Tuesday, June 23

Good morning church,

I am sharing a few more memories from our special church trip two years ago. On June 23, 2018, we arrived in Wittenberg – the town that is forever linked with the name of the reformer Martin Luther. Located in north-eastern Germany, this is the place where he taught and preached for most of his life. Students who wanted to learn about his thinking and theology flocked to Wittenberg and often stayed in his house where his wife Katie worked hard to feed many mouths. It was an exciting time – it always is when people feel that something new is born, when old truths are re-discovered, when crusty systems are taken down in favor of something more vital and meaningful, when the truth is freed from the chains of useless dogmas. That’s what happens in every reformation movement, that’s what happened in the 16th century, that’s what may happen today… Our group arrived in town on a pretty cool day followed by rain. In fact, it was so surprisingly cold that I had to go buy a sweater. I was in such a rush to do so that I didn’t realize the sweater featured a skull on its back – so your pastor was running around in Wittenberg with a skull, like all good pastors reminding people of the mortality of life. I think God was having a good time watching me (not for the first time). Local people were exceedingly happy about  the cool weather and the rain. They had endured a heat wave and a long drought, pretty new phenomena that many experts link to the changing global weather patterns. After a tour of the city and a choir rehearsal in the beautiful acoustics of the Castle Church, we were sent to the families where we’d spent the next two nights. And we were looking forward to being part of a church service in that majestic church the next day. It was a connection with our Lutheran past that we marked with the hope that God’s way of waking people up and re-forming their faith would come our way as well. Is this such a time? Often, out of the dark womb of difficult times something new and beautiful is born. Let us remember that. We may not see what is being formed spiritually at this time, but it may turn out to be a huge blessing.    

I would like to introduce you to another one of our confirmation students who completed instruction this year. It is his birthday today. I believe he is only turning 15! Zach B. is one of the students with the longest commute to church, but since his mom is our Family Ministry Director, he always had a ride. He was “voluntold” into service often by his mom and he rarely ever complained about all the little jobs. Maybe that was partially due to bribery  (food!), but I also think it’s because Zach is a good kid. He has grown tall over the last two years. I think he is taller than I am right now and he is certainly not done growing yet. Zach has always been a very active kid, playing lots of sports and working jobs to make extra money. It was a pleasure having him with us on our first Puerto Rico Mission trip in 2018. He felt special being the only youth on that trip, making friends fast with Pastor Sharon’s older son Felix (see the attached picture from two years ago). Everybody could see what a good worker he was.  Here are his reflections on his confirmation time and the speech he recorded:   

Please do not forget the Car Wash on Saturday, which will benefit the Innocence Project.   

Or the Food Drive tomorrow (Wednesday) from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

We are taking a little break with Bible Studies. To be continued in a few weeks!

Today are the birthdays of Zach B. and Kelsey R. Happy birthday!!!

Be blessed and be safe!

Pastor Andreas Wagner