Welcome, my friends, to this Our Saviour Sunday festival worship service, as we gather to close out our 150th anniversary year being a vital and integral part of the San Gabriel Valley community. A year ago, you kicked off this sesquicentennial celebration in grand style – both by looking back over the first 150 years of our story, and also by looking forward to all that God might have in store for us.
This is a great time of year to be a sports fan, as a number of different seasons are all converging at one time right now. Professional baseball is heading into the final month of the season, although both the Dodgers’ and the Angels’ chances of making the playoffs seem to fade with each passing game. College football begins its season this coming Thursday night. And the National Football League is deep into its own pre-season with the real games – the ones that count – beginning in just a week and a half. Even the Little League World Series is underway, with its championship game this afternoon in Williamsport, PA.
Many of you know that I took off after church two weeks ago today for a 10 day road trip vacation. It’s a straight shot up Interstate 15 to get from Southern California, one of the most beautiful regions of the United States, to Southwestern Montana, another one of the most beautiful regions of the United States. Unfortunately, to get from here to there, there is also a stretch of road extending from Apple Valley to Las Vegas and southern Nevada, as it crosses the Mojave Desert, which is… well, let’s just say not one of the most beautiful regions in the United States.
He really had no right to come. But Jairus, this leader of the synagogue, this respected Jew in the community, had nowhere else to turn. The doctors had failed to save his little girl. The medicines had failed. Even his daily prayers in the synagogue seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. Now, his daughter hovered near death. And so, as a last resort, he swallowed his pride. As a last resort, he turned to the very man the other leaders of the synagogue had condemned. As a last resort, he fell at Jesus’ feet. “My daughter is dying. Please come… and do something.” And Jesus looked into the pleading eyes of this man he had never met before, and without a moment’s hesitation they were off.