Elizabeth Servis

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Elizabeth C. Servis died Wednesday morning July 30th.  Her graveside service will be Monday, August 4th at 1:00 PM at Old Mission.  Elizabeth’s memorial service will be held in the Chapel at Hillside Christian Church at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, August 5th.

Immigration

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Have you thought a lot about immigration lately? It certainly has been in the news. There appear to be strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Faith based groups appear to be united in support for allowing immigration, but with some changes. Business people who have a difficult time filling jobs that no one wants, seem to support immigration. The vast majority of middle class people who are struggling to make ends meet, appear to be the most opposed to immigration. For this group, it is not just about crime, not just about right and wrong, it is about taking jobs.

I was interviewed the other day about “where I stand on the issue of immigration.” It is a complex issue that doesn’t have one easy answer.

1. You are never going to be able to have a completely secure border. It is not going to happen.
2. Each of us are a product of immigration. Somewhere at some time, one of our grandparents was an immigrant. What makes us different?
3. There is no way for me to divorce myself from the fact that many of the immigrants are children. Why shouldn’t any child have a chance at being and doing the best they can?
4. Jesus said, I was a stranger and you invited me in…(Matt 25:35). One of the reasons God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was because they showed no hospitality to the stranger in the city.

The only way that we will curb immigration from Mexico or Central America is by investing ourselves in those locations. To take jobs, financial assistance, and opportunities to those countries so that they will not be looking at relocating. Look at ourselves, we will move all the way across the country for a better job.

Change legislation to orient, train and educate immigrants. Have centers set up to teach English, provide vocational training and to assist with job placement. WOW, what a novel idea. We might even try that with our own citizens.

War No More

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With what all has happened (and hasn’t happened) in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of us would admit, we don’t feel any safer. Thousand of lives lost in this never ending conflict, millions of people displaced, and the absolute destruction that has taken place. And we feel even more insecure.

War is rarely the answer. While there is a time and place for war, and a war has to be fought, there are better solutions to war, that most of the time, needs to be utilized.

The day that the US invaded Iraq for the second Iraq war, not the first, when our government decided that the most evil and threatening force in the world was Saddam Hussein, there was a worship service held on the campus of Eastern College. Evangelical activist, the Reverend Dr. Tony Campolo spoke at that service. During his sermon Campolo proposed that, rather than drop bombs on the Iraqis to try to force Hussein from power, why don’t we send ships to Iraq laden with medical supplies, food, and other items, dump these on the Iraqi people for free, and see what happens. Campolo said, “If Hussein is still in power in six months, then attack if you must.”

Of course, few took Campolo seriously. His seemed a ridiculous proposal. The United States took the path of war and spent billions of resources, and many lives in the process and are still spending.

Why would Dr. Campolo (who is a very intelligent person) make such a proposal? Does he not care for justice? Does he not want to fight evil? Wrong had been done to us and now somebody had to pay. Some leaders proclaimed that the Iraq war was a “just” war, bombing them into near oblivion.

Dr. Campolo is a devout Christian, and his proposal arose because he really thinks that he knows the secret about what’s really going on in the world, and who is really in charge. What if Dr. Campolo was right? No American lives lost. Much less money spent. No ongoing civil war in Iraq. No terrorist training ground.

Just maybe, love and grace are more powerful than war!

 

Politics!

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Isn’t the political system something this year? The TV and radio stations are filled with ads. We are not even into the general election, still in the primary, and mud is being slung in every direction. Doesn’t matter whether it is the House of Representatives or the Senate, even some very local offices are doing this.

Probably some of the information being shared is true. Most of it is probably half truth and half distorted. There may even be a few out right untruths in the mix. As a voter, that is my challenge, to decide what to believe and what not to believe. It is always challenging to vote for the person I feel will do the best job.

This year is especially challenging. Why? Because there is a lot of big money behind it all. Political pacs that don’t have to be as accountable. Political pacs that can do the “dirty work” for their candidate. Wealthy individuals that can give large sums of money that will leave a candidate feeling obligated for favors. I understand the concept of “freedom of speech” as the Supreme Court has ruled, but I don’t agree with it. I don’t care what political party one is a part of, no one voice should be heard above another.

I like the words of the Gospel of John 1:23, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” The amazing thing about our God, is God’s ability to hear the tiny voice that has been smothered out by the world. A God that doesn’t play favorites, that treats with equality and is always fair. A God that isn’t influenced by wealth or power, but by love and grace.

It is always the tiny unforgotten seed that breaks through the concrete sidewalk and grows into the huge oak and spreads its branches wide.

 

Angels, Angels, Everywhere Angles

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Do you feel that you are being watched over by an angel? Most of us do. We can’t explain the odd things that happen in our lives. The car accident that was narrowly missed. The unexplained recovery that the doctor can’t explain. The miracle that happened that was certainly unexplained. We say, “My guardian angel was looking out for me.”

 

Angels have played significant roles in the life of humanity. Angels were created by people, but have a role of being messengers between God and humanity. Only two angels are named in the Bible. Michael who is recorded as the only archangel and Gabriel who announced the coming birth of Christ. All other angels (and there are a lot) are nameless.

We know that one third of the angels fell with the Devil. A fallen angel becomes a demon. The other two thirds, become helpers, worshipers and messengers for God, to God’s creation. They hear our prayers. They deliver answers to our prayers. They protect us from evil. They rejoice when a sinner repents. They worship God continuously.

We don’t know what they look like. Most of the time they appear as a “normal” person. However they come, whatever they do, we are thankful that they watch over us.