Today’s Word from Karl Olsen…

It’s Pentecost!

That season of the church year associated with tongues of fire, and a sound, as on a rush of wind! 3,000 baptisms! The birthing of the church! Or, as I sang in church the other day (tune in online or come to church—you just never know what will happen!!!), so many voices in so many tongues, and the confusion it brought!

Everything seemed so predictable before Jesus came and shook everything up—made us question so many things we thought we knew were “right.” It brought the gift of life in so many ways, people seeing new ways of being and new ways of loving and serving.

I’m pretty sure, though, that there were those that maybe never got over the confusion, never got over the loss of certainty. Just as there are those among us now—perhaps people we see every day—that are struggling to get over the loss of identity or financial security or health, or the loss of a loved one during this last 14 months of pandemic. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to hope.

I’d like to share a few songs from the last year with you. Here’s one from about a year ago. My piece, Song of Hope.

I hold on to hope. Hold on to faith.

Recently, I lost a friend. A death out of season, as the saying goes. A friend whose gifts enriched so many lives and whose passing will be felt by many. A friend who shared much light. It has been a year of many gifts and many struggles. Sometimes it is hard to find a way to carry on. But, as John Bell reminds us, Don’t be Afraid.

It is helpful for me to hear from friends, and from my faith, that there is hope in difficult times. Not every situation will turn out perfectly, but encouragement from others and support is so helpful. No Pollyanna eyeglasses here, but just knowing that others care can make a difference. Carrie Newcomer says it so well, You Can Do This Hard Thing.

As author Maya Angelou reminded us, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. So, as the days and months pass by, I hope to remember to offer a word of kindness more often than a word of critique. A word of love more than a harsh word of judgment.

Composer René Clausen set words of Cardinal John Henry Newman’s that were adapted by Mother Teresa of Calcutta in this choral work titled Prayer, sung here by the massed choir at Lutheran Summer Music in 2014. Here are the words:

Help me spread your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may be only a radiance of yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I know will feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you. Amen.

Follow this link to listen to the four songs that I mentioned above on Trinity’s music page.

Be well.
Be kind.
Share your light. You are a gift.