Friday, January 26, 2018

The Quest for Wholeness

This may come as no surprise to you, but this winter has brought along a nasty season of sickness. Currently, I am working my way through a box of tissues and trying to figure out if this is the fourth or the fifth time I have been hit with whatever bugs are going around. It could be the price one pays with a young child who brings all manner of things home from daycare. But it seems as if everyone is more susceptible this year to the variety of viruses swirling through the air. Some of you have been to the hospital, and some of you may be finishing off a regimen of germ-killing drugs.

There is something unifying about finding a cure for sickness. You might share a knowing nod with someone in a waiting room or in the cough-syrup aisle. Maybe you have bonded with others who live with the same chronic illness you have. Or perhaps you unite with others who have had their worlds shaken by a terrible disease, raising awareness and funds so that no one will ever have to live through that same terror.

Fred Pratt Green isn’t necessarily a household name, yet there is a good chance you know his work. A dozen of his hymns are featured in our current hymnal. In one of his lesser known pieces (Hymn #610 in Evangelical Lutheran Worship), he captures this idea that we can find unity in our quest for healing:

O Christ, the healer, we have come
to pray for health, to plead for friends.
How can we fail to be restored,
when reached by love that never ends?

From every ailment flesh endures
our bodies clamor to be freed;
yet in our hearts we would confess
that wholeness is our deepest need.

In conflicts that destroy our health,
we diagnose the world's disease;
our common life declares our ills:
is there no cure, O Christ, for these?

Grant that we all, made one in faith,
in your community may find
the wholeness that, enriching us,
shall reach the whole of humankind.

There is no amount of money, soap, or sanitizer to protect you and your loved ones from being ill. Everyone, rich and poor, young and old, gets sick. Disease does not discriminate. When you are sick, it is far from easy to think beyond yourself and your most urgent needs. But, the next time you are on the mend, take a moment to imagine how similar you are to all of God’s people. Everyone deserves good health and loving care. May Jesus Christ, the healer of our every ill, unite us in our search for wholeness.

Pastor Chad McKenna

Thursday, January 11, 2018

You Can Do Great Things!

In the black 1863 days of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln went to church with an aide. After the service the aide asked him what he thought. Mr. Lincoln said, "The sermon was very logical and very well reasoned." The aide said, "So the sermon was a success?" Mr. Lincoln said, "No. It was a failure. Because he did not challenge us to do something great."
I'm going to challenge you to do two great things.
But first, consider invisible people. They are everywhere. They may be poor, they may be of a different race, they may be incarcerated.
But the homebound people of st. Mark need not be invisible! It's true that they cannot come to church, or a restaurant, or a marketplace. But they can be conspicuous in our lives.
How? By doing two great things. First, coming to our Barnabas class this coming Thursday, January 18, 2:00 P.M. to learn how to visit and whom to visit. You'll be joining wonderful caring Barnabas ministers who are actively visiting. Just call Melinda to register, 815-871-0390.
The other way to make them  conspicuous is to pray daily for each of them:
George and Betty Adams, Glenn Bengston, Phyllis Blunt, Dorothy Brommerich, Helen Corbett, William Dinges, Ann Doty, Robert Dvorak, Marilyn Hallen, Gene Holmberg, Bill Jennings, Ray Lundgren, Jeanneil Miller-Paul, Kaye Mueller, Bette Patterson, Rose Pearson, Elmer Seybold, Al Spangrud, Audrey Weberg.
I challenge you to do two great things: visit our invisible people, and pray for them- and do great things!  - God loves you and so do I, Pastor Chuck Olson, Pastor for pastoral care

Looking Back

Dear St. Mark friends, 2019 is a year I will never forget.   On January 13 of last year, my second granddaughter, Madlyn Olivia Hagen,...