From the Pastor

Pastor Bob Albing

You have heard that saying before. And how true it is these days! Every day there are new guidelines and new numbers of infections and new measures put in place. It can cause great anxiety, not knowing how to plan for the future, when going to the grocery store becomes a major decision. Many in our community may lose their jobs. Budgets will have to be cut, and financial pressures will add tremendous strain to families, churches, businesses and governments. It is very stressful living one day at a time, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

As Christians, how do we make it through such times as these? It will take great patience, endurance, flexibility, faithfulness and courage to get through these next weeks and months. I take comfort in the example of Queen Esther. During Lent as we read through the book of Esther, I find in this remarkable woman an example of courage in the face of fear, and a commitment to act on behalf of her people even to the point of risking her own life. She did not know what tomorrow would bring. She knew that her people where threatened. She was in the right place at the right time to sway a king and a kingdom. She acted. But first she asked her uncle and her people to fast and pray. She acted. But first she asked for help, spiritual help.

That is a great template for us. We ask God for guidance; we seek God’s will; we listen to the movement of the Spirit. And we act.

God gives us this day. God promises to be with us, today. Today is the only day in which we can do something.

On the sabbath before that first Easter morning, the disciples were “sheltering in place”, they were afraid, and had no idea what the next day would bring. It must have looked very bleak to them, with Good Friday being only yesterday.

What a difference a day makes.

God bless you as you endure these days with patience, courage and faithfulness, remembering the resurrection promises of the risen Christ.

Pr. Bob Albing

Do you ever wonder how hymns are chosen for our Sunday worship?

It’s a harder job than it may seem to be, but it’s also a job full of joy.

Here are some of the criteria used at LCM for choosing the songs we sing:

Season: Hymns during Epiphany emphasize Jesus as the light of the world, while Lenten hymns may emphasize reflection on sin. Easter hymns celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, while hymns for the day of Pentecost rejoice in the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Theme: Hymns complement the theme of the weekly Scripture readings.

Sing-ability: Some wonderful hymn lyrics seem to be paired with difficult or unfamiliar tunes. In these cases, our congregation may sing the powerful and profound lyrics to a more familiar tune.

Affection: Certain songs just touch our hearts.

Variety: Affirming our connection with God’s holy people in every time and place, we strive to include songs that come from both ancient and modern times, and from many lands.

Theology: Lutheran Christians emphasize God’s gracious action in choosing us, and in giving us faith to respond to God’s invitation. The hymns we sing in worship emphasize praise to God rather than human action.

Repetition: Some hymns that may be less familiar can ‘grow on us’ if we sing them a few times.

(In accordance with church tradition, and to aid our devotion, our hymnody will not include Alleluias during the season of Lent, which begins on February 26).

Psalm 96:1-2

O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

This article was borrowed from Pr. Anne Palma and edited by Pr. Bob

A new year, a new church council.

What next?

1) Faithful Innovations

This last fall, the Synod Vitality Coalition chose me to be one of 6 people trained in our synod to be a trainer in Faithful Innovations. None of that probably means anything to you, but I am excited to try something new. Faithful Innovations is a project of Luther Seminary (a school that trains pastors) and our synod to gather groups from several churches who will be trained and then go back to their congregations. First, we answer the “Why?” question and then we work on the “How?” Why are we the church? Why are we Christians? We need to get back to the basics. And then we need to listen to those in our neighborhoods. What are THEIR needs? That’s when we work on the “How?” Faithful Innovations is a good name for this project. We want to remain faithful to our Lutheran tradition and our theology, but we also want to be innovative, open to change, and open to the changing needs of our community. I will get you more information in the coming weeks and months.

2) Every Member Visit

The executive committee of the church council, during my annual review, suggested that I do an every-member visit. With 100 plus members, I am going to need your help. I would like to, first of all, visit in homes where I have not been yet. If I have not been to your home, will you invite me? It will make it easier for me to schedule if you start the process (call, text, or email). Thank you. I hope to be able to say that I have visited in every home by the end of 2020.

3) Goals

In February the council will set priorities for this coming year and help me set goals for myself. If you have any opinions, questions, concerns, please speak to me or a council member in the next few weeks.

God’s peace,

Pastor Bob Albing