Marvin Repinski: Attention: Help is on the way

Published 5:18 pm Friday, June 2, 2023

Pastor James Steffes, of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin, reminds us of our need for a special grace to face the rocky paths we walk.  

Quoting this compassionate leader of a faith community, he wrote in the church weekly guide of May 21 of this year: 

“I can assure you that in 30 grace-filled years of the priesthood I have never met a person that has a perfect life nor have I witnessed the model family.  Everyone has challenges, trials and obstacles through this earthly life.  But I can assure you as well, of the goodness of God that has time and time again touched imperfect lives and messy and dysfunctional families and transformed them. I have witnessed freedom from addictions, miraculous healings, homecomings, healings, redemptions and forgiveness amongst peoples that thought none of it could ever happen.  It only takes an openness to God.”

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With my own imperfections, my falling short of my goals and intentions, I resonate with a fellow member of the clergy. My nearly 50 years, being appointed by several bishops of the United Methodist Church throughout the state of Minnesota, puts a sentence on my lips: “I’ve seen it all!” No!  

Just a part of the manner that people cope with life and thankfully how many come out of challenges as better people. Some challenges are turned into lessons that strengthen resolve and grant a fresh breeze of compassion. 

As an example of how one person has faced dislocation, pain, and a shortened life, is a man to admire.

Nick is a writer, a sports fanatic, and an advocate for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.  He’s been fighting this disease for four years with courage and optimism.  

“I try to have days that are meaningful by approaching each day fresh, even if the previous one was rotten,” he writes. “But some days are particularly dark and filled with despair and an absence of hope. Then I get a note of encouragement from a friend, or a funny e-mail in my inbox, or an unexpected package in the mail.  I know that these are God’s ways of saying. ‘I know that you are going through a rough time, but you are not alone. I am with you and not even this terrible disease will change that.’”

Surrounded by a divine presence is not the only source of our better days. As Nick refers to “encouragement from a friend,” we may point to the many ways that assistance is available to any of those, like the writer of the Psalms, refers to:  “My throat is parched.”

Available to a wide geographical area of southeastern and the middle of our state, is the Mayo Clinic Health System.  Part of the agency’s resources is the Crime Victims Resource Center. Its varied professionals will enable all citizens to live in a community free of fear and violence through advocacy, actions, and education. Help is available.  Call 507-437-6680 or toll free at 1-800-349-6680.

For the sake of communicating some of the issues that people experience, my interest in the center is to list some of the advertised areas that in my reading are saying, “Save me!”  “Help me!”

• 24 hour crisis hot-line

• Crisis counseling

• Safety planning

• Emergency shelter

• Support groups

• Referrals to other agencies

• Emergency transportation

• Support during hospital examinations

• Support during police reporting and more.

Isaiah 43:1-2 states:  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Thought for the Day:  “God uses imperfect people like you and me to bring love into the world.  (Joan D. Clingman (Ohio)   Prayer Focus:  Youth in prison and prison ministries.

A woman from a church in Ohio, Joan D. Clingman, has written of her volunteer projects.

“I had baked three pans of brownies for the prison-ministry party, but they needed a couple of hours to cool.  I decided to go to bed and cut and pack the brownies in the morning.  However, after a couple of restless hours, I got up and went back to the kitchen.

I began cutting large squares of brownies.  With each brownie I cut, I prayed that the person eating it could know it was baked and served with God’s unconditional love.  When I finished cutting all the brownies, I noticed that not one had come out with perfectly smooth edges.  How like us humans!  All of us have our ragged edges.  But God loves each of us anyway, imperfections and all.  What a wondrous gift!

Prayer:  O God, who created all of the world and its people, guide us to be reflections of your loving spirit.  Help us always to see that the broken edges of people’s lives are where you are most needed — and where we are most needed as well.  Amen.