Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, and there we wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung our harps.”
The people of Israel were taken into captivity. They longed to return home. They dreamed of a day when they could worship together again in the Holy City. Our season of exile is coming to an end. It is time to pick up our harps and make a joyful noise to the Lord as we joyfully return to worship.
The doors of Trinity Lutheran Church will soon be open; the people of God will gather and there will be life and laughter in the sanctuary. The isolation of the past 57 weeks will give way to a grand homecoming. Prodigal daughters and sons will return to a safe place, a place where everybody’s welcome, a place where membership cards are not needed, and there will be no litmus test for admission. Your beliefs may not be orthodox, your doubts may be numerous, but we will worship in unity and humility knowing that no person or religious movement has a corner on the market of truth. Either all are welcome, or all will be excluded. May we offer hospitality to stranger and friend alike.
On April 18th, the doors will open, the people of God will gather, there will be life and laughter in the sanctuary. Sunday School students will be reunited down the hall. The hymns and prayers of God’s people will be lifted heavenward. We will no longer say “one day closer,” for we will have arrived. This much-anticipated day is upon us; the exile is over.
Is it the end of the pandemic? Most certainly not. We will observe protocols to keep you safe. We will insist that all worshipers wear their masks and observe social distancing. The doors and windows will be kept open. We will try to limit the services to 45 minutes. In this season of our shared life, loving our neighbor will require sensitivity, good manners, and thoughtful consideration of the needs of others.
This Sunday at 8:00 and 10:30 you are invited to come home, bring your harps, bring your coffee mugs, wear your pajamas if you like, but come. As you are packing your bags for this homecoming, I would encourage you to leave behind all judging and excluding, let go of the need to protect God or keep score of others’ righteousness. In other words, as we gather after so long apart, remember who we are; we are one beggar telling another where to find bread. Mine is the church where everybody’s welcome. I know it’s true cause I got through the door.
One day closer- is here!
Thanks be to God!