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We have company!

by davesandel on July 21st, 2021

Wednesday, July 21, 2021                              (today’s lectionary)

We have company!

The children of Israel set out from Elim and came into the desert of Sin. Here they grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

I love this passage of Exodus 16. Forty years ago my mom and dad named their farm Elim Acres. Lincoln, Illinois was never so proud. Although I have to say that the town was just far enough away to sometimes be equated with the desert of Sin.

Oh, yes, you HAD to lead us into the desert to make us all die of famine! But the Lord said, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.”

Riding along on the tractor Dad, along with my brother John and me, liked to listen to the WPEO AM Christian radio station. Every day about 10 am “A Seed for the Sower” broadcast over the fields of Elim Acres. Originally the show lasted only for one minute. It began in Vidalia, Georgia after evangelists Michael and Audrey Guido were in a nearly fatal car crash in 1957 and is still going strong.

In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the Lord, am your God. The seed is the word of God, and Christ is the sower.

In his mid-40’s, Dad attended a weekend Lutheran retreat called “Kogudus.” The founder was a North Dakota pastor, Olaf Magis, who came from Estonia., and in his native language “kogudus”means “renewal.” After this retreat at a rented fraternity house in Urbana, Dad was never the same. Everyone in our family eventually attended Kogudus retreats, including Margaret and me.

A sower went out to sow, and some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirty-fold.

Often on Saturday mornings we would drive together to Faith Lutheran Church for a 7 am hour reunion time of Kogudus music, prayer, joking and discussion. I am certain my dad never did anything like that with his dad. And I am so glad that changed for us. “A Seed for the Sower” planted plenty of seeds in Dad’s heart. Naming our farm Elim Acres was part of that.

He rained meat upon them like dust and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Speaking of bread from heaven … Pam, who has been Margaret’s friend since college days in Murray, Kentucky, has arrived. She’ll stay awhile, helping however she can. Yesterday Pam and Margaret talked about everything for hours. Today maybe they will again. Pam’s spirit is quiet; she has endured her own troubles, especially over recent years, and she is immediately   a stable source of God’s love in our home.

She listens as much as Margaret talks, and then the tables turn. She loves to drink Dr. Pepper when we’re together and play Hidden City on her IPad when we’re apart. As young single friends Pam and Margaret traveled together from Illinois to El Paso, Texas, to deep country Georgia, to other destinations far and near. Both Margaret and Pam, Scottish-bred, have visited their homeland. Margaret and Pam attended Lincoln Christian Seminary in 1974, two very rare female students. Pam became a nurse, and Margaret became a teacher, and now Pam is choosing to help nurse Margaret back to health.

In 1992 I helped officiate Pam’s wedding in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois to Gary Clevenger. Gary passed away recently. Pam organized his memorial service on Saturday, and on Monday morning she began her 13-hour (plus construction) drive to Austin.

Pam and Gary lived for twenty-nine years on a bluff above the Ohio River. Watching through the big windows, Gary loved to chart and log the barges that floated by, upstream toward Pittsburgh and downstream toward Cairo, Illinois and the Big Mississippi. Once I joined him. He used binoculars to see the barges’ numbers. Then he could look them up on the internet and see where they were headed, and from whence they had come.

I felt like Mark Twain’s apprentice, watching, learning to do the work. But … not many barges in central Illinois, so I took to watching semis instead, heading past Elim Acres into the desert of Sin, hoping to find their manna and quail at the Dixie Truck Stop, just down Route 66.

Man will eat the bread of angels.

(Exodus 16, Psalm 78, Matthew 13)

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