Practice Life: The Pastor’s Message for the June 2022 Messenger

There was a three week stretch in May when I never sat down. I know that isn’t actually true since I’m (usually) sitting when writing my sermons, crafting the weekly newsletters, or putting together The Messenger. But there was about twenty one days when I didn’t have a chance to do nothing because there was always something more to do. There were weekly meetings to plan Woodcliff Lake United, a day of service in our town. There were moments helping the amazing volunteers at Trash and Treasure clean old toys, dusty picture frames, and piles and piles of books. Worship, Sunday School, Confirmation Classes, and various committee meetings had to be prepped for and led. We also had our annual New Jersey Synod assembly which included two workshops on communications which I hosted. And, there was the spring meeting of the New Jersey Candidacy Committee where three people were granted entrance into the candidacy process and one was approved for ordination. That doesn’t include all the track practices we went to, the baseball games we saw, the playgrounds that needed to be played in, the food that needed to be bought, the lunches and snacks that needed to be made, and all the bedtime reading that comes with being a parent. I wouldn’t have traded these three weeks for anything in the world, but you know you’re busy when managing an elementary school’s 3-day scholastic book fair is the least stressful thing you do.

May is always a busy month because the signs of new life invite us to cram as much life into all that we do. But practicing life in this way can be exhausting and, if we’re not careful, can increase the burnout we feel. God didn’t design us to always keep our feet on the gas pedal. We need to rest—which is why remembering the Sabbath is on the early side of the Ten Commandments. This rest includes sleep, eating well, exercise, and connecting with your God. Yet it’s hard to rest if we don’t have enough or if we feel guilt for not doing enough. It’s easy to feel as if you’re not providing your kids with the right kind of opportunity since we act as if 4th grade is too late to pick up a new sport. It is also a reality that there are moments when God’s abundance doesn’t feel like it’s being made real in our lives. We need to feel safe, protected, loved, and valued, or else our constant “doing” becomes our “undoing.” We can’t over function our way out of a crisis nor can be, with a wave of a wand, feel loved by those who don’t love themselves.

My security allows me to living out the various vocations God has given to me. And I’m grateful we, as the body of Christ, did our part to help people gain that same kind of security. Your generosity of time, talent, and stuff will let the CLC-Women’s group fund programs all over the world for people in need. Your generosity helped families through the Tri-Boro Food Pantry use their limited resources to buy their kids a new baseball glove instead of saving it for shampoo, dish soap, and paper towels. And, your continuing faithfulness to worship, care and prayer, means that the love of Jesus is being felt through the choices you make every day. I have no idea if life will slow down over these next few months, but I do know that we, together, have each other’s back. Let’s continue to help each other and our neighbors with what they need so that we can live into the various vocations God so generously gave us.

Blessed to be the church with you,
Pastor Marc