Monday, March 21, 2011

Preaching to Myself

Just got done writing my article for the monthly newsletter.  A fairly arcane mode of communication, but one we still hold on to at Trinity and in many congregations.

Interestingly, I wrote it without thinking a lot about it (that might come as a surprise, but sometimes you just get going on something and the words come without a lot of thought) and then I re-read it.  And in so doing I realized, I am preaching to myself.  I need to hear this as much as I need others to hear it.

Wonder how often this happens to pastors or other leaders in communicating.  Also wonder how healthy this is, am I reading the situation correctly?  Are these the questions they have?  Or am I just putting my anxiety onto the community?  Addressing questions they aren't asking?  Something to ponder...

Dear Partners in Mission,

We have discovered this Lent the reality that we spend a great deal of our lives in the wilderness and that wilderness wandering brings many questions…

Where will we go?  How will we pay the bills?  What will happen after I die? What direction should we turn?  What person should I be committed to?  How will my kids turn out?  Who can I trust?  Can I trust at all?

These questions and more challenge us and can lead us to fear and anxiety.  Anxiety that we don’t have the answers and ultimately, even answering those questions will bring only more questions and situations we cannot handle.  It may begin to seem that we are constantly under a sword of Damocles, hanging there ready to strike yet again.  And in that wilderness we wonder, where are you God?

This Lent, in our wilderness we have found that God is actually right there with us.  Although it can be challenging to believe this, the history of God’s people bears it out.

Often ignored, the Old Testament reading for Easter Sunday this year speaks to God’s presence in the wilderness.  “Thus says the LORD: The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:2-3) 

Challenging to believe, but there is grace in the wilderness.  The Israelite’s received manna from heaven and in the wilderness of fear and anxiety that first Easter day, a voice called out to a weeping woman.  She thought he was a gardener, but in calling her name, she knew that no wilderness, not even death was too great for the grace of God.

In Our Risen Christ,
Pastor Erik Gronberg

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