March 8, 2015: Are you sleeping through your life?

Posted on : Mar 5th, 2015 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

For Reflection

Last year Pope Francis hit a raw nerve with his Holy Week Homily. He was going through all the people who are named in the “passion story” and after each one he asked, “Am I like???….Am I like Judas? Am I like Pilate? Am I like the crowd that did not know whether it was a religious meeting, a trial or a circus, and chose Barabbas? Am I like the disciples who understood nothing, who slept while Christ suffered? Do I sleep through my life?”

Pope Francis departed from his prepared sermon, as he often does, and went on to talk about how it is today that we “sleep through life.” He pointed out that if the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 50 points, it makes worldwide news; but the fact that millions of children die of starvation every year goes unnoticed. That, he says, is what “sleeping through life” is about.

I thought of those words last Saturday as a group of 14 of us entered Mexico on our winter Mission Trip. Our first stop was the Costco in Tijuana. We were buying food for lunch for 120 people. That was an experience in and of itself! We were also traveling with 9 new friends from the Filipino American United Church of Christ in Eagle Rock. Seven of their nine participants were nurses who were also going to Las Memorias to teach the community about universal health care precautions to reduce infection, wound care, how to insert IV lines, how to treat bed sores, and how to provide end of life nursing care. While we were buying food, they were buying medical supplies.

When we arrived at Las Memorias HIV/AIDS residence, we unloaded the vans. We had boxes of food and medical supplies and we were greeted by some familiar friends who recognized us from our last trip a year ago, as well as some new faces.

Since Las Memorias is run on the proverbial “shoe string” the residents seldom get meat. They mostly eat beans. We had purchased plenty of meat and chicken but when we got to the kitchen we discovered the burners didn’t work. They didn’t have the money for propane gas so the propane tank was empty. Luckily, they had some small propane cylinders that they save for emergencies. They hooked those to the burners so we could cook lunch!   I have no idea what constitutes an “emergency” since not having hot water or heat or gas to cook with seems pretty high on my list of emergencies, but whatever it is, I’m glad they had those tanks and offered them to us to use! Lisa and I decided we wanted to leave them some money to either refill the emergency propane tanks or get the main tank half filled, so we gave them $50. We’re going to pass the hat on Sunday for donations to cover the $50 we gave them. Any amount over the $50 we will give to Las Memorias.

What is always so amazing about our mission trips is not what these folks don’t have, but how much they do have and how freely they give it. They are an amazing community. They are not asleep. They care for each other like I have never seen in my life. They are alert and attentive to those around them and they always graciously welcome us with warm smiles and open hearts. Even though they have so little, they give so much.

This Sunday we will share with you some of our experiences with the wonderful folks at Las Memorias. Then on March 15 and 22 we will share with you some of the experiences five of our women had in visiting the Safe House for young women who have been sexually exploited through sex trafficking.

Lenten Blessings to you,



~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Matthew 26: 36-46

The disciples fall asleep while Jesus prays

Then Jesus went with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter, James and John and began to be grieved and agitated. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’

And going a little farther, Jesus threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My God, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.’

Then Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

Again Jesus went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My God, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’

Again Jesus came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.

So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.

Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Child of God is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

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