Jason and I walk a lot! I cannot even begin to imagine the miles we have logged side by side in the almost 30 years we have been walking and hiking together. We started walking as teenagers who dreamed of incredible adventures. Now we walk as middle-aged people (we hope) so we will be healthy enough to continue to enjoy the adventures we have together for a very long time.
While others have perfected their sourdough bread or cleaned out their basements and closets or worked puzzles – we have walked and then walked some more. Walking is who we are. It is our thing. During COVID-19 we have averaged 2 walks a day together.
And while we walk – I talk and think and contemplate and ponder and talk a lot. I get some of my best ideas while we walk. And Jason talks me out of some of my worst ideas while we walk. Jason has kept me out of so much trouble over the years. Jack teases that his dad is my very own Yoda. Just like Yoda – Jason is a man of very few words – but when he does speak (twice a day at least) a wise person listens carefully. (If only I were wise . . . )
Anyway . . . I have had two/three topics on my mind lately. The passage of time and the blessing of Christian community and the way when they are tied together really lovely things can happen.
Last week our Jack turned 17 and this week he started his junior year of high school. When our family moved to Louisville – Jack was a 7 year old 1st grader. That – my friends – takes my breath away – truly it does!
We were a family of 3 way back then. And I firmly believed this was the way we would stay until Jack got married! Of course – that changed. How thankful we are every day for the wonderful blessing of our Will who is 7 himself now.
Almost a decade has passed since our family moved to Louisville and I became the pastor of Saint Stephen. In that time you all have gone from being really friendly – welcoming – kind – and gracious strangers to our sisters and brothers in Christ. To being our beloved church family.
In that time you have celebrated with us and shed tears with us. You have laughed with us and maybe at us on those days when our toddler was being particularly entertaining! (I understand. I have been there myself.) You have supported us and prayed for and with us. You have learned with us and served with us and worshipped with us. You have cared for us and loved us. You have helped us teach the McFarland sons about what it means to be people of faith in this wild and wonderful and sometimes truly puzzling world.
I truly love sharing this life with you. My sisters and brothers in Christ at Saint Stephen have been and continue to be an incredible blessing to our family. A blessing that has only gotten better and richer and more wonderful with the passage of time. Our shared history – the memories – knowing each other (flaws and all) makes life so much better.
This year has brought some truly wild changes into our lives. Oh my – how very many changes and challenges this year of 2020 has brought into our lives!?! Changes and challenges and things that are just plain scary and exhausting and frustrating and annoying. . .
Thanks to COVID-19 we aren’t making quite as many fun memories as we were hoping for this year at Saint Stephen. No Easter worship. No noisy Easter breakfast. No Easter egg hunt. No VBS. And no VBS laughter and memories and stories to tell and retell. No coffee hours. So much less lingering and chatter and fellowship. A delayed start to in-person Sunday school.
So much has changed. It feels like we have all lost so much.
But we can continue to be community together. We can continue to be a church family. We can continue to support and love and care for one another. We can make memories we will cherish. We can continue to be Saint Stephen Lutheran Church. We can nurture and bless one another.
We just need to adapt a bit. We are going to need to be more agile – lighter on our feet. I realize change is hard – but we can do this. God promises to give us the strength we need!
For those of you who are comfortable and ready – we are worshipping in-person at Saint Stephen on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am. We are being careful – wearing masks – socially distancing – and using copious amounts of hand sanitizer.
If you are not ready (and we completely understand if you are not) – I will continue to post my sermons on the blog as well as Jack’s videos of our worship services. https://pastorkerri.com/
I am still blogging away several times a week. (Like I said – I am full of words.) But seriously – when I blog I am trying to share thoughts with our community that might just help all of us a bit during these difficult days. https://pastorkerri.com/
Starting Sunday evening September 20th at 7:00 pm we will be having Zoom Sunday School. Everyone is very welcome. Our official class meeting time will be an hour – but if anyone wants to linger and chat the night away they will be welcome to do so. We will be continuing our study of interesting people from the Old Testament. If you haven’t ever joined us for Sunday school before – it will be really easy to join in. I will send out the link so you can participate closer to our start date.
We have plans for a safe – socially distant Trunk and Treat. It will be ALL outside with just candy and smiles with our eyes and masks for EVERYONE this year. It will look and feel different than years past – but different isn’t always bad! Trunk and Treat will be at 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 24th and our rain date will be Sunday, October 25th.
I know I keep encouraging you – over and over and over again to reach out to one another. There is a reason for this – other than the fact that I like to be annoying sometimes. (Imagine being one of my sons or being married to me!?!) I do this because I believe this – more than anything will help us not just endure these difficult days – but find moments of joy and happiness and blessing.
Support one another. Care for one another. Share God’s love with one another. Take 2 minutes and send that text you have been meaning to send. Take 10 minutes and write a note. Take 20 minutes and make that phone call.
Fun fact: there are 1440 minutes in a day and 10,080 in a week. Wouldn’t it be cool if we all took a few of those minutes to say I care about you to one another? (You don’t have to be all mushy about it – a quick hi – I miss you will be awesome!)
But I am the mushy type – so I will say it. I love you. Really – I do. Your pastor loves you all so very much. I give God thanks for all of you and for the blessings that you bring into my life. My life is better and rich and more blessed because I know you. Thank you for sharing this life with me!
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –