Sunday August 20, 2023 found me traveling east in the Metroplex to Christ-Dallas for a school Sunday celebration. Christ has a large preschool that is well known in the Park Cities and its becoming a tradition for them to bless their own young people as well as the teachers and others in their midst who are beginning a new year. I have been honored to be a part of this the last 2 years. A festive and joyful occasion.
Pastor Ben Dueholm welcomed me as well as former NT-NL Synod, ELCA Vice President Deacon Stephanie Varnum who participated in the blessing. Christ has a long history of being a teaching parish so it was good to see NT-NL candidate Trenton Ormsbee-Hale as well among those being blessed in their work.
The Gospel for Sunday was from Matthew. Jesus rejecting the Caananite woman asking for healing. Divisions of his society that were deeply embedded based on ethnic and historic division. But her insistence, to have her child healed, led a change. The child was healed and she, alone in this gospel, was told as one who had “great faith.”
Our world, empire, will set up barriers between us. Dividing us and them. This is done in order to profit some and create enmity between communities. Not unlike the heresy of Christian Nationalism being promoted in too many corners of our nation today. When combined with the sin of racism, it creates a world in which some people will be considered dogs, unworthy of even crumbs. That is something we as Lutherans, who understand God is for you and for your neighbor cannot abide.
Leaving Christ I crossed over some of the many barriers we have in our own community (highways, housing patterns, economic barriers) to travel to First Sagrada Familia-Garland. I was there to discuss with them their future pastoral leadership.
It was a joy to see the sanctuary full for worship and praise. To participate in a communal offering for a member who needs to travel to Mexico for family, bless the women going on retreat next weekend, and sing Las Mañanitas for the birthdays.
Then we discussed with leadership next steps for them as they grow as a community. Grateful for their strong lay leaders who understand the church is the baptized community of faith.
As church we cross borders and barriers the world sets up to divide us. Jesus healed the Canaanite daughter because of the faith of her mother. We have a God of possibility. Thankful for the opportunity to serve this church that is about possibility and opportunity. We are #InMissionTogether #NTNL