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From the Pastor

Pastor Kirk Anderson
208-765-1002
pastoratlcm@gmail.com

The forty days of Lent will begin soon, circle February 14. (Note to self: Deliver roses and chocolate to wife on the 13th!) Ash Wednesday service at LCM will be at 5pm. There is no soup supper scheduled for Ash Wednesday. The five Lenten Wednesdays to follow will also begin at 5om and include a soup supper.


On the 14th, we will have ashes “imposed” on our foreheads and hear the words, “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We heard “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” at recent memorial services for Lucille and Effie. We hear them again on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of our mortality too. Then to confess: Isn’t it amazing what the Holy One can do with dust!


Wednesday Lenten Services will feature the Biblical notion of “Binding and Loosing.” Mt. 16:18-20 tells of Jesus giving to Peter, and the church, the authority to exercise a prayer discipline called Binding and Loosing.


  • To bind usually means to forbid, to prohibit. When you bind something, you put it in chains. But it can also mean holding it close.

  • To loose means to set something free. When you loose something, you have untied it from a previous bondage.


In some situations, Jesus got upset when the Pharisees “bound” believers to rigid Interpretations of the Law. Better to “unbind” the believers, set them free from the overuse or burden of the Law. On the other hand, Jesus encouraged believers to bind themselves to care for one’s neighbor and to loosen one’s grip on their possessions.


We are all constantly binding and loosing, although you might not think of it that way. When you think of what really matters to you at LCM, those are things you’ve bound to yourself. Might be the way we worship, might be making repairs in the attic, might be cleaning out kitchen cabinets. Different things matter to each of us; together, we make a congregation serving God and neighbor.


Binding and loosing can be both an individual and a communal practice. As followers of Jesus, it is our challenge to discern what to bind ourselves to and what to untangle ourselves from. It can be a helpful discipline as we examine – and repent from - mindsets, habits, possessions, and relationships that separate us from God. Our Lenten service will be 30 minutes (maybe a bit longer) to read from scripture, listen for the Spirit, and sing some prayers. Then we’ll have soup!

Sundays are not considered part of the 40 days of Lent & will follow the assigned texts.


Blessings! Pastor Kirk

I wrote my “short” annual report this past week. In preparation I reviewed 25 of LCM’s past annual reports. I researched congregational presidents, staff changes, and major congregational events. Amazing how God’s grace and mercy has led this congregation through both controversy/trauma and growth/healing.

There is a medical specialty called Palliative Care, which “provides support to those experiencing serious or life-limiting illness.” I picture myself as a Palliative Care staff person, providing “extra level of support” during LCM’s difficult times. I might be described as a bridge to a healthier, more stable future. Please note, I am not your Hospice chaplain. Palliative Care focuses on what matters most. The next phase of my Palliative Care will be leading small discussion groups about LCM’s future.


There is a favorite Epiphany story, entitled GO THAT FAR, that seems to fit our time together at LCM. [A father and son had been dealing with the boy’s fear of the dark, so the father asked his son to fetch a tool from the tool shed. The boy crumbled to the ground in fear. The Father lifted the boy to his feet and placed in his hands a big lantern and he asked the boy, “how far can you see?” “Dad, I can see the driveway.” The father says, “OK, go that far.”

Then the boy reaches the driveway, and the father says, “OK, son, how far can you see?” I can see the edge of the garden. “OK, the father says, go that far.” And when the boy reached the edge of the garden, then he could see the barn, and then the truck parked by the tool shed….finally he fetched the tool and raced back to his father with a big smile.]


The congregational meeting will take place on Sunday, January 28th after worship. Together, I believe, LCM can be led to a set of goals and a new vision, the tool shed. I pray for us to allow the Spirit of the Lord to come upon us and inform us “how far to go.”


I am making a new year’s resolution! Pastor Kirk will stop scrolling social media. A friend has described social media as “joy stealers.” Lord, help me to stop. I wish to learn to embrace simplicity, generosity, and humility.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We had a strange conversation at our Thanksgiving Table. For whatever reason, we began sharing our experiences with the loss of a child by miscarriage. Which was a totally inappropriate conversation for my son, Tyler and his wife, Kelsie, to hear, as they consider the possibility of their first child. But we charged ahead anyway. Geesh!


Assuming you are still reading, I was surprised and amazed how common it was to lose a child. Several of the women, of course men too, had experienced this pain. We didn’t have a group therapy session, but it didn’t take listening skill to sense the sadness and pain.


This feels like an awkward transition, but to say it bluntly, LCM has gone through several losses (think miscarriages). I am going back 10-15 years of LCM’s history. One of heartaches the literal loss of children running, singing, giggling their way into Schmidt Hall. The same longing, anticipating, waiting for a child to be born is hard enough, but then the loss – the pain, anger, and grief. Here is a thought: I think the four weeks of Advent will give us an opportunity, and I do mean, opportunity, to give expression to some of that pain.


The song, “O the most wonderful time of the year.” Sheri suggests that it is the most vulnerable time of the year. So, be oh so careful, that the expectations, the fears, the pace of the season don’t add to the pain. On Sunday, we will begin the new church year in darkness (lights dimmed). We will cup our hands on our laps as if ready to receive something. We will listen to a Taize song entitled “Wait For The Lord.” Wait for the Lord, Whose Day is Near.

Wait for the Lord, Keep Watch, Take Heart.


It is a long chant during which we will name our pain as it comes to us in various sizes and forms. Four Sundays of Advent. Geesh! On author writes:

“Advent never made much sense to me. When I was young, I couldn’t understand this emphasis on waiting. Let’s get to Christmas. Now that I have wept, now that I have grieved, now that I have lost, now that I have learned to hold space with and for the ones who are hurting, now I have a place for Advent.”


This Sunday we will begin checking out that space with one another.


Blessings! Kirk

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