I am so grateful to be your new pastor and am so looking forward to my official installation this Sunday, April 18. I know you will warmly welcome Pr. Justin Grimm from the St. Paul Area Synod as he officiates my installation and preaches the sermon.
I am also grateful for the positive energy and enthusiasm I have witnessed and felt among many of you throughout this new beginning and fresh start at Saint Paul Lutheran. I commit to doing all I can to keep that positive energy and enthusiasm front and center as we continue to move into our future together. I invite you to make that same commitment. Thank you.
Yet while my heart is full of joy and anticipation of and for what God has in store for us at SPLC, this week it has also been filled with pain and despair over what we have witnessed again in our state that has caused such civil and racial unrest. The death of Daunte Wright as a result of a routine traffic stop in nearby Brooklyn Center has shined a light once again on how far we have to go to achieve the unity Jesus prays for in the Gospel of John's seventeenth chapter. This is a lengthy prayer (the entire chapter) of Jesus', often referred to as his high priestly prayer.
As you and I are so readily willing and able to commit to continuing positive energy and enthusiasm at church, I pray that we can each also commit to such positive energy and enthusiasm within our broader communities, nation, and world. It's our calling and responsibility as disciples of Christ Jesus.
I'll remind you, as I have reminded our ninth graders recently, who will be affirming their own baptismal promises in two weeks, of the vows we've made at our own confirmations. A portion of our confirmation promises say this:
"Do you intend to continue your baptismal promises by living among God’s faithful people, reading and listening to the Word of God, taking part in Holy Communion, proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ through word and deed, serving all people and striving for justice and peace in our world?"
I again, invite you to please join with me, and our ninth graders, in committing to living out our baptismal promises - especially as we seek to serve all people while striving for justice and peace in our communities, in our nation, and in our world. And please, pray for the community of Brooklyn Center and all affected by this week's tragic and disheartening events.
Yet, I am still grateful, and I still have joy, because I know you'll join me in being the change that needs to happen.
We'll see you in church!