God provides. In our weakness, God's power shows through. In our weakness we are met unexpectedly by God

    who carries us through and saves us from our own powerlessness.

    A cup of coffee, a duck, and a toothless old man. God was there. And now there is a certain duck and a

    certain man who know better than before that we cannot save ourselves, but that we don't need to. "Oh, it's what

    I do," says God. "I work here."

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    The Next WOWW Meetingwill be on July 26th, 7pm at JannaCannady's house The group will be reading "7:An ExperimentalMutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker. At the July get-togetherthe Introduction and first three "months" of the book will be dis-cussed. Please bring a salad or dessert to share, and as always, yourfavorite beverage. All women of Peace Church, Peace Preschool andfriends are cordially invited.

    July 11

    5:30pm

    Good Coffee

    (original Jaxons)

    All ladies and friends of Peace are invited to enjoy a meal

    togethera nice way to socialize and get to know each

    other better.

    Do you like to go hiking? Do you know how to puttogether a resume? Do you like to knit or crochet? Play cards? Webdesign? Anything else? We, the people of Peace, have a wonderfulopportunity to support the servants of the Border Servant Corps inthe year to come. We have the opportunity to serve these blessingsfrom God as a support team by providing them with a warm wel-come, place of worship (if they so choose), and opportunities to be-friend them and help to make their stay in El Paso a wonderful ex-perience. Through the support team we will meet and greet the Bor-der Servants as they begin their time in El Paso, commission them in

    their service on behalf of Border Servant Corps, serve as "resources"for them--befriend, invite, include them in activities within the com-

    munity. For example: Do you like to go hiking? Set a date, or a standing date, and invite anyone who would wantto go with you to join you for the experience. Do you know how to put together a resume? Put together a "mini-seminar" day and facilitate the learning experience for the Border Servants. Whatever it is that you like to do,more than likely you are not alone in that "like."

    Please take the time to pray about this ministry opportunity. If the Spirit moves you to participate thenplease provide the information requested to the office so that we can make it available to the Border Servants forthe year as we seek to serve them as they serve the community of El Paso