(To Main Page)

 

Trip Around the Sun

 

49 of 52 – Congregational Church - Broadway

Have traveled about 551,000,000 miles - 3 weeks to finish the Trip Around the Sun.

From the Church of the Valley:

We are looking for someone who would like to prepare communion the 1st Sunday of every month.  This responsibility includes, pour the juice into cups, breaking the bread into the bread dishes...Setting it up on the communion table in the front of the church.  And then cleaning everything up at the end of service.  Several people already help with this ministry...we just need a few more...so it is not a burden on anyone.  Please E-mail me back if you are interested or if you know of someone who would be interested.  Blessings Sandy.

Comment:

 

Sounds like they could use a few Aaronic Teachers - - -

 

 

Iraqi war dead have also been few, especially when one compares this to what - we did to Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In those German and Japanese cities, scores of thousands of women and children were bombed and burned to death in minutes. - PATRICK BUCHANAN



Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

   - Blaise Pascal

 

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, -whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?   - Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

From a Friend:

I am against ANY soldier.

 

 

Response:

I'm sure I can’t be against "ANY" soldier. But the very existence of a "soldier" is pre-emptive.

 

There's an old saying that someone who holds a hammer is always looking for a nail.

 

Too much preparation for war is probably causative. Mormons know this from scriptures in the Book of Mormon. Read Ensign 1976 June President’s message, starting with “We are a warlike people.”

 

A tortoise is prepared for the possibility of war – a lion is prepared to start one. There is a great difference between defense and offense, sports metaphors and all.

 

 

 

God is an invention of Man. So the

nature of God is only a shallow mystery.

The deep mystery is the nature of Man.

 

      - Nanrei Kobori (Buddhist Monk)

 

Note from Chuck: During the last several reports – much talk of war. It’s because that is what ALL the religions are talking about. (With the possible exception of the Buddhists.)

 

The churches that are against the war (The Catholics, for example) tend to make a couple comments during the meeting – usually in the form of wishing it over. Those who are pro on the war, however, tend to make it the subject of the entire meeting. It has been very interesting.

 

The Visit: Congregational Church – Broadway in Escondido

 

Meeting starts at 9:30

 

(I was late from not setting for Daylight Savings – walking and returning to corrected clocks.)

 

The first parts of the meeting were pretty clearly laid out in the program –

 

Prelude Music

Greetings and Welcome

 

Call to Worship: (This was all written out.)

 

Minister: Gracious creator of the universe, thank you for this day to gather together as your people to worship you. Thank you for the place of worship in which we gather to worship you.

 

Congregation: We give thanks for the things of the earth that give us the means of life.

 

Minister: Thank you for the plants, animals, and birds that we use as food and medicine.

 

Congregation: Almighty God, giver of every good and perfect gift, teach us to render to you all that we have and all that we are, that we may praise you, not with our lips only.

 

Minister: But with our whole lives, turning the duties, the sorrows, and the joys of all our days into a sacrifice for you.

 

Congregation: Gracious creator of the universe, thank you for this day to gather together as your people to worship you. We give thanks for the things of the earth that give us the means of life.

 

*Opening prayer – (In unison)

 

Oh Lord our God, the author and giver of all good things, we thank you for all your mercies, and for your loving care over all your creatures. We bless you for the gift of life, for your protection round about us, for your guiding hand upon us, and for the tokens of your love within us. We thank you for friendship and duty, for good hopes and precious memories, for the joys that cheer us, and the trials that teach us to trust in you. Most of all we thank you for the saving knowledge of your son our Savior, for the living presence of your spirit, the Comforter, for your Church, the body of Christ, for the ministry of word and sacrament, and all the means of grace. In all these things, O heavenly God, make us wise for a right use of our benefits, that we may render an acceptable thanksgiving unto you all the days of our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

*Gloria Patri

 

Children’s Moments. This is the one I was wishing I had not missed. I thought it would have been the children in some performance. I found later that it had been the minister giving his sermon with the children gathered at the front. He gives it in children’s language – and then later to us all in adult language. I saw this done at one of the Presbyterian Churches – and thought it was very nice. I had the thought that this did two other good things. The adults also hear the message simply stated first – and are more attentive to it later – and the speaker (minister) must have his talk well prepared – not “off the cuff.” I have often noted that a well prepared speaker is still more able, not less, to speak from “the spirit” even while giving the prepared part of his talk as well. He is more confident – more humor – everything is better.

 

Congregation joys and concerns spoken.

 

Pastoral prayer by minister and Lord’s prayer then by all.

 

Then the most precise bell choir I’ve ever heard. They may have been guests. All were dressed in nice robes – except their leader, who was in a black suit – almost a tux. This leader was the model for the painting called American Gothic – the guy with the pitchfork. When he turned around, his face was friendlier – but his manner was very stoic while conducting – other than for the variation in lengths of arm strokes. The bell choir was not short on dynamics, however, and I suspect there was much taught during rehearsal that could be directed subtly later. At the end of the piece, he smiled at them. They were a joy to listen to. No applause.

 

No wait – these are probably not visitors. The director took his place next at the organ.

