Updated: Aug 7
27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
1. with or in proximity to another person or people.
2. into companionship or close association
Greetings my sisters and brothers in Christ!
Today my thoughts and my prayers have focused on what it means to be “together.”
“Together” we the people of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Light of Christ Lutheran Church have come “together” on a holy pilgrimage and formed the United Proclamation of the Gospel Parish (UPG) in Bethlehem.
“Together” the people of the UPG Parish have come “together” with the people of St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church to join us on this holy pilgrimage during the global pandemic of 2020.
“Together” the people on this holy pilgrimage have been proclaiming the love of God with a larger expression of Christ’s Church on earth through the Northeast Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA.
“Together” this pilgrimage has led us to share resources; the gifts and talents of fellow disciples, the facilities that our Lord has bestowed upon us, various “tools” used in our shared proclamation, and many other resources that help the people who walk this pilgrimage “together” to share God’s great love with one another and with the world around us.
“Together” we have faced an unparalleled time in our lives, finding new and innovative ways to try to build a community when we are not able to gather in person always seeking to share God’s love for the world as we form this community.
“Together” we have faced these times and shared our resources with those around us who are suffering. Suffering from a loss of economic stability, suffering from a lack of respect and value from the greater society, suffering from a lack of food, and suffering from illness and chronic disease.
“Together” we have not only endured during these unprecedented times, but in many ways have flourished. Relationships with our God in many cases have grown and strengthened. Relationships with sisters and brothers in Christ whom we knew well before the pandemic and sisters and brothers in Christ whom we are getting to know since the beginning of the pandemic are growing and flourishing during these strange times.
“Together” we have felt God’s presence among us! We have felt God continuing to dwell among us during our worship celebrations. We have felt God drawing near to us when we gather for Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, Bible Studies, coffee and conversations, meetings, and social justice ministries such as food banks, gatherings to uplift equality, and other advocacy ministries. We have known God has been utilizing our bodies at the food pantries, the phone calls, and the innumerable acts of kindness that continue to grow and flourish in these unusual times.
“Together” we have learned anew that the “Church” is not built of brick, mortar, stone, and wood, but rather on human flesh, bone, blood, and the Spirit that dwells within those who gather together in Christ’s name.
Where will our pilgrimage ultimately lead us?
How will we functionally get there?
Who will be on the road with us when we arrive?
I honestly do not know the answers to these questions; but I do know that we will find out “Together.”
Until next time.
Keep trusting God, keep washing your hands, and be at peace.