Tag Archives: Thanks

Thankful For Resurrection

Even though I have resigned from Resurrection, I am so very thankful for the partnership we share together for five years.  I want to share a few of the memories I cherish.

I remember the Saturday before my first Sunday, November 14, 2010.  It started to snow heavily.   As I watched the snow I began to wonder, “Should I be worried about this?  Who plows the parking lot or shovels the walkways?  Do I need to contact them?”  After fretting for about an hour, I decided to call Tom Hansen, the interim pastor prior to my arrival.  He quickly reassured me, “Don’t worry, John.  Larry will plow the lot and clear the walks.”  Sure enough, when I arrived the next morning, Larry was finishing up the parking lot, clearing away the ten-plus inches of snow.   I have never worried about snow removal or property maintenance since.

Baptsim croppedBaptisms have been a blast!  I love holding each new member of the congregation and instructing the congregation that we have made a promise to the child: the promise to raise the child in faith in Jesus.

However the baptism that will always stand out for me was my first one.  It was for an adult, Jill Blissenbach.  I made sure the water was in the font, the baptismal promises  were on display slides, and the family was ready.  The only problem was that when it came time to do the actual baptism I completely forgot Jill’s name.  Fortunately she did not and graciously laughed with me at my mistake.

Worship Team from Resurrection Lutheran Church

Worship Team from Resurrection Lutheran Church

I remember with joy the children coming up to the front each Sunday for the Children’s message and their eagerness to share God’s love in their comments.   Several times the worship team moved me to visible tears with a song that touched my heart in a special way.  I remember preaching on the four soils from Jesus’ parable of the sower in Mark 4 and how each section of the church responded to being labeled a certain type of soil.   I particularly remember how excited the “good” soil section responded with smiles and a few “Yeahs!”

P6180395I remember the contagious enthusiasm for Vacation Bible Adventure, Camp Wapo and the High School Mission trip each summer.

Families make school kits during Faith In Action Sunday

Families make school kits during Faith In Action Sunday

I remember the energy and excitement of the Faith in Action Sundays when we served in the community in such diverse and meaningful ways.  “What happens at Resurrection leaves Resurrection.”

New Connections 6 - purpleAnd I remember the New Connections Campaign when we had to raise funds to pay for our connection to city sewer, a sign, and a building study.   The generosity of that campaign demonstrated for me that Resurrection can do great things when the members rally together.

2012-01-10_13-50-08_416I have left the most significant for last: the amazing relationship with staff, members, visitors and friends, each carrying the quantum energy of God’s love.  I will miss them.

The memories are rich and diverse, stretching deep into my life.  My decision to leave is NOT based on some deficiency in the congregation, but rather my changing spiritual focus and call.  I believe Resurrection has a great and joyous dance with Jesus coming soon.  I look forward to watching Resurrection become more fully alive in the months and years to come.

What is one of your favorite memories of your congregation?

Thank You

This fall our congregation’s theme will be: Generous Living: Responding to God’s Abundance.  One generous response to God’s abundance is to develop a heart of gratefulness.  I am grateful for the wonderful people of Resurrection and the opportunity they give me to be on vacation.   I am also thankful that Sarah Storvick, my capable colleague in ministry, will provide some guest post on this blog next week (if technical challenges allow)> 

A part of my relaxation is rereading Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath,

Meister Eckhart, the Christian mystic, asserted that if the only prayer we ever prayed our whole life was “Thank you,” that would be enough.  Gratefulness cultivates a visceral experience of having enough.  When we are mindful of what we have, and give thanks for the many gifts we have overlooked or forgotten, our sense of wealth cannot help but expand, and we soon achieve a sense of sufficiency we so desire.  Practice thanksgiving before meals, upon rising, when going to sleep.  Friends, family, food, color, fragrance, the earth, life itself — these are all gifts, perfectly gratuitous.  How can we not give thanks?  During Sabbath time we are less concerned with what is missing, focusing instead on sharing our gratefulness for what has already been given (p. 128).

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

Here is a spiritual exercise worth doing every month.  Take a blank piece of paper and make a list of 100 people/things/experiences for which you are thankful.

Thank You, Lord.