Dear Risen Lord disciples,
New Year’s greetings from Pr. Dave Schreiber, your new “Pastor of Record!” Some of you may know that I’m recently retired from your nearby northern neighbor, Resurrection Lutheran Church. I’ll be glad to share more personal introductory details in the next newsletters, as well as address what exactly a “Pastor of Record” is…and is not.
However, since this is the first week of a new year, and perhaps more significantly for you, the first week of a new year without Pastor Lecia…please allow this first message from me to be a bit more pastorally direct. And let me start with a Scripture promise:
“And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.'” Revelation 21:5a
I’m sure for many of us 2020 has been, in many ways, a year that we’d just has soon forget. At the very least it will feel good to move on. A New Year always brings a sense of hope.
Of course, we know that the turning of the calendar from one year to another will not make everything better. It’s an arbitrary marker without the power to dispel viruses, or political divisions, or racism -- or the grief and anxiety of our church losing a pastor -- or any of the many other things that afflict us. This long winter is not over. Not by a long shot. The hard truth is, 2021 will not be all good.
By the same token, we ought not imagine that 2020 has not been filled with blessings. Many of us have learned anew to treasure the simple joys of family and friends. I’m so grateful for people we previously and sadly often ignored: grocery and service workers, health care professionals, anonymous lab technicians and researchers, just to name a few… I am grateful, always, for the gift of God’s grace made manifest in Jesus Christ. 2020 has not been all bad.
And here’s the thing: in the last few days, I’ve had a few conversations with some of Risen Lord’s leaders, and I have to say, I’m impressed. Obviously, as a long-time Center Grove area resident, I’m keenly aware of the future potential at Risen Lord…but I’m especially encouraged to know what the Spirit has already been doing among you, and continues to do among you, even in this unexpected and challenging time of transition.
So, in this week when the calendar turns, please remember that all of our times and seasons are in our Risen Lord’s hand. On this side of heaven, there will always be times of change and transition. There will always be good and bad around us, even as we are each both saint and sinner. The promise of the Scripture above, however, is that a new heaven and a new earth even now is being called into creation, a promise guaranteed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Risen Lamb of God. No matter what this New Year brings, the new creation is coming. You at Risen Lord are a part of it.
And that’s Good News.
Be well, friends. You are loved.
Pastor Dave Schreiber