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From Your Pastor
July 2018

 

July will find Ascension exploring a new experiment: taking worship on the road. On two Sundays – July 8 and July 15 – Ascension will join Saint John’s Lutheran Community for joint worship services.

Saint John’s Lutheran Community now has two locations – the new Fountain Lake Community and the Luther Place Community. Worship is held at both sites on Sunday mornings: 9:00 a.m. at the Fountain Lake chapel and 10:30 a.m. at the Luther Place location.

So on those two Sundays (July 8 and July 15), Ascension’s worship hits the road to these two sites. This also means that there will be no services those two Sundays in Ascension’s own building.

We will do our best to get the word out about this change of location, but it is inevitable that somebody will forget, another might be visiting and be confused by Ascension being closed on a Sunday morning.

If you are willing to “hang out” at Ascension until 9 a.m. on July 8 and 15, there might be a need for last-minute taxiing to the new Saint John’s site, which as you can imagine might be very confusing for a visitor. Some hospitable folks to help others find us would be a needed and appreciated role those two Sunday mornings.

This exciting change-of-location experiment also gives you a chance to see the new Fountain Lake Community if you have not yet had that opportunity.

Or, if a later service appeals to you, those two Sundays give you a bonus chance to join us at 10:30 instead at the 901 Luther Place Community.

Communication will be key to the success of this experiment, so please remind one another of this change of location on July 8 and July 15!


Pastor Mark Boorsma

mboorsma@smig.net


A Special Message from Bishop Steven Delzer
February 26, 2018

In my spiritual direction group, after the spiritual director has read a passage from scripture or another devotional source, we sit in silence for several minutes reflecting on what “shimmered” for each of us, what word or phrase or thought captivated the mind and heart in each of us.

Over the past several days as I have observed the reactions to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, especially as I have listened to the reactions of the students, the phrase that has captured my mind and heart is “a little child shall lead them” from Isaiah 11:6. I believe this is the time in our history when we need to listen deeply to our children, trusting that through them the Spirit will lead us to see more clearly God’s dream for our world.

Why do I think this? The context of that message is one of a peaceful kingdom, a world in which (Isaiah 11:6,9):

The world shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them…
They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

I think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”
(Matthew 18:3)

I once heard someone describe the four L’s for pastors: they should listen to their people, learn from their people, love their people, and then lead their people. In reflecting on the response of students to this latest shooting, I sense this is a time in which all of us, especially parents and grandparents, need to listen to our children, learn from our children, love our children, and then let our children lead us more deeply into the world id God’s dream, a world in which we actually “beat our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4)

This does not mean that I think we should do away with the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. However, it does seem reasonable to clearly define which arms we have a right to bear and which arms we do not have a right to bear (such as military style automatic weapons). I truly believe that the majority of gun owners are are responsible gun owners. I still recall that one of the most touching descriptions of the beauty of creation came from a father on a hunting trip with his daughter. I trust that many gun owners are just as disturbed by gun violence as those of us who are not gun owners. My hope is that together we can have honest conversations about how we move toward a less violent society, a more peaceful nation, one guided more by love than by fear.

I will admit that I wrestle with all of this. At times I am filed with hope. And at other times as I see how divisive this conversation about guns can be. I am filled with despair, wondering why bother, this is just too hard. But then the Spirit brings to mind the words of my favorite scripture passage (Isaiah 43:1-5).

But now thus says the lord, who created you.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you,
When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, your Savior.
You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.
Do not fear, for I am with you.

As we walk through the raging rivers of gun violence and the fearful flames of heated conversations, may we know and trust that God walks with us, maybe most lovingly in our children. May we carefully listen to our children, learn from our children, love our children, and let our children lead us into the world of which God dreams.

Peace and Joy in Christ
Steve Delzer
Bishop