Contributed by Erik Ulstead, West Des Moines, IA
What’s the most heroic thing you’ve seen someone do?
Firefighters are often called into dangerous circumstances. Typically, they are asked to rescue people from burning buildings and fiery explosions. Earlier this month, local firefighters in Kokomo, Indiana found themselves trying to extract a dog from a partially frozen creek.
Like most dogs, Chancellor (or Chance, for short) loved to chase squirrels. “He’ll chase anything with fur or feathers, but he always comes back,” remarked owner Jimmy Prestler. Chance pursued the squirrel to a nearby park and onto a patch of ice. “I’m guessing the squirrel made it across the creek, but the dog didn’t,” said Dave King, battalion chief with the fire department. A person driving through the park saw the dog fall through the ice and stopped to help, but he was unable to save Chance and called the fire department.
Firefighter Derek Pounds was given the chilly task of rescuing Chance. After a few minutes Pounds was able to slide across the creek pull the dog out of the water, with the aid of a cold-water rescue suit and an ice sled. Chance was shaking violently and had icicles frozen to his face. Pounds wrapped him in a blanket to warm and dry the dog. King said the dog likely would have died if he’d been in the creek much longer. “It’s lucky someone saw what happened and called,” he said. “Had he not seen him, the dog would have frozen to death.”
Prestler expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the rescue. “I think I would have to get therapy if he didn’t survive,” Prestler said. “Whenever I come home, it’s like seeing my brother after five years. Chance just goes nuts every time. They not only saved his life, they saved mine, too.”
- When have you seen public servants (firefighters, police officers, road construction workers, etc.) in action?
- What do you think about the owner’s comments about his dog?
- Have you ever been asked to help someone in need? How did you respond?
Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, February 24, 2013 (Second Sunday of Lent)
(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings.)
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
There’s a lot going on in these few verses in Luke 13. Jesus had just wrapped up a teaching and healing spree in various communities outside of Jerusalem. With each stop along the way, the crowds grew larger. Everyone wanted to see this Jesus they had heard so much about. However, not everyone was a fan of Jesus.
Herod, the ruler of that region, recently beheaded John the Baptist, Jesus’ friend and mentor. Many Pharisees (the nice ones, not the mean ones) were concerned that Herod would come after Jesus next. They told Jesus to leave Jerusalem and go into hiding. However, Jesus was defiant, insisting that the work of casting out demons and performing cures was too important for him to hide.
He also pauses for a moment to express his dismay for the whole city of Jerusalem. Jesus is sad for the way Jerusalem has treated the people God has sent there as prophets and ministers. Furthermore, he knows that he will suffer a similar fate when he returns (for what we now know as Palm Sunday).
We learn a lot about Jesus in this passage. First, it’s clear that Jesus is one who protects and heals people who are sick or broken. Second, we see that Jesus is committed to complete the tasks to which he was called. Finally, we discover that, regardless of their past, Jesus still has concern for the well-being of the entire community. Through all of this, Jesus reveals that God has a heart for particular places and times. God cares about your town…your school…your family…your church. Like a mother hen covering her chicks, or a firefighter rescuing a dog, Jesus seeks to protect us – and calls us to shelter others in need.
- Why do you think the Pharisees are warning Jesus about Herod’s plot?
- Did Jesus make the right choice to stay in Jerusalem?
- Who are some people God is calling you to protect and care for this week?
- Grab some craft sticks and glue. Attempt to build a building that can’t be knocked over by someone blowing on it. Talk about how different structures are used to protect people from bad weather or evil people.
- Contact a local animal shelter. Offer to bring your group to learn about the work they do. Consider volunteering some time to care for animals or do repairs around their facility.
God, we thank you for sending your Son to care for us. May we provide comfort, hope, and peace to the people we encounter this week. In Jesus name, amen.