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From the Pastor

Pastor Kirk Anderson

Welcome to the long, long liturgical season of Pentecost. As the fifty-two Sundays arrive at LCM, they are divided into two parts, two seasons. The first season focuses on Christ – his life and work (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter). The second season was just launched with both Pentecost and Holy Trinity Sundays. We are now in a season of twenty-six Sundays focusing on the life of the church. To see it clearly:

Season A – the life of Jesus (26 weeks)

Season B – the life of the Church (26 weeks)


Some worship planning has taken place. You might notice in the weeks ahead and emphasis on the challenges of being church in 2024. The Sunday morning liturgy will feel a little less formal. I will make a couple promises for each Sunday, we will sing at least one favorite hymn you know well and one contemporary hymn that might feel new. It is this combination of new and old that both honors the past and welcomes God’s new. If I am able, I will introduce the songs with good background information.


The sermons might be a little more theme-based or topical. I recently heard a set of words that might shape sermons during Pentecost. I heard the words, “a faith for our time.” Those words were spoken by Jim Wallis who feels an urgency as Americans seek a faith for our time. His bio reads: a globally respected writer, teacher, preacher, and justice advocate, currently at Georgetown University, chair of the Center on Faith and Justice. He has been a trusted commentator on things spiritual and things political, who believes Christians can be political without pledging allegiance to    partisanship. My question is how? I will lean heavily on his new book, The False White Gospel:  Rejecting Christian Nationalism,  Reclaiming True Faith, and Refounding Democracy. In anticipation of a tumultuous election season, you might be interested in studying this book in September.


Rest assured: The sermons during Pentecost will not be “political.” I think you might be desperate too, for “a faith for our time.” A faith that restores hope in a fearful, distressing time for our world and our country. A faith that “doesn’t go left, doesn’t go right, just goes deeper.” Deeper into scripture as led by the Spirit of God that “bears witness with our spirit” that we are Children of God.

Pastor Kirk


May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 15: 5-6

Reality is that collaboration takes planning, hard work, humility, and congregational support. It would be much easier for our three congregations to just keep doing our own thing. We are, after all, three very different congregations in spite of the reality that we come from a common tradition, share a similar theological framework and are members of the same denomination. When we do things individually, we don’t have to worry about changing traditions that are dear to us, we don’t have to worry about if we might need to drive further to another facility, we don’t have to worry about having to listen to that other pastor that we just don’t like quite as much. There are cultural differences between our congregations, there are worship style differences, there are facility differences, and believe me each of our pot-lucks are very different. So why not just continue each of us on our own way?

There are of course practical reasons. The cost of being a congregation are going up dramatically, and maybe we need to find ways to share that cost. None of our congregations have a large number of active youth, so if we do things together we get a large group. None of our congregations can afford more than one pastor and our pastors have different gifts, it can make life easier for pastors to share some responsibilities. Our three congregations are experiencing realities that are shaping churches around the country: expenses are going up, income and participation is going down, reliance on technology is increasing, our congregations are aging, and we don’t have the fleet of volunteers we used to have, even when our staffs were bigger. Maybe if we collaborate we get by with less? The truth is that these practical forces are what are causing us to take a more serious look at collaborating, but they really are the less important reasons for collaborating.

When we read about congregations in the New Testament, there really is no concept of one congregation going it alone. There really was only ONE church and it may have met in different houses, in different cities, speaking different languages, and worship may have looked different from place to place, but all those meetings of Christians were part of ONE Church. They supported each other financially, they sent leaders to help one another, they critiqued one another’s teaching and practices, and they were blessed to be very interdependent with one another. In multiple letters to the Church, Paul emphasizes that if we are to experience the fullness of what in means to be the people of God, we need to be working in community with greater diversity.

Most famously Paul uses the image of the Body of Christ in several letters but the metaphor is most fully developed in Chapter 12 of his first letter to the Corinthians. Here Paul argues that accepting that we are more complete when we recognize that our differences make us stronger leads us to better live out God’s “More excellent way,” which is Love (1 Corinthians 13). Calvary on its own is less equipped to love our neighbors than we are when we are collaborating with others. Trinity, though it’s history in the community is longer, can not love this community as well on its own as it can in collaboration. Lutheran Church of the Master’s impact on Kootenai county is well documented, but its gifts are incomplete.

As I am writing this newsletter Kootenai county has made the national news again because of hate related incidents aimed at a women’s basketball team. As I am writing this there are thousands living in our community who are convinced that disciples of Jesus, if not God himself, believe that they are unwelcome, untouchable, unlovable. If we are to love this community with the fullness of Christs love, we must recognize that going it alone isn’t going to cut it anymore, and perhaps it never really did.

-Pastor Matt Erickson

I recall my first Religion Class in college which was both liberating and terrifying. Having been raised in a small town in rural Minnesota, in a small church, I arrived with my own version of the Bible, God, Jesus, the Church. With my Sunday School level understanding of things, I sat in the front row of the class that day, eager to have everything I believed confirmed and reinforced. After all, I attended a Church college. Quickly, I surmised, that this professor didn’t believe in the same Bible I did. He so nonchalantly began “looking behind” things for explanation and meaning. I felt he did so without permission from God. Was he messing with me?

I wanted to know what he believed. At the end of the semester, much of what I believed had been seriously challenged. I felt like I had nothing to hold onto.

Jesus, when he started preaching and teaching in Galilee, he started to “look behind” the Old Testament (the Bible of the day). With uncanny authority and wisdom, he told stories that uncovered God’s Word, God’s hope. For the good Jews in the synagogue that day, I bet they wondered if Jesus was playing with them. I am certain his words both terrified and liberated them. Who is this guy, they asked. A rabbi who preaches and teaches with such authority. They had to decide what to hang on to.

Most of you understand what is going on in both settings. What once worked in terms of faith and belief will often give way to new understandings. I have learned it to be a healthy process. Some call it the “deconstruction” of something in the anticipation of something new. Others describe this process as God’s transforming Spirit taking one’s “ordering” of things into a period of “disorder” when things fall apart, to the Spirit’s leading to the “reordering” of life and faith. Of course, waiting for some clarity about the new can feel like you have nothing to hold onto.

I listened to a podcast this morning about two different views of anchors. One promoted an understanding of anchor like the firm foundation of a building. The other suggested the anchor that we associate with a boat. LCM can utilize both views of course, but when the challenges of this transition time get intense, I suggest we get into the boat, flow to wherever God is leading, maybe even enjoy being adrift together and anchor only when we have done our best to hold onto each other with love and kindness. I wish for you a confidence that God, at this very moment, is reordering your future. Lent is a wonderful time to be in a boat together.

Blessings! Pastor Kirk

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