Update on Members Hospitalized or receiving care
Art Raney: During a conversation Tom and Julie had with Art recently, he made the comment that he would not still be here without all the prayers. So, keep sending those prayers of healing for Art! He can feel them. It has been more difficult and lonelier this spring and summer since he hasn’t been allowed visitors (even family) due to COVID-19. He would love to get phone calls and cards/letters. His room phone number is 563.484.3570.
Dru Novak: Dru was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. They have set up a Caring Bridge Site to keep friends and family informed. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/drunovak and would appreciate prayers. Michael can be contacted at 317-446-3504, but please text him first with your name and ask if it is a good time to talk (he is still working).
Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
The food pantry will remain open, but we will give guests their box outside. The food pantry continues to be extremely busy. Thank you to all who continue to volunteer their time for this ministry. The clothing closet will be closed until further notice.
If you are interested in working in our food pantry, please sign up for a shift at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0E44ACA62EA6FF2-food or contact Anne and/or Bonnie.
Message by Pastor Pokora – July 12, 6th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
When spring arrives each year in our community, I plant a container garden on our deck in the backyard with tomato plants, herbs, green peppers, onions and flowers for the honeybees.
Unfortunately, about June, I notice little sprouts in the garden containers. The sprouts are not vegetables or herbs, but weeds. All sorts of different weeds proliferate in the containers. The problem is I don’t know how those weeds get there. The containers stand together on a deck, nowhere near the yard. The weeds grow vigorously and soon overwhelm the plants.
You gotta respect weeds. No one plants them; they just appear and grow thickly. When the rest of the yard turns brown in drought, they remain green. They require no fertilizer nor watering. They abundantly reseed themselves. Unfortunately, weeds are very good at what they do. They can overwhelm a field or a garden.
Interestingly, the proliferation of unexplained weeds stands at the center of the Gospel for this Sunday. Here the weed problem has had nothing to do with an abundance of rain. Instead, Jesus uses the weeds in a parable to explain the nature of God’s kingdom.
Jesus tells his disciples a story. Someone planted good seed in a field. But, while everyone slept, an enemy sowed weeds among the wheat. When the wheat seed germinated, weeds also appeared. Slaves of the householder are perplexed about what must be done to address the weed problem. They ask their master what he wants to do about the weeds.
The master says an enemy causes the problem. His slaves wonder, if they should pull up the weeds, but the master says no. Instead, he counsels them to let the wheat and weeds grow together till the harvest. Uprooting the weeds, he fears, will disturb the wheat. He says, “Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time the reapers will, “Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into the barn.”
After the crowds leave, Jesus explains the parable to his disciples. He tells them the sower of the seeds is the son of man. The field is the world and the enemy who sows weeds is the devil. The parable is about coming judgement. The Son of Man, that is the Messiah or God’s Son, will, at the end of time, sort out good and evil. The righteous will be received by God, while the evil will be thrown into a furnace, where they will be punished for their sins.
This parable addresses the existence of good and evil in this world and how we, as Christians, treat the issue. This matter affects each of us. For instance, I remember once speaking with a friend of mine, Erol Melik, down at River Gulf Grain. Large screens hung on his office walls, flashing the latest grain prices and news stories. As we spoke news of the crash of a Malaysian Airliner in the Ukraine suddenly ran across the screen. The markets went crazy. Reports indicated almost three hundred people died after the plane was struck by missile. The event transfixed us. One thing was obvious. Evil had struck. The next day mothers and wives and families in Kuala Lumpur were pictured weeping at the loss of loved ones. No accident caused this plane to crash. Someone intentionally took the lives of their family members.
Every day we encounter stories about crimes and disaster that perplex and depress us. For instance, two men in Pennsylvania enticed four young men to a farm one night and then murdered them and buried their bodies in a twelve-foot-deep grave. Or a year-old child died after in hot car, while her mother was inside of a hair salon, arrest warrants indicate. Dijanelle Fowler faces numerous charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of her child, Skylar Fowler. Families affected by this cruelty ask why God doesn’t prevent atrocities from occurring.
Each of us encounter instances in our lives where weeds grow up among the wheat. We face events, bringing us face to face with evil and self-destructive behavior. We may know someone addicted to drugs. A family member commits suicide. A friend or relative could be injured or killed in military service to our nation. The list goes on and on. No one is immune.
Jesus, however, never promises us a perfect world to live in. Recall the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper in the Gospel of John. Jesus says he gave God’s word to his disciples, but the world hated them for it. God sends us into a hostile world. We may live in the world, but we do not share the world’s values. We remain true to God’s world.
Secondly, we might reflect on American history. It took a civil war with hundreds of thousands of people dying to rid our nation of slavery. The fall of Nazism in World War II and later communism under Stalin cost millions of people their lives. Truly confronting and defeating evil takes a huge toll on humanity. We pay the price confronting evil today in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Israel. The world would destroy itself if every evil should be uprooted.
