February Letter

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

This all too familiar verse is one I am leaning on in faith these days, and learning to appreciate. As I follow my doctors, respiratory and physical therapists advice I am gaining strength and know that my lungs and sternum are in the process of good healing. What a gift the EMT’s , the medical professionals at Har-borview and beyond have been to me. Thanks be to God! But, as I rest and recuperate my mind and heart immediately became heavy with a sense of wanting to be with you all and to fulfill my commitment to you as your pastor. In short, I very quickly began feeling guilty for not being at work! However, that not being possible at the moment I asked God how then can I be a pastor during this time? Can I?

Well, your letters, cards and gifts were the first answer from God I received! You all have offered the most generous and caring reassurance that I need only rest in your prayers for healing and love. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your kindness and love. You truly have been a direct answer to prayer reminding me that together we all are part of the Body of Christ, and that we are always engaged in a rhythm of giving and receiving….and right now I am totally on the receiving end. I love you and thank God throughout the day for you!

And, not only is your love & care coming through loud and clear, but your ability to carry on the mission & ministry of our church without skipping a beat is beautiful! Filled with the Spirit of God you are leading & participating in worship, the Deacons are caring for those in need, the Elders are overseeing the life of our congregation efficiently, and effectively. I am comforted in knowing that you have heard the Word of God proclaimed creatively, and powerfully by Bob Slater, Paul Mattson, Janet Sonnanburg, and David Eekhoff. A special thank you to our worship & music elders Randy Schuchardt and Paula Mitchell along with Anna Nichols who have overseen every detail of our worship services in my absence ensuring that Sunday mornings continue to be joyful times of directed worship of God! I thank God for such capable and committed servants of our Lord!

The Spirit also led me to see that this can be a time to not only appreciate being part of such an awesome congregation but that it can also be a time for me to learn and grow as a pastor. So, I’m participating in an on-line preaching course I can do propped up in bed at any time of day when I’m up to it. Also, I’m reading several fascinating books. One is by Darrell Guder, “The Continuing Conversion of the Church” which is stimulating me to re-think how we as the Church think about and engage in our primary mission which is to proclaim Jesus Christ who is himself as Guder states, “the primal missionary.” I’m also reading “The Lord & His Prayer” by N.T. Wright, a truly engaging study on the Lord’s Prayer and how deepening our understanding of it deepens our spirituality and life of prayer. Another book I’m going through is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp a beautiful wordsmith if ever there was one. Voskamp explores issues of lament, loss, and pain and how even in the darkest of times God’s light shines through in grace-filled loveliness.

And, finally the Spirit led me to see that this is a fabulous time to pray for you. So, with joyful thanks to our Prayer Shawl Ministry I wrap my new prayer shawl around my shoulders and open our directory and pray for each and everyone of you. This time of healing has become a time of growing me as a praying Pastor, something I suspect the Lord has wanted to do with me for some time!
Friends, indeed God is good all the time and yes!! all things, even bruised lungs and a
fractured sternum work together for good! There is so much good to be found in being part of the Body of Christ, to see and feel how God’s good, good Spirit works to keep our bonds of love intact, works to empower, equip, grow and use us all in every season of life!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Wendy