Good Morning! I am so glad you are here! I read a quote yesterday that said, “Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time.” Again, I am so glad you are here and that we are in this place – sharing time and space - together.
At the December Committee Night Meeting, Pastor Mike was talking about John the Baptist paving the way and posed the question, “Who has laid the way for you?” Several people shared but I was unable due to the large lump in my throat. Pastor Sara and I had met a couple of times about my possible involvement in our new Salt House ministry. Even though my husband, Brett, & I were entering our “empty nesters” phase of life with both kids, Claire & Fred, off to college, I was compelled to say “Yes!” to her. One, because she is such a gem J two, because I was excited about developing discipleship focused relationships with young adults, and three, because some very special people once did something like this for me.
But we need to back up…way back!
I would like to take you back in time – about 48 or 49 years ago….Before 405 was a major freeway, before Bellevue Square was an enclosed mall, before Evergreen Hospital and Totem Lake Mall were built, before the phrase Microsoft was ever uttered from our lips!
It was July of 1966 when our family drove the 3,000 miles from Ridgefield Park, New Jersey to Kirkland, Washington in a 1965 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon- tan with wood panels on the side. It was me, my brother, my sister, my Mom and Dad, and my Grandpa. The Kingsgate neighborhood Phase 1 was just beginning to be built. We were the last house on the street at the time, only a few blocks in, still surrounded by farmland. This was to be our new home.
My parents were super involved in our church in New Jersey. Somehow they had decided somewhere along the journey here, to “take some time off from church and not get involved anywhere for a while”. This would be one of those times when we make our plans and God laughs. J Shortly after our arrival, there was a knock at the door. There stood Reverend Dean Berg who said he was a developing mission’s pastor (or something to that effect – I’m not really sure as I was only 3 years old! But his visit is one of my earliest memories.) Of course my parents invited him in for coffee. It turned out that our pastor in New Jersey had gone to seminary with this pastor, “and the dye was cast” as my Mom would say.
My parents, John and Claire Christiansen, were part of a very small group of people that began holding church services at Thoreau Elementary before we had a building. They had very BIG ideas of what this church could be. Thank God they did! Holy Spirit Lutheran Church is where I grew up (and continue to grow up!) I went to Sunday School here, I was confirmed here, my husband and our children were baptized and confirmed here. Memorial Services were held here for my Grandpa and my Dad. So I guess that explains the lump in my throat when Pastor Mike asked “Who paved the way for you?” It was my parents who laid the way… who made the path clear and for that I am grateful.
It means a lot to be a charter member of this church – meaning here since the beginning of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church’s existence – and my Mom and I are the only two left with that particularly strong connection over the last almost 49 years. Knowing how much this means to me, my heart goes out to the people of Trinity Lutheran Church who experienced a similarly long term connection for so many years and who lost that – much like experiencing a death – and having to mourn that loss. It is my hope and my prayer that we will see a resurrection, so to speak, in that place with our satellite church, Salt House. To those of you now here from Trinity Lutheran, we thank you for having faith in us to even offer it up.
Our 21 year old daughter, Claire, spoke at the congregational meeting where we were to vote on whether or not we should take on this new ministry. She voiced her concerns regarding the lack of opportunities for young adults to be involved here and saw this as the right solution. There had been much discussion and prayerful consideration going on before but finally the motion was before us and we voted a resounding “Yes!” I was excited for what this meant for our kids and maybe even someday their kids and on down the line.
But we cannot just say “yes” in word. We must say “yes” in action as well. It is an overwhelming task that lies before us (not just before Pastor Sara!) to develop this satellite congregation. But as we know, many hands make light work. Think outside the box and be creative in the ways you may choose to be involved. So many times in giving campaigns we hear about time, talents, and treasures. Each of us needs to consider those things as individuals and offer them up. We all bring different “gifts” to the table. For my husband, Brett, who owns a new construction plumbing company one of the gifts he will share are new toilets for the main floor. If someone else happened to have access to flooring and paint we could make quite a transformation without any budgetary impact. Time, talents, treasures, and toilets…. What are the gifts you can share?
Little did I know when I read a book in college entitled, “Out of the Salt Shaker & In to the World” that I would be sharing from it all these years later but here it is: “How can we be the salt of the earth if we never get out of the salt shaker?” “We are salt and light. We make a difference because we are different. And when we live before God as we truly are, He will change the world in which we live.” How will you make a difference?
I would like to leave you with this quote from George Bernard Shaw:
“I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before turning it over to future generations.”
Let us pray…
Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help, that in all our works - begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name by bringing light and salt to the world. Amen!