Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…  

“Lead us not into temptation.”

Check that! The Pope changed the Lord’s Prayer. It did say, “lead us not into temptation.” Now the most revered prayer in Christendom says, “Do not let us fall into temptation.” On this one Pope Francis and I are in agreement. I have no problem with the change for the following reasons:

First of all, this prayer has been translated so many times over the centuries that it is pretty hard to know exactly what Jesus said. The prayer was probably first spoken in Aramaic. The 2,000-year journey included translations from Aramaic to Greek, Greek to Latin, Latin to English, and the Queen’s English to American English.

Secondly, the Pope is infallible, so, if he changes the Lord’s Prayer it must have been with the Lord’s blessing.

I actually think the change is good. I never believed that God would lead us into temptation. I don’t think that God sends us tests, sets traps for us, or places hurdles in our way to see how high we can jump. Life is one test after another. I had so much test anxiety that I was in Kindergarten for three years because I faked being sick before the finger-painting final exam. I once stayed up all night worried about a urine test the next day. Life is one challenge, one test, one hardship after another. Why would God add to our stress by sending us cancer (or a pandemic) to see how we would fare?

This pandemic is a test, but it does not come from the one who only desires abundant life for us. This pandemic is a test; it will test our healthcare system, it will test public education, it will test our politicians, it will test families and marriages. The anxiety, weariness, financial strain, and stress are taking a toll on every family and institution. Our culture is being tested, our sense of community is being tested, our willingness to sacrifice for the common good is being tested. None of these tests come from God, none are the will of God, but they are real and they are a threat to us.

This is a period of testing for the church. Who are we? How do we define ourselves? Can we exist and thrive without gathering in person to worship? Will the people of Trinity Lutheran Church stay together in this time of pandemic exile? Your staff, TLC volunteers, Preschool teachers, and your Church Council continue to work, pray, and serve on your behalf. Our mission has not changed, our love for each other grows deeper in the absence of physical contact. We are being tested, and we will emerge from this time of trial stronger, more appreciative, and more committed to each other.

God is not testing us, but God is with us in the midst of this human time of testing. I am honored to walk with you in this pandemic season, I am uplifted by your faith and kindness. Thank you for being you!

One day closer,

Pastor Jim