May is one of my favorite months. I know several great people who were born in May, school usually ends in May, there are flowers blooming, the sky is usually a brilliant Kansas blue, and life has always seemed to be easing up from the binding of winter and the cool of early spring. May is a delight to my senses and my sensibilities.
This May, however, we have some strong thinking to be doing about the congregation and the direction we want to travel. There is a creeping fear in our midst that we don’t have “enough.” Enough going on, enough in attendance at worship, enough money, enough people to do the ministry…the list goes on and on. In faithfulness to God, we are called to trust that all we need will be provided. This is a hard ask from God to us. We are to fear and trust God. Fear in that God’s awesomeness will be present in our moments of weakness, fear that God’s abiding grace might consume us and we will be unwittingly or unwillingly change. Fear that we will not be THE ONE to do the necessary work on God’s behalf. Fear that God will not provide because ______________________.
Rest assured, Friends in Christ, God is THAT big. God is THAT powerful. God is that AMAZING. We are not big enough, powerful enough, any enough to take God’s desire for our best everything away. God does not work like that.
When I read about the interventions in the Bible, Abraham on behalf of Sodom (Gen 18: 16-33) or Esther on behalf of the Jews or Jesus on behalf of us, the times God seems to change God’s mind is when the person making the request is asking on behalf of another. Jesus calms the stormy sea on behalf of the disciples. God opens prison doors for Paul, freeing all the captives in the jail, when Paul prays and sings on behalf of them all (Acts 16: 20-40). God asks us to look outward, to focus on the other in our hopes and our dreams for whatever is to come next.
When we focus on what is deficit, the consternation and the lack consumes us. When we focus on what is possible and strong, hope and joy consume us. There is never certainty where our world is concerned. The vagaries of a fallen creation continually challenge us, calling us like the snake in the garden to eat of the fruit that makes us have knowledge of good and evil. We begin to think we have ALL knowledge of good and evil. This is not so. Only God has the big picture, the grander understanding of what is possible, and probable, what most would honor God, what would be most loving and life-producing.
This is our challenge. What is next for this congregation? Do we have a monetary campaign to fix the sanctuary walls and all of the HVAC units (ours use obsolete freon and will need to be replaced very soon…five of seven still need to be replaced)? AS people use our building for a variety of programs and events, this is one place we can focus. Do we work on having better relationships internally so that our practice of being Christ to one another can be taken out into the world in new and creative ways? The Reconciling in Christ materials has a great plan for this—to grow relationships in order to have hard conversations. Do we focus on music or education or bikes for the community? What is our next calling as Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church? Your passion can be a catalyst for new ministries and ways to serve the community beyond our walls. Your ideas can be foundational in the direction we want to go. It is on each person to search their hearts for the ministry we can engage as a community of faith.
In this, then, is the beauty, the freedom of May. We have begun the path of in-person worship. We sing and commune together once more, buds of what we recall as normal are peeking through the fog of COVID-time reverie. We have blue skies that call us to adventure both spiritually and physically into the Lindsborg community and, through the MELC community, to reach out in one-by-one, using the individual gifts and talents we each have been given. We have the opportunity to share God’s love in new and amazing ways, trusting God will provide “enough” of whatever we need to be God’s hands and feet in the moment.
May you be at peace and may you discern and share God’s love always,