Pastor's Note

Dear Friends in Christ,

Several weeks ago, I asked the “calling ministers”—those who have been reaching out to members and friends during these months of pandemic—to ask all of you for your “Questions for God.” I’ll be addressing several of them in upcoming YouTube worship videos, but I thought I’d start with one here today:
Question for God:
Why do I make decisions that hurt those that I love the most?

I’m not God and don’t presume to answer for the Divine, of course. However, this question reminded me of Paul grappling with a similar frustration in his letter to the Romans: (Chapter 7: 15-25, NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul acknowledges that we can love the guidance God’s Word provides and at the same time act against it. We need Jesus so very much to forgive us, renew us, and encourage us to be in dialogue with our brokenness and keep reaching toward wholeness.  That’s what I’ve been doing as I spend time in our sanctuary lying on my back over “the crack” and gazing up at the roof timbers and stained glass windows.
We can’t follow God’s law of our own power, that is clear.
I also think we test others’ love because we can’t really accept and believe we deserve it, and we want to explore whether it is truly unconditional. Of course this sucks, but I’ve seen it and experienced it enough to believe it is quite common.
And we do this in our relationship with God ALL THE TIME, don’t we? We may think the journey of faith is a winding path of fluctuations in our degree of believing, but that doesn’t capture much of it at all. It’s a spiritual maturation that involves repeated testing of God’s unconditional love by transgressing the laws of God again and again—those that we acknowledge as wise and profess as right. Will God abandon us? Will God flee from us—if we do that?

Nope. We may attempt to flee from God, may break the relationship or ignore God’s presence, but God will not do the leaving. As the Wednesday Bible study read together from Psalm 139: 7-10:
Where can I go from your spirit?
            Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
            if I make my bed in Sheol (think the “Sunken Place” from Get Out),
            you are there
If I take the wings of the morning
            and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
            and your right hand shall hold me fast.
Firmly in the grip,
Pastor Lisa

Sunday, August 9th Online Worship Service
led by Rev. Jon Jacobs
Coming to you by this Saturday evening on 
YoutubeFacebook and the Redeemer website.

Sunday, August 9th Live Zoom at 10am
led by Rev. Lisa Bates-Froiland
Join Live Prayers of the People on Zoom
Password: 333185
Dial in for Prayers of the People on Zoom at 10am
(312) 626-6799
Meeting ID: 663 962 100
Password: 333185


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631 N. 19th Street 
Miwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 933-7004

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Redeemer Lutheran Church · 631 N 19th St · Milwaukee, WI 53233 · USA

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