Community in Action March 26, 2021

Jesus looked at them and said,

“With man this is impossible,

but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

    Yesterday I did a memorial service for a former firefighter, husband and dad. Actually after talking to the family it would be better to list husband and dad before firefighter. He was employed by the city of Hayward, but he made his home and brought up his kids in the Arnold area, a small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He thought it was important to bring his kids up in that area so he commuted to his calling as a firefighter.  But even with that commute he was sure to be present for their special activities.

    In my conversations with this family I couldn’t help but think of Paul’s letter to the Philippian church. Chapter two lays out Paul’s thought about the type of character in Christ to which we need to aspire, looking after the interest of others over ourselves.

    It also brought to my mind the song “The Impossible Dream,” which I first heard when I was in High School, here I am dating myself for those who remember when the musical Man of La Mancha came out.

    I find it interesting that no one has ever asked to have that song played for a memorial service. I have been asked and accommodated more often than I would want to have “My Way” sing by Frank Sinatra, and others, played though. Sure “My Way” speaks of being willing to go against the crowd, to stand out and not bow to conformity. It is a song of self-determination to follow the course you have chosen, not to be swayed by the influence of others.

    Wasn’t Jesus like this? Jesus learned, especially Holy Week that his path was going to be an arduous, difficult journey, but he completes that journey. Yet, in my estimation “My Way” is completely self-directed and the path Jesus followed was God directed.

    I think “The Impossible Dream” acknowledges the pain, the struggle, the woundedness which comes with the path Jesus followed. “The Impossible Dream” reminds us it takes courage to go against the tide, “to fight for the right without question of pause.” This song says that we are working towards a cause which is beyond our normal capacity.

    Thankfully Jesus has already be the one to die on the cross. Jesus has been the one who took on the load of all that would weigh us down from reaching the stars. Jesus has brought us liberation and freedom to become who God has called us to be.

    As a follower of Jesus the road can still be difficult, but it also can be filled with joy and we can walk with a community which celebrates with those who celebrate, while still mourning with those who mourn.

    I don’t think I would ever have the courage to fight the crowds for a heavenly cause, but I do think I can learn and make small head way in being concerned about and caring for those who are less fortunate than I.

    I hope I too can be a person who is known first for his love for others and then secondly for his desire to fulfill his vocational obligations. I think Jesus longs for us to have a joyful life and when our time comes to have a peaceful rest.

    So let us continue the race and link arms with those who need the encouragement to continue the path God has set before us.


    Pastor Randy

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