What does it really mean to be a servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the age of coronavirus? How can we, as Christians, continue to let our light shine when darkness threatens to overcome it at every turn?
The storm is raging. Each day the national news begins with breaking headlines about the corona virus: the number of new diagnoses, how many states are affected, the current number of deaths. We feel fragile, at risk, fearful.
In my youth, I cheered for the Minnesota Vikings and the defensive line known as “The Purple People Eaters.” This article is NOT about that. Instead, I’m going to broach the issue of politics in this era of division between red and blue. As we probably all learned with our first box of watercolors, blue and red, when combined, make purple. It seems to me that the church in our age, needs to think about being purple instead of red or blue.
Last week marked the “halfway point” in my time as Pastoral Intern here at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. As part of the Word & Sacrament Internship process required by the Seminary and the ELCA, I spent the better part of the weekend working on a “Midpoint Evaluation”, which consisted of numerous short answer essays that called me to reflect on the ways in which my pastoral competency has grown and to determine the “growing edges” where I want to focus additional effort and attention during the second half.
When my son was a teenager, he had some friends over to the house on a Saturday afternoon. As the afternoon became evening, he announced, “You’ll all need to leave soon because tomorrow is church.” To which one of his comrades (who didn’t know what I did for a living) responded, “Why go to church? They’re all just hypocrites.” My son answered, “Well, duh.” I was proud. My son had learned that church was a place where people who were “simultaneously sinners and saints” (Luther) hung out.
In Luke 12:51 Jesus asks a question: “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth?” His answer is startling. “No, I tell you, but rather division!” He goes on to say that families will come to an end because of him. Jesus creates a crisis.
Orphans. My lovely wife, Cynthia, and I acknowledged that we are, in some sense, both orphans. With the recent death of her father, all of our parents have made the passage into death; the passage that awaits us all. We were both blessed to have our parents around for much of our lives. We were also both blessed to have parents whose love was unconditional, from whom we learned what we needed to grow into adulthood. That we miss them deeply is a testament to the beauty of their lives.
Because I currently call the Lighthouse home, I have, I think, a bit of a unique perspective on all the activities that happen in and around our church building on a weekly basis. It never ceases to amaze me, for example, how frequently the parking lot is full on random weekday evenings when you might otherwise assume that this place would be a ghost town.