Confession – Forgiveness – Gratitude.  These are three big ones in my faith life.  I’m always careful when I start talking about religious theology, because “A man’s got to know his limitations”.   But I’m pretty safe here in saying these three words are critical elements of Lutheran theology. I’d go into more on that if the details were as accessible in my mind as the above movie quote.  But they’re not, so I’ll stick with the focus of this message.

I was a man filled with gratitude on Easter morning at church.  For those of you who don’t know, my official call to pastoral ministry is to Mount Calvary Lutheran in Excelsior.  From there I am considered a missional pastor, deployed to serve as Pastor with Public Safety Ministries.  Mount Calvary is also my home church and the faith community where my family and I worship.

So like most who attend Easter services, it’s hard not to feel gratitude in such an uplifting setting. But… I was overflowing with gratitude, even before the service started, because of an incident in the entryway of our church as I waited to enter the sanctuary.  One of our senior Greeters experienced some medical difficulties that caused him to collapse.  The wonderful response to this event, that lead to a wonderful conclusion, came from a variety of resources that worked together, doing their jobs in cooperation, with strength, compassion and humility.  A church staff member saw the event occurring and caught the man before he fell and guided him to the ground. Someone quickly called 911 to initiate emergency service response, congregants present assisted within their variety of abilities.  The staff, doctors, nurses, parents, kids, all worked cooperatively and calmly, doing what they could to help. All this was done while respecting the greeters privacy, and many appropriately staying out of the way, but still available if needed.

Within minutes, South Lake Mtka Police and Excelsior Fire/Rescue showed up and did their job, with Hennepin Medical Center EMS Ambulance also responding to do their job.  The Church did their job, the congregants did their job, Emergency  Responders did their job… all in a calm and professional manner. I was impressed!  I was thankful.  Gratitude.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to have a personal and professional relationship with the responding community and agencies that simply did their jobs without fanfare, then moved on to what was next.

Thanks!  Pastor Dan

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Holy Saturday…

It’s Holy Saturday morning, mid-morning actually. My morning chores are done…  the coffee is cooked, morning weigh-in completed, coffee and warm biscuit with jam consumed, morning devotions read, body stretched, bed made, breakfast shared, dishes cleaned, weather observed, snow cleared, work space set… and it’s time to write.

I’ve been sitting here a little longer than I intended, but I’m a bit distracted from the inside activities I have planned. I’ve been looking outside at the beautiful spring morning of Easter weekend. 25 degrees and a few inches of fresh snow, and all of the activity I tend to see on a daily basis outside my window. There has been a parade of  birds, squirrels, chipmunks, cars on the road, hikers and bikers on the trail… all highly visible… lots of distractions…

… Then some unexpected Holy Saturday Parade guests …

A half dozen turkeys joined the parade! (by the time I got my camera out I only caught two for the picture). It’s not the first time they’ve hiked through, but they’re presence added to my distraction.  But maybe distractions isn’t the word to focus on today…

Holy Saturday doesn’t get as much attention as its more publicized partners, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  Here is a bit of what Evan Rosa of Biola University had to say about the day in my morning devotion:  “I don’t know what happened on Holy Saturday. That day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a controversial theological topic among Christians, owing to very limited references in the New Testament and conciliar documents.”   He goes on to talk at length about his perspectives on the day and what it means to him. (If you are interested in more…  http://ccca.biola.edu/lent/2018/#day-mar-31 )

But here’s what I think. I think Holy Saturday is wonderful day to think… a day to think and reflect about the significance of the original Good Friday, and the original Easter Sunday. But also, think about the significance of Good Friday, March 30, 2018 and of Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018.  And don’t just think about the chores you will go through on those days inside your normal routines.  Think about the distractions going on outside your routines.  And maybe don’t think of them as distractions from what you have planned for the day, think of them as attractions to new adventures in the new life we have all been blessed with on these Holiest of days!

Enjoy your Holy Saturday, and have a Very Happy Easter!

Pastor Dan.