Colorful Fall leaves and cooler weather mark the change of seasons as we find ourselves in Autumn. Some of us welcome these changes especially if you are one to enjoy the limited edition and seasonal tastes like pumpkin spice. It now feels more fitting to revel in all things plaid, to cozy up with friends by a warm backyard firepit, to prepare for hunting seasons that will open soon, and hit up all the local church dinners.
Some of us are less eager to welcome the change of season and instead feel drug along into it. You may find yourself longing for longer and warmer days gone by especially if you enjoyed the heat of summer hanging out by the lake, feasted on fresh garden produce, played numerous rounds of golf, and went to all the small town Summer festivals. Times are changing and things will no longer be the way they were in summer and that can be a hard adjustment.
An immense change our church and community are experiencing at this time is the grief and sadness of the death of our Senior Pastor, Michael Jacobson. We each have our unique experience of pain and loss we feel as we journey through a season of grief and change. Collectively as Martin’s Lutheran and the community of Casselton, there is a felt impact as we miss Pastor Mike and the ways he was actively involved in our lives. We hold a special place of care and compassion for Jennie, Brittany, Shelby, and Zach as we all find ways to walk a new path that lays ahead of us.
As I think of scripture and reflect on knowing Pastor Mike, I am reminded of Paul who helped the early churches address their struggles and shared some of his own. We don’t really know what Paul referred to when he speaks of a thorn in his flesh, or why he had to suffer from it, but we do know he can relate with the pain and struggles of our human life. In those moments we also hear some of the most compelling words of faith that are offered in hope with strength to persevere through it all.
In 2Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul writes, “a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
Dear church, don’t be afraid of weakness in these times. Be open to the tears, pain, and sadness knowing God’s power is at work in and through the experience. Look to and lean on God’s grace knowing you are not alone. We are made in God’s image. It is in our Lord Jesus, God in our flesh, that we see and know he too wept (John 11:35). Remember, we do this thing called life, together.
Grace and Peace,