August, 2018. Dear Friends, and Neighbors and Supporters of Siloa Church;
Mark 6: 30 - 32 The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
As I am composing this monthly letter, I am preparing to preach a sermon on these verses from the Gospel of Mark along with several other verses. I am also planning to depart for vacation on Sunday after church. I am looking forward to this vacation! Rest. Renewal. Extra sleep. Reading, swimming, canoeing, napping, biking, hiking. and time with Nancy. And, then, there are all of the chores, which hopefully will be mostly fun and not too much!
Verses 30, 31 and 32 sound so appealing. What happens next, however, is more in keeping with how life often goes. The crowds find Jesus, wherever he goes, and he cannot ignore them. He teaches and heals. He feeds "five-thousand"! He also walks on water, to throw in another miracle. The work, the mission, the progress of the "Kingdom of God" moves on and does not take a break! Yet, we read so many accounts of how Jesus did find time to be alone and to pray.
There is a message of reassurance here. God is with us. God's love and power cannot be stopped or blocked. John the Baptist is arrested and executed in prison. Jesus says, " We are going to Jerusalem!" Plan A hits a barrier, but Plan B moves forward.
Something wonderful and beautiful has happened at Braham Lutheran Church. 25 years after serving as Braham's pastor, Pastor Julie Beck was asked and was available to return to Braham to serve as their interim pastor. This homecoming has been powerful. The congregation has embraced her and has asked her to consider staying for Braham's next, new chapter. She is giving strong consideration to staying and serving. The congregation might soon begin a call process to consider her candidacy. Beautiful. Encouraging. And, unexpected.
However! This new development has meant that the three church task force involving Siloa, Salem and Braham will not be able to move forward with the three church partnership plan that we have been working on for the past year. That Plan A, will now have to consider if a new Plan B can be created. Jesus knew that this is how life goes. And, we also know this to be true. But, we can't hide our disappointment and our fatigue and our human tendency to become disheartened. But, the mission continues! The work of the Kingdom of God moves forward with God's encouragement, help, and energy.
I sure hope my vacation will be all that I plan and hope it will be. But, there is always a good chance things will not go according to plan. There is weather, and family, and home and work responsibilities that could intervene for me or for Nancy or for the both of us. It is good news to know, deep down, that God's love will always be there for us and for those we love and for those we work with. I am not alone. Siloa is not alone. I encourage all of us to find a way to "rest a while " as Jesus offered and recommended.
Peace! "The peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus", Pastor Dan Olson