Last year as some of my friends and I celebrated our 66th birthdays, I photographed a Route 66 sign to put on their birthday cards. This year as 66 comes to an end and we are all turning 67, I had the idea of photographing the sign on the Santa Monica Pier that marks the end of Route 66. So my dear husband, Les, humored me by driving us to Santa Monica so I could capture this scene that will don the front of several birthday cards over the next several months.
We found the historic Route 66 sign with the words “End of the Trail”, which I photographed. It was so crowded we had no desire to linger on the pier after our mission was accomplished. We headed back through the throngs of people to our expensive parking spot. We saw two men holding signs proclaiming Jesus as Lord. Along with their signs, God’s Word was being shared over a loud speaker to the public passing by. As we approached the men with their signs, three young people coming onto the pier caught my attention. One of the young women had her hands over her ears, laughing, as if it was funny to block out the Good News of the Gospel. I wanted to cry out, “It’s not funny! You are closing your ears to life giving, life saving truths!”
Sadly, many people block out God’s Truth.
Recently, we celebrated Easter, the resurrection of our Savior. It is in His death that we have been healed (I Peter 2:24) and it is in His resurrection that we have hope of eternal life (Romans 10:9). Pastor Dave Jenkins presented the Good News of the Gospel clearly on Easter Sunday to a standing room only crowd. Through his words and the words of our worship songs, I clearly heard God’s truth. But I wonder how many people visiting that day kept their ears closed to this life changing news of the resurrection, just as the young woman on the pier had done. Not everyone is as demonstrative about their resistance to hearing God’s Word as the woman I saw in Santa Monica, but she was a reminder that we have a mission field and it is all around us. God calls each of us to pray for people we come across. We are to be missionaries at home, the market, the workplace, and to pray for those not yet ready to open their ears and their hearts to Him.
We may not be as bold as the men holding signs on the pier, proclaiming truth over a loud speaker, but we can be light and salt right where the Lord has placed us.
Even though I’m not at “the end of the trail” of life yet, as I am now enjoying Route 67, one dear one just finished her earthly trail. Anne St. Raymond “finished well” and has gone home to be with her Savior. The Plaxton’s, along with the FiftyPlus visitation team have had the joy of walking alongside her as her journey slowed, and then came to an end. I loved my visits with Anne as she was light and salt to anyone who came into her presence. Her love for Jesus seemed to work its way into every conversation and she was filled with joy no matter her situation. I learned a great deal from Anne about contentment in all circumstances and being victorious in the winter season of life. She was an amazing woman and will be dearly missed in our church family.
If the young woman who had closed her ears on the pier had known Anne, she would have seen the difference Christ makes in a person’s life.
Jesus’ establishment of His Church is a beautiful thing, where we can together be light and salt to a dark world, and be comfort and love to one another on life’s often rough journey. As we love, serve, and share the Gospel together at Trinity Church, we taste His abundant life. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”
Helping a person hear the Gospel and follow Jesus, comforting someone on the rocky trail of life, or walking alongside someone at the end of their earthly journey is definitely “abundant trail living”. That’s the joy for all of God’s people at Trinity Church as we love and serve as family.
By Linda Arnett