I have an up and down week coming up.
Tomorrow is Sunday (so that is naturally an up). At the country congregation I serve (Belmont Lutheran Church) we are celebrating the sacrament of Holy Baptism. It is one of the favorite things I get to do as a pastor. I get stand up there with the family and sponsors sharing what baptism means; encouraging them to follow through with their baptismal promises and then pour water on the baby’s head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is a wonderful time and one I truly cherish and look forward to.
Also tomorrow I am continuing my sermon series in the Old Testament with the story of Abraham (but I am only preaching that sermon at Belmont…more on that in a bit). The story I am focusing on is chapter 22; when God commands Abraham to sacrifice is son, his only son, the one whom he loves. I know, I know…it seems strange to preach such a text on a baptism Sunday but the sermon focus was planned long before the baptism and the baptism was planned without any thought to the sermon focus. But I think God brought both of these events together for his glory. I am excited to see how all of this plays out together.
At Salem (instead of the sermon on Abraham) we are hearing a faith story from a saint of the congregation. David had a stroke back in June of 2010 and has traveled a difficult road. I have always known him to be a man of faith but the stories I have heard him tell me have given me goose bumps. Finally…back in December…I asked David to share these stories with others and he agreed. So tomorrow I am going to “interview” David as he shares his incredible journey. The only down side is that we won’t have time to hear all his stories. I guess people will just have to go and visit David to hear more…which he won’t mind.
Now the down part.
On Tuesday I am burying a saint of this congregation who died on Thursday night. When Cindy went in for surgery back in November we expected her back in town in 5 to 7 days…that never happened. She never got off the ventilator. After a long battle her body finally began to shut down before she went home to meet her (and our) Lord. This is going to be a hard funeral for many but I know Cindy and she is going to want to truth of the Gospel proclaimed…so that is what I am going to do. Funerals are bitter sweet for me; I mourn the loss of the deceased and mourn with the family, but I also get to proclaim the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus in the midst of mourning (and to some who probably haven’t heard). I don’t look forward to people dying but I look forward to God using me during these times.
So its going to be an up and down week for me but I know that God will be glorified in all of this. I know that God will use me to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. I know that God will not leave us. And I know that God will continue to sustain us.
Up or down…God is faithful. How can we not praise him for that?