Posted by Sheila Thomasson

Let Us Pray Together For Tomorrow

As I’m writing, it’s Memorial Day, with only one day remaining before the month of June. Things have been busy at St. John’s since the beginning of this year.  We have filled our two vacant staff positions and we are blessed with two wonderful new employees.  Both Susan and Daniel joined us on March 16 and they hit the deck running.  If you have called the church office, you have probably spoken with Susan. Susan is serving as our Office Manager/Administrator and I hope you make certain to stop by to introduce yourself.  Daniel is a little easier to identify as he is leading our music program and you can see him each week at the organ.  Please make an effort to introduce yourself to him as well. Thankfully Carole continues on staff as our Financial Secretary and we’re elated she took on that new role.  There are several other people as well that I want to thank for their help over these last months.  Brink Norton came on staff as the interim Chorale Director and did a wonderful job leading our Chorale through Easter. William Dowd joined us as our interim Handbell Choir Director and was simply a fantastic addition to that choir. And Denise Doyon continues to volunteer in the church office working to complete our Pictorial Directory. We thank God for all these people and their gifts and skills as we continue to be St. John’s Church doing the ministry we are called to be about.
Life at St. John’s will continue to be busy, and a bit hectic I imagine, as I announced to the Vestry at our May Vestry meeting my intention to retire.  It is not immediate, but as I announced in my letter to the congregation my last Sunday to preach will be Sunday, August 28. I pray that we can spend this time continuing to love each other, share memories, and continue to be about the ministry we have been involved with together for almost 20 years. This is a new chapter for us both and I suspect we are both wondering exactly what it will look like. This I know: God will guide and lead us into the weeks, months, and years before us.  We’ll be fine if we simply trust God’s Holy Spirit to be with us.
Now, on to something a bit different and extremely concerning to us all.  For months now, and in some cases for years, we have been watching and hearing about events that are disturbing.  Daily we see violence in the streets among both the young and old.  Without being all-knowing, it appears that so much of what we see seems senseless and evil. Additionally, we are watching television report a war in Ukraine as Russia has invaded that nation. But to top it all off, while we are horrified by children being shot in their classrooms and neighborhoods, it happens so often now, we are not surprised when the news reports it. I know our hearts are aching with pain as we witness these atrocities and others that happen daily. The answers to these problems are complex and difficult, and the reality is that we probably have more questions than we have answers.  But I’d like to suggest that we begin to pray fervently for God to intervene in our lives and in the events of the world.  I encourage you to remember in your prayers the place God has claimed in our lives and the world.  His words were, “I will be your God, and you will be My people.” Perhaps the root of our problems is that we have forgotten God’s place.
Yesterday, during worship, in a special Memorial Moment, we remembered those who had lost their lives in military service towards the cause of freedom.  In so many ways, they, and everyone who serves, accept responsibility for the freedoms that give us rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we want answers to so many of the problems we see, every person must be willing to accept responsibility for the answers.  People are never too young or too old to love others and be responsible. If only all the world would do this.
I’d like to close with a prayer for a National Holiday from our Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal (p63).  Let us pray it often.  Lord of all the worlds, guide this nation by your Spirit to go forward in justice and freedom. Give to all your people the blessings of well-being and harmony, but above all things give us faith in you, that our nation may bring glory to your name and blessings to all peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Butler +