Where is the Holy Spirit Sending You?

Where is the Holy Spirit Sending You?

In October, Bishop Mark attended the Celebration and Thanksgiving Service for Christ Lutheran Church in Fairfax. Then in November, I attended their Decommissioning Service. It’s a holy privilege to be present with people in these worship services – even when there are tears and some sadness.             

The service opened with their Supply Pastor, Ruth Lesher, proclaiming this: 

Today we gather for the last time in this place as the people of Christ Lutheran Church, formerly known as Christ the Victor Lutheran Church.  We give thanks for the ministry that has happened in this building and for the people who have been fed and nurtured in the Christian faith here. Even as we mark the end of an era in one place, we acknowledge how we all are participants in God’s mission that continues beyond this day and these walls.

Back in October, these words appeared in our local newspaper about how the land was going to be used. 

Victory Village is a natural outcome of our history. Although the impending loss of our physical space is bittersweet, we are happy and confident that our work will continue in a new form, providing a true home and source of well-being for vulnerable seniors. (Marin Independent Journal) 

A 54 unit, low-income senior housing project is going to be built on the very same plot of land where the faithful sat in worship each Sunday for some sixty years.      

What I want to share with you is about the end of the worship service. We were all standing in the narthex. There wasn’t a dry eye among any of us. No one was speaking.  I’m sure that each person was remembering the Baptisms, the weddings, the Confirmations, the Memorial Services, the hymns sung, the bread and the wine received, the homeless people who had slept on the floor and the children running around the sanctuary during Vacation Bible School.  I had my own memories about Christ Lutheran Church in Fairfax. When the doors of the sanctuary were closed, Amy had fashioned a sash of sorts made of beautiful flowers. It was slipped through the door handles. We all admired it.        

I wasn’t really sure what to do next. People were pulling out Kleenex. So was I!  I thought to myself that I should say something to comfort these folks who had served Christ in this part of God’s world so faithfully. I prayed the prayer one of my Spiritual Directors from New Jersey used to always pray:  “Tell me what you want me to tell them, God.” I prayed it about five times. I got nothing. 

Berg, a charter member, was the first one to move. She was the one who broke the silence. Well, that strong, faithful woman – she pushed the doors leading to the outside wide open. And as she did, she said in a beautiful, deep voice:                        

“Okay, God! Help us all to be open to where the Holy Spirit is sending us next!”             

May that be the prayer of every single one of our 191 congregations in our Sierra Pacific Synod – whether you worship 25 or 250 – or in between.             

“Okay, God! Help us all to be open to where the Holy Spirit is sending us next!” 

May God bless you – wherever you’re serving God. 

In Christ’s Love, 
Pastor Kathryn

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