11/18/2015 9:57:28 AM
While entering Comerica Park for the last Tigers game I would attend in 2015, I lost my keys...
If you were in worship on September 27, you already know the story: While entering Comerica Park for the last Tigers game I would attend in 2015, I lost my keys. Clearly my grief at it being my last game overwhelmed my ability to think. My car key is separate, so it was merely the keys to my apartment and the church and my parents' home that were lost.
If you were in worship that day you would also know that I departed after that service for our Synod's Fall Theological Conference on Mackinac Island. It was a funny feeling to return on Tuesday and realize, while dropping Pastor Thompson off at Emmanuel, that I had no keys for any of "my" places. Pastor Thompson jokingly (yet still graciously) assured me I could stay at Emmanuel (she thought that the clothes closet and food pantry could keep me going).
Fortunately, Laurie Gable is not only a writer of skits and media tech person, but also checks on my cat when I am out of town, and therefore has a set of keys to my apartment. Not only did she let me in to my apartment, she'd even made copies of the keys for me. (God bless you, Laurie!) She thoughtfully put my new keys on a carabineer that I could attach to myself, an attempt to protect me from going through the same experience again! We can hope.
It stinks to not have keys. You cannot get into the places where you need to go.
So of course, because I'm a pastor and because I'm desperate to find something redeeming from this embarrassing experience, I find myself thinking metaphorically. When you don't have keys, you may not know where to go to get them. You don't know what to do next. It is a powerless experience.
Have we lost any keys? Losing keys as a congregation would mean losing the things most important, losing our ability to accomplish the ministry to which God calls us.
Are there keys we are missing? Are there places from which we are locked out? Are there places we need to go that we can't access?
The values that I listed in last month's newsletter are an attempt to keep our keys handy. The values help us to remember what is most important. They are like a spare set.
The first key: Jesus is Lord.
Clearly, that is most important key. It should guide everything we do. Our life together has to be grounded in the Word, in prayer, in worship, in the sacraments. God meets us and feeds us in these places and practices. It is where we begin.
I think it would be hard to argue with the significance of this key. The thing for each person to consider is whether we are using it.
The second: We seek to love God with all our hearts and souls, and love our neighbors as ourselves. It's not enough to say Jesus is Lord. It needs to be lived. And what better way to live this truth than through what Jesus identified as the two most important commandments: Loving God, Loving our neighbors. There it is.
All of the remaining values flow from these two.
What do you think? Are there keys we have lost?
I'd be interested to hear your opinion.
Here is what I know - we can misplace our keys. We may sometimes forget what is most important in our lives, in our ministries. But the good news is: Jesus hasn't lost us, and will not lose us. You don't need to call the folks at Comerica Park to discover that reality. Just come to the table.
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