Sunday, April 21, 2019

A blessed Easter

Our pastoral, church staff and volunteers went all out for Holy Week at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church. There were two high lights in a week of wonderful worship experiences.  At the Friday night solemn service, there were several teens participating, and one young girl was tasked with lighting seven candles between  the scripture passages read by the pastor and two other teens.  She was taller than me, but the candles were high enough and in a clear glass globe, that her arms were just not quiet long enough even stretched well above her head.  After she struggled with the first 2, our 6’5” senior pastor, Steve Turnbull. quietly stepped up from his pew and stood behind her in the dark.  When she struggled, he stepped forward took the candle lighter from her hands and effortlessly with one arm raised high and the other low to control the tool, lit the candle.  But he didn’t do it until she had tried.  What a beautiful example of God’s love and grace.

And then on Easter Sunday, Pastor Dave Mann gave the sermon at our Lytham Road traditional service.  I suppose it was full of the usual Easter message, but what I remember and what we told our family at dinner was the story he told about John and Ali.  John was having a very busy day, and he passed a black man on Route 23 going north who’d had a flat tire and was attempting to flag someone down.  John felt the Lord tap his shoulder but proceeded on as he had a busy schedule.  Then he felt a firmer tap, so he turned around to help the stranded motorist.  Not only was the tire flat, it was ruined.  Not only was it ruined, but the man, Ali, had no money.  So John paid for the tire himself, and then installed it for Ali.  When they were finished, Ali told him he’d been waiting for two hours and no one had stopped, so why did John stop?  “Because I serve the King,” John told him.  Then Ali said, he’d like to know about this King that John served.  Last East Ali was baptized a Christian and joined our Lutheran church.  Dave told him that he would experience rejection and even hate from his Muslim community, but God’s love, through John had touched him and he came to know the living Lord.

Pastor Dave also comments occasionally on Facebook and shares his faith.  Last summer Dave’s little grandson and his adult son both died within a week of each other, and Dave’s witness on Facebook probably reach many weak Christians or non-believers.

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