Most of us find it a bit difficult to wait, whether standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to hear a doctor’s report, anticipating the completion of a remodeling project or, as Denny Park Lutheran is experiencing, waiting to call a permanent pastor.
We like to get things settled, completed. We want to move to the next step!
While it is great to move ahead, it is good to remember that much good that can happen during a time of waiting. Pregnancy is a good example of “purposeful waiting:” a pregnant mother knows that the months of waiting are a significant time of necessary development for the baby!
In our life as Christians too, we are often called to wait. Though we may feel frustrated or anxious, it can help to remember that God is at work, often in hidden ways, beyond our knowledge. And also, we can know that waiting includes being open to new information, new directions and opportunities. This becomes “active waiting.”
Theologian Henry Nouwen writes: “The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.”
While waiting, we are encouraged to pray. Well-known Christian author of the last century, Ole Hallesby, writes: "To pray is nothing more involved than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting Him to exercise His own power in dealing with them." He adds: "When we in prayer seek only the glorification of the name of God, then we are in complete harmony with the Spirit of prayer. Then our hearts are at rest both while we pray and after we have prayed. Then we can wait for the Lord."
And so, in our personal lives, congregational life and the life of the community, we wait expectantly, trusting God, recalling the psalmists words: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14).”
Pastor Deborah Lunde
By Pastor Deborah Lunde
What would it be like if a dozen, or even a hundred congregations, agreed to pray for the city of Seattle? What impact might that have? Not only on the city, but on those who were praying?
That is exactly what is taking place these days! Beginning on May 22, 2017 there has been a concerted effort to engage many people and churches to pray for Seattle.
Initiated by Pastor Ben Sterciuc of Elevation Church in Kirkland, this prayer movement for the Greater Seattle area is really a request to God that we be awakened to new life in Christ: “Wake up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14.
The vision of Awaken Seattle is to engage 100 churches in 100 days of prayer for Seattle. Specifically, all are invited to pray for the following:
1. Revival of Christians in our city
2. Reconnecting of our churches
3. Repentance for our city
4. Redemption of our city dwellers.
5. Reconciliation in our city
6. Restoration of our city
7. Reign of God over our city
While our congregation didn’t hear about this prayer initiative until last week, we are certainly encouraged to join in at this point and through the rest of the one hundred days (and beyond!). But be prepared, a commitment like that can make a difference - not only in the city, but in our own hearts! Perhaps God will give us a desire and a longing for the Holy Spirit to first work in our lives as individuals, to revive us, bring us to repentance and restoration. And then, for God to be at work throughout Greater Seattle in the lives of our neighbors, city government, businesses, non-profits and churches!
On Sunday evening, August 20th, there will be a gathering and celebration on the 100th day. The leaders of Awaken Seattle are hoping to have that event in downtown Seattle and it may be that this event will take place right here at Denny Park Lutheran! We’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, you can check out the following website and Facebook page to learn more and to watch videos of various people praying for our city. And you can join in praying!
Lessons from A Glass Blower
Lessons from a Glass Blower
Pastor Deborah Lunde
Have you ever watched a skilled glass blower at work?
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Callahan’s Firehouse Studio and Gallery on Whidbey Island. There I saw glass blowers at work! Beginning with a blob of molten glass on the end of a metal blowing rod, they created colorful ornaments, drinking glasses, jewelry, bowls and other exquisite items.
How did they do it? While I can’t describe the finer points of the process, I did observe how one artist created a Texas tumbler. After obtaining the molten glass, he extended the end of the rod horizontally into a very hot furnace. At the right moment, he removed it from the furnace and laid the middle of the rod on metal bar. This allowed him to roll it gently while blowing air into the molten glass to expand it. Then he used tongs to stretch and shape the soft glass, applying pressure to the sides while continuing to roll it. Gradually the tumbler took shape until it had the dimensions that the artist had in mind. At that point, a slight whack separated the tumbler from the rod. Finally, the bottom was heated and the artist’s sign was stamped into the glass.
It was fascinating to watch the artist at work! With a vision for what he wanted to create, he used heat and pressure to shape and stretch the molten glass. Under his watchful eye, something unique, beautiful and useful was created!
This glass-making process reminded me of the work that God does in a person’s life. God oversees our development, even from the beginning, in our mother’s womb. Throughout our lives, he is at work shaping and forming us into something that is unique, one of a kind! As with glass, the process takes time and often includes heat and pressure: challenges and difficulties. And, just as there are imperfections and flaws in any handmade piece of glass, our lives carry wounds as a result of sin. Thankfully, we can trust the creator’s loving hands to make us into something that is not only useful, but beautiful, as the light of his love shines through us when we are stamped with his name!
Check out these three Scripture passages, which describe God’s creative work:
13For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6