Dear Partners in Ministry,
Thank you to all who made the time to attend our Annual Congregational Meeting last Sunday to learn firsthand about some of the specific challenges and opportunities we are encountering as we look to a new year of ministry ahead. There is much to consider; our staff and Visioning Council are working intentionally to ask how we might move ahead most faithfully. We appreciate your continued investment in our ministry as we do so! I am grateful for the willingness of both Lori Berry and Avery Riehl to serve as new leaders and am proud that we have such capable individuals willing to step forward!
This Sunday, I look forward to sharing a new webinar in our Adult Forum recorded this week by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. It details how individuals and congregations can help assist with the resettlement of new neighbors in our midst. Hope that you can join us at 9:30 in Room 1!
Meanwhile, we continue our “S.P.L.A.S.H.” sermon series on - specifically the second “S” this week, which represents the baptismal commitment to “Strive for justice and peace in all the earth.” I don’t know about you, but, if the previous elements might have seemed challenging in their own respect, this one sounds particularly daunting to my ears!
Yet, as one wise mentor once put it, “For a neighbor you may never meet, working for justice on their behalf may be the only way you ever get to love them.” To be sure, when I am brave enough to reach beyond my indifference and put myself in another’s shoes, I risk a host of diverse emotions - guilt, fear, powerlessness, or outrage. Yet, as Susan George once put it, “Our task is to refine the raw ore of emotion and transmute it into the pure metal of competent, systematic - and successful - action. Moral or religious indignation, however necessary, is not enough. Emotion by itself never made anything… yet without our untidy welter of love, generosity, anger, outrage, we would never be motivated to change anything; we would be prisoners of the status quo.*”
Thus, whether daunting or not, it seems that engaging the “powers and principalities (Eph. 6:12) of our age is no longer an option for Christians who seek to love their neighbors. The only questions are which issues will we address, what will we say, and then what will we do?*” Chances are that we may not all come to the same conclusions. It is my prayer, however, that we can learn much from one another and be encouraged by one another along the way. Hope to see you Sunday!
Sharing the Mission,
*Beyond Guilt and Powerless, Augsburg Fortress, 1989.