Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained
access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our
hope of sharing the glory of God.
My third Synod Assembly as Bishop is in the books and I couldn't be more pleased with the day-and-a-half proceedings. Our Synod Secretary, David Lenz, will have a more complete summary hopefully in time for Wednesday's e-news, but I want to take a moment here to reflect on a couple significant moments for me.
For the first time, the Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) summer event was held alongside our assembly, giving us a chance to incorporate the young people into our assembly. They led the opening Eucharist, facilitated a workshop on effective ways to integrate youth into the church and, in general, were a presence throughout the day-and-a-half, interacting with voting members and guests. The youth also took part in their own activities and service projects. Nearby Holy Trinity, Akron was the host congregation for the young people.
This part of the assembly left me feeling like a proud grandpa. I couldn't have been more thrilled. We aim to make this an annual parallel event.
The Synod Worship Committee, which always does a superb job of preparing the liturgies, deserves special praise. On both days, we began with Morning Prayer, and ended Friday with Evening Prayer. We held Eucharist services at noon on Friday and at the closing of the assembly. The chair of the committee, Brian Wentzel, put together a choir that, with only two hours of practice, sounded almost angelic.
There were the usual matters of adopting a budget, elections to council positions, resolutions, salary guidelines, constitution and by-law changes, ecumenical greetings, installation of newly elected, and anniversary recognitions. In addition, all our workshops of a variety of topics were well attended.
I give thanks to God for all the people, especially the youth, who worked hard to make this all possible.
We are entering into what is called in some traditions the season after Pentecost. Others refer to it as the "green season" after its liturgical color. In other traditions, it is known as the ordinary season, because we are not celebrating any major festival during these ordinary Sundays. However, there is nothing ordinary about the Sundays nor the season.
We are about to enter into the teaching season of the church. The season in which the Gospel lessons will concentrate on Jesus' ministry and what it means to be disciples. You may also notice that for the next three months, all the second readings will come from Paul's letter to the Romans, this Sunday's reading being one of my favorites. A portion of it is found at the top of today's musing.
This season is important to the deepening your faith. Though you may not have Sunday school classes in the summer, I would encourage not to take the summer off when it comes to learning. These lessons are vitally important in helping us make sense of our faith. Long absences from church are not conducive to learning. Yes, we all need vacations. But keep in mind that God does not take a vacation from you.
This Sunday morning, I will be in Beach City to visit with the people of God at First Lutheran Church and celebrate Pastor Steve Patrick's 40th Anniversary of Ordination.
This is also Father's Day. We don't seem to make as big a deal of Father's Day as we do Mother's Day, but I want to leave you with a small part of a poem I read somewhere once, just to set the tone for this coming week. It begins...
Fathers are wonderful people
too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
as often as we should...
It goes on for a few more verses, but you get the idea. Honor your Father this Sunday if you are fortunate to have yours still around.
And my prayer for you is that God keep us steadfast to the task of learning and growing and deepening our faith this week and always, and looking forward to that day when it will all make sense for us.
+Bishop Abraham Allende