Dear Trinity Family,
Things don’t always turn out the way we want. When I was preparing for these past couple of months, I pictured myself finishing a wonderful experience in Guatemala, followed by a relaxing and fun summer. Then I pictured a wonderful start to my year of internship as your Vicar. I thought I had a timeline worked out. I pictured leading worship in the building, in the wonderful space we all wish we could be in to worship. I thought things could be a bit more predictable. I had my expectations. Like all of you, my expectations were not met in the way I thought.
Some of us are preparing to return to school. Some of us are preparing for a return from summer, to begin anew the more intense times of work. Others are starting new ventures, like myself. This time of year is a normally a time of expected new beginnings, of renewal, of regrouping. Yet, we are not finding ourselves starting, renewing, or regrouping in the same way. Time can look very different; it certainly does for me. And space is not shared in the same way either.
Things don’t always turn out the way we want, or when we want. We are often not in control over our own time or our own space.
At this time, when we are distanced, we must work together to discern what God wants of us. This requires mutual cooperation, communication, and a sense of understanding. We can certainly work by our own rhythms of life but let us be mindful of who God is calling us to be. God has given us discerning hearts.
Our expectation can be in a God who loves us and who works in time in a way we cannot comprehend. Psalm 90 says “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.” God’s infinite love is calling us to be faithful to God, and God’s time.
Let us not try to rush or be hasty. Let us not try to overextend our capabilities. We can trust in God who is working in God’s own way, not our own. God will walk with us through this time of new beginnings, of new workings, of new ways of study. God is always working. God will always walk by our side. In Christ Jesus, we are promised grace sufficient to live life’s day. Let us trust in God’s unending promise. Let God’s time be ours.
Vicar Luke Swanson
Dear Church Family,
When I arrived in Roanoke, I was impressed by the awesome beauty of the mountains. Mountains have always impressed me. Of course, I am not new them. I am from Pennsylvania after all! I was also able to see the magnificent Andes Mountains when I served as a missionary in Argentina. Mountains form my first impression of the natural beauty around me. What amazes me about mountains is just how ancient they are, and they are still here!
As I begin this new chapter at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, I am reminded that we are rooted in an ancient way that brings us into an amazing relationship with God and our neighbor.
But even with our ancient faith God does not stop creating and moving mountains. God doesn’t stop us from moving growing closer together as a community of faith.
As I look at the mountains here in Roanoke, I am reminded of Jesus who “went up the mountain” (Matthew 5:1) at the beginning of his ministry to preach the Word of God. Jesus preached the age-old story of God’s promise to us. A promise of new life.
This year will be a time of new life for all of us. I pray that our time together will grow into bountiful and beautiful relationships where we all can feel the ancient story of God’s mission and our newness in God’s promise.
We have new life in Jesus, and like the mountains, this promise of new life stands the test of time. Our relationship with Jesus is both ancient and new. Let’s grow together in this new life.
At Trinity, I look forward to the witnessing the vision that it shares with the World. I look forward to the ministry that it does as it shares its space with neighbors and witnesses to the Gospel from 4040 Williamson Road. God won’t stop working through us. No separation keeps us from the Grace of God. Let the mountains remind us of this promise.
I look forward to our ministry together and God’s peace be with you.
Vicar Luke Swanson