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OUR PASTOR

Pastor Keith Weatherford

As we transition from the Easter season, we will also experience a change in our lectionary readings. We moved out of Mark’s gospel after Lent and have experienced the gospel of John during the 2nd through 7th Sundays of Easter, including the Day of Pentecost and Holy Trinity Sunday. We will return to the gospel of Mark for most of the remainder of the Year B lectionary series but will hear more from John later in the summer. The gospel of John is unique in many ways. John’s focus is on Jesus making God's love known to his disciples. Through John’s telling, we are able to experience God’s unconditional love and unending grace in our world through this community of disciples. It is through this community, and through its reaching out to others and proclaiming the good news, that Jesus’ ministry and message of God's love are spread across the globe. These texts from John's gospel that we encountered during the Easter season, a season of newness, new life, and new beginnings, prepare us for Pentecost Sunday, the giving of the Holy Spirit, and living into who God is calling us to be as his loving disciples.

Through the poetry and symbolism of John’s gospel, often referred to as the Book of Signs, it becomes clear what Jesus as God was sent to do. Jesus came to us that we might be set free, that we might find salvation in Christ’s reign, and that we find inspiration to sustain our faith. A key focal point in John’s Gospel is love, not necessarily as an emotion, but as an action. Throughout this text we see Jesus humbly serving others, actions that reveal his love and compassion for those He encounters. Those who experience and act upon this statement of faith and love remain in relationship with Jesus the Christ. Jesus’ crucifixion is itself an act that displays the depth and magnitude of God’s love for all of humanity. Jesus came and showed us through his signs that it is through him that we have life. In John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us who he is and what that means for those who have faith and believe in him.

Winter is behind us once again, with a hope that spring has sprung, and summer is on the horizon. It can seem to be a season without a particular theme or direction, just moving forward towards living life well. A season filled with fellowship, relationships, recharging, helping others, and appreciating and experiencing creation in new ways. The birds’ songs fill the outdoors replacing the muted silence of winter. Our landscape bursts into brilliant colors with the lush green growth of lawns, pastures, and budding trees. Blossoms of yellow, pink, white, and red attract honeybees and adorn the landscape that had laid desolate and appeared barren. The transition into summer, especially for those of us living here in the northern hemisphere, brings the excitement of warmer temperatures and outdoor activities. It is a time for family gatherings, graduations, class reunions, vacationing, and a break from the mundane grind of school and work. We experience time to breathe, relax, catch up on that overdue reading list, and take time to rejuvenate. Perhaps we get out and work on those projects we have been planning and refining throughout the winter. For St. John's Lutheran Church, that comes in the form of moving forward with the purchase of a new organ console and the installation and interface with the original organ’s piping from the Great Division. It also comes in the form of attending Flathead Lutheran Bible camp, Christikon, or taking part in Vacation Bible school here at St. John’s. For some, it is attending the ELCA Youth and Young Adult gatherings in New Orleans this summer. For others, however, there is a sense of urgency and focus.

It is when the workload increases as they feel the need to make hay while the sun shines to sustain themselves through the impending return of winter. When we return to Mark's gospel we won't hear a unifying theme. There will be a focus and an urgency on making certain that the Kingdom of God is brought to and among the people. As we move from Eastertide into the time after Pentecost, from winter hibernation into summer activity, Mark's gospel is an invitation to live out that which we discerned during Lent and throughout the Easter season. God calls us to proclaim, bear witness, express, and live out God's love for the world and creation which he so deeply loves. It is a love that sometimes feels and seems so countercultural. And yet, it is the love that we as his followers, as those who receive his unending grace and unconditional love, know and believe to be the salvation of the world, not an escape from the world.

 

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Keith

Please contact the church office for more information or if you would like to schedule a visit.

 

Email pastorkeith@helenastjohns.org or call (406) 442-6270 

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