Being in Relationship

Relationships take time to build. This is a point within life that is true no matter what profession you are in or where you live. Relationships are all around us, and yet we at times tend to hope they will just work out on their own.

As a pastor I don’t really have the luxury of just letting things be. It is through my relationship with God that I am called to be in relationship with the people of my congregation and eventually with the people in the community in which I reside. It is a lot of work though and does not come easy.

Prior experiences have helped as I enter into relationship with my new congregation and names are starting to come to me as I connect faces and names. The thought that God knows all of God’s children by name is overwhelming as I am starting to get to know just a few hundred people.  Being in relationship is much more than knowing names though. It is listening to stories and truly getting to know those around you that have a role in your life.

May God continue to be with us in this time of building and being in relationship. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit to get to know one another and listen to one another’s stories.

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Fear Breeds Hate

Why is it that we are so often afraid of those things that we know little about? This weekend there are protests that are taking place near Muslim mosques around the country, most closely Dearborn, MI. Not only do these protests appear to be anti-Muslim, they are also being promoted by open-carry gun groups.

This does not speak to anything that Jesus would have promoted within his life or to this day. How does this reflect the idea that we should love our neighbors? ELCA Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton, questions this as she speaks in opposition to these protests:

“As Christians, we are freed in Christ to love and serve our neighbors. Today our neighbors include Muslims – upstanding faithful Americans. The enemy we face is not Islam but hatred and fear. I join my sisters and brothers in calling for gestures of solidarity with our American Muslim neighbors. Together we can witness to the world that God’s love will have the last word.”