 

We sang “Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow” – most sang this one without books.

 

About a seven year old boy came up to give a talk. He did very well – but he announced that he was reading his mom’s talk – because she was sick and couldn’t come. (Laughter) Talk was on “The Treasures of the Lord,” and was well written. The boy obviously enjoyed doing this for his mother – and the congregation was appreciative also.

 

The bell choir did a beautiful rendition of “The Old Rugged Cross.”

 

Minister’s Talk: “Much Ado About Money.”

 

Is money important to you – raise your hands. (Some laughter – most hands raised.)

 

No – hold them up a little longer – I want to see the one’s who don’t care about their money. (Big laughter)

 

Who among you had a lemonade stand when you were a kid? – Hands –

 

Ok – Did you have the lemonade stand because you were dedicated to having people get a glass of lemonade – or was it to make some money?

 

What is your purpose now for working? Is it to discover the meaning of life? Or is it to make money?

 

What in life are you the most dissatisfied with? Wife not good enough? Not enough money? Minister not good enough? (Laughter)

 

In 1980, they asked lots of college students what their purpose for going to college was – to discover the purpose of life – or to make more money. 84% said that it was to discover the purpose of life. Now they have just recently asked the same question of college students, and most answer that it’s to make more money. It has reversed.

 

(I thought that this was probably bad data – would like to do the test myself – with proper double-blind, etc.)

 

We put in great effort for “success” without gaining content.

 

Money is not bad – it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.

 

Loving both money and God is like loving both one’s mistress and one’s wife.

 

(I thought that it’s sometimes (often) the wife who wants the husband to love money. She doesn’t look on this as a competition – but a cooperative evil.)

 

There is an old belief among some Indian tribes called the “Limited good belief.” It is that there is only so much of each kind of good to go around. They do not wish another person “Good luck,” because that would use up some of the luck there is to go around and leave less for themselves. People often think this way about money also. We can’t give it without losing it.

 

We do not own our wealth – we are only the managers of it. It is loaned to us by God.

 

If we see rightly, we are managers – not owners.

 

Have you ever owned a Dairy Queen? There is a difference between the owner and the manager of a Dairy Queen. We know the difference, don’t we?

 

(Then I thought – if we know the difference, and we are only the managers of our wealth – how can there be an owner of a Dairy Queen that is different from the manager? Doesn’t the owner also function only as a manager? This appeared a contradiction to me – to recognize the “difference,” yet say only one of them exists.)

 

He repeated – We don’t own our wealth; we manage it.

 

(I thought – man invented money – to make it easier to trade one labor for another – simply a way to keep track. But when we give some of our “credit” to another (the least of these) – we give it to God.

 

Little Billy was given two quarters before he walked to church. One was for God – and the other was for an ice cream cone on the way home. But on the way to church, he dropped one of them. It rolled and went into the gutter. He could not retrieve it – and said, “Sorry, God – I lost your quarter.”

 

(I thought – Well I see the message here – God was more important than the ice cream cone. But what about the ice cream man? Wasn’t it just as important for him to receive as it was for the church? I’m reminded of a talk once – wherein the speaker said he had a choice to give to the church – or pay his rent. He said he gave to the church. I wondered why he thought the person he owed the rent to should pay to the church for him. Out of that man’s pocket it came – not from his own.)

 

A man went to heaven – and noticed that all the robes had no pockets. He asked about it, and was told that since we could not bring along anything with us, there was no need for pockets in heaven.

 

He said that the purpose of the Church was: “To win people to faith in Jesus Christ.”

 

I was recently hired to do a small consulting job for another church. I was to be paid $500. for a day of help with their financial affairs. When I got there, I saw a building in disarray – things looked pretty grim. I thought, “How are they supposed to pay me?”

 

Then I saw their bank account. They have a million and a half dollars in there!

 

So my advice to them: “Money in the bank does not touch lives.”

 

(I thought of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but still do understand what he’s saying here.)

 

Communion:

 

He said a short blessing: He blessed the bread and “juice.” I had never heard this before – everyone says bless the bread and wine – even when they do use grape juice. We say “water,” but we’re the only ones who do that. We could say “wine,” as that’s in the scriptures as acceptable also – but not “juice.”

 

Then he explained that the bread would be passed to all – but we were to then wait for instruction and take it together. I asked my neighbor if non-members were to partake, and was assured that it was for everyone.

 

When the bread came by, I noticed that it was not “broken,” but cut evenly into squares. (I could not select a larger one – as all were the same size.)

 

It was home-made wheat bread. I found out later that a particular sister makes it for every Sunday – evidently brings it already cut into the little squares.

 

While it was being passed (passed by adults both male and female) – we sang a hymn. Then when everyone had it, we took it together.

 

Then the same for the juice. And another song was sung while it was passed.

 

There were little receptacles in the hymnal holders to receive the little cups after use, since we all waited to take it together.

 

The minister said that since they were getting ready to have the duel meetings, and were running a little late, we would skip the closing song.

