Pastors’ Corner

Surfs Up!

I recently saw a reel on Instagram that talked about something called the Surfer Mentality which says: “Enjoy every ride while it lasts, there’s always another wave coming soon.”  Now, of course, blanket statements like this can’t be applied to every situation in life.  But taken with a grain of salt, and not as the Gospel Truth, there is some incredible wisdom in looking at life this way. 

Author Sahil Bloom summarizes the Surfer Mentality by saying: “When a surfer gets up on a wave, they enjoy the present moment, even though they know with certainty that the wave will eventually end.  They fully enjoy THIS wave, with the wisdom and awareness that there are always more waves coming.”  This is a call to be present in the moment.  To savor and enjoy the blessings that are in our life now.  Far too often we can get caught up in the future.  We look ahead and see that even the best waves are going to die out eventually.  And it can be all too easy to fall into the “well what does it even matter?” mindset.  “What’s the point in trying to ride this wave?  We all know how it’s going to end!”  And while that’s true, if you think about it, everything in life is fleeting, temporary, and finite.  That’s part of the deal when it comes to living this kind of mortal, earthly existence.  But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still give it a go!  There is joy, and exhilaration, and happiness to be had while you are riding that wave.  And rather than become too preoccupied with the outcome, however inevitable it might be, we are called to savor and enjoy the present.

The other piece that can play a factor in this is how that wave ends.  Sometimes you might be able to ride it until it dies out naturally, or bail out before it crashes down around you.  But eventually we are all going to wipeout.  And we need to realize that wiping out isn’t the end of the world.  Sure, you’re gonna do some potentially disorienting underwater acrobatics, maybe get your sinuses cleaned out by nature’s Neti Pot.  But if every surfer gave up after their first wipeout there would be no surfers at all.  Failure is a part of life, and as the great Mike Ditka once said, it isn’t fatal.  We all are going to mess up, fall short, wipeout.  Luckily, there’s another wave that’s already forming on the horizon.  There’s always going to be another chance for a killer ride for anyone who is brave enough to shake the water out of their ears and try again. 

That lines up perfectly with our Lutheran understanding of baptism.  There are going to be days where we just wipeout.  Days where we fail to be the people that God knows that we can be.  And thanks to God’s grace and unconditional love, there’s always tomorrow.  Each and every new day is another chance to get things right, and to try again.  Right after this wave is another, and another, and another one after that. 

Dear people of God, enjoy whatever wave you are currently riding.  Soak up every last morsel of joy, sunshine, and fun.  And know that when it ends, whether you ride that wave all the way into shore, or you wipeout and go for a ride in the whitewash washing machine, there’s always going to be another wave right behind it that’s just waiting for you.

Surf’s Up,
Pastor Sam

Making Things New at Bethlehem

Dear people of Bethlehem,

The theme for this year’s Easter Vigil was “Behold I Make All Things New!”  God’s Spirit is always moving in the church and always making us new by pressing us forward into God’s grace.  Here at Bethlehem many things are being made new.  What a blessing!

  • We are in the midst of interviewing for our new youth ministry director position.  We have several excellent candidates and are very excited for the new energy and ideas this person will bring.  Initial interviews are complete and we will be moving forward with final interviews in the coming weeks.  We expect to have a person in place by June 1st.  Our high school students will be traveling to the border near El Paso this summer with our new youth director to learn more about issues of immigration and gather at tables with immigrant families.
  • After nearly 40 years of service to Bethlehem, Kim Froke will be stepping down as an organist and musician in our midst.  We give thanks to God, not only for Kim’s musical gifts, but for his grace and joy and energy and all that he has added to the life of this congregation.  His last Sunday with us in this position will be June 4th and we look forward to thanking him and honoring him on that day. 
  • We are currently advertising for and seeking a new part time organist to work with our organist Judy Collier to bring music to our worship life.  In addition, Mark Weed has graciously agreed to take over the bell choir, and we have begun an instrumental group under his direction.  Their first rehearsal was last week.  Soon we will have another expression of music to add to our worship together. 
  • Our new outdoor columbarium space, complete with ocean themed mosaic installation, is underway.  Presale of the niches begins Sunday, April 30th and the list of those who would like to be placed in the columbarium is growing, including both pastors.  This Sunday our mosaic artist will be on site to assist us in making pressed glass to be added to the mosaic artwork.  We are a congregation surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
  • The long awaited Employee Retention Credit (ERC) dollars are finally in the bank.  Your council is in the middle of lively and faithful discussion of how to spend these significant dollars to secure the congregation’s future and move our ministry forward into all that God is preparing.  Two forums are currently being planned to give you all the details and receive your input and wisdom.  These dollars are an unusual grace and opportunity.

Finally, our greatest gift is one another.  With energy and grace and faith, we are all being make new, as we are molded by the hands of the faithful potter.  A community of believers is a living expression of the movement of the Spirit.  Together, we will become who God would have us be, both as beloved children of God, and beloved community — for God is making all things new. 

God bless you all,  Pastor Laura