God Pause for Friday, 10/31/2014

Luther Seminary God Pause

Friday, 10/31/2014 Reading: Matthew 23:1-12

Ford Crouch, CFO of the Sioux Line Railroad, was a surprise. For about five years I worked every weekend and holiday as a day-guard at the First National Bank/Sioux Line Building. Criminals did not fear me, for I ran the freight elevator, opened and locked up and did minor janitorial duties. I had no official uniform.

I was often reminded of my status on the food chain by fashionably dressed young women and men who would stop in front of me and grind out their cigarettes on the terrazzo floor. They never said a word, but the message was clear, "Clean it up, boy!" They were on their way up and I was one of the stepping-stones.

This is why I was so surprised by Mr. Ford Crouch. He greeted me like his son, and he told me that I could skip the Mister and just call him, "Ford." When he would come in on Sunday afternoons, he would stop by my desk in the lobby and just chat. He asked how school was going and my plans for the future. He would often give me tips about the management of people. An interesting side-line is that years later I became his son's pastor at Bethlehem in south Minneapolis.

Ford was one of the most important people I have known, and he was also one of the most humble and down-to-earth people I have known. He modeled Jesus' words when he said, "All who humble themselves will be exalted." They will be exalted as one of God's saints.

Father, this Sunday we will be celebrating All Saints Sunday. When we kneel at your Son's Table, we will be remembering those saints who have finished their journey and surround us at the Table. But, we also will be feeling the embrace of many brothers and sisters who are a part of the communion of saints. Thank you! Amen.>

Hub Nelson Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Edina, Minn. (Retired) Master of Divinity, 1962

Matthew 23:1-12 (NRSV)

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

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