 

( I thought this was great – there would be a second meeting, and I could catch the first part that I had missed. Not to be – the dual meeting starts next week. This minister has taken upon himself a challenge to get more youth to the church. He’s a new minister – only about a month ago he came to this church. Next week they will start having a “contemporary” meeting at 11:00. This will probably involve electric guitars, etc. He left out the closing song this week – to “practice” being on time, so that next week the first meeting will not interfere with the second.)

 

A little girl – about four or five – came up to the front with a candle snifter – one with a cup and a lighter. She first lit it using the candle – then sniffed the candle – only one large candle on a table at the center in front. Then she walked proudly to the back.

 

Everyone stood – moved toward the center so that all could hold hands. The minister gave a short blessing for all – and we sang “halleluyah.” It’s a nice little hymn I’ve heard several times on the trip – with only the one word over and over (eight times.) Reminds me a little of one of the girl’s camp songs – but I can’t remember the name – sung as a round. (Ah – I remembered – Kum Buy Ya)

 

Then it was over.

 

Several people came up to meet me. I talked with one for several minutes and was able to ask some questions about beliefs, etc.

 

He was a man about my own age. He was very friendly, and it was comfortable to ask some questions.

 

I asked, “Would it be ok to ask a few questions about the beliefs here?”

 

He said, “Sure it would. But you must understand, we are free here to have varied beliefs – they are individual.”

 

I said, “If I ask questions not appropriate, it’s fine to just tell me so.”

 

I asked, “You believe there is a heaven that people go to after this life – I think I heard that from the minister – “ “Yes.”

 

“But do you also believe in a burning Hell for those to go to and burn forever without being consumed – for those who mess up their lives in one way or another?”

 

He said, “That’s something you would get a different answer to depending on who you ask. It’s probably about half and half. We have some real fundamentalists – and others like myself – who couldn’t imagine God doing something like that to his loved ones.”

 

“I like that,” I said – in the church I grew up in, the beliefs are more universal – everyone is expected to believe roughly the same on many issues. On this one – they believe more like you do – that God would not prepare such a place – no burning Hell.”

 

“But,” I continued, “they do believe some other disturbing things I would like to ask you about. Does your church teach that God told Abraham to prove his love for God by killing his boy? Or that God sent an angel down to kill all the firstborn of Egypt to soften Pharaoh’s heart?”

 

He said, “It is an area that would be like I told you – some individual belief – but for the most part, we view the Old Testament as stories – not literal. The New Testament is taken more seriously – love of neighbor – even of enemy, for example.”

 

“Then could I ask about the war a little? Does this church tend to be in favor of the current war?”

 

(By the way – there was no mention of the war during the entire meeting – a little refreshing after the last several meetings.)

 

“As a rule – most of us are supportive – but do not like the idea of the war. We do not like the pre-emptive way it was started. However, there was recently – just last week – a statement put out by the organization – more supportive of the war than that. It upset quite a few people to have a position taken by the organization as if it were our own.”

 

(How can we have our own beliefs if the organization tells us what to believe?)

 

I told him that I appreciated his willingness to answer my questions – and that I kind of liked what I was hearing – that my own church teaches most of these “stories” in the Old Testament pretty much as actual events. I didn’t say anything about my perception of our members’ feelings about the war. I liked his description of the freedom for individuals to have individual views, and I know, of course, that we do have many different thoughts on subjects like this – but also that there is a tendency for some to tell others what must be believed. (Especially in Utah – my son has told me – as though I didn’t already know.)

 

While walking outside, my new friend told me that his brother was a biologist and that evolution was essentially his brother’s whole life. He said that would be acceptable at this church, though most people would not believe as his brother. I asked him if he was a scientist. He said, “No – I’m an engineer.” I said, “Well – to me – that’s a scientist.” He was a Civil engineer, retired. I let him know that I had been a physicist – and there was a kind of mutual understanding.

 

Outside, they were serving punch and cookies. But as I neared, I saw it was not just any punch – it was the same juice as was served for communion – and the bread too – the little squares in two piles. It turns out that the cookies were far spent – and then the bread was brought to the table – home made by that sister - . I told the woman behind the table that I thought it was nice – to serve the left over communion bread. She said, “Yes – we always do that – you know – it’s home made by a woman in our church – and it’s so good. I told her that we have a teaching in the church I grew up in that our communion bread is to be given to the poor – but that generally, it is simply tossed.

 

(I once saw three little boys after church – getting bread from the sacrament trays. When they saw me “catching” them, two of them ran off – but the other one stayed – looked embarrassed – and said, “Brother Borough – it wasn’t me. I wasn’t eating any bread.” This was a young boy being raised rather strictly – had a haircut like a marine during a time when the other boys had longer hair – and he had a bit of a “staff sergeant” for a dad. I took him back to the bread – got some and gave it to him – ate some myself – and told him that it was not damaged by the blessing. He smiled and had a couple pieces. He always said “hi” to me after that.)

 

I can scarcely believe that I have only three visits left in the Trip Around the Sun. Poor Mormons.

 

 

49 of 52 – Congregational Church – Broadway

 

(To Main Page)