Acceptance of the reality of evil does never suggests we tolerate or excuse it. Let me tell you a story. The first African American baseball player in the American League was a rookie by named Larry Doby who played for the Cleveland Indians in 1947. He was an exceptional player, and hitter. The first time he came to bat fans waited to see how he did. It was a disaster. He swung and missed every pitch, striking out. The fans “booed” him off the field. Larry Doby stared at the ground and walked back to the dugout. He went to the end of the bench, sat down, and put his head in his hands. He was humiliated by the racism of the crowd.
The next batter to the plate was second baseman, Joe Gordon, an All-Star hitter. Everyone knew he could hit the ball out of the park. He swung at three pitches and missed each one. The fans were dumbstruck. Silence fell over the crowd. Joe Gordon stared at the ground, as he walked back to the dugout. He sat down on the bench by Larry Doby and put his head in his hands.
Did Joe Gordon strike out on purpose? Nobody knows, except Joe Gordon. From that day forward, Larry Doby never went on the baseball field without reaching down to pick up the glove of his teammate, Joe Gordon, and hand it to him. The lesson we learn is this. Evil can be confronted in many ways. Violence is only one answer. As Christians, we live our values in a hostile world. We set an example for others by the life we lead. That example can transform evil into good. We take the power of love and confront and vanquish evil. We shall participate in the redemption of a fallen creation. Let us defeat evil by the life we lead, by the example we set, as disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Congratulations on your retirement Wanda. I had asked Wanda to put a little something together to share with her All Saints family about her career in teaching. Kristen
Yes, I did retire this year after teaching for 20 years at Davenport West High School. I think ¨West is the Best¨! The staff is wonderful and the student body is so diverse that it makes every day an adventure! I have also taught in Washington State, Alaska, Nebraska, and Minnesota. In addition, I have lived in Montana, Colorado, and Arkansas. I am also a KU professional developer and it has been rewarding to teach teachers strategies to help all students learn more effectively. I am so thankful for all the experiences and opportunities I have had in my teaching career. I will miss all my colleagues and the students (but not all the paperwork!).
My plans are to visit Kyle, Jamie, and Sawyer and also Kristen in Arizona and Ryan and Grace in Ohio, but the timetable is uncertain at this point. I did tell them that now I can stay as long as I want! I also plan to spend time with my mom in Montana, but I need to wait to do that. While I´m there, I hope to camp and hike. I want to do some international traveling once our current situation reaches a ¨new normal¨. In fact, the kids and I are planning to take a trip together (destination TBD) to celebrate.
However, I´m not retiring from church so you´re stuck with me. All of you have been such a support to me and I want you to know how much I appreciate your love, kindness, and thoughtfulness.
Important Upcoming Dates (dates are subject to change due to Covid-19)
Forum: The forum that was scheduled for Sunday, March 22 will take place later, date still to be determined. At the forum titled “Vision for the Future” we will discuss what lies ahead for All Saints Lutheran Church.
Semi-Annual Congregation Meeting (Note this is the 2nd date change): The May semi-annual congregation meeting will be combined with the November/December semi-annual congregation meeting which will take place on Sunday, December 6, 2020 (elections, celebrations, and budget).
Thanksgiving in July: For the fifth consecutive year, Churches United of the Quad City Area will partner with local businesses and churches for Thanksgiving in July, a state-wide, non-perishable food and essential items drive. Churches United competes with other food collection agencies in Iowa to see who can collect the most goods for their community. In 2019, CUQCA won.
All donations collected by Churches United will stay in the Quad Cities area and go directly to our 26 food pantries, 2 hot meal sites, and Winnie’s Place Shelter. Donations will be collected throughout the month of July.
Thanksgiving in July is a major campaign for us because it helps us restock our pantries and support our other ministries at a time of the year when people don’t usually think about food drives. It’s especially important this year as people struggle financially with the impact of COVID-19. Our pantries have continued to serve throughout the crisis. Our meal sites had to close in March but we have worked in collaboration with other community organizations to make sure that the most vulnerable in our community have daily meals. We hope to be able to reopen our meal sites soon. The success of this drive is vital.
Annual Delegate Assembly: The Annual Delegate Assembly is scheduled for Thursday, August 27th at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church 2601-15th St, Moline, IL 61265. Registration begins at 6:30 pm and the meeting will commence at 7:00 pm. The evening will include music, words of witness from our clients, and special reports.
Because of the partnership with Churches United of the Quad City Area team, we wish to honor you, All Saints, with a special presentation during our program for your service with the ministry. Please RSVP by Friday, August 14, 2020.
Thank you for your contributions and support throughout the years!
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes