OUR SAVIOR’S SHARED JOURNEY
What is Normal?
I was tempted to leave the rest of this article blank: ask the question and let it sit.
However, I think God has begun to send the Holy Spirit with some direction.
Our Savior’s is having worship at the “normal” times (Sundays, 8:30 & 10:45). But it is different. And God is blessing that difference. Some of you are not ready to come to that in-person experience. We are scattered and distant and masked and careful. It helps us focus on the needs of the community beyond ourselves. Coming in person helps the community feel supported and connected. Staying safe helps the community keep each other safe. Staying home if you have concerns helps the community stay safer too. God is teaching us another way to understand the Apostle Paul’s encouragement in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6:
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone."
Our Savior’s is also teaching Confirmation and having Youth Group activities and meetings at the normal days and times as before. But it is different. And God is blessing that difference. Already (for several years) we had learned to do the majority of our Youth programing and Youth trips with Zion. Already (last year) we had learned to cooperate with Zion in a shared confirmation endeavor. Already (for 3 years) we had opened the Confirmation process to 8th graders. Already (last spring and summer) Jennifer Hamilton (Our Savior’s Children Youth and Family Ministry Director) and Katie Anderson (Zion’s Faith Formation Director) had learned to use a wider variety of tools to make youth group connections and have meetings and fun and teach the faith.
Those are just a couple of the examples. Our Savior’s and many other churches are learning how to support each other, pray for each other, connect with each other, be community with each other, help each other. Some of that learning was long overdue. The old normal sometimes kept us from being creative and responsive in the face of a changing world. The series of crises of the past months has been shocking. But your responses, your giving, your ideas, your re-directed energies, your support have helped shape a restructured understanding of how we can “…have others know Him (Christ)” That is our mission, sharing God’s love. Being creative and robust and relentless about it needs to be what is “normal.”
I pray God’s Spirit will lead Our Savior’s to embrace implications far beyond the old normal of local worship, service and faith formation practices. I pray that Our Savior’s will be a community that recognizes God’s urgings to live and work and pray and vote for racial and climate and inclusive justice. I pray that the coming of God’s Kingdom, that we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, will help make Christ’s extravagant, loving, sacrificial grace “normal” in astounding ways.
I am on that journey with you.