Pastor’s column for Trinity Lutheran’s February Epistle
Dear Friends in Christ,
Of all the things I could write about this month, I may have picked an odd one—Mark’s gospel. I could implore you all to read the many pages in our 2020 annual report, which shows the amazing ministry that occurred during a most unusual year. I could once again encourage everyone to log on to our annual meeting, not just so we have a quorum, but so we can see and hear more members of the body of Christ. I could spell out how, despite the changes we will have to make, I have had a major attitude adjustment about Lent (thanks to conversations with Trinity teams) and am actually excited about what we have planned.
What I am most excited about this year is studying, reading, preaching through Mark’s gospel. This is the shortest gospel and the first one written, according to most scholars. I encourage everyone to take some time this year and read Mark straight through in a few sittings and then reflect on the Jesus you meet in those pages.
The incarnation, God made flesh, opens the door to unimaginable possibilities. God has truly entered the human condition, a human condition that is not all clean and lovely, warm and welcoming. No longer can we say that God cannot understand what it is like to struggle against the cold, to be betrayed by a friend, to grieve the loss of a loved one, to fear suffering and or death, to experience a seeming absence of God the Father. Our God has truly walked our walk. God’s Word of love has truly taken flesh.
Jesus not only spoke of God’s reign of justice, but he stood in solidarity with the poor and the outcasts. Jesus not only spoke of a God who longs for our wholeness, but he touched a leper to clean skin, a stooped woman to straightness. Jesus not only said, “I love you,” to the hungry crowd, but fed their hungers with truth and with bread. He did not just say, “I love you,” to us, but picked up a cross, suffered, died our deaths, and rose that we might know life eternal.
Turning the page to 2021, I remain most excited and hopeful about following this figure Jesus and following him within the company of our particular community of faith.