Pastor’s Column for August Epistle
Dear Friends in Christ,
Our epistle text the last Sunday in July includes two of the most comforting and life-giving verses from all of Paul’s letters, “38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” They have been incorporated into our funeral liturgy. They are often read at bedsides when people are ill. People experiencing depression turn to these verses. These words remind us now, in the midst of the pandemic, an election year, and the normal hard stuff of regular life, that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Paul writes from experience. Each one of the possible separators he mentions, he has had first-hand experience with. But he is still confident in God’s love for him through the incarnation-Jesus Christ. It is true that we who are part of Trinity Lutheran find many ways, pre-COVID-19, to experience the love of God in relationship with other human beings. As I write this, I am lamenting that last week I was scheduled to be at the Hispanic Cultural Center for Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids. Over the weekend, my calendar reminds me, I was supposed to be at the church camp-out. And this week I was going to be at Luther Heights with a group of kids from Trinity. Surely, I would have experienced the love of God through all of those communal experiences. As we have pivoted as a congregation, I am making some faith practices more robust, like more prayer time alone, and discovering new faith practices, checking in with people via zoom and the telephone, that connect me to other human beings and to God’s love. I would not say that I really enjoy it all. It is certainly not what I planned on when I started in public ministry. But the love of God that I experience and then share always draws me back to love of neighbor, and that means keeping the vulnerable safe, slowing down the spread of COVID-19 for the benefit of our healthcare workers, and making small sacrifices in my individual life. I hope and pray that as we continue to transform as a congregation and adapt to our current circumstances, that all of you feel and know and experience the love of God in Christ Jesus. The promise of that love is for all of us, including each of you.