This new season can offer a renewed purpose

Sunday, August 26, 2018
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Looking Deeper

This week I’m a little lost and listless for pointed purpose.

When I first started writing these articles a few years ago, I was told by the Ranger staff that the parameters were “about 600 words”, and the ministerial group said it should be something about Jesus or the church or faith.

That’s a wide net. I usually start thinking about these a few days before the due date. But I’ve found the more I sit and think, when I finally get to my computer, the more rabbit trails I go down. This week, that is especially true.

Maybe it is the busyness of this summer, a summer that has led me to Wyoming on vacation and Colorado on a mission trip and to Houston, Texas for our denomination’s triennial national youth gathering of 30,000 people.

Maybe it’s the rain outside right now, making me hopeful for cleaner air than earlier this week. But that same rain also makes me think of the farmers in the congregation and in the area as the harvest season is underway.

Maybe it’s the flies I have to keep swatting this morning. They erupted in full force about a week ago, something I haven’t noticed a lot of in the past. They are persistent, though, and only seem to care about buzzing around my ears.

Whatever it is, sticking to one point right now is difficult.

And maybe that’s ok. A ship adrift has time to plan its course. Great ideas are often born out of boredom.

It’s the end of summer. It’s time to reboot, to refocus, to renew for the coming months. School has started, harvest has begun, and the pace of life is shifting.

With newness, comes the hope for a focused purpose. The newness of this time of year is perfect for purposeplanning.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the role the church can play in this. But, to be honest, it doesn’t have to be the church. I’m not one to brow-beat about Jesus. But I do think that churches, pastors, fellow congregation members are great resources for helping us see who we have been, who we are, and who we want to become.

There are few places in society anymore where we experience the fullness of the generations. Church is one of those. At church, those new to life and those wellseasoned by it come together on a weekly basis not because we have to, but because of our commonality of belief and our deep desire to be family together.

And church is one of those places that is constantly rooted in the past. The whole Jesus-2,000-years-ago thing does that pretty well. We have to be rooted in the past. But while being rooted in the past, we grow and reach into the future. The church is not stagnant, it is not boring, and it is not dead. There is life in community, there is hope in the midst of difficulty, and there is purpose within changing seasons.

When I lose my purpose and way, and fall into listlessness, it is my faith that forms newness and hope again. God gives me new direction, often through those around me, as we press into a purposeful future filled with hope.

This season, this time of the year, I hope that you will find renewed purpose as well.

Pastor Will Johnson the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church and is a member of the Glendive Ministerial Association. He can be reached at pastor@zionlutheran.us .

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