PRINCE OF PEACE LUTHERAN CHURCH

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A Straight Course

The sun on my face and a gentle breeze keeping the air moving are among my favorite elements of warmer weather. It soothes my soul and fills my tank. I don’t get to do it too often, but this delight is so much more impactful when I’m sitting on a boat. Big or small. Motor, sail, or paddle. I’ll take any of them.

The sound of the water, the warmth of the sun, the movement of the wind—it stills my soul, rejuvenates my spirits and elevates my peace. What setting or situation does this for you? Part of the appeal for me is the sheer joy of being on the water. But another piece of it is the spiritual nature of these three elements: the sun, the water, and the breeze. Shocking, right? The pastor sees faith in the things around him…but, these elements are a constant reminder of God’s work. They consistently appear in Scripture and they are evidence of God’s provision, love, and guidance.

The light and warmth of the sun are first declared when God speaks. “Let there be light”. Bathing creation with light and warmth is a perpetual embrace by our Creator. It is love made tangible. Without this light and warmth, this world truly is cold and dark. It is uninhabitable. This warmth, instead, is a constant touchpoint of the Father’s love. Feel it upon your skin.

The water has always been a symbol of restoration. It is God’s fresh start with the flood. Water shows God’s power—the Lord is the one who ordered the chaotic waters in the beginning. Water, in the hands of our loving God, is a sign of new birth. For me, a boat ride washes away my bummed-out spirit; it refreshes my soul. It is a reminder of what baptism does for my soul. It is a fresh start. It cleanses and renews. The power and beauty of water flow throughout Scripture and it tells of God’s unending love.

But, today, the real focus is on the wind. There is great joy when the wind is at your back, propelling you forward. The truth is, it always has been. The wind of God has always been the force and power that moves you. Since the breath of God entered the lungs of Adam, you and I have been connected to the Spirit of God. Wind, breath, and Spirit are the same word in Hebrew. And their synonymous nature continues into the New Testament Greek as well.

Acts 16 recalls Paul’s 2nd missionary journey. Paul and Timothy were taking the Good News of Jesus to faraway lands. It becomes clear that the Holy Spirit was guiding their steps. They were forbidden to go to Bithynia (modern-day Turkey) and were drawn to cross the sea and enter into Macedonia. “So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis…” (Acts 16:11). This obscure piece of Paul’s travel log is actually quite noteworthy. Paul and the Gospel had been traveling around Asia. This marks the first time that the Good News steps foot in Europe. But, furthermore, the sail was a straight course. This phrase implies something significant. The wind remained at their back the whole time. They were able to sail with ease. They never fought the wind. Fighting the wind in a sailboat is a headache, to say the least. For Paul, It was as if the wind was leading his crew exactly where it wanted them to go. Why? Because it was.

In the economy of faith, we are invited to look deeper at the moments of our days. We dig deeper into the things of God that surround the ordinary and boring everyday elements of this life. The wind was at Paul’s back the entire time because it wasn’t merely wind. It was the movement of the Spirit. It was the nudging, leading, and guiding power of God. In case you didn’t know, Europe became a pretty significant foothold for the Christian faith. Paul wanted to stay in Asia. But the seed of faith was already planting and growing on that continent. God was calling Paul to a new place. Have you ever wanted to stay with the familiar and be nervous to branch out into what is next? Later this month we will be celebrating the festival of Pentecost. It is the birth of the church. It is the passing of the torch from Jesus to His bride. It is the gifting of the advocate that will continue to love, provide, and guide God’s people. This is no small celebration. This is no small occasion.

Perhaps fittingly, the way our calendar lines up, the day of Pentecost will also be the day we celebrate our graduates. When I first put this together, honestly, I was trying to figure out a way to separate the two events. The pastor and theologian in me wants Pentecost to stand on its own. To have it share the day with some other celebration misses and dilutes the power of what we celebrate on this occasion. And then I thought about it more (and not just because my oldest is one of the graduates this year). Perhaps there is nothing more fitting than celebrating our graduates on the day that we remember and look to the Wind of God that blows, leads, and guides the church. Perhaps it is fitting as we celebrate our graduates and remind them of the irrevocable link between their journey and the God who propels them forward.

On Sunday, May 19th, we pray over our graduates and celebrate them as they launch into what’s next. And, on Sunday, May 19th, we are reminded that the Holy Spirit is the one who accompanies us into all of our futures. In fact, the Spirit is already ahead of you, getting things ready for your arrival, and drawing you into the journey He has for you.

So, hoist your sail and ride on the wind!

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Upcoming Events

May
21
Tue
7:00 am Men’s Fishing Trip
Men’s Fishing Trip
May 21 @ 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Men's Fishing Trip
Prince of Peace is planning a guided stripe bass fishing trip to West Point Lake on 21 May. The cost will be $125 per person which will
May
23
Thu
10:00 am Ladies’ Bible Study: Fleshing ou...
Ladies’ Bible Study: Fleshing ou...
May 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Ladies' Bible Study: Fleshing out the Scriptures
The Ladies’ Bible Study will meet every Thursday at 10 am for a new Bible Study “Fleshing Out the Scriptures”. Fellowship beforehand in the Fellowship
May
26
Sun
10:00 am One Service @ Sanctuary
One Service @ Sanctuary
May 26 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
One Service @ Sanctuary
On Memorial Day weekend, we will have one service at 10 am in the Sanctuary. Please join us for worship in person or online!

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