Phew.

18 Sep
It’s been a busy week for me at Grace Lutheran here in Dawson, MN. A few highlights include:
I discovered on Monday that I miss – in the tiniest degree – being in the classroom and being a student. Emily, the membership care director at Grace, and I are leading/participating in a Bible study on the book of Revelation along with eight to ten women on Monday afternoons. Revelation … yea. I know nothing about the book of Revelation and so I needed to expand my mind and learn about this puzzling book. A professor at Luther Sem has lectures from his class on Revelation online so I spent much of Monday morning listening to lectures and taking notes and smiling with sincerity while doing it. Some Revelation insights for you —
  • The book is written by John, but research leads us to believe that this is not the same John to whom we attribute the fourth gospel.
  • The number seven, the number of perfection, appears 57 times in the book of Revelation.
  • Revelation was written as a letter, just as Paul wrote letters. The letter was written to specific congregations in what is now modern-day Turkey. Though the letter speaks to us today, we bear in mind that it was written near the end of the first century to real congregations.
  • In all of the confusing language and images that are so foreign to us today, we remember that in the end, Jesus wins. Amen.
This coming Sunday is our Rally Sunday. I am leading much of the service which is in many ways geared towards the kids who will (fingers crossed) be in church with their parents. If they aren’t there, the older members of the congregation will be treated to award-winning acting by Lori and myself as we act like second graders in the sermon skit. I wrote the skit and wrote it to be funny … here’s hoping it doesn’t backfire.
Towards the end of August, the ELCA met for a church-wide assembly in Minneapolis for a week. In this week, many different resolutions and statements were talked about and voted on, including votes regarding the recognizing of homosexual relationships and the role of ordained homosexual pastors in committed relationships. These resolutions passed but with the realization that the church is divided on the matter; in a sense, the ELCA is agreeing to disagree. Many people in Dawson and Grace Lutheran are fearful, saddened, and angered by these votes which leads us to hold a meeting regarding the resolutions this coming Sunday. We believe that much of the extreme reactions we have witnessed and heard about through town coffee talk can be calmed through receiving the correct information. People are fearful that with the passing of these resolutions the church will change, so much so that churches in the area are strongly considering leaving the organization of the ELCA or withholding their offerings from the church. And so we wait for Sunday afternoon at 3:30 (so as not to conflict with the Vikings game) and hope that no fights break out in fellowship hall.
Confirmation begins next Wednesday. I preach next Sunday. Meetings. Revelation research to be done. It will be another busy week to come.

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