The last few months have been spent trying to find our equilibrium in the current situation. It can be disconcerting to know that any plans we make are essentially tentative - whether it’s plans to meet a friend, visit a new restaurant or watch college football. And yet, as much as there is that feels uncertain, God’s call to us and to the church remains the same.
When God created the world, all was in harmony. Every creature experienced shalom, peace or wholeness. When sin entered the world, that fell apart. Since then, God has been at work restoring the world - through the people of Israel, through the law and the prophets and through Jesus Christ. We are called to join in that work of restoration, both globally and in our local places.
At Risen Lord Lutheran Church, the main way we support God’s work of restoration beyond our local place is through our Mission Support paid to Indiana-Kentucky Synod and, from there, to the ELCA. Our Mission Support does much more than support the administrative costs of the Synod, but goes to support congregations (like ours), ministries around our synod and ministries of the ELCA. If you want to learn more about that, you can watch the video below.
We also support local restoration. Every month, Risen Lord sends $200 to the Interchurch Food Pantry, which is supplemented by food and cash donations from individual members. When we provided space for Dementia Friends Indiana’s training or for suicide prevention training, we made a way for lives to be restored. For the last several years, we have participated in God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday. While our encouragement for teachers in the form of “survival kits” or hand sanitizer were not dramatic gestures, it was a way to tell each person that they matter, that they are loved by God. When people are valued for who they are, God is at work restoring lives.
This year, as we approach God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday (September 13), our life together looks very different. We may not gather as a large group to eat together and work together. Activities like volunteering together at the Food Pantry are not feasible for many people. Yet we are still called to serve our community, to join God’s work of restoring our world on that Sunday and every day.
As a congregation, I ask you to pray and reflect - what ministry is God calling us to at this time? How can you help us follow God’s call? We need ideas as well as volunteers!
Some of my initial wonderings have included:
Creating a “little free pantry.” Since feeding others has been an important ministry of Risen Lord, this could be a way to bring it even more local. While hunger and need are not as apparent in Bargersville, it is still there. We would need people to build, to stock and to maintain.
Creating a prayer box for the community. We could have a place where people can write prayers which are then prayed for by members of our church.
Support those who are isolated, whether at home or in care facilities. We could consider finding pen pals, assigning friendly callers or simply gathering cards and letters of support to distribute.
Support and encourage local teachers, with a gift or cards. This year promises to be one of uncertainty and changes so we could find a way to show our gratitude.
How might we be called? What is God calling us to in this time?
I would love to have conversations about your ideas or how you might fit into this! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord,