The Reverend Doctor Nathan Corl Minnich, STS
Ordained Lutheran Pastor of the North American Lutheran Church
Opportunity abounds right now to enhance your practice of faithful living, to engage your spiritual connection to God and one another, and to take that intentional moment away from the horrible distractions around us all. We are pulled in so many directions it is amazing that we don’t get torn apart (mentally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically). The demands of a world that never quits can seem overwhelming, and where there used to be built-in rest at home, at church, with family…there is only more bearing down upon us. That is why we need to actively (and intentionally) stop. Stop fidgeting with the phone, the iPad, the computer, the TV, and all the other false engagement we have around us all the time, and live in the moment, the space, and with the people around us.
Yes, even the church uses technology. We’ve added live streaming to engage the wider community, but it is no substitute for your physically present worship of the Lord, in the very presence of his people, taking hold of His own Body and Blood, given and shed for you! I’m sure you’ll agree, there is no substitute for that moment when a neighbor reaches out to welcome you, and take you by the hand. There is no better assurance than the embrace of another who truly loves you, and cares for your well-being. There is no merit that gains you access to these physical reminders of love, and there is not merit that calls you to receive the only forgiveness that can save your soul, it is only the merit of Jesus Christ, and the call of His Holy Spirit heard by ears of faith.
So, now that your ears are listening and your faith recognizes the outstretched arms of God, just waiting for you, make the choice to act! Get up, walk through the doors, and experience first-hand this Grace. Like I said, opportunity abounds right now for this very reason. We NEED to step away from the fake of this world and taste and see what good the Lord has for us.
30 Minutes. Yes, that may seem like a brief escape but it may just be your relief for three Wednesday evenings. A mid-week moment of prayer and assurance from 7:30-8:00pm will offer the tradition of Vespers (Evening Prayer) for our community. On Dec. 5, 12, and 19 come, listen, pray, sing, or just breathe a sigh of relief.
Need more opportunity? Take a tag from the DayCare Tree and sponsor a child! You have made a huge difference in the joy of the children among us during the week, and this year will be no different. You cannot imagine the smiles when EVERY child has something that says ‘we love you’ at a time when home might be stressful, and joy running a little thin.
Still want more? Well…Sunday mornings without you are NOTICED. If you don’t believe it, Just ask around and you will hear just how often YOUR NAME is spoken. When a face is absent, even for one Sunday, someone asks me where you have been. Sometimes I know, traveling, not feeling well, or the usual absences. But what can I say when I have no answer? So often I find out someone is ill, long after they are better. I hear of a hospital stay far too late to even visit. I know many of my clergy colleagues struggle with the same thing. Here’s where technology helps! It’s not all bad when you can text the pastor and ask for a moment of prayer or an update on your traveling, or when you need an encouraging word to take on the struggle at hand. After all, that is what ministers are here to do! It is why your congregation seeks to have called and ordained ministers on staff.
Only you can evaluate what is needed to support your faith. I and all the staff at Salem are here to get you where you need to be in faith, in prayer, in joy, and in hope!
Hope came to us once as the God Incarnate, born of the Virgin Mary, and set salvation in motion. Hope comes to us each week at the Lord’s Table offering forgiveness and life everlasting. Hope will come again in power and in glory and THAT KINGDOM will have no end. AMEN, come Lord Jesus!
Merry Christ Mass!