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Pr. Jessica's Weekly Message - 1/15/20

 I waited patiently upon the Lord,
  who stooped to me and heard my cry.
 The Lord lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the miry clay,
  and set my feet upon a high cliff, making my footing sure.

Psalm 40:1-2

Dear Friends in Christ,

I grew up going to a Lutheran summer camp in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Camp Calumet. I started off going one week each summer, and then went up to two weeks. When you go for two weeks, you go on an overnight hike or canoe trip on the weekend in-between. These trips always managed to be a blast, with such beautiful scenery, but I often dreaded them ahead of time. The anticipation of mosquitos, carrying a big, heavy backpack, sleeping outside and not being able to shower for a day and a half was daunting.

One year it had rained a lot, and the hike was slow going. Rocks were slippery and trails were muddy. Near the summit, in the late afternoon, there was a thick wooded area we had to trek through. We could see above the tree line ahead of us, at the rounded rock formations that meant the end of the hike, but before we could get there we had to very carefully make our way along an incredibly muddy path. It started off okay, one foot at a time, our boots making loud squelching sounds in the mud, slipping a little here, a little there. At one point, though, I took a big step in order to avoid a puddle and instead of stepping on solid ground my foot sank deep into another puddle, up past my ankle. I tried to lift it out but my boot started to come off. My other foot was still way behind me, and if I brought it forward it might sink too. And I was off-kilter because of the weight of my backpack. I was so embarrassed, and frankly, scared. What if I lost my boot? What if my whole body sank into the mud? Was I going to pull a muscle? Is everyone laughing at me?

We were blessed with really good counselors on that hike. One of them, named Mark, came down the trail, took my hand and gingerly but forcefully pulled me upright, out of the mud onto more solid ground. With his help I made it the rest of the way through the trees and scrambled up the rock face and onto the summit, where I could breathe deeply and laugh about my blunder. The view was amazing from those sun-dried rocks. I felt stronger for having had a difficult climb. Very, very muddy, but stronger.

What Mark did for me, God does for all of us, lifts us out of the miry clay and puts our feet on solid ground. It’s just that sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’re stuck in the mud and need help, or we know we need help but look to everything that can’t save us for a way out. The Psalmist says she waited patiently for the Lord. I’m not at all patient, but when I make time to pray, I am more patient, and more aware of God With Me, securing my footing.

We continue our journey through the season after Epiphany. This Sunday we are back in John’s Gospel (John 1:29-42), hearing Jesus ask an incredibly important question of those who want to follow him- what are you seeking? Contemplate that question this week.

Our worship leaders for Sunday, January 19th, are:

Assisting Ministers: Cindy Kuperus, Maxx Mecwen

Crucifer: Maxx Mecwen

Reader: Becky Linn

Gift Bearers: Rachel Chisolm, Linda Kossman

Collection: Kurt Wagner, Emily Thompson, Peggy Brockmann, Esther Ritter

Greeters: Irene Mathuviran, Becky Linn

Sacristan: Irene Mathuviran

Our Winter Congregational Meeting is on Sunday, February 2nd after worship. Please make every effort to be present. Also, bring food and drink to share for our pot luck lunch!

The Peace of Christ be with you, 

Pastor Jess