I know this blog should be brief and not filled with heavy thoughts- but please indulge me..... John and I had a very pleasant day in Houston yesterday (even though the weather was still cool and damp), visiting with our friend there. The joy of that ended when we approached the entrance to our rv park and saw our way blocked by emergency vehicles. Apparently thirty minutes before a pick-up truck, going at a high rate of speed had hit a car coming out of the park. As John and got out of our car and joined the by-standers, a man came up with a blanket wrapped around him. He was the only survivor, and was begging the people around him to take care of his bike( which had been badly mangled in the accident), his tent, and to look for his dog while he went to the hospital. Apparently those three things, and his car which had been badly burned in the accident, was all he owned. Now fast forward to our experience today. John and I had decided to attend church services at church twenty miles from the rv park. The Lutheran church, especially its pastor, had not been very welcoming to us at the Wednesday evening Lenten service. We were also warned about the other Lutheran church, as it was a bit strange. That sounded like a challenge to us, so that is where we went today. We easily found the church, located near Livingston Lake and on highway 190. We entered the church and found only fourteen members in attendance. All of them, including the pastor, welcomed us warmly. We got to know each other fairly well before the service. For the sermon the pastor spoke about an experience she had while driving through a wealthy suburb of Houston. There she encountered a mega church with the words: " the power to be wealthy". She tied that thought well in with the Gospel message today, which was John 2,13-22. During communion, at the altar rail, the pastor gave a personalized blessing to each communicant. I thought the blessing at the end of the service was unusual but beautiful: " Go in peace.Feed the hungry".
After the service we discovered more about the church by talking with the members. Shortly after Pastor Sharon came to serve the church, all the members left because she wanted to bring in poor people and the homeless. In the eight years since new members came and a new building was built. We were curious to find out more about the church, so a few members and the pastor invited us to join them for lunch at a local restaurant. During our meal the pastor told of of her ministry in Onalaska. Much of her work involves the poor and homeless who stop at the church. She has taken in a scantily-clad woman, obviously mentally ill, for a night in the parsonage. She is in process of caring for a family whose father has black-lung disease. The family lives in a mold-filled condemned across from the church. The Texas prison for death-row inmates is near the church. Pastor Sharon has provided spiritual counseling for one of these men. She says she cries a lot and often prays for the people she encounters in her ministry. Many people are indigent in the area around her and have no easy access to welfare or food stamps. Many times the pastor find it necessary to dig into her own funds after the church's food pantry and other funding run out. After the meal we hated to say good-bye to our new friends. But then we thought that hey, we are retired, no need to push on if we do not want to. At least we will plan to be back for the Wednesday Lenten service. We liked the strange goings-on at Lake Livingston Lutheran church.