Dear Partners in Ministry,
Last weekend, Lisa and I ventured west to complete a postponed goal of visiting her mother in Colorado and our new granddaughter in Portland. We were fortunate to be able to make the connections work and thoroughly enjoyed our time with each of them.
Yet it was a really hard weekend to be away. Awful scenes from Ukraine continued to beg the asking of hard questions that I longed to discuss with you. New state legislation that felt oppressive begged for a timely response. Then the tragic news of a student taking his life, preceded by the death of a former firefighter killed while assisting at the scene of a crash. Accounts of the deadly tornadoes came next, along with an awareness that several from within our community were wrestling with significant challenges to their mental wellness.
Needless to say, I felt as I though I was a planet away and felt largely helpless to be present in the way I felt called to be. Indeed, landing a cold upon my return, which cost me the use of my voice, only added to my sense of inadequacy. It helped to humble and remind me all over again about the power of prayer and that, sometimes, it seems to be one of the few actions we can intentionally pursue in such circumstances, regardless of our location or circumstance. You were all in my prayers!
Meanwhile, I found myself feeling incredibly grateful for the obvious presence and support that so many of you were able to share with one another amid such deeply troubling circumstances. Indeed, it seems that a wide web of “stepping into the gap” was quietly taking place. That was duplicated once again on several fronts last evening, as we gathered for worship amidst a whole new set of challenges. I am humbled once again to witness the gift you are to me and to one another!
Throughout the week ahead, we are continuing our Lenten focus on “Go Into the World”, and on Paul’s appreciation of community in particular. As he addresses the beloved congregation at Philippi, he speaks of our having our “citizenship in heaven.” To my ears, this is a potentially rich metaphor that helps us to celebrate and recognize the ways in which fellow disciples frequently reach beyond what might be expected of them to engage each other with compassion, empathy, and concrete expressions of love.
I hope and pray that you can join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30 or 10:30 a.m. and again on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. or 6:30.p.m. as we recall with new thanksgiving the distinctive privilege of our calling in Christ.
Sharing the Mission,