As I write this, the first snowfall of the season is on the ground outside. The roadways and parking lots are clear but patches of snow are still on the grass. In places that get a lot of sun, no snow remains. But in parts that are shaded by buildings and trees, the snow is still thick on the ground. The sun is bright, melting all the snow on our new roofs. But the air is still cold. The snow in the shade has no desire to melt and go away. The world outside is caught between two zones: one that looks like winter and one that looks as if winter is still far away. But the rest of us, those who have to live and move between these two zones, we have to wear our snow boots or zig and zag around the piles of snow. Navigating between different kinds of realities is, sometimes, what life is all about.
Each week, ELCA Lutheran pastors in Bergen County, Passaic County, Essex County and Morris County meet for Bible study and fellowship. We talk about our communities, our joys, our struggles and how we see the Holy Spirit at work in our churches. And over the last year, we are hearing people wanting new ways to engage with their faith outside of Sunday morning. There’s a desire for study, prayer, and worship at different times and in different places. For some of us, the busyness of our lives means we can only feed our faith late at night, once the kids are in bed. For others, a late Saturday night work schedule means worship on Sunday morning is hard to get to. The ELCA pastors in Northern New Jersey want to help you engage in your faith everyday but in a way that complements your lifestyle in such a way that you will be able to do it. If you want to get into a routine of daily prayer, we want to help you do that. If you want to discover new ways of teaching bibles stories to your kids, let’s figure out how to do that together. And if you’re looking for Lutheran Christian perspectives on everyday life, we can provide that. But to do all of this, we need your help.
If you had a magic wand and could dream up something to grow your faith, what would it be? Are you looking for something to listen to on your daily commute? Would you like to attend a weekly spiritual meditation session run by a trained professional? Are you looking for a deeper sense of fulfillment and wonder if a spiritual life coach might help you find your way? Can you commit to weekly worship on a day other than Sunday? And if you can’t get to church on Sunday, would you love to have someone come to your home and watch a recording of the service with you? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), call the church office (201-391-4224) or leave a note in my mailbox with your idea. There’s no one single program or resource that will feed everyone’s faith. What works for you might not work for your neighbor and vice versa. But we can, through our collective network of Lutheran churches and ecumenical partners, discover and develop the tools that can make this New Year a year where our experience of our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ grows by leap and bounds.
See you in church!