Minister Luke's Message.........
AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2020
Well, it was bound to happen. I forgot to write an article for the newsletter on time. So here it is, as the old idiom goes, better late than never. Actually, this idiom finds its origins in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: “For better than never is late; never to succeed would be too long a period.”
Recently, I was graciously asked to be a member of our Synod’s Anti-Racism team. I was so moved by the invitation that I found myself taking stock, asking myself, “how did I get here?” You see, it wasn’t that long ago that I began a personal journey of learning and awakening to the fact of racial injustice in my life. I began to see how my thoughts, attitudes, and actions were shaped by racism. As my awareness grew, I sought out more and more people, books, and courses that could help me come to terms with this newfound awareness. Better late than never.
Still, there is much more to do. My personal growth must never stop. By the grace of God, I now see systems of racism. By the power of Holy Spirit, I must do my part in trying to dismantle those sys-tems. The most important thing, though, is that the sacrifice of Jesus for me and for all people both frees and compels me to do this work. I am happy to share some of my experiences and current labor with anyone who would like to know more. In anti-racism work I hope to be a part of the “better late than never” movement of successfully destroying racism and recognizing God’s image in all people.
It is better late than to never succeed. Where else can we as followers of Christ apply this idiom? Where have we fallen short in such a way that maybe we aren’t doing as much as we could to succeed? Look around you and see where God is drawing you into action.
Alongside all of this serious stuff is also joy and gratitude. Our Savior’s, your benevolence is inspiring. I experienced such joy at a recent Council meeting figuring out how to lift up God’s kin-dom through financial support. Your 20% benevolence challenge is a real beacon for many people, all of which are God’s children. I hope that you congratulate yourselves for being such a gift to your community and, really, the whole world.
In gratitude, I must say that my family and I have been loving lake life. Swimming has been our “go to” stress reliever this summer. Taking a dip, talking, laughing, and being active continues to em-power me to serve you and this community. The parsonage and the people of Our Savior’s create a real atmosphere of care and concern for your minister. For that, my family and I want to say, “Thank you".
May the peace of Christ be with you all.
JUNE - JULY 2020
Reflections and Forecasts
by Minister Luke
It’s been two months since I’ve begun serving Our Savior’s. As I reflect on this fact, two things are equally true for me. I am wholly unprepared for leading a congregation during Covid-19 and I fully embrace the fact that I am leading a congregation during Covid-19. There have been many unexpected consequences that I could not have foreseen, namely time resources have been redistributed greatly. I can get lost in fret when some items on my goal sheet seem to remain unchecked because other items take so much longer than anticipated. If there is one thing that Covid-19 has changed for me, it is that it has added complexity to what was once quite routine. Still, I embrace these facts knowing that God is up to something. Through all the chaos, sorrow, and uncertainty, God is doing something new.
I must thank everyone for all of the wonderful welcomes, support, and assistance my family and I have received since our arrival. The parsonage is great. We’ve been meeting people as they drive by, stop and say hello. Lake Washburn is great too. I’ve been swimming daily this week and it is doing wonders for my overall health and vitality. Now, let the lake comparisons begin!
Going forward, I have a couple of things to share. First, a bit about me and my ministry philosophy. I concentrated in Justice & Reconciliation in seminary. I have a passion to carry on the work of Jesus Christ, specifically his work for lifting up the vulnerable and marginalized. George Floyd was killed on a street in Minneapolis this week. There have been a lot of protests in response, some peaceful and some destructive. It is important that we remain focused on the fact that George Floyd was killed. Resist the urge to focus on the response. George Floyd is dead. He did not need to die. Please do not forget that. Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy.
There are several really good books that are anti-racist in nature. One that hits close to home is Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S. Written by ELCA pastor Lenny Duncan, this book offers a perspective that we can all benefit from exploring together. I invite you to order this book as I will be offering a book club format where we will read a chapter or two then have a weekly discussion together. Look for the announcement in the near future.
We have put together a Smart Team here at Our Savior’s that will look at various information provided by our synod, state, the CDC, and other resources in order to discuss a safe and measured return to in-person worship. The team will meet periodically and make recommendations to the church council. With that being said, any additional worship models that we adopt will be in addition to online worship. Online worship will remain the main model for the foreseeable future.
Be of good cheer my siblings in Christ. You are living proof that the church is not closed, it has never closed. You are the body of Christ, you are the church. Alleluia!
OSLC of Outing.
My name is Luke Lekander. Your leadership and I have agreed to do ministry together in the coming months and I am both excited and full of questions as I begin my journey with you in the midst of Covid-19. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.” These words from Psalm 23 resonate with me as I ask questions I have never had to ask before. It is hard to find many answers during a pandemic. Covid-19 has turned the our world upside down yet, “I shall not be in want?” I don’t know exactly what will happen in the coming weeks and months, but I do know that the Lord is our shepherd. We will find ways to continue to love and support one another through this time. We will sharpen online/video worship. We will develop and improve our connectivity through social media, email, and telephone. We will use the gifts of technology to stay in contact. We will get creative and be church in new and exciting ways. All of this is being developed as we speak. You have a great leadership team and I look forward to working together with them to make sure nobody is forgotten. The powerful and moving blessings of prayer, worship, and even the Eucharist are being discussed among church leaders everywhere and we are participating in these conversations. Share your concerns with us. Connect with the church to share your ideas, your needs, your sorrows & your joys. Watch for new ways to stay connected. Let us know if you need help accessing technology. We will rise up to care for and support each other in these times. The apostle Paul compels us as he did the Ephesians to “Live as children of the light” (Eph. 5:8) and that is exactly what we will do.
Now, some important things to remember: Covid-19 is a serious pandemic. We must figure out how to both take it very seriously and how not to panic. Although these seem like opposing goals, they are both equally true. First, social distancing is always important. If you must go out in public, maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone else. If you become symptomatic, self-quarantine is important. If you are in a high-risk population due to age, immunocompromise, or other health issues, call your doctor to see if you should be tested. If someone in your home is symptomatic, you not only need to quarantine that individual, but household quarantine also becomes necessary. Your entire household should stay home until everyone is symptom free for a minimum of two weeks. Most importantly, do not panic. Regularly check-in with your emotions. Where do you feel them in your body? Respect the fact that we will have emotional responses to this and that is how our bodies show us that we are in need of something. Contact us at the church with all of your needs. We will get through this, with God, and with each other.
Finally, I want you to close your eyes and think of the day when all of this is over. A day when we can come together once again; when we can shake hands, embrace one another, and partake of the body of blood of our Lord together. Hold that image in your mind for it is going to be a great day! The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.