The Pastor’s Study – March 2024

It has been interesting to spend this Lent walking alongside Peter in our “Wandering Heart” worship series, experiencing the ups and downs of what it was like to be among those closest to Jesus and see miracles unfold one moment and then step out into the waves and begin to sink the next. Peter is, like us, a complex mixture of bravado and fear, of rock-solid faith and gnawing doubt.

Sometimes I think that Jesus liked Peter because Peter didn’t overthink things before jumping in with both feet (in the case of Peter’s attempt to walk on the water – literally!). He just said, ‘Yes, Lord’ and found that it worked for him more often than not. This was the situation in which I found myself on the morning of February 28th.

I received a call from Len Pergander at 7am stating that it was an emergency. I called him back immediately and he informed me that residents were sheltering at the fire department after their apartment building was destroyed in the storms of the night before. Could the church be used as a temporary shelter? After thinking about the ramifications for a minute (but not overthinking), I thought that the church could handle taking in 10 people for a couple of days without having too much impact on church life, so I agreed that we could do it before I had the chance to fully wake up. 

Ten people quickly became twenty, plus their dogs, the media arrived to cover the story, and the office phone was ringing constantly with questions and offers for help. I started to wonder what I had gotten the church… and myself… into. But, amid the chaos and the church building bearing a certain resemblance to Noah’s Ark, it was becoming increasingly clear that I was witnessing a minor miracle. What seemed beyond our ability was actually, dare I say, pleasant. The Red Cross staff and volunteers were efficient, friendly, and supportive. The entire community was pitching in and despite my growing concerns about having enough space, church activities were barely affected at all. 

If I had known the full size and scope of what was being asked of us at the time, I might have hesitated to make such a commitment during the relatively busy Lenten season. However, if I had and ultimately decided that it was beyond our abilities, we would have missed out on The blessings that we received from being a rock of hope for these displaced people in their hour of need. 

It’s often said that God doesn’t call the equipped, but equips the called. While I know that to be true of many of the heroes of Bible, I guess I was somewhat skeptical that the old adage still held. Now more than anything, I find myself amused by the God who continues to surprise us with good news some 2,000 years after Peter walked with Jesus. It makes me wonder what other possibilities I’ve dismissed out-of-hand as unfeasible, unworkable, or even impossible. What things did I think would cause me to sink that would have, in actuality, given me far more life than it has taken? Mercifully, one lesson we can learn and internalize from Peter’s example is that God continues to reach out for us after we mess up, doubt, or even after we try to stop Jesus from doing what he came to do. That, friends, is the promise of Easter: it’s about God’s deep and abiding love meeting us and asking us to faithfully follow.

One Reply to “The Pastor’s Study – March 2024”

  1. Nancy Adams

    Thank you. The connection between our Wandering Heart series and Peter and the 28th crisis and you were insightful and uplifting. Nan

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