Be Part of the Ministry Iceberg
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ;
I have been blessed since November to be included among the Faith Lutheran Church staff. Of course, this blessing comes through your call to ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit to bring us together. In my 15 previous years as a pastor, I served either in a solo capacity or as a senior pastor with part time assistants. So, you can imagine what a change it is for me to work with a marvelous staff like the one assembled here. I am referring to the pastors who’ve long been with you, Pr. Wilder and Pr. Watts, but I’m also referring to our vicar, Scott Strachan, and all of the marvelously talented individuals who offer ministry in many different forms across the entire Faith staff. (Please excuse me if, for the sake of brevity, I fail to list the entire organizational chart at this point.)
We wrestle with how ministry takes shape in these difficult times, the times when the COVID-19 virus threatens so much of what is “normal” in our lives. No matter the threat that the on-going pandemic has posed, Faith has found a way to bring ministry into the homes and hearts of many people – our nearby congregation members, and people who live even a great distance from Albuquerque. If you haven’t stopped to think about it, please realize that what has been done technologically and in terms of human effort has been monumental. Also realize that much of this work is done “behind the scenes” and performed by people other than the pastors you see in the sanctuary or on your device screens. This work, of course, will not soon cease. (We do, however, anticipate that the threat from the virus will soon be overcome by the healing power of Jesus Christ. This is our constant prayer.)
That said, we also recognize that ministry is something like an iceberg. We see a good bit of it above the waterline; however, much more exists below the surface that cannot be seen with a casual eye. By that I mean, much of the ministry that must happen in a community like Faith happens because people like you, in their homes, in their neighborhoods, and wherever they walk in life are working to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need it so desperately. Martin Luther, of course, is famous for penning the phrase, “the priesthood of all believers” as a way to describe the role each of us should play in the world.
Those of us who have been saved by the grace of God through our baptism are called into ministry. And much like the Faith staff, even the evil virus that is among us cannot and will not stop any of us from our call. So, I encourage you to pray daily for those who are in need and also to pick up your phone and to give that someone a call so that you may deliver a friendly message. If your circumstances allow, and if safety permits, visit with your neighbor or offer them a helping hand. All of these actions, and many others, are acts of ministry. Ministry is no more nor less than sharing the love of Christ with others. So, join the legion of those at Faith who are working quietly and beneath the surface to do that which Jesus calls us all to do, “love your neighbor and love the Lord.” With God’s help, our ministry will continue to thrive in all its ways no matter what obstacles are put in our path.
Go in (His) peace,
Pr. W. Mark Behenna