September 2021 – A Letter from Pastor Lori

Everyone needs a place of respite and peace where our spirit can be nourished and fed. I have many of those places.  One is on the back deck of the parsonage.  One is in the quietness of my spare bedroom, no TV or radio, just quietness and many books.  Another is in the sanctuary at Loup City and Ansley during the week, when no one is in the building.  Another place is in God’s creation-around a river, outside in my flower beds, inside watching it rain outside…these are just a few ways I spend time in God’s nature. These are times to meditate, read God’s word or pray.

In these places, in the quiet beauty of the day, I give thanks to God. I give thanks for the wonder and gift of God’s good creation that I see all around me: the light of the rising sun playing on the leaves of trees; the ever-deepening green hue that is seen in the leaves of the trees as the season progresses. I see and hear birds busy at their tasks and singing their morning song of praise. I see flowers and plants that testify to intricacy of design and stunning color combinations from the hand of the Master Gardener. Sometimes I see a tiny darting shadow among the flowers, and if I look closely, can even get a glimpse of that hummingbird. And I am reminded that I am not the only one who calls this place home. Home is shared with countless other creatures and plants – something which good stewardship reminds me that I can never forget.

The psalmist writes: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the earth proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). So true! This is the gift that I receive when I’m on the back deck early in the morning. It’s a gift that changes with each day because no two days are ever the same. Our faith confesses this truth in the First Article of the Creed: “I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” You and I should be spending more time in God’s creation, observing what God has made that is right there before our very eyes. And in observing, we also give thanks to God. My family has been blessed by many beautiful tomatoes and other produce from other’s gardens. 

There is so much that weighs heavily on us individually and collectively right now: the situation with COVID-19, the continuing struggle for racial equality in our nation, Afghanistan, and the great divides that threaten to tear our country apart. Within the ALL Parish, in the past year we had to pivot quickly to online worship, learning, and fellowship.  We learned how to do youth group over zoom.  We have come back together in worship, but are still missing members of our church families. 

We are seeking to discern with much prayer what the Lord is doing in all of this. What would the Lord have us do? How do we best accomplish what He is calling us to do? These are all questions that I wrestle with, and I will tell you that none of this is easy. In fact, it’s extremely challenging. There is no script on how to do any of this because none of us has done this before! But we press on, trusting that the God who made the heavens and the earth, who gave his only-begotten Son to be our Savior, who loves us with an everlasting love, has not abandoned or forsaken us. He will provide strength and blessing for the way ahead.

On my own, I don’t have the wherewithal to navigate these uncertain steps, but I draw strength and blessing from the Lord as I spend time with him in prayer, quietness, and safety. I encourage you to do the same.

Pastor Lori