Friends in Christ,
I’m grateful for the Sunday off, yesterday, but I sure miss worship at Augustana. I think of the liturgy now underway. I think of our community of faith gathered around Word and Sacrament–the heart of what we do as a church. I can imagine Pr. Rogers preaching strong words of law and gospel, the choir singing beautifully, the hugs of support, the prayers of intercession, the benediction for one another, after the kids’ dismissal. And the whole event bathed in the bright colors of Jesus praying, streaming through the stained glass.
I want you to know that John asked last night, “I go papa’s church tomorrow?” Actually, it may have been more of a statement or command than a question. We’re both sorry that the sub-zero temps make an outing–even to church–unwise for him. Still, his sense of Augustana as a group of folks who welcome and support him is right on target. That is our calling, isn’t it? To invite and welcome all folks into our fellowship, beginning with our neighbors within walking distance to CES. John represents part of that mission: to minister to folks who have economic challenges, illness, and special needs. And, as John has taught us, the directions of ministry move both ways. John’s ministers to us as we minister to him. And we welcome his gifts–and the gifts of everyone in our wonderfully diverse neighborhood–into our ministry. When we do that, the light of Christ not only shines on us, but through us.
We are thrilled that John’s a member with his sisters at Edina Community Lutheran, where my wife served as pastor in the early ‘90s. It’s another place that knows John and embraces him with Christ’s love. But I sometimes think Augustana could “steal this sheep” (I’m not recommending that, of course. I’m just sayin’…). The warmth he feels at Augustana is real and it means that Christ is present among our community as we seek to engage in God’s mission.
And who would not want to be part of such a church?