I was thankful this morning as I saw small puddles of water on the deck. It had rained in the night. Though we are not, by definition, suffering a drought, you could not convince my pollinator garden of that fact. I’ve been watering, especially the plants new this season, but it’s not the same. The old saying goes, “Watering keeps the plants alive. Rain makes them grow.”
In 2025 (not so far away), Holy Trinity will mark its 75th year of ministry in Ankeny. Such a milestone is certainly a cause to look back and give thanks for all the blessings God has granted in and through the congregation. More important, however, is that we look ahead to the call God issues to love in the days and decades ahead.
One of the most beloved hymns of English-speaking Christianity is Amazing Grace. Written by a repentant slave trader turned Christian minister, it proclaims the unmerited love and mercy of a God who saves us, gives us life, sustains us despite our best attempts to reject that love.
This week we celebrated Independence Day. Our grilled delicacies and fireworks, parades, and musical tributes celebrate freedom. That is as it should be. Nearly 250 years ago something occurred that formed a nation and advanced the notion of human freedom to new heights. For this, I give thanks.
Things around Holy Trinity have been a bit busy. But it’s not the usual kind of busy.
It all started later in the afternoon on Sunday. A bunch of people showed up and then started having all sorts of fun. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking that I needed to step in and do something because having fun in church is just something we’re not supposed to do. But I didn’t know what to do, so I just watched as these people were having fun here in the building.
Last Sunday was the second Sunday of Pentecost and the beginning of Ordinary Time.
Ordinary Time. So much of every life is spent doing ordinary things. When we go through life, we observe so many things that we would consider to be ordinary things. And because they are ordinary, we don’t seem to remember them. If you question this, just try to remember what you ate for supper last week or last month.
I write this on the anniversary of D-Day, the day where we remember the unimaginable and incalculable sacrifice of men who struggled, suffered, and died to turn the tide of World War II. Many of them never left the beaches and battlefields of Normandy and rest there to this day. Those who survived left a piece of themselves in that place, physically, mentally, spiritually. The sacrifice made should humble us. It should engender our respect and honor. We should recognize the cost paid to turn back powers that were engaged in the inhuman enterprise of death and destruction.
I find myself in a weird disposition of late. Maybe you have felt that same way. Maybe you are like me wondering what is happening to the world. When I check out my news feed on my phone, there are always articles about something awful that happened in the past 12 hours. It seems like the world is on fire.
Perhaps you are keenly aware of the public discussions of something called “Christian Nationalism.” On the other hand, you may be relatively unfamiliar with this movement. It would take a lengthy reflection with lots of words to define, dissect, and dialogue with this growing phenomenon. You don’t have time to read it. I don’t have time to write it (at least today). Yet, it does seem important to shed a little light on the matter.
We all go through tough times in life. Times that are turbulent and unsettling. During these challenging seasons, it can be extremely helpful to have someone walk alongside us, especially if they give us encouragement and hope.