Rev. Dr. David H. Benke
Emeritus Bishop of the Atlantic District Lutheran Church- LCMS
David H. Benke, Pastor
Henry Chanderdatt and Jose Pinedo-Whatts, Vicars
Sonia Holder-Bowman, President and Deacon
Clara DelValle, Trustee and Director of School
Steven Rein, David Chanderdatt, Deacons
Natasha Llewellyn-Paul, Sunday School Superintendent
Thomas Bonilla, Yani Medrano and Santito, Friday Night Ministry
Janine Bolling, Deaconess
With that listing of leaders, we’re off and running on our vision for the year of perfect vision – 2020! One of us – usually Pastor Benke – will be writing a twice-a-month column for all of those who follow the life of God in the community of St. Peter’s. And we’ll spice that up with video interviews, photos, and most especially our schedule of mission and ministry opportunities for all to participate, whether online or in-person! Pastor B begins:
An early life eye-opening moment of truth for me took place in a little office area outside my seventh-grade classroom in north Milwaukee. A nurse was giving each student a simple eye exam, with the normal instructions – “read the letters on the top line,” etc. Nothing weird. Except when I sat down and she gave that instruction, I said, “what top line?” Because everything on the screen was a blur. After about two minutes, the nurse said, “Good grief – you can’t see anything. How have you been getting by? You need glasses – badly.”
I had been getting by for about three years by moving up toward the front of the classroom, and squinting, like Mr. Magoo. But now that game was over. And when I finally got fitted for glasses – wow! My whole world opened up. I went from 20/200 to 20/20 vision, from blurry to beautiful, from squinty to eyes wide open. I could see the blackboard, the ball being pitched, and…. girls!
On a far deeper level, the Bible tells us that when the living God enters, “the eyes of our hearts” are enlightened. Our vision of life is no longer down and dusty and blurred and darkened. With Jesus, the Light of World, enlightening, we can see life everlasting. We envision ourselves all the way to heaven. We are 20/20 visionaries of an eternal future with God!
That amazing gift is yours, dear brothers and sisters. You can see yourself personally, your families and friends and fellow worshipers, living forever in the Lord.
It’s all because of the entrance of Jesus into our world of shadow, pain and grief. Not only did he enter, he participated, he experienced, he engaged our ups and downs and ins and outs and was One of us all the way to the cross and the empty tomb.
Psalm 23 is a guide to this fresh and eternal vision – God is with us through the green pasture and quiet water days restoring our soul-vision to see His guiding hand. And he is there in the valley of deep shadows, the valley of the shadow of death – in Christ we can see beyond those shadows, and fear takes a hike because evil will not assail us with God by our side.
What’s ahead for you in the Year of Our Lord 2020? One thing we will do in our faith community is to live it “One Day at a Time.” That’s definite. Each moment of every day of the 366 days in this 2020 leap year that we’re allowed to move and breathe is an opportunity to experience God’s leading hand anew. So that’s one pledge – to live each of our 366 2020 days to the full in the love of God.
Another pledge is to grow closer to God each day in prayer and study of His Word. Because wisdom comes through those conversations and in the pages of the Holy Bible. And it’s God’s perfect 20/20 vision that brings wisdom and direction.
A third pledge is for us individually and as a body of believers to serve the Savior. St. Peter’s mission, and mine personally, has always been to be about both word and deed – to practice what we preach. When we see need and hurt around us in the lives of neighbors and family members, in our neighborhoods, we will respond – our 20/20 insight leads to heartfelt action. We can’t stop.
And we can’t be stopped. That’s the final pledge. There’s nothing to stop us from loving the Lord and loving the people we serve, whom God places in our path. We’re 20/20 visionaries whom God will use to make goodness and mercy happen, even as His goodness and mercy are following us all the days of our lives.
May you be blessed each and every day in 2020 as God’s 20/20 people!
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