Downtown Union Station was the “Last of the Great Railway Stations” built in the United States in 1939, a monument to the golden era of railroading. As a boy, my family would drive here to meet “Grandma on the train” – because that’s the way Grandma Craig always traveled from New Mexico for her holiday visits. The site of her walking down the East Passageway, trunk in tow and filled with Christmas presents, was sweet indeed. As a college student, I would take the Surfliner down the coast to Del Mar from here, and then pick up a bus to the UCSD campus – one of the best train rides in California. Last night, Lisa and I came here again, this time to pick up my Aunt Fran who caught the train from Portland and came down for a visit. We’ve had a great time catching up on the latest news.
Union Station is so-named for many reasons, not the least of which is that we come here to reunite. It’s a departure and arrival point, an old transportation hub which is being revived again in a new era of urban mass transit. St. John’s has described itself as a kind of welcoming “way station” - a place where people from places and backgrounds discover a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and are united with others who want to follow him together; where they find rest, and inspiration for their journey with God. One question that inevitably follows from this description of St. John’s is what it means to actually contribute to the work of the Way Statio
Last night, a tram driver saw my Aunt with her cane, stopped, and offered to take us all to our car. It was truly “A-1 service,” from the back of the terminal right to our car door! I thought to myself, “This guy is really doing his part to make this terminal a welcoming station.” This Sunday, November 29th, is Stewardship Sunday. It’s the Sunday that we bring our pledges to the worship service, expressing commitment to the work of St. John’s and its call to be a welcoming way station to the world. We each have the opportunity to stop and consider for a moment, what it will look like for us to be more than passengers, but participants in the work of the way station. As we share the gifts of our time, our skills and abilities, and our financial support we are making that work possible. None of us can do this work alone. I invite you to help us welcome the lost and the lonely, the harassed and helpless, the sick and the grieving, the curious and the skeptics, in Christ’s name. For “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name” said Jesus, “welcomes me.” – Matthew 18:5