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April 2012

Dear Partners in Ministry,

With our Lenten journey for 2012 well under way we find Holy Week on our horizon. That great and awesome week when we, who name Christ as Lord, find ourselves continuously caught and exposed in our humanity. We are inundated with images of the global tragedies around us all the time. The inexplicable tsunamis, droughts, famines, wildfires, or tornados of our world; plus the individual missing or starving child or refugee pictures that invade our homes as a part of the bulk mail and TV advertisement deluge that hits where we live everyday. It is easy to be numbed and immuned to its importance and impact by the very fact of its overwhelming prevalence.

Maybe we question, “What can I do Lord? What do you expect from me? How can I care when there is so much?”

If there is anything that should smack us right between the eyes during this season of self-examination, challenge, and change, is that we, who name Christ as Lord, must show care. It is called discipleship. Look around you. Can’t you see Christ carrying your cross in the lives of those on whom, if you reach out but an arms-length, can and should physically touch? Christ does not ask us to change the world; rather he encourages us to live as changed people and allow His light to shine through us in our world.

Oh, to be sure, I could tell you stories of senior citizens and shut-ins who are so lonely that they do not believe anyone cares. Or of people, young and old, so overcome with the pressures of unbearable expectations on themselves or from others, brought on by bills, or overwork, who because of the tension, see themselves so trapped that they are blinded to possible solutions. But these would be my stories upon which I must act. What are yours upon which you can and must act? During this “Great and Holy Week” of gut-wrenching and soul-searching, how will Christ’s death on your cross - or better yet, His resurrection from the grave - transform and strengthen you?”

The challenge is uniquely before us all; and if we are to truly raise up our voices in joyful song for the risen Lord on Easter morning and proclaim, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”, then we must celebrate and experience our need for His gift of salvation for us through acts of discipleship.

May God Bless Us all.

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor John J. Gropp



Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773