Over the past weeks, we have experienced increased concerns regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the significant health issues associated with it. Today we have official confirmation of the first two documented cases in Southeast Michigan.
I have a dog, Vinny is his name. He is some sort of mutt, maybe Great Pyrenees and Golden Retriever? He is a fairly calm 115 pounds or so. What I do not have is a fenced in yard. That means four or five times a day Vinny gets a walk.
I will admit there are mornings in the middle of winter when I dream of a fenced in yard allowing me to send the dog outside in the cold to do his business while I sip coffee and watch from inside. Still, once I get bundled up, get outside and get going, I am glad for the time outside. I love experiencing the fullness of the seasons. I like feeling the heat of summer and the bitter cold winds from the north in the winter. I love watching the progress of the moon and the changing light in the night.
During Christmas we celebrate God coming in the form of a human child, experiencing the fullness of our lives. In January we celebrate the gift of that same Christ coming to all people. It is this Jesus who walks with us through the totality of our lives. It is Jesus with us in the days when everything is perfect and life couldn’t be better. It is Jesus who walks with us when life is hard.
Walking Vinny in every kind of weather reminds me of the gift of Jesus, who travels with me through the weather of this life as well. I could say more, but it is time for Vinny’s walk.
May God guide your steps and guard your ways this and every day.
Here at Lutheran Church of the Master we will celebrate by serving Pumpkin Spice Communion wafers through Thanksgiving! How awesome is that!
Of course, it is a joke, but it points to a temptation the church has always been faced with: how much are we in the world or of the world? How can we proclaim the gospel which calls us to live differently from the “ways of the world” if the church doesn’t do things differently?
This is increasingly challenging as the world we live in leaves less and less space for the church. There was a time when Sundays and Wednesday evenings were “off limits” because those days were reserved for church activities. Not any longer.
This is why it is important to have a sense of identity. As a church we call this a mission statement like: LCM is a faith led fellowship called to serve all in Jesus name. Or my friend Bob who likes to tell people: I am Bob, beloved of God, serving.
Knowing who we are and whose we are helps guide decisions when the winds of the world and the culture are trying to blow us in every different direction.
It is Jesus who tells us: I am the vine and you are the branches. (John 15:5) We are attached to Jesus and through Jesus connected to one another. We are not alone and no matter what comes we are connected to Jesus and Jesus is connected to us.
We will still face challenging questions and any number of difficulties, but we will never face them alone.
And we can reserve Pumpkin Spice for coffee and beer and shampoo, and leave the communion bread plain!
Blessings to you and your family this fall.
Pr. Paul Walters
Sign up for Lutheran Church of the Master’s weekly e-newsletter to find out about events, special services and more.