I will be what one Christian author and speaker would call a pioneer parent. Pioneer parents are mothers and fathers who did not have the examples of Christian parents to follow in their own childhood. I, simply put, without the help of the Holy Spirit, have no clue how to raise my future children in the faith. I didn’t grow up going to Sunday School, saying bedtime prayers, or attending church. How will I parent in a way that reflects and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ to my children?
Let’s get the basics out of the way. I am the wife of a man who is studying to become a pastor. My husband, Joel, is entering the final stretch of his second year in the master of divinity program at Concordia Seminary. We’re currently waiting for the next step in this seminary process, which is the placement service for vicar and deaconess internships. Anyone who has been through this knows the agony of the wait. It feels so different from any move I’ve made before. I’d like to invite you into an understanding of how we are feeling and ask you to pray for the students and their families during their formation for pastoral ministry.
We live in a weird time—not only are we still in the midst of a global pandemic, but we also are living in an in-between time.
Some churches are open, others are not. Some people are back at work, others are not. Living in the in-between means everyone is at a different point, making it hard to serve one another. Your elderly parents might be vaccinated, but you might still not be able to see them. Your church might be open, but you might not feel comfortable attending services in person yet.
No matter what point you’re at, you can still serve your neighbor! Here are some situations where you can serve your neighbor in the current in-between time.
Last year, our church celebrated Easter with a drive-in Easter service. In-person gatherings were not an option, but not gathering at all was not an option either. After weeks of planning—which felt generous in some ways, since most of our planning was on the fly while we adjusted to shifting health and safety guidelines last spring—we made it to Easter morning.
Starting in 2006 and marking its fifteenth anniversary this year, World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, is the day we celebrate the unique and precious blessing of individuals in our lives with Down syndrome. Down syndrome, or trisomy 21, means there is an extra (third) chromosome in the twenty-first chromosomal pair of a person’s genetic makeup.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16)
I hate winter.
I live in Michigan, which is probably one of the worst states to live in if you hate the cold and snow like me. Winter starts in November, and it doesn’t end until late March. I hate trudging through snow to take my dog out, driving on icy roads, and putting on a million layers just to walk to my mailbox.
Recently, on social media, I have engaged in a weekly conversation about worshipping with little people. On Sundays I share what my family and I are up to as we go throughout our morning. Every time I do this, mom after mom will reach out to share a struggle their family is having with worshipping together, ask a question, vent, to say “we do that too!” or to ask for prayers. One disclaimer I always give when I share about our family’s time preparing for and in worship is that our successes are not magic. Tips or tactics that are working for our family come from lots of trial and error and many, many years of practicing and learning together.
I had a great conversation with a brother in Christ about Black History Month. He asked me two sincerely heartfelt questions: Why and how should a Lutheran church celebrate Black History Month?
When my husband eats chips, you likely can hear it in the outback of Australia. We live in Nebraska. And I have that fun condition called misophonia. The sound of chip-chewing is my worst enemy.