Mother’s Day Greetings

Mother’s Day is fast upon us, and is a happy time for many mothers. School are sending home crafts of flowers and baskets, children are serving their mothers brunch or dinner, and mothers of all ages are being blessed.  But Mother’s Day is a spiritual holiday too: a day when we remember the first mother, Eve, or Jesus’ mother, Mary.  It is a day we remember the nurturing of the Father over Christ, over creation, and every day.


Living in Tension

If someone asks you about your life, what do you think of? Do you think about your family, or your work? Your ministry, or your hobbies? Often we find ourselves creating these dichotomies and categories, but our lives are not a divided as that.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.
For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Romans 7:18-19

One of the more important teachings of the Lutheran Church is expressed in the Latin phrase Simul Justus et Peccator, that is simultaneously Saint and Sinner. We believe that the sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for our forgiveness, that we have been washed clean and are God’s holy saints. We also believe that our flesh compels us to sin and that we are in need of constant repentance, confession, and sanctification. At first glance these ideas seem contradictory and mutually exclusive, but it is not so! It’s is a paradox we exist both fully as sinner and as saint, as forgiven and as a slave.  We exist in tension between these states, constantly showing different aspects of each throughout the day and throughout our lives.

Work is not the central purpose of our existence on earth. God is the center of life. He’s why we exist. He’s whom we serve. From Him flow all good things. – Dennis and Barbara Rainey

The concept of vocation is one frequently misused in secular communities. Vocation, far from being merely a trade or job, denotes any roll a person fills in their many stations in life. For example, a woman can be a wife, daughter, mother, employee, and employer all wrapped into one. This is not to say that the woman fulfills her motherly duties in her interactions with her husband, or that she fulfills her daughterly duties with her employee. These different vocations all manifest in tension within us, manifesting differently in different situations.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.  ~Philippians 4:8

Life in tension is a regular part of the Christian faith, especially for Lutherans. It is no different as we approach ministry. We are often faced with tensions between competing needs to minister to our families and to the congregation, or tensions between different ministry groups and activities. This tension while far from comfortable, is something that all ministries have to face, and all Christians face as well! With every Bible Study, event, service project, and meeting the tension increases and we must prioritize ministries. Sometimes, good ministries fall by the side because there are other priorities, but we should never abandon all, for it is in tension that we live in vocations, it is in tension that we live as Christians, and it is in tension that we minister.

Are there attachments that need to be let go, or vocations to strengthen as you go about your own ministries as members of Faithful Savior, as citizens of the Church in the Portland area, as saints of the Holy Apostolic Church? Saint, you are a minister in the priesthood of God’s holy kingdom. This Lenten season, identify some of the tensions in your life. You may find that there are there attachments that need to be let go, or vocations to strengthen as you go about your own ministries as members of Faithful Savior, as citizens of the Church in the Portland area, as saints of the Holy Apostolic Church.