Happening Now Blog

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wednesday Message

Greetings, Saints of SOV—

I enjoyed my vacation time last month! I had deliberately held most of the days unstructured as a way of allowing myself to discover what was important for each day. I did some cleaning, cooking and sorting; I discovered a lot of boxes of stuff that I have carried with me move after move—sometimes for nearly two decades!—and found the strength and joy to find new homes for many things over which I have been anxious and troubled. And for many of those things the new home was in the recycling or even the garbage bin, if there was no further purpose! It was good to be about the business of letting go.

Our vacation time also brought a final decision for us about following our vocation as God's people in ministry. As most of you (I hope all of you, by now) have heard, I will be leaving Shepherd of the Valley at the end of the month. My heart aches with grief and with hope, as is always the case when the time comes for paths to diverge. Alyssa and I rented a small farmhouse sight unseen early in my vacation time, northeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota, just across the border in Wisconsin. From their I will be working with several Synods with ministries in transition. Alyssa will be able to pursue the degree she needs to follow her vocational calling.

And so each day now brings me closer to the parting of our ways.

This coming Sunday's gospel reading is the story of Mary and Martha, the sisters at whose home in Bethany Jesus finds respite from the business of life. Martha is preparing a meal; Mary is sitting with Jesus, listening to his proclamation of God's reign emerging in grace and love. Martha, of course, gets impatient. There are things to do! A good cook always works toward having everything finished at the same moment, which makes the last minutes before setting the table chaotic, at the very least.

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things," says Jesus.

And poor faithful Martha has taken heat along with generations of her sisters, too often from those very ones who expect the Martha's of the world to have everything in place, every meal perfect, every surface dust-free at all times.

I suspect Jesus' words were intended to soothe Martha; I'm sure Jesus thought his words were spoken in love.

And maybe they were heard that way. Or maybe not!

Too many times to count I have discovered that my words are not always heard with the same intent I thought I invested in them. I have inadvertently and stupidly scraped sore spots. I am regularly reminded that my "thinking out loud" sometimes can sound like a papal pronouncement, unassailable and authoritarian. And I am sorry when this happens. And I am grateful (even if it is hard to show) when a trusted friend points this out.

Jesus' words to Martha come to us as a reminder that our successes and failures define us less than these words from the ending of last Sunday's gospel: rejoice not in your abilities and powers, but that you belong always to God . . .

along the way.

Pastor Dan


Kids of the Kingdom Christian Preschool has a few openings left for Fall 2019. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact KOK at 503.645.0236

July 27th
Walk in the Park at SOV

12:00 -1:30 pm

July 28th
Farewell to Pastor Dan