A Message from Pastor Amy
In my visits, I’ve held the hands of people lamenting their changing, aging body. No matter how many times this happens, I never find the right words to say. I cannot soothe. I am a witness to their disappointment. Having been disappointed in my own body – my ankle surgery, my dental nonsense – I’d really like to understand a theology of our createdness.
Since I’ve been thinking about bodies a lot, one day I remembered that Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus on that first Easter. His body is greatly changed. Apparently, resurrected is not restored. Resurrected means that death came first with its grief. Resurrected is not renewed. Resurrected is totally new. Resurrected is unrecognizable.
Individual bodies change as do collective bodies. Political party platforms shift over time. Music genres include ‘classic’ categories because the style changed. No body is immune to change. Even the body of the church changes. Trinity certainly has. Returning to in-person worship hasn’t necessarily meant returning to in-person worship. Still, new configurations of the community, new practices, new members, and a new Pastor bring new life to the body. Trinity is different than it was but not unrecognizable, after all, we’re not at the resurrection yet.
I wonder, do bodies change in life as a precursor to the resurrection? Is this to prepare us for the unthinkable, unknowable future? Is the change of our individual and collective bodies our chance to prepare for what God will do?
As for individual bodies, they are fragile and precious. Just recently, I’ve been called in the night to attend the sudden death of someone in their “prime.” Once again, I’ve sat with grief-stricken parents of a kid who thought self-harm was better than coming out. Again, I’ve apologized on behalf of pop-culture Christianity that shames people into harmful body conformity, producing a self-hatred that may never be overcome.
All the while, I’m thinking of the one who’s hand I held during their lament over their changing, aging body. I’ve been remembering this one, all those who’ve gone before, and all those I serve now.
These are the words I wish I had at the time:
Beloved, Your body is God’s sacred text.
You’ve changed your body on purpose for the sake of your comfort, identity, and individuality.
Your sacred text includes hair color, knee replacements, glasses, tattoos, pierced ears, braces, and more. Your body changed in ways you resent, too. Depleted stamina, stretch marks, arthritis, and more all crept in on your watch.
Still, your body is God’s sacred text. Scarred. Scared. Sacred.
Ex nihilo, God created dirt and dust first. Then, you.
Let these fragile and shifting elements connected by God’s breath and intention remind you that the change of your body is expected. It is part of living in God’s presence. Moses is physically changed when he sees God. Jacob is changed when he wrestles with God. Change is, in fact, a body feature. Not a design flaw.
For God, flesh is a holy presence worth becoming. Jesus is Emmanuel. That is, God among us, as us, in the flesh. Think of that, will you? God, creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, becomes body bound. How precious we must be in God’s heart!
Your body is God’s sacred text.
In all its changes, your body is miraculous proof of God’s existence, of the creative power beyond our own. But the battle to tame your identity instead of allowing the truth to be seen, striving to conform to the norm instead of becoming what God has planned, it closes the book in the middle of the story.
Please, read the sacred text that you are! Read it out loud for the world to hear! Show me the glory of God within you. In every stride and scar, you are sacred.
With gratitude to God for being called to be with you,
STAR Group June Meeting
We will be connecting, discussing new opportunities for sharing our love with the church and local communities and our present monthly tasks.
Congregational Meeting 6/12 After Worship
We have less than a year of life left in our roof, so we are seeking congregational approval for a new roof. There are currently three layers of shingles on the current roof, which is why the entire roof needs replacing instead of repair. After taking a look at multiple bids, Reliable Roofing came out on top as the best company for the job. The total cost of the project is just over $80,000. Your vote counts, so please plan to attend the meeting right after worship on June 12!
Now More Than Ever, Quarters Make a Difference
With May, the quarter container for donations reappears. Look for it on the table in the Narthex as you enter the sanctuary. Remember that all monies given will go to provide scholarships to the UPAVIM school in a former garbage dump area outside Guatemala City. Many children cannot afford the uniform and school supplies to attend school without these scholarships. More than half this country’s population is affected by poverty. There are gangs and violence on the streets, but the UPAVIM school is a safe oasis where children and the community can learn. The co-operative also offers the community daycare, health and dental care, a library, a soy milk facility and a bakery – all because a few women and a U.S. Lutheran woman began to work together to improve their children’s health.
Please give generously each time you come to worship. Even your loose change can make a big impact on young lives and help end the cycle of poverty they are born into. You can also donate regularly via Tithely. Thank you for being God’s hands to the “least of these.”
Little Free Pantry
The Little Free Pantry is in need of a volunteer to fill the pantry on the 2nd and 4th Mondays and Wednesdays of the month. If interested, please contact Becky Tuttle at email@example.com or Polly Schull at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Here’s our next hike, that we’ll lead, on Saturday, June 18 starting at 10 a.m. Green Loop, about 5 miles, of Scuppernong Trails.
As always, bring water, snacks, hiking poles/stick, bug spray, hat, etc. We can shorten the hike on that day if needed.
We’ll go out for lunch afterwards for those who have extra time and are comfortable with this. Any questions, contact Aurelio at 262-490-4923 or email@example.com.
Free, In-Home Organ
Ron Sebranek is giving away a small, in-home organ to anyone who wants it. It is in pretty good shape, but may need some tuning and small maintenance. If you are interested in the organ, please give Ron a call at (920) 728-7824.
Prayers Requested For . . .
Paul Fuller (father of Nate Fuller), Curtis Hoeffer, Rich Folger (great-uncle of Shauna Wessely), Pearl Luebke, Marv (Nicole Schafer’s dad), Ron Capek.
Do you have a prayer concern? Email the prayer force at firstname.lastname@example.org. People will gladly pray for you or your loved one with their whole hearts! Please indicate if you would like to be put on the all-church prayer list.
Tidings are sent out every two weeks. Any submissions for the Tidings need to be sent to the office by the Wednesday of Tidings weeks.