April 23, 2020

Published April 24, 2020 by St Matthews Lutheran Church in Daily Message

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18-19).

The story I’m about to tell makes me cringe, yet without it, I wouldn’t be the pastor, mother or writer I am today.

At Divinity Lutheran Church in Oregon, Ohio, the youth routinely led worship. One year, when I was in high school, my turn came to preach. I looked forward to standing behind the pulpit, sharing my carefully crafted and rehearsed sermon and invariably receiving words of affirmation.

My congregation had been my home since elementary school and was the place where I felt the most known, safe and welcome. It’s where I could be excited about church and God; it’s where I could be a leader. On this particular Youth Sunday, I preached a sermon lifting up the church and all the ways I partnered with it to do good. I was ready for the applause I was about to receive. Now I shake my head at the naive youth who spoke those words.

I don’t remember where I was or when the conversation occurred, but I do remember my pastor, Marc Miller, gently asking me to reflect on my sermon: “You talk a lot about what you do, Kim, but what about what God is doing?”

                                                Kimberly Knowle-Zeller, Living Lutheran, April 16, 2020

In seminary, WIGIAT became the catch phrase for my class. It means Where is God in all this? And it was the focus of many of our sessions in Pastoral Care and Conversations. When people are hurting – while we are hurting as a nation and as a world- it’s not always an easy question to answer. For people who have lost loved ones, those out of work, others suffering increased anxiety and despair as social-distancing and shelter-at-home restrictions continue. So a suggested practice for today – similar to counting your blessings- make a list of the ways you see God at work in our community, our nation and the world. Pray for those in distress. Pray that we see God’s hand at work.