Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

October 13, 2021

Dear Friends,

The book of Judges in Scripture describes a dark and turbulent period in Israel’s history.  The tribes were loosely joined, but kinship and unity often crumbled as each tribe sought its own good.  There were a few strong and wise judges who unified the disparate groups and who spoke for God to all the people.  But there were also unwise judges who served chaos, division, and their own pleasure more than they served God.  Read again the stories of Sampson!  At the very end of the book of Judges there is a summary of this whole era in Israel’s life that says, In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

It appears to me that we might want to revisit these portions of Scripture to gain some perspective on our own divided, tribal age.  Each of us has a choice to make about who and what is authoritative in our own lives.  The question, “Who is your Lord and Savior?” is more relevant for our lives together now than ever before in my lifetime.  Growing up there was a certain consensus that seemed to hold the society together.  Granted, it was a consensus that had good and bad parts.  For example, the consensus was based on keeping women and people of color in certain spots.  But as long as that held, there was more unity.  There are some good reasons that consensus is dying.  But all is not bad news.  In fact, I would say that we have access to the Good News that not only keeps us from feeling afraid or hopeless about the future, but also that can alone bring good news to a fearful and divided world.

But to bring and to be good news we must first subject ourselves to God (start with ourselves).  Proverbs 3:5-8 says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body.   We are only the body of Christ when we submit to the head of the body.  And just in case you are confused, the head of the body is not to be found in either the Democratic or Republican party. 

Our congregation’s capital campaign is short a few thousand dollars from being finished.  And when it is finished, we will have over $90,000 to invest for God’s purposes.  On top of that we have been given a $100,000 also for that purpose.  Our Session is prayerfully working to determine what should be done with these financial opportunities.  We met for three hours last Sunday afternoon, and are continuing to work on a plan.  We will be in communication with the congregation also, but the Session knows that it is our job to lead, and we want to figure out how to lead our whole congregation to be and to become a good news people.  Stay tuned for ways to learn more and to give input on this plan.  And, in the meantime, if you are anxious, spend more time in worship, prayer, Scripture study and in doing good for others than you spend watching or listening to partisan news or scrolling through your social media feed.  Maybe memorize Proverbs 3:5-8 as a starting place.   And, don’t neglect worship.  Putting our bodies in the place where we seek God helps us bring our minds and hearts along.

See you in worship (online or in person)!

Peace and Justice,


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