“Lord, let our eyes be opened…” Matthew 20:33
It is laughable how often I ask my wife, Deanna, where something is hiding. Most of the time it is on the table in front of me. Right where I’m looking—at the exact moment I ask for her help. The things I’m looking for are often hiding in plain sight. I miss stuff all the time. Can you relate?
Psychologists and sociologists refer to “Change Blindness” as the phenomenon of not being able to spot a difference in something familiar. When a subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, change is made your eyes may not recognize the change because it is so tapped into what they are used to seeing.
It happens in situations as well. Think back to the advertisement campaign for Febreze about the embarrassment of going “nose blind.” We can all get so comfortable with our surroundings and situations that we become blind to the current reality and the steps we need to take to keep things fresh and renewed.
What are some things you have become blind to in your life? What about in our shared life at Prince of Peace?
Later this month POP will welcome Pastor David Wendel. He is the assistant to the bishop for the NALC and he will be leading us through the Fresh Eyes for Mission Summit. Echoing the prayers of the blind men in Matthew 20, it is our prayer, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”
This summit will invite us into a conversation about the life of Prince of Peace and where God is leading us in ministry and mission. Our council and staff have already begun to collect data and information that will be a key part of our shared analysis together. Brief and quick surveys will take place over the next several weeks before and after worship to help us prepare. Pastor Wendel will make demographic data available to us as we discuss the communities and zip codes around us. The overall goal is that this conversation will spark some energy and excitement about what God is doing in us and around us so that we can further our impact, expand our reach, and grow the kingdom of God.
It is no secret that Prince of Peace has been in an ongoing transition these past couple of years. As a congregation, we have been through the significant transition from one long pastorate to the next. We’ve endured Covid and all of its challenges. Online worship is a part of what we do now. We have a new children’s minister and our children’s program has shifted. Our mortgage has been paid off, our HVAC units vandalized, and—if I’m honest—I still have nightmares about the big tent Christmas Eve that got rained out in 2020 (it was going to be so good…) Furthermore, council has strategically invested in our property as we have worked to catch up on deferred maintenance of our buildings and grounds. All of these elements and more have caused our attendance to dip. While our finances have remained steady throughout, extra expenditures have depleted our safety net of savings.
I don’t want to paint a bleak picture. Prince of Peace remains an active, alive, and mighty corner in the Kingdom of God. Amazing ministry and powerful impact are a regular part of our daily life. Our people—YOU—are incredible. You are faithful, generous, devoted, and mighty servants of the Most High God. I see this in our worship. I’ve experienced this on our big mission trips and our drives of support and care for our local community. I hear it in the conversations among our people. It is not uncommon for me to wait 5 minutes by the door following worship before the first people start saying goodbye to me—y’all want to talk and connect with each other. I LOVE this!
Prince of Peace remains a great place with great people serving our Great God. I believe, along with your council, that the Fresh Eyes for Mission Summit will be a great opportunity for us to be intentional as we step into God’s future for us. I know it is a long commitment of time. But I believe it will be engaging. And I believe that your voice is needed to make this the best possible gathering as we work together with the Lord’s help.
In all of it, I invite you to join me in that simple prayer, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”