From the Pastor
The Need for a Quiet Place
We’ve all had times that life’s balance has gotten a little lopsided and out of control. I remember when I first started serving as a pastor at a small, multilingual congregation not long after Juli and I were married. I had thought, at first, that because we had people of different nationalities and two main languages at our church we should have activities in both languages at all times. If we had an English-speaking youth group, we should have a Japanese-speaking one. If there was a women’s Bible study using an English Bible, we should have another gathering around a Japanese Bible, too. Oh, and did I say this was a small church? You can imagine who the person was who was trying hard to make it all happen: yours truly! Don’t get me wrong. The work was enjoyable and fun. It seemed “Spirit-filled” to have people from different nationalities getting to know one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We worked together. We had one leadership team speaking two languages and made up of American, Okinawan, and Taiwanese folks. What could go wrong, right? Well, eventually the effort to keep so many balls up in the air started taking its toll. It was not just that I needed a vacation. What I needed was a reorientation to the Good News the Gospel of Christ— and schooling in the truth that God didn’t love me more based on the number of activities in my daily planner. As you’ve heard me say: “God doesn’t tell us ‘be busy and know that I’m impressed.’ He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). Jesus Himself tells His disciples as they report back about all they had done and taught: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:30-31). It may not be our default orientation when work is going well and we love what we do. But even our Lord Himself took time for prayer and Sabbath rest. As the summer months offer many of us the opportunity for well-earned vacation and recreation with our families, we hear the encouragement of our loving Savior to make time for personal devotions and weekly Sabbath rest so that we may refresh our spirits.
Sunday morning worship at Resurrection Lutheran Church will continue to be live streamed all summer long. No matter where you go this summer, you can always find us on our YouTube channel: Resurrection Lutheran Church Cary NC. You can also take part in in-person worship services at LCMS churches across the country, by going to the Synod website (www.lcms.org) and clicking on the “Locators -> Find a church” link in the top right corner of the LCMS home page. If you’re not near a Lutheran church, try another Christian congregation in whatever neighborhood you’re in, just for fun! And if you spend more time than you care to admit on your smartphone, why not download any number of devotional apps you can take with you and use wherever you are: Dwell, Our Daily Bread, Portals of Prayer, the YouVersion Bible, and the Lutheran Hour Ministries devotion app are just a few that I use. If you plan to take a “staycation” don’t forget that services at Resurrection will be offered in-person all summer long at 6 PM Saturdays and at 8, 9:30, and 11 AM on Sunday morning. We have recently gone to a “mask optional” guideline for all worshippers who are fully vaccinated. If you’re like me, I know that you’ll enjoy not only gathering together with your brothers and sisters in the faith. You’ll enjoy seeing their beautiful faces, too!
We all need to “come away to a quiet place” and get some rest. By all means, take time for fun and recreation this summer. But don’t forget to take time away with Jesus, too. The heart and spirit rest we receive when we hear that in Christ our sins are forgiven, God loves us unconditionally as the people that we are (not the people we strive to be) might just be the sort of vacation we all truly need this year!
Enjoy a safe and restful summer….
Pastor Jonathan Blanke