Encouraged and Encouraging

I am so blessed to serve the saints at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wheatland, WY.

Nine years ago, I had this crazy idea of adding three more services during Holy Week: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at noon: 30 minute Divine Service. Fits on a lunch break, with time to spare. I sort of thought no one would come, and it would be a time for me to meditate quietly on the passion of Christ. (Although, not celebrate the sacrament, Lutherans have pie, not private masses.)

IMG_20160323_095728_340Boy was I wrong. There has been someone at each of the 30 services offered for the last ten years. Attendance has grown from year to year. It’s still small, but then in Wyoming one person can qualify as a city. Wyoming really puts the “Two or Three” into “Where two or three are gathered together.” This year, we had record attendance (again!) for the first two days. Then a blizzard hit. Roads closed. Four foot drifts. Visibility was less than a quarter mile. Above is the view at church when I arrived.

I assumed that I would be the only one here. Not because the people didn’t want to be here. But because the snow was just too deep and the roads too nasty.  I misunderestimated the love of my people for God’s Word. Shame on me.

At 25 minutes to service time, a member showed up. And promptly started shoveling the walk in case others arrived. (Good exercise for the heart, but seriously, who else would be here?) When he finished, he and his wife came in, and admitted they would likely be the only ones. At 3 minutes to service time, another couple showed up. Snow, Ice, Polar Bears? Not enough to keep them away.

And so the five of us enjoyed a brief respite from the weather, and the world. We heard of God’s love in Jesus, and received the precious body and blood of Christ.

Walther advises that a pastor should consider his parish to be the best parish.  Don’t look for greener pastures somewhere else. No one has ever accused Wyoming of having the greenest grass. But on a day like today, we have the whitest snow on earth.

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