Dear Partners in Mission:
With temperatures well above 90 degrees fall seems to be stubborn in arriving. Yet on September 22nd fall will come and across NT-NL we are experiencing many of the rhythms of fall in our communities and congregations. Education programming, youth activities, renewed music, all done in the new reality of our pandemic experience, are occurring.
In the next weeks I am looking forward to celebrating 75 years of ministry at Beautiful Savior, Amarillo, and Calvary, San Angelo. Anniversaries, as with the change in seasons, give us an opportunity to take some inventory and make future plans. To assess where we have been and vision about where we are going. We do that also often in the fall as congregations engage in stewardship emphases. Both an opportunity for financial commitment but also to ask for pledges of time and talent to serve in the coming year.
In my family’s congregation I have been serving as a member of the nominating team in preparation to elect new council leaders this weekend. This is as law and gospel an activity as any in church life. Asking people to commit time and energy can be a dreaded task that brings with it a real possibility of rejection. That is the reality of the law and something I know all too well. However, it also can be a joyful time of working with others to brainstorm about individuals in our communities and what gifts they might have. To hear a yes when a member of the community is invited, sometimes surprised to be invited, to give the gifts God has given them in service to their congregation. That is the gospel at work. An abundant yes in response to a faithful and prayerful request.
We are in a season when the world around us is constantly telling us there isn’t enough. A world of law that tells us our response to inflation, division, and scarcity (all of which are real) should be like the rich man in our gospel for this coming Sunday. To take care of our own, hoard what is “ours,” all while Lazarus lies at the gate.
In this season I pray our communities can be places where we reject that notion and recognize the gospel of God’s surprising abundance. To be generous with all that God has given us and respond to calls to serve and give. That we will see the needs in our midst, the people at our gates, and heed Moses and the prophets because we know Jesus has risen from the dead. And that is enough.
In Mission Together,
PS: If you wish to give to hurricane disaster response, please do so either with Lutheran Disaster Response or with our synod disaster response fund. As Bishop Idalia Negron of the Carribean Synod shares needs, we will respond to the requests.