May 23, 2019
This is my last newsletter article and I'm finding it is extremely difficult to write it. I want to thank you for letting me come on this amazing journey with you for the past two years. I have often felt God's presence -- very often, actually. On Sunday mornings, Christ becomes incarnate as we gather together as the body of Christ and as we feast on him. Christ is present as we gather for coffee after worship and gather for potlucks. Christ is present as we gather Gloves for Glover and gather items for Caritas and pack blessing bags for the homeless. Christ is present as we participate in handing out food from the 2nd Harvest truck at St. Peter and host Cluster gatherings. When we welcome the stranger to our gatherings, we greet Christ. When we welcome the stranger, they meet Christ through us.
What is up ahead in the future? None of us know. For myself, I plan on making some trips with my 94-year-old mother, first to Minneapolis for a ship reunion, and then to Hawaii on October. Churchwide Assembly, a gathering that takes place every three years when ELCA members from across the country come together, will take place in Milwaukee in August. I've been fortunate to attend every Assembly since 1999 and will attend this one as well. Then some rest and reading and work on getting the condo back into shape.
What is in the future for Messiah? None of us know the answer to that either. I am hopeful that Messiah will not only survive, but will grow in ministry to service this neighborhood. First of all, Pastor Mary Daniels will provide excellent pastoral care and Christ will continue to show up in Word and Sacrament and in the gathering of his people and in the service that you do. Secondly, we worship the God of creation and the God of resurrection. Jesus says, "strive first for the kingdom of God and God's righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Strive to BE the outpost of God's kingdom in northwest Spokane. Make that and not survival the priority. Pray that God may use you to be God's hands and feet; that God may speak the Good News through you in word and deed, and I think that will draw people to Messiah who want to be a force for good in the community.
I give you my blessing. We are one in Christ and my retirement doesn't invalidate that unity. I will continue to pray for you and your ministry in Shadle.