Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, look-ing for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.1Peter 5:7-9
The sun comes out and shines a day and the next day it is bitter cold again. The skies clear up and then it rains. These glimpses of spring in the midst of this wilderness remind us that Easter is near. We are reminded that God is still with us when all is dead and bare and that God has plans for resurrection from death. Yet, as much as we wish it were Easter, already, we still need to follow Jesus to Jerusalem to the cross this Lent to see what God is up to. This time of transition is a time of wilderness. Wilderness is never a fun place to be. You feel alone. You find all things working against you. You can’t even appreciate the manna God gives you in the wilderness and you begin to murmur. Instead you listen to the voices of doubt.
- What is going on?
- Will we ever get a new pastor?
- Where is God?
- What will life be like when we get the new pastor?
- Will she or he make changes?
- Will the pastor care about what I care about?
- Will the pastor bring a whole new way of doing things?
- Will this still be my church?
It is easy to slip into thoughts of doubt and hopelessness and want to control things that aren’t ours to control or substitute controlling something that we can, instead of trusting God. This Lent, let us continue to resist all that seeks to keep us from remembering whose we are in baptism. A forgiven child of God loved perfectly by a heavenly father who loves us so much that “he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17). As saved and beloved children of God, we are called to trust in God’s love, grace, and mercy, and share that with our neighbor.
- Who is your neighbor?
- Who is St. Matthew’s neighbor?
- How is God calling you to share that grace with your neighbor?
- What gifts and talents has God given you to share God’s love with the world?
- Who needs to hear, experience, or be reminded of the good news and how can we share that with them?
These are questions you want to ask yourself this time of transition and share them with the Transition Team. Council has been working hard this season of transition to get your feedback on what your hopes are for St. Matthew and the next called pastor and has already asked for your input via a survey. In order to round out the survey questions and make sure more people from different age groups are polled and we look at our external mission in addition to our internal mission so that the Minis-try Site Profile can be faithfully filled out, Council leadership has decided to ask some people from the congregation to serve as the Transition Team. This Transition Team will meet with small connection groups in the congregation, people on the roster but not active in worship, and also community groups to ask a list of questions that answer the question:
- Why do we exist?
- What is God up to at St. Matthew?
- Who is God calling St. Matthew to serve?
- What is St. Matthew called to be?
- Who are our connections?
- Whom are we called to connect with in the community?
The Transition Leadership Team, John O’Meara, Joe Buss, Lisa Merrill, and Charlie Lange, will meet with the transition team to offer guidance, support, and resources. Deacon Bill and I will serve as advisors to the Transition Leadership Team. This is your chance to voice your ideas, concerns, and hopes for St. Matthew. In this Lenten season, I invite you to cast all your anxiety on him, for he cares for you (1Peter5:7) by praying and asking God to guide your thoughts and actions in dealing with all things. Then take a break, go outside and catch some rays of sunlight, call a friend, pet your dog or cat, play with your kids or grand-kids, light a candle, give thanks for all God has given you and write down your thoughts to the following questions and be willing to answer questions when invited. This wilderness season, keep your eyes and trust on Jesus, who is with, for, and the One who sustains you through his grace. Rejoicing in that good news, respond likewise to your neighbor.
Core Vision and Values
- Where do we place our focus?
- Who and what are we called to be?
- What does our future hold?
- Goals and direction
- “We’ve always done it this way” vs. new ideas
- Who do we relate to outside of ourselves?
- Who do we have relationships with?
- Our denomination and beyond
- Who is our neighbor?
- Who do we connect with? Who should we be connecting with?