Periscope up

I know I said earlier that I would be keeping a low profile for a while…at least until after Easter, but I feel the need to raise the periscope a bit and see what is going on.

For a month or so I have been submerged in life as Lent hit me like a ton of bricks…but in a good way.  I know a lot of pastors sometimes lament how busy Lent is; saying it is their busiest time of the year, but I think most would say that Lent is a very energizing time of the year (in a weird sort of way).   Even though I have felt drained from time to time I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  I think part of that thinking is realizing that it is not my energy that sustains me but God’s.  As Luther says in his sacristy prayer, “…if this were left up to me I would certainly bring it all to ruin.”  And I have felt that way many times.  And…at times…I have even tried to do it myself almost bringing myself to ruin.  But fortunately I have faithful friends, family and parishioners that have reminded me of who is truly in charge.

Part of this “ton of bricks” has been leading a small group based on the Book of Faith book “40 Days with the Lord’s Prayer” (I say this simply because I have never lead a small group study during Lent before.  Sounds strange, I know, but we are in the process of revamping our education here at Salem).  Seventeen people signed up to take this journey together.  We work through the daily devotions each week, focusing on a petition of the Lord’s Prayer, then meet on Wednesday to review our week.  So far it has been an enjoyable experience to hear people share their faith.  Everyone has contributed to the discussion and we have learned a lot.  I look forward to leading more small group studies.

There have been other things that have been parts of this “ton of bricks” but I won’t go into all those details.  I think the main point for me is that these bricks haven’t crushed me because God is in control.  God has been faithful.  God has given me strength.  All of that is encouraging as I face a week of preparation before Holy Week hits.  Over all, Lent has been a blessed one for me…and I hope for others as well.  God has been faithful.

So with that I lower the blogging periscope and return to the busy world of Lent.  I thank those who have offered encouragement to me.  I thank those who have been understanding.  And I am grateful I have an outlet like this to share my thoughts and open my heart up to anyone who would want to take a peek.  God bless you this Lenten season and as you prepare to recognize and celebrated the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Praise be to God, always and forever!


Remembering Martin Luther

luthers-seal463 years ago day, in 1546, Martin Luther (the great reformer of the Church and the namesake of the Lutheran Church) died.

So in honor of Martin Luther I would like to share with you Luther’s morning prayer:

We give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected us through the night from all danger and harm.  We ask you to preserve and keep us, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all our thoughts, words and deeds we may serve and please you.  Into your hands we commend our bodies and souls and all that is ours.  Let your holy angels have charge of us, that the wicked one have no power over us, Amen.
(From Lutheran Book of Worship)

If  you visit Rev. Joelle’s blog you will find Luther’s sacristy prayer.  This is another prayer I use often…usually before I begin the task of writing the sermon I am to preach.  It is a reminder to me that God is in control and since that is the case, we can not fail.

Luther’s task to reform the church was not something that came from his own personal agenda, but it was something blessed by God.  Of all people, Luther understood that he could not do anything he was doing without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Let this day be a reminder to us all that the ministry we do (whether we are ordained or not) is not something we do on our own.  Seek God’s guidance and direction knowing that if we were to do this ministry relying on our own strength, we would surely bring it all to ruin.

May God bless your day and ministry.