Rev. Dr. Jonathan Blanke, Senior Pastor
Pastor’s Corner for March 3-9, 2024
What a 2-Year-Old Taught Me
(1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
A few years ago, in the midst of the COVID epidemic, Juli and I (and our dog Toula) needed a little fresh air, so we visited a place we’d never been before: Dorothea Dix Park. It was right about this time of year, and I remember how the view of the Raleigh City skyline was framed with daffodils. It was a delight for the eyes and a surprising reminder that spring was on the way. Fast forward three years, and last week I was walking up the sidewalk to the church office entrance at the same time parents were dropping off their children at Resurrection Lutheran Preschool. A girl roughly four years old had her trademark RLP bag tucked firmly under her arm as she marched purposefully behind her mom up the sidewalk in front of me. What caught my attention, however, was her 2-year-old brother. There were daffodils and ornamental trees in bloom everywhere. But this little tyke had just plucked an unopened clover flower from some unknown location. Oblivious of the time, he was dawdling a bit on the path his mom and sister were blazing. Gazing intently at the flower he had harvested, he poked it a bit with one finger to see what would happen. Then, after holding it up to his eyes and inspecting his treasure as if it were a multi-faceted diamond, he thrust it up and out as a gift for his Mom! All I could think of as I witnessed this was how the wonder of the world is so easily lost on many of us who have lived longer and seen bigger and presumably more spectacular visions of God’s glory. That little guy and his beloved “weed” humbled me. Have I stopped looking for God’s hand at work in what appears too ordinary and small to be important? Is God at work in people and in places that I am often too inclined to overlook?
St. Paul writes in our Epistle reading this week: “Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God… as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
After all, God chose a humble cross to do the most important work of all: win our rescue and obtain for us the gift of eternal life. He continues to use what is ordinary in the world. Even you and me! This weekend, we give thanks to God for Jesus, who gave up His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. No heroic human action need be made. No bigger and better treasure need be offered. No other sacrifice is required. Jesus has done it all. In such a world, even the ordinary can be extraordinary! The very foolishness of the cross is our wisdom!
In Lenten joy,
Pastor Jonathan Blanke grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He received his Bachelor's degree from College of William and Mary in Virginia and attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies, Book of John. He served as a Vicar at Messiah Lutheran Church in Richardson, Texas.
The Blanke family lived in Japan while he served as pastor and missionary to Okinawa Lutheran Church and taught Biblical Studies at Japan Lutheran College in Tokyo.
Pastor Jonathan lived in southern Maryland from January 2014 to November 2019 and was thankful to have served as the Sole Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lexington Park, Maryland.
He and his wife, Juli, have two grown children. In his free time, Jonathan likes to travel, "play around" on the piano, and enjoy the outdoors.
Click HERE to view a brief video from Pastor Jonathan.