by Laurie Gaumer, CGS Council member
There is so much happening all around us these days! And so much of what I hear seems so negative, with very little positive spin on the horizon… or so it seems. Then, recently, I hear about twelve Thai kids, ages 11 to 17 years, a youth soccer team and their coach, who go for a hike and end up stuck in a dark, underground cave, 2.5 miles from the entrance. Yikes!
Frankly, I didn’t hold out much hope for this team when I heard that there was a search going on. And, in truth, at that point, it had already been a week! So I said a prayer, hoping that this would turn out well, but figuring their safe return was unlikely, trusting that my prayers would be passed along to surviving family and friends. Then, OMGosh, nine days into the search, people are found -- deep in this dark, soggy, underground cave – “How many? Thirteen? Brilliant!!” Who would have thought?
Clearly, not I!
Then, last week, as I am headed across the Bay Bridge, I’m listening to the car radio and there is talk of just how those outside the Thailand caves are going to successfully extract this team of thirteen to safety. What I hear is that it is not going to be easy. None of the thirteen are scuba divers; some don’t even swim. And the caves are treacherous!
As NPR begins the story of what is likely to happen during the rescue, they talk of teaching each soccer player to use a breathing mask and other essential scuba gear, and then, with two professional divers, one on each side of the cave dwellers, they will make their way slowly and carefully out. And, this is when I have that overwhelming sense that tears are near. I begin to weep -- I am not only hopeful for this group, but I am suddenly, absolutely, and acutely aware of the presence of a truly loving, unconditionally caring God that does this for me, (and for you too!) each time we encounter that really hard stuff in our lives. God, the ultimate ‘Professional Diver’ is right along-side us as we make our way out of that dark, dank, underground cave that threatens. I am reminded (once again) that we are not alone… and I am grateful.
I also begin to think about how we, in turn, can be ‘professional divers,’ emissaries of our Loving God for others in our lives, in our communities, and in the world around us. We CGSers have done this in so very many ways over the years. I recall a collection of underwear for those in need, dubbed ‘Undie Sunday.’ We’ve had Giving Trees, collected backpacks, as well as toothbrush/toothpaste kits for some of our ‘most in need’ friends of the streets. We make quilts that are donated. Our youth have collected funds for that cute little pink piglet line-up that hung over the altar – with monies sent to support ELCA Good Gifts. We participate in God’s Work, Our Hands. We collected books and school supplies earlier this year for our neighborhood elementary school. And, last year’s Budgeted Benevolence dollars ($4500 in total) went to Sunday Friends, Veggielution Farm, the LGBTQ Youth Space, and Lutheran World Relief.
We are generous. We have been a pool of ‘professional divers’ on God’s scuba team, helping folks out of the caves… and for this, I feel honored and grateful to be associated with CGS. We are good people, with good hearts, doing God’s good work.
And yet, to whom much has been given, much is expected. We are not done!
We now have an opportunity to support PLTS Seminary students. As you have likely heard, Seminary (and all higher education) costs have skyrocketed over the years and PLTS now has a pantry at the Seminary to help students in need with food supplies. That pantry needs our support in filling it up. So, we have a list of ‘expressed needs’ from PLTS, please take a look at the list here or on the display in the narthex.
We will collect until mid-August (we’ll plant a large container in the Narthex/entry area of the church), and then we’ll deliver our pantry donations just before classes begin in September, at a time that works for the Seminary.
So, my CGS ‘professional diver’ buddies, I thank you in advance for all the help that I know you will provide to Seminary students that need our support!
-Laurie Gaumer, an honored and grateful CGS member!