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- A lively time of fellowship follows each service.
- From early September through early May, Sunday School for all ages begins at 8:30am.
*** Please consider joining us for worship, fellowship, and education ***
No matter your background or experience in the church,
all are welcome to join us. God's gifts of grace, love, and mercy are
We invite you to share with us in the waters of baptism, the Word of God, and the meal of the Lord's Supper.
brothers in Christ,
We have to come
to the time of year when we plunge ever deeper into the coldest and darkest months. The sun, when it shines, seems to barely
begin warming the ground before it begins again its dive toward the
horizon. For some, this time of year
triggers bouts of depression and seasonal affective disorder. It can feel at times like a less hopeful part
of the year.
Yet in contrast,
we in the Church enter the time of ultimate hopefulness and joyful waiting
during the season of Advent and into Christmas.
This juxtaposition is an interesting tension between the world we live
in and the world we profess. As we await
the celebration of the coming Emmanuel, “God with Us”, I invite us to consider
what it is we truly hope for and consider it in the context of the cold
darkness we find ourselves in now. For just
as we cannot separate our faith from the lives we live, we likewise cannot
separate our hopeful waiting from the reality of a cold, dark, and sometimes
So what is it
that you truly hope for? For some it may
simply be the celebration of the Son of God coming in the infant Jesus. For others it may the reconciliation between
family members or friends. Still others
may hope for stability at work, a good outcome from a health crisis, or peace
and justice across the world. All of
these hopes are good and reasonable. Yet
some may feel a bit of guilt in hoping for something so personal or seemingly
selfish. However, while I normally
encourage seeing a greater vision or mission in serving others, there is a time
to consider yourself and care for you as the “very good” creation that God has
the Church we too easily forget while loving and serving others to likewise
care for, love, and serve ourselves. We
sometimes forget that we too are part of God’s “very good” creation. We especially struggle with this as
congregations, seeing inward focus as inherently bad and counter to God’s
mission. It’s true that too much inward
focus is counter to what God calls us to in this world but, is it not also
counter to God’s call to neglect God’s beloved children here in our midst? This tension, like that of the cold darkness
of winter with the joyful hope of Advent, is one that I as a member of this
congregation struggle with most these days.
The tension of loving and serving others versus loving and serving our
congregation challenges me.
It is most
challenging because of my strong hope for continued mission and greater
relationship building in our community.
This tension is challenging because of my hope to continue building upon
the strong sense of call to loving and serving others that we have built. This tension is challenging because we give
away so much and yet we struggle to meet our internal financial
obligations. The ‘false hope’ solution
would be to simply give up on our external mission. Yet that would most definitely be counter to
what God has indeed called us to do.
So for now, I
sit prayerfully considering what we can do together to ease this tension. My fervent hope is that we tend faithfully
our internal “very good’ creation while growing robustly the answer to our
external call from God. That will take
work and prayer. Yet I am truly hopeful,
and readily embrace the tension of this time, and ask you to prayerfully
consider the following question. Laying aside, for a very brief moment, the
call to love and serve others outside of our congregation, what do you hope for
Good Shepherd in the coming months and years?
There is much to
celebrate, rejoice, and have hope for here.
This of course starts with our faith in the one who came to us, Jesus
Christ our Savior and Lord. Yet there is
also the joy of knowing that we do serve so well the mission of God in and for
the world through this place of worship.
We are the presence of Christ in the world that we are called to
be. So I pray that you feel that hope
and joy, and I encourage you to share that hope and joy with others. Yet never
forgetting that all of our blessings come from God who so freely and joyfully
gives them to us each and every day.
May the joys and blessings of Advent and
Christmas be with you all,