Dear Members, Friends, Supporters, and Neighbors of Siloa Lutheran Church,
There was a time when the Christian missionaries talked about "bringing God" to distant peoples in foreign lands. Sometimes, the people living in those places were described as "heathen" or "godless". The missionaries said that the duty of the Church and of conscientious Christians was to "save the lost", and to share the "gift of the Gospel".
Often, the actions and the attitudes of those missionaries' led to abuse and violence and exploitation. Racism was (and is) real, and prejudice and ignorance caused a great deal of harm, even when some of the intentions were good. Somehow, God was able to bring some good out of some very evil actions. I, and my family, and many of your families were brought into membership in the Christian family even after some very brutal wars and conquests brought Christianity to parts of northern Europe and other places.
God is at work. God can bring healing out of brokenness. God is busy and will be making progress with us, without us, and, sometimes, in spite of us.
These days, a very common way to describe our mission is to ask, "What is God doing in our community? And, how can we partner with God and be a part of that work?" That way of seeing things is very different from some of the old ways. We say, "God is already here", or "God is already there, healing building, liberating, and creating new life". "Let's become a part of this ministry of reconciliation!"
For us, at Siloa, this new perspective helps us to ask, not, "How will Siloa survive?" but, "What is God up to here in this community? Who are the people that God is inviting us to partner with, to walk along side with, and with whom is God calling us to share our faith and hope and gifts?" "What can new people, different people, and younger people teach us about God, and what insights can we offer to them?"
If we ask these questions, and if we seek the answers, what new things might we discover? What deeper understandings about God and our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters will be revealed to us? How might our lives be changes when we are part of this journey and this adventure? Yikes! Dare we give it a try? Dare we ask God to help us?
My retirement, and Siloa's transition to new pastoral leadership, offer to me and to Siloa the beginning of a new chapter. Let's wonder where God is leading us. Let's be open to change and to new understandings. Can we trust God to guide us, even as we admit that we do not know all the answers? Lean on this blessing to give you energy and courage.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." (Numbers 6:22-26)
Welcome this gift of Peace, Pastor Dan Olson