A Letter from Pastor Anita: Under Construction

I am writing this letter from home today.  My office at church sits across the hall from the restroom construction project that fills the airwaves with more sound than my mind can compete with. I am encouraged by the progress of our builders and excited about the prospect of new, clean, spacious restrooms.  Who could have imagined how much we would want new, clean restrooms in this COVID reality?  But living amid the construction is rather unpleasant at times- the noise… the mess… the time… many sacrifices for the potential of something very good!

For the last four months, the staff and leadership of Lenape Valley have been managing their own construction project- building our new online presence.  Stage One of the project had JR Wolff sitting on the communion table with an iPad streaming onto Facebook Live.  Those first Sundays in March were rather clunky and unreliable, but a good start.  Each week since that beginning, we have added technology and skills, volunteers, and new ideas to strengthen our online presence.  On July 5th we launched our Virtual Vacation Bible School which offers fun opportunities for our kids to engage with the good news of Jesus for five weeks.  Our local children will be joined by children from many other states to share the Rocky Railway experience.  We have gathered people through the week for Facebook prayer, and have even launched a new website to make our online presence more easily accessed.  The gospel message is reaching so many more these days!  So much time… so much effort… so many sacrifices for the potential of something very good!  Living through a construction project is usually worth the pain and suffering.

Right now our nation is living in the midst of a construction project that is unearthing much pain and dissention.  The hope of the project is that we will be a more just, more equal, more merciful, more peaceful nation… that we will live into the full hope of our nation- that “all are created equal.” Our founding fathers had a very narrow definition of “all” that included only white men who owned property.  But God’s Word tells us that all people are created in the Imago Dei- the image of God.  Because of our Creator, all human life shares the same infinite value.  I am no more and no less than you.  The Imago Dei establishes God’s definition of equality that we, His creation, dare not negate. .  Yet, our society negates the value of life every day- from the unborn lost before they take a breath, to the little ones who will face closed doors before they even have a chance to try, to our elderly who are warehoused and forgotten in too many places.  God’s good creation has been marred by neglect and bias, by greed and selfishness, by hatred and disgust.  It is time for a serious construction project to begin.

As Christians, we are called to put on hard hats and pick up tools to be an active part of the renovation of our society.  God speaks across the ages through the prophet Isaiah, calling us to: “loose the chains of injustice… to set the oppressed free… to share our food with the hungry… and provide the poor wanderer with shelter.” Jesus echoes the call again and again in his teachings here on earth, reminding us that “whatever you do for the least of these you do for me.” (Matthew 25:40) God tells us that when we live into this construction project “our light will shine in the darkness and we will be like a well-watered garden.”  We will be called “Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” (Isaiah 58:6-12) Imagine the world that our children and grandchildren could inherit if we commit ourselves to this construction project!

I am fascinated by the variety of artisans who have come to Lenape Valley to work on our restrooms- carpenters, plumbers, sheet rock specialists, tilers, electricians.  Each worker has a specialty without whom the project would fail.  They respect each other’s skill and purpose, and they work together to create something greater than they can do on their own.  You and I are called by God to work together to create a more grace-full world, where every child is valued as the Imago Dei. Each of us has a skill and a place in our society that allows us to do a part of this construction project.  Perhaps the call is to speak God’s truth in a conversation with a friend, or to help our children see the world through God’s lens, or to give more generously so that someone else can eat today.  Using construction imagery, we can see God as the General Contractor who is managing the project.  God is the one who calls the shots, who assigns the jobs, who manages the resources.  What job has God given you today?  Remember, construction takes time, and brings with it much noise and mess.  There will be sacrifices along the way, but all for the potential of something very good!  May we be God’s instruments of healing in the world God so loves.

With you- tool in hand!
Anita
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