Fr. Jose Poch

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"The Butler" and "A Dream"

This past week, my wife and I went to the movies and we watched “The Butler.” The movie has a long list of very accomplished actors. The main characters were played by Forest Whitaker (whom I am sure will get the Oscar for his role in this film) and Oprah Winfrey. The story is based on the life of longtime White House butler, Eugene Allen, who served under eight U.S. presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.

The film is about family more than it is about anything else. It is about the struggles of parents raising children who don’t always see things the same way parents do. It is about growing old together, still in love with one another. It is about sacrifice, loss, pain, injustice, hurt, and remembering the good, the bad, and the ugly of life and still having the fortitude to raise your head up high. Yes, it is about an African American family. Yes, it is also about the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers, and the unjust treatment of African Americans in this country. But above all of these things, it is about a family who loves each other and struggles with each other and the demands of this life, internally and externally. It is a remarkable film and I encourage everyone to watch it.

The only negative about the film (at least for me) was the casting of each of the presidents. To me, they did not bear a resemblance to reality; perhaps this was done intentionally not to draw attention from the main character of the Butler. But I still wish they had done a better job at this. Go and watch this film, learn about a time in American history most of us have only heard about and be encouraged as human beings, as families, and as people of God.

Dr. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have a Dream" speech 
during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on 28 August 1963.

Alongside the watching of this film, I would like to bring your attention to another event worthy of remembrance. No, I am not being political, I have no intention or inclination to be political in any of my blogs. However, to ignore this film and the event we celebrate this week would be a grievous and ignorant error on our part.

This week, on August 28, the 50th year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was remembered and celebrated by many. The speech was delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and it called and still calls all Americans to live up to those words of the Constitution of these United States that declare that “All men are created equal.” Clearly, this speech of Dr. King was an anointed and prophetic speech that will be remembered forever. Listening to talk shows this week I learned that Martin Luther King, Jr. only intended to speak for about 10 minutes on justice and equality, but when the Holy Spirit took hold of him, the preacher of God’s word took over and the “I Have a Dream” speech came forth. Something that we all can aspire to.

I suspect that many today have never ever taken the time to listen to the entire speech which is only just over 17 minutes long. I know for certain that we have all heard portions of the speech but how about taking the time to listen to Dr. King deliver the speech again for our own generation. If you google it, you will find the speech very easily, on the Internet, as it was delivered in 1963.

I pray we may all learn to treat each other always with love, worth, and respect as our God has called us to, independent of color, or nationality, or accent, or religion, or anything else; and just simply as fellow human beings sharing this wonderful nation we call the United States of America and this amazing world in which we all live. 

            Let’s Blog!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Learning To Trust God

Lately with all the challenges that our church has been going through, I have been forced to learn a few interesting things about trusting God. For those reading this blog today or months from now and who have not heard about the cost of faithfulness to God that our church has paid, let me explain a bit. Because of our faithfulness to God’s revealed will in the Bible, we separated from our denomination over 9 years ago and now in 2013 and after a great deal of battling in the court system, we have had to leave our beloved buildings to lease from another church. The feeling is like that of the Israelites leaving Egypt to wander in the desert as they follow God to a land He promised them and their forefathers. We are in a very similar wandering right now but excited for what is ahead, as the promises of God are far greater than anything left behind.

As the pastor of this flock we know as St. David’s Church, I have had to carry a very heavy burden, not only as leader and decision maker but also as shepherd of each person and of the entire family. Some of these burdens have been difficult to say the least. There have been times I have questioned the decisions we made in 2004, although fully aware that we could not have done otherwise and maintained our faithfulness. Other times I have experienced fear, not of what lies ahead but of not leading my people well and failing them in some way. Other times receiving wounds from different sources even from people I considered friends. In this process, I have learned much about the meaning of trusting God.

I would like to just touch on a couple of the lessons I learned. Trust is about Knowing. It is about knowing the God on whom I place my trust even when I cannot see one foot in front of another, not just knowing about God but knowing Him. I know God to be trustworthy, honorable, loving, caring, Almighty, and ever present. I know I am never alone no matter what is before me. I have learned to trust Him even though I felt weak and unsure at times.

Along with this, I learned that Trust is about Believing. Holding His Word and His promises ahead of me and before me, believing that all His promises will be fulfilled, in His own time, in His own ways, and for His own purposes. I believe Him and His promises to all of us who put our trust in Him. He will look after us, He will provide for us, He will defend us, and He will go ahead of us preparing the way, whether His ways for us are easy or hard, we can rely on the fact that He is with us and for us. When we are weak, He is strong. I believe in God!

I also have learned that Trust requires Submission. Submission to God’s will when things go your way and submission to Him when things do not go your way. I have learned that God is Sovereign and that nothing escapes His gaze or His will, that whatever He wants for me will take place and that no one will be able to change or prevent what He has planned for me and this is good. I must do what I can with His guidance and my common sense and gifting, but at the end of the day none of these puts me in charge. This is a good thing to know and to believe, because He is good and generous and loving and just, so I will never be in better hands.

The hard and difficult days we have experienced or might experience are also for our good. They make us strong in our faith and we grow in confidence and conviction that we are in His wonderful hands. I am sure there is much more that can be said about Trusting God but these three should give us something to think and learn.

            Let’s Blog!