Partners in Mission:
This past Sunday we heard the promise of Jesus that he would not leave his disciples, he would not leave us, alone. The gift of the spirit was given to both guide you and comfort you in the challenges you and your community face. And certainly in this time we face challenges. Many of our leaders have reached out to me this past week as their communities discern what to do about future gatherings. I am grateful so many of you are heeding the guidance our churchwide organization and I have given and making thoughtful and deliberate plans. If you have not watched the video webinar from the Minneapolis Area synod featuring ELCA member Dr. Mark Osterholm, I commend it to you.
On Saturday May 16th we did another new thing. Our Briarwood Gala, originally planned for March and rescheduled for May, was held as an online experience. There was much wondering about how this would go. Would donors respond as they have generously in the past? The planning team did an amazing job, the day was filled with stories and fun videos that gained significant social media traction, and the good news is the answer is yes! You have responded and given generously to this ministry in which our synod has invested so much. As of Sunday, Briarwood was within $7,000 of its goal of raising $50,000 for this ministry, and a generous match has been extended that will double your gift to sustain this ministry before the end of Monday, May 18th. Please consider a gift or sign up for a repeating monthly sustaining gift and thank you!
Another ministry we share as NT-NL is our campus ministry in Denton. This week’s interview features Pastor Jim Rowe of LCM-Denton. He gives us an update on this vital young adult outreach ministry and how our campus ministry students have gracefully handled the end of in-person classes, missed graduations, and yet stayed connected. I was blessed to lead them in bible study in April via zoom and appreciate Pastor Rowe’s commitment to these students and our work #InMissionTogether.
The uncertainty you and your communities are facing is real. The divides in our country are also real. These partisan divides can make decisions of congregations to gather or not gather seem like partisan or ideological decisions. They are not. These are public health decisions made by leaders trying to decipher confusing and often conflicting information for the sake not of their own health but of your health and that of your neighbor. This is your Christian calling and task. As Lutherans we know your relationship with God is secure. Jesus has made it so and then shares and promises to send you the advocate, the paraclete, to give you wisdom and guidance. Please join me in prayer for your pastors and leaders in this time as they face these difficult and sadly too often contentious decisions. Think critically about the why of coming back together for worship as well as how our decisions bear witness to the faith we proclaim and share.
For all you are doing know that I am grateful. This crisis has uneven impact in our communities and has exposed significant cracks in our society. Yet God is with you and God has come so that you might have abundant life. Abundant life given so that you can serve your neighbor. This week we will be releasing a sermon that I am preaching for Immanuel, Killeen, on Pentecost Sunday (May 31st). While for the community there, it is also applicable and will be made available for you this week as well if you desire to utilize it. You can find it here.
God’s gift of the spirit helps us in our fears and anxiety. The spirit also invites us to see joy and opportunity even in challenge. God be with you this week as we continue to serve.