First, for everyone and anyone connected with the venture we simply call “school” – all of our collective thoughts and prayers go out to you!
At church, we’d be conducting “Sunday School,” lining up teachers and kids, looking over class rosters, collecting supplies and preparing lessons. Adult Bible study would be gearing up as well.
As most of you know, we became experts in Zoomland Christian education during the course of Vacation Bible School in August, so we’ve planned to launch a “Wednesday Bible Whirl” at 4:30 pm on Wednesdays for about 30 minutes a week. Augsburg-Fortress (the Lutheran publishing house) has very quickly developed an online curriculum that we’ll be using. Thanks to Melissa Prunkel who helped plan this new adventure as the pandemic wears on.
And, speaking of the pandemic wearing on, I’ve sensed these last few weeks how much it is ‘wearing’ on all of us in different ways now that most of us realize that this isn’t going to be resolved any time soon.
All of which makes me turn my attention to look ahead in October’s lessons for worship. Jesus is telling more parables to his ‘frenemies.’ This is a relatively new word in our collective vocabulary. It’s a mash-up of ‘friends’ and ‘enemies’ and it means "a person who combines the characteristics of a friend and an enemy” so disciples and Pharisees alike get to hear them.
Martin Luther had a phrase for it too. He taught that we’re ‘simultaneously saints and sinners.’ We’re both God’s friends and God’s enemies as the same time. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know what a truly accurate description this is of all of us!
The month ends with Jesus teaching them all the Great Commandment to love God with all we’ve got and love the neighbor as we love ourselves. He’s still teaching it to us today and calling us to it as well.
Has this become more challenging over the course of this pandemic? Well, yes and no. Yes, because we are challenged to find new and different ways to do this safely, responsibly and weirdly “socially distanced.” No, because it’s always been a challenge to find the time, the resources and/or just the right thing we need to do or say to respond to God and/or to our neighbor.
Yet, the Lord is still issuing the same call. Perhaps the first step now is to pray, to listen, to share ideas and join together to help each other fulfill the call to fulfill the Lord’s mission.
Pr. Mary Konopka