Valley Center, CA
June 7, 2023
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

Church News – August 11, 2022

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle C 8-14-22
The Gospel this Sunday has a shocking tone as Jesus describes his mission to “set the earth on fire” because he is not coming “to establish peace on the earth…but rather division.” The “fire” Jesus is referencing is the power of the Holy Spirit and Judgment. This happens in a concrete way when Jesus sends the Spirit to the Church and to all of us at Pentecost. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit which inspires and strengthens the Apostles to go out preaching and converting the masses. However, with each conversion, division occurs. Each Christion stands in testimony against the ways of evil, death, and the fallen condition of the world. Those who represent the light of Christ are in opposition to those who seek the obscurity of evil.
In our own lives, we are called be Christ to shine the light of truth into our hearts and minds facing our sin and selfishness. With sincere effort, such self-reflection will challenge our own psychology creating internal struggle as we struggle to overcome our failings; and it will cause strife externally with others as our behavior and attitude change in the direction of faithful living. The darkness which is ahold in the world and our hearts can only be driven out by passion of Christ. It is the flaming passion of Christ which saves us and transforms us. Our participation in his passion is to trust in Him and dedicate ourselves to the glory of His name; this is neither easy nor peaceful, but filled with the difficulty of the cross and sacrifice of self.
Indeed, Christ intends on setting “the earth on fire” and I tell you it is “already blazing!”
Fr Luke Jauregui

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Members’ Written Expressions
Writing as a creative process is an invention unique to humans, and the sharing of these is a motivation deep within our psychological nature. Primitive hieroglyphs were drawn, then these progressed to verbal stories, and then these stories were written down. The Bible is an example where the message, inspired by God, was shared from one person to another, and then written down into words.
Light of the Valley Lutheran Church encourages creativity. One member felt there was a need in the church to form a writing group where individuals could share their faith and any other writings. Volunteers came, a leader was chosen, and ground rules were established. Monthly the group met to read aloud their written compositions, and then a simple lunch was shared.
Any genre of writing that was meaningful to the writer would be accepted with no criticisms, judgements or corrections. Also only positive reactions from the group’s members were accepted. Proverbs 3:3 encourages positive sharing with others: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, and then write them on the tablet of your heart.”
This group personally accepted the heartfelt reflections contributed by each other, and it became a safe environment to share one’s writing. The leader often offered writing prompts, but members were free to write on any topic that had relevance to them. Throughout the year members have shared a variety of compositions. Some members give their life narratives and family stories to be handed down to their grandchildren. Another wrote poetry about their garden, its beauty and spiritual meaning. One shared children’s stories that they hoped to publish. Sometimes a book was chosen to be read and observations shared. The group of writers also attended movies and plays together which were discussed afterwards. This became a group where personal, honest, and emotional things could be written and shared. Their reflections enhanced them personally, and, as a result, they became better friends.
Light of the Valley Lutheran Church welcomes you and your creativity. We meet on Sundays at 9 a.m. followed by a stimulating Bible study. We also offer Bible studies on Wednesday at 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Come Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. and find a serious prayer group where all requests are accepted. This group gets answers to prayers, and we see how God works His miracles.

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In our Gospel this Sunday, Jesus said, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! … Do you think that I have come to bring peace on the earth? No, I tell you but rather division! (Luke 12:49f)” Jesus as seen in the Gospel of Luke looks very much like a Zealot at times. Zealots were more militant in their methods of liberation. He not only is a fiery preacher and teacher, but he can also sound very agitated and angry. One of the “missing” parts of Luke that we did not read a Sunday a few weeks ago showed his fiery temper. When Jesus sent out the 70 to go everywhere he intended to go, there was much to be happy about. But there was also wrath. “Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!… at the judgement it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. (Luke 10:13f) Jesus is angry at these whole cities where he felt they did not listen to his words. Fortunately, these seem to have been just angry words as there apparently were no real fires kindled, and of yet, no cities destroyed.
First let me say that this is not the Jesus that I even like to think about. This is a part of Jesus that most of us don’t want to see. Luke captures a vision of rather impatient Christ, one who had no time to waste in completing the mission of bringing salvation to the world. Luke captures the humanity of Jesus, the Jesus who is angry that there were still those who doubted his word. This is the Jesus who is more like us, more human, more real. When he comes again to judge both the heavens and the earth, there will be violence and destruction. He has told us that he would separate the sheep from the goats, many will be saved, but some will not. This is a Jesus under pressure from his own disciples and from the people who expected him to come and save them from the Roman occupation. This is the Messiah who does not come to change things by force, but who comes to show us how to love. He is the Messiah that many would not understand; a messiah who suffers, who suffers even death on a cross.
Jesus in Luke this Sunday, is hard to hear. He is the bringer of division and anger. Jesus says that there will be divisions in families because his message will divide them. I can tell you that this has become true in our own families.
There is a strong division in religion in our families. Even though we are mostly Christian, we have conflicting ways of belief and practice. Some see our faith as something that divides and separates the righteous from everyone else. Some of us see faith as the unifier that brings all of humanity together. Some use their faith to separate and judge, while others see faith as the love that binds all wounds, forgives all faults. It always helps me to remember first, that I too am a sinner, a man dependent on the love of Christ to live a life worthy of repentance. We are not to be the ones who judge. We are to be the ones who show Christ’s love and forgiveness to this broken and divided world. It is the only thing; He is the only one who can save the world. He did it with his love and his sacrifice for us.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rev. Michael Carr
St. Francis Episcopal Church, Pauma Valley

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