I hope this winter will allow for some thoughtful preparation for how we want to reopen our church when it is safe to do so and for us to build excitement about inviting new people to join us. Who will they be? What will they care about? How can we best welcome them and let them know who we are and that we care about who they are?
A key piece of being able to welcome people with holy hospitality is treating all people with dignity and equal respect. While we want to think this is easy to do, it actually takes some work to do it well. A key piece to understanding how to invite people into our congregation is doing the work of understanding diverse experiences in our communities and the role of race and racism in our society. I hope First Lutheran can choose to be an example of God’s love that tears down walls and labels that separate us from our neighbors to be a gathering place for all nations as the Prophet Isaiah says in our lesson on Sunday.
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 25: 6-8
Every year the Greater Milwaukee Synod offers workshops to help congregations understand how to deconstruct racism in our communities so that we can better witness to the gospel that invites all nations to gather around our God at the heart of a loving community. This year Council President Heidi Leiser and I have committed to being a part of four sessions in the evening of November 11,16,18,23. We would like more members of the congregation to join so we can do this work together. It will be easy to use up time during this pandemic being bored or frustrated, but we can also use it to do something meaningful that can benefit your life and the future of this congregation! You can register HERE for the workshop.
Please join us in this work! Contact me if you are interested or want to learn more.