From the Pastor

Pastor Bob Albing

There is an amazing thing that happens in our buildings three nights a week. Have you heard of CDA ACT? It used to be called Out of the Shadows Theater. {CDA ACT stands for Celebrating Different Abilities through Art and Community Theater} They put on plays, but all the actors have some sort of disability. These differently abled actors are able to perform with the help of their “shadows” who stand with them on stage and make sure they are in the right place at the right time and say their lines on que. But often times, the actors don’t need any help from their shadows, they just need a chance to perform and a chance to rehearse

That’s where you and I come in. We provide space for them by allowing them to use the gym in the Gathering Place and the sanctuary. Jeff Barnes our organist helps them rehearse the music. It is, literally, quite a production. It takes a lot of helpers and lots of time to bring it altogether into a performance. This year they will perform the stage version of Frozen, at the Kroc. It is amazing to watch all these differently abled people some even in wheelchairs, sing and say their lines. The play is taking shape.

Sometimes as a council and as individual members we wonder, “What should we be doing as a church?” or “What ministry does God want us to start?” or “How do we get more people to come to our church?” These are all good questions, but maybe another way to ask is: What is God already doing in our neighborhood or even right here on our campus? How can we join in? Maybe we do less planning and more praying, less talking and more listening. Maybe God is already using Lutheran Church of the Master and our buildings to do wonderful things for an underserved community of people. Maybe we just need to keep letting them utilize the space and Jeff. Maybe we need to hang out with them and listen to what they need.

I have only been to one rehearsal of CDA ACT this season, but it was a moving experience. They practice every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening. If you come and watch, and hang out with parents and caregivers, remember to listen more than talk. They have a LOT to say.

God’s peace,

Pastor Bob Albing

Have you read anything about Idaho lately? Do your out-of-state relatives or friends send you articles about our lovely state? I just finished reading another online article about how Idaho is becoming or has already become a haven for extremist groups and “preppers”, etc. I dutifully read all such articles that are sent to me, and then I go shop at Super One or Fred Meyer and nothing seems very extreme to me, except the size of the soft drinks’ aisle.

Don’t get me wrong. I take these articles seriously and I read the paper every day. One cannot live here and not know what is going on. Especially when a group or individual gets violent. (We have much to be thankful for in our local law enforcement.) And I blame no one for leaving our state because of the political climate and emotional reactivity of so many people in this area.

But there is also something to be said for staying and just being normal, reasonable, and civil. Our history, as a country, has been a tumultuous one. Our country has always been fractured and reactive. We, as citizens, have always been ready to fight amongst ourselves even as we band together to fight a common foreign enemy. Maybe, in this day and time, the heroic thing is to simply live a Christian life of love and service, forgiving those who malign us or make our lives more difficult. Maybe the courageous thing is simply to go about our lives being polite to strangers, giving others the benefit of the doubt, correcting wrongdoing without raising our voices, and being grateful for all the beauty that surrounds us.

This takes more discipline than busting heads, shouting down those who disagree with us or picking up a gun.

In large cities, violence and civil unrest often occurs when summer temperatures rise. Perhaps it is time to turn the societal thermostat down a little. Maybe you and I can be ice cubes in the lemonade of our cultural reactivity and help cool things down a little. I may be crazy, but these days, if you believe everything you read, I have a lot of company.

Let me know what you think.

Your fellow servant, Pastor Bob

This summer, as I may have said before, is a summer of weddings for Mary and me. We went to a nephew’s wedding in May, then Kristen Panther’s wedding was in July. Mary and I traveled to New Hampshire and will travel to Minnesota for two more weddings. I have had the privilege to work with three couples, doing pre-marriage counseling. It has given me hope.

Josiah and Taylor were already married for several years when they visited and worshipped with us in May and June. Taylor will have given birth to their first baby by the time you read this article. I had lunch with Josiah a couple of months ago. The conversation we had gave me hope.

Three Lutherhaven counselors, stayed in Schmidt Hall for a week, and taught Vacation Bible School (Day Camp) during the day. They were very energetic, very committed. I took them out to dinner Sunday night before Day Camp started. I quizzed them, asking them a million questions about what has influenced them (books, movies, classes) and what they have learned and what are their hopes for the future. They were a wealth of information. And they gave me hope.

Perhaps you have noticed a theme here. The young people I talked with over the last several weeks have given me hope. That’s not to say that I don’t have conversations with older folk that give me hope, as well, but conversations with younger people are rarer for me. These conversations felt like a gift. And almost like God was trying to make a point. I think I needed a hint of hope.

The on-going pandemic has taken a lot out of many of us. God sometimes acts in subtle ways and sometimes in more obvious ways to restore hope. Whether it is a garden growing, or a conversation, or an answer to prayer, God is generous with hope. I pray that we pay attention!

God’s peace,

Pr. Bob Albing