St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Heavy Hands
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Last month, I was honored when my friend, Lisa, invited me to preach at her ordination. It was a fantastic experience as nearly all ordinations are. There is nothing quite like how the church celebrates when it welcomes a new pastor into the fold!


joe1In my sermon, I reminisced on my own ordination service nearly three years ago. I shared with Lisa that there was one moment that really stood out above the rest. That moment was the “laying of hands”. All the pastors were invited to come

forward and lay their hands on my shoulders.And even though I don’t remember the words that were spoken at that moment, I will never forget the weight.


As the hands of colleagues, peers, friends, mentors, and family layered one on top of the other, the reality began to settle in: there was nothing theoretical about this experience. There was nothing academic. This was the real deal. It was really me they were weighing down with their hands. These were really my shoulders. It was really my body God was calling into service.


I thank God for that weight. Because the weight of those hands told me that God was calling the real me – not some idealized version of a pastor who looks, acts, and talks a certain way – God was calling my entire being. That’s what we believe the incarnation is: Christ came into our lives to fully embody God’s love for the world. And now we do the same for one another. Each one of us embodies the love of Christ for the world with our entire beings. Through our words, ouractions, and our love we become the full display of who God is in this world God loves.


As we make our way through Lent, one of the passages that shapes our experience is Mark 8:31-38. In this passage, Christ invites us to take up our crosses and follow him. I think many people continue to use this verse incorrectly as a justification to continue in their life of suffering. They think taking up their cross means not seeking help when depressed, addicted, or abused.


But that’s not what Jesus had in mind. Rather, taking up the cross is an act of discipleship. Taking up the cross means learning to let go of the things in this world that diminish life and taking up the responsibility to love others and the world God made.


I invite you to feel that weight in these remaining weeks of Lent. Feel the weight of that cross on your shoulders. Feel the way the edges dig into your skin and the splinters get stuck to your shirt. And know that it is really you that Christ is calling to follow him. Not some perfect version of yourself. Not somebody who prays more, has more faith, or does all the right things. No, Christ is calling the entire you to a life of service, faith, hope, joy, and, above all else, love. 


Joe Natwick

Associate Pastor


Seasonal Choirs Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 7:00 PM
9th gr. Mentor Groups -Faith Statement Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 7:00 PM
Handbell Choir rehearsal Thursday, Sep 29 @ 5:30 PM
WORSHIP Thursday, Sep 29 @ 7:00 PM
WORSHIP Sunday, Oct 2 @ 8:00 AM

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St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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