Pastor's Pen December 2012 January 2013

Pastor's Pen December 2012 January 2013

 Throughout this past summer and fall season, I took many detours due to road construction. Whether I was driving in Manitoba or Ontario, roads and highways were torn up because of repairs, widening, or replacing gas or water pipes. In September, when I was driving in Manitoba, many times I was instructed to slow down with the use of signal lights or with construction workers holding stop/slow signs. At times the wait could be up to five or ten minutes for a procession of cars on a two-lane road now down to one. I learned to allow myself extra time because I knew I was going nowhere fast: figuratively, not literally.

Under construction is a wonderful theme as we are heading into the church seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. God is continually working in our lives, challenging us to spiritual renewal - Pray, Read, Tell, Give, Worship, Study, Serve - and being in Mission for Others. This is experienced in our congregation, our community, our Synod, our National Church, and in our world.

Sunday & Seasons, a worship resource produced by Augsburg Fortress, identifies that, “Highways, pathways, gates, and journeys figure prominently in the imagery of Advent. We hear the voice shouting, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight the path!’ We witness the unexpected detours for Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph. We make way in our hearts and lives for our God.” During Christmas we celebrate and reach out to others as God reaches out to us and to our world in the simple birth of Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem. During Epiphany, which means “manifestation”, we go forth to witness to the light that shines brightly in our midst. These church seasons enable us to slow down and be patient to absorb what is happening around us.

At the many construction sites I encountered, I saw many signs indicating that visitors and workers were required to wear protective footwear and hardhats on the worksite. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, God’s people are encouraged to put on the whole armor of God – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes to proclaim the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. As we go out into God’s worksite we too need to be prepared for the challenges and vulnerabilities we might encounter. Through God’s grace, love, and forgiveness we are able to know the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, and see Christ within our midst.

I pray that God bless you this Advent, Christmas and Epiphany with the wonder and joy of God with us. Enjoy the detours, slow down, and heed the one who signals us realizing that God is doing something new in our lives and in our world.


Your friend and pastor