Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” -Psalm 100:4
I’ve noticed an interesting rhythm to the school year. It seems like the first few days are touched by nerves and maybe even a little anxiety as everyone gets settled. After that, there’s a time of genuine excitement. You get the sense that many students are grateful to be back together and acknowledge that there is some fun to be had. And then, after a little more time passes, it seems like the reality of the challenge really hits home.
Assignments seem less inviting, the first tests appear on the horizon, and the concentrated effort begins in earnest. It’s also at this point that a very serious temptation may enter; studying just to remember and regurgitate information, reading just to “get it done.” Of course, these temptations reach well beyond our school years, and these are temptations worth resisting throughout the journey.
As we prepare for our first Bible Study sessions of the season, as plans for Sunday School are being finalized, we trust that the Spirit is truly at work. I am so very eager to share in the Word with the good people of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Glenshaw, and whoever would like to stop by for a Bible study.
Why am I so enthusiastic about all this? Here’s why! There is a very real possibility that a new insight might be shared during one of our Bible studies, one stirring enough to enliven someone’s faith.
There is a very real possibility that on some chilly autumn Sunday evening one of our confirmands will make the connection between their congregation and that passionate reformer (Martin Luther), the faithful sinner/saint who desperately wanted the people of God (including them) to know that God’s grace is the high-octane fuel that propels our life together.
There is a very real possibility that during the course of one of our many Sunday School conversations, someone may determine that they too want to consider a life in ministry and commit themselves to exploring the possibility of serving God’s faithful people through the Word and sacraments. Can you even imagine?
I am so grateful that there are these glorious moments on the horizon when all those gathered will sit around nod, offer affirmation, and utter, “amen,” ever so softly as they are reminded, this is the good stuff and we really are having such a glorious time together.
So yes, while I know it will take some doing… I am genuinely going to attempt to appreciate every one of these spiritual educational opportunities between now and next May. And I pray, most earnestly, that the energy with which we begin this season can be sustained all the way through Christmas and Easter to Pentecost, which will be just about the right time for our next big blast of the Spirit!
Question for reflection: How has the Spirit been encouraging you these days?
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, as summer drifts into autumn, give us the wisdom necessary to savor each day. Encourage us in moments of quiet contemplation, guide us into enthusiastic service of the least of these among us, and inspire meaningful conversations that strengthen our relationships.We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.