Our "Caring" Vision

    LUMC CCCKeeping perspective is vital in light of the real dangers of this pandemic. Many people were already struggling with trying life circumstances before the pandemic. This past month has only compounded their difficulties and fears.

    (1) Be Careful:
    First, we humbly ask for the Mind of Christ in guiding us to be careful. We never know the burdens others are carrying and often we are unaware of our own stress level. Hear the sensible words of Jesus’ half-brother. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for a person’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19) Yesterday, I was attempting to complete part of my “Honey Do” list which was to cut down a tree, “Paul Bunyan” style. As I ask for the Mind of Christ, of course, I thought Jesus was simply saying, “Greg, be careful with that old loose headed ax.” But, the Lord also included a second caution, which I thought I could handle on my own, “Greg, be careful with your words too.” I assumed taking my frustrations out on the tree would be enough, but it was not. I snapped off a sarcastic comment to Angela. Sorry about that, Sweetie.

    (2) Be Caring:
    The Spirit of God continues to remind us of how essential humility is in receiving and retaining the Mind of Christ. Humility is acknowledging that our love, wisdom, strength, intellect, patience, etc. comes from above. My earlier pithy sarcasm was a mask for my brooding frustration. So, God revealed to me that “caring” meant I had to eat a piece of humble pie and apologize for my hurtful remark to my wife... with no ‘buts’ included.

    In January of this year, our Church Council’s visioning retreat discerned our theme word for the year 2020 is “Caring” for others. Caring is more than a feeling. It includes actions, attitude, words, and humble confessions when we blow it.

    (3) Be Creative:
    Existing in a creative mindset means being flexible and thinking out of the box. While creativity is not always the appropriate way of thinking, in times, of real change, being creative is a necessary part of our rational equations to move forward. The ability to laugh at ourselves, our church, and society is a key indicator we are in a creative mode. The following is a small test to see if you are in a creative mode. If not, no worries. Keep praying and acting on being “Cautious and Caring.” Creative” will come.

    The Creative Indicator Test:
    One of the first signals of real culture change surfaces when new words emerge, and existing words are given different contextual meanings. Consider the fresh meaning of this on-line quote: “I would not touch him/her with a six-foot pole.’ Whoever thought this would become national policy, but here we are.” The mountain of change causes us to redefine our world view. A person’s world view is how he/she sees the world: safe or dangerous, benevolent or malevolent, etc. Our social distancing (quarantine, six feet spacing, face masks) has caused a transformation in our homes and society into something that seemed impossible before. For example, someone noted on Facebook: “This virus has done what no woman has been able to do... cancel all sports, shut down bars, and keep men at home.”

    While sporting events, bars, and social outings will return to some degree in the future, the long- term effect of these health and economic conditions will not be fully understood for years to come. One sociologist raised the following interesting thought: “You think it is bad now? In 20 years, our country will be run by those who were homeschooled by day drinkers.”

    We don’t know what this new normal will look like in a month or a year from now. What if there is another pandemic repeating this health, financial, and social crisis? We don’t know what the future will be, but we are all concerned. We are called to live in the now, quarantined, or not. So, we pray everyone will pause daily to kneel and humbly ask God to share with us the Mind of Christ to best serve those around us by (1) Being Careful (2) Being Caring (3) Being Creative.

    Your Pastor in Change,
    Pastor Greg