Have you ever received a box with that label stamped on the outside? The label is there to ensure that the package makes its way from sender to receiver intact. It's a warning to every person who comes in contact with the packages that care should be taken, gentleness and attention given. Still, there are times when our carefully placed order arrives in pieces. The care package we packed with love and labeled accordingly is thrown or dropped and the cookies inside just crumble. It's disappointing to be on the receiving end of such an oversight.
This is a big week in the life of Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church. We’re not shipping anyone or anything off in the mail. Still, I am wondering if we should get a box of labels and place a “fragile: handle with care” sticker upon each of our hearts.
You see, the vote we take on Sunday is a big decision for this community. The proposal would bring with it a big change. Some of us can see every reason why this change is necessary and feel both hopeful and nervous in explaining it and waiting upon the community’s decision. Others of us feel that the disruption it would cause in practice and tradition is too much to give up and feel both anxious and perplexed.
This strange year has introduced us to a global pandemic, it’s heightened our awareness of the inequities in our community, and it has intensified already bitter political divisions. Now, with all of that in the background, we’re asking you to make a big decision that impacts a community and a place that provides peace and hope during such uncertain times.
Do you see how we are all pretty fragile right now?
As a people of faith we are called to proclaim good news to the fragile, to live out the good news for each other in acts of love and service. I have been filled with so much hope as I’ve attended four of the five information sessions on our Three-Church initiative. You have asked tough questions. You have vulnerably shared your excitement, anxiousness, and sadness about the plan. You have practiced patience, kindness, and healthy compromise in every single gathering. You are holding fragile hearts with tenderness and grace.
This is the heart of the gospel we proclaim. We are called to be a community of diverse people that speak honestly, make courageous decisions and live with hope. Not only that, but when we weary of this work, when we are so fragile ourselves that we just can’t manage to dole out any more grace, we turn to a God who says “come to me, all of you who are weary and carrying a heavy burden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Do you hear it? The good news? Today, tomorrow, on Sunday as we vote, and the day after that as well, God will continue to hold your fragile heart and mine. Today, I’m giving thanks for that good news!