June 2021 – A Letter from Pastor Lori

Dear Family,

    As you read this Great Plains Conference annual conference will be over.  Decisions will be made, votes will be tallied and a way for us to continue as the Great Plains Conference.  However the big meeting that we all are anticipating is the General conference which will happen August 29 through September 6th, 2022 in Minneapolis. So another year of discernment and anticipation.  We will have another annual conference (2022) without a clear direction of where the UMC is heading. 

“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders . . . and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 5:6; 21:3, 4

 

    So with all the turmoil in our denomination we have to ask “Why go to church?” I’m not sure if you have ever thought about such a thing. Maybe you’re on auto pilot and when Sunday comes you just get up, put on your ‘Sunday best’ and head off to church but . .. Why go to church? People could do all kinds of different things on a “freed up” Sunday morning and yet, all around the world – from the United States, to Nigeria, to Russia – people get up and go to church. That still doesn’t answer the question though, why go to church?

     Maybe we would respond to such a question and say, “Well, the third commandment says we should worship.” This is true. The Third Commandment does say “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” However, I hope there is a greater reason why you are drawn to come and worship with other Christians. I hope it is not just the whip of God’s law that gets you out of bed, dressed and moving to church (although sometimes that is needed!)

     The scripture from Revelation gives us a glimpse into heaven. In that glimpse we see Christ, the Lamb who looks as if it had been slain, surrounded by His followers as He creates a new creation for all of us. That glimpse we see of heaven in Revelation, is also a picture you witness as we gather for worship. As we gather together, heaven is cracked open through the wounds of Christ and His mercy spills down into this world. In our sanctuary Jesus Himself stands among us, the living Lamb who looks as if Jesus had been slain, and Jesus feeds us, Jesus speaks to us, Jesus comforts us. Jesus comes to forgive us and refresh us for the days ahead. I hope this is why we gather around God’s Word and Sacrament. Anyone can be beaten into church with the law of a commandment, but I hope we all yearn to be near Christ; Jesus certainly yearns to be near you!

In Christ’s service

 

Pastor Lori