Greetings WAC Community,
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” –
I found a church where the pews were filled this past week, and it was not yet Easter.
Early Wednesday morning I headed out for vacation from Denver following meetings the day before. I was on my way to visit family the next couple of weeks in Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona. It was snowing, but I was certain I would get ahead of the predicted spring storm. A friend had urged me to leave Tuesday evening because of forecasts, but it was 69 degrees out and even if the temperature did drop, I believed that any snow would soon melt.
But I never got ahead of the storm. The storm and I were traveling together. After a tense 6 hours, I pulled off at an exit about 12 miles west of Limon to wait. Over 13 hours later, the Colorado National Guard pulled my car out of a drift. I had plenty of gas, a couple of jackets, a blanket that was last used as a bed for a friend’s dog and plenty of food, water and beverages. So I was fine. The wind and sleet kept me in the car. I drove into Limon at 2 am. Hotels had no vacancies. A friend had texted me that the Limon United Methodist Church had posted on Facebook that they welcomed stranded travelers. I went there to a filled parking lot, an unlocked door, the coffee pot on and scattered containers with a couple of pillows left. I picked up a pillow and opened the sanctuary door to the sounds of light snoring. I walked down the aisle in the near dark looking for a vacant pew. I found one and stretched out using my jacket as a blanket. (They had run out of blankets before I got there.)
The next morning I visited with the pastor. She apologized that she had not been up to welcome me because she had fallen asleep in her office. Thursday morning over breakfast she advised us about road openings and closures. I had my road atlas others and I studied to make our next plans.
Someone asked if I was traveling alone, and I responded yes. But later thinking about it, I was not alone. Besides the presence of God, I had a charged cell phone that kept me connected. Friends helped to make sure the highway patrol and National Guard would find me. I learned about the church that welcomed strangers. The many others braving the storm that were in the same situation gave me comfort even if they were inside separate vehicles. For a brief time, we were all refuges.
Jesus, following his death on a cross, returns and finds his disciples, ones who only a couple of days earlier had abandoned him. Does he scold them? No, Jesus wishes them peace and sends them to serve as he has done. That is now what we are called to do. The lesson from the filled pews I found in Limon this past week is a model for what our churches are and can be doing for strangers: welcoming, feeding and giving advice following the storms of life.
Happy Easter! Peace be with you. So let’s get ready to go together to serve.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.