This morning, Lori and I drover over to Rochester to worship with the community at Zumbro Lutheran Church.
It was a wonderful experience. We encountered warm, hospitable people who were really concerned with making sure that everyone feels welcome and connected.
And I had the opportunity to connect with my counterpart there, Pastor Rob Zahn. Pastor Rob has been at Zumbro for three months, having moved there from a suburb of Detroit.
When I’m visiting congregations, either for worship, or on the visits I will make on my upcoming travels, my hope is to do a couple of things:
I want to experience their sense of culture and community. I want to know what it “feels” like to worship there, and to be a part of the community.
I’m looking for ideas that can be adapted and applied at Trinity.
And I want to gain an understanding of how the congregation is “thinking forward.” As it looks to the future, what does it see, and how does it see it?
To quote the famous prophet, Wayne Gretzky, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
I wonder, a lot, where the puck is going to be for us. What does the future hold? What is in the midst of God’s vast imagination for the life of our congregation? I’m curious how these congregations discern these things.
Pastor Rob preached a good sermon about how we make decisions. He focused on what is “free will” versus what is “predestined.” He preached on the text from Jeremiah 29:11:
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”Jeremiah 29:11
Pastor Rob reminded us that the word “plans” might be better translated as the word “intent.” As I look at this word in its original language, I might use the word “hope.” God is saying “I have hopes for you…” and we choose whether to make that hope a reality or not. We have an important role to play.
This is true in our individual lives. It is also true as a congregation. God has an intent, a hope, a dream for Trinity. In the past, the people of this congregation have done a good job tapping in to God’s imagination.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will continue that work in the days to come.