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PLUM Pastoral Message


March 2022


Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.   Hebrews 2:14-18


Greetings to you, my siblings in Christ,


I am sitting in my living room writing this newsletter, so that I can keep an eye on two of my grandchildren who are visiting for the next few days, so that their Mommy and Daddy can unpack the truckload of furnishings that was delivered to their new house yesterday.  Those of you who know me, even just a little bit, know that the hat that I wear as “YiaYia” is one of my greatest blessings.  These little people have taught me so much about myself, about learning and growing, and about the joys, the sorrows, the fun, the adventure and the challenges of being human in this world.


Being a human being is no easy thing.  Although we like to think that we are invincible, we are fragile beings.  Each one of us is on a physical journey from birth to death.  Each one of us is made up of fleshly bodies - that is complicated enough; and we are made up of attitudes, emotions, biases, opinions and knowledge.  My grandchildren range in age from 8 months to six years.  They are all at different levels of maturity, physical growth, and verbal ability.  Each one of us is unique in what determines our attitudes, emotions, biases, opinions and knowledge.  We also may be at different levels in our faith development.  It is no wonder that, sometimes we live in harmony and, sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes, we agree on the path forward and sometimes we don’t.  The living of this human life is sometimes a struggle.


Our Lenten theme this year is “Struggling with Jesus”.  What does that mean?  It could mean that whatever our struggles are, we do them with Jesus alongside us.  It may mean that you are struggling with what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus.  Whichever it is, we have the opportunity to explore that in the Lenten Devotions that have been written by members of our PLUM congregations and which will be distributed via email.  We will also explore this in our Wednesday evening discussions, “We are Chosen to Struggle with Jesus” that will be offered on Zoom each Wednesday of Lent at 7:00pm.  These sessions will include a clip from the series, “The Chosen” followed by a group discussion and will conclude with time for prayer.


The beautiful thing about “struggling with Jesus” is that Jesus knows what it is to be human.  Jesus was born and went through all the stages of child development.  Jesus had to learn how to walk and talk.  Jesus had to go to school.  Jesus had chores to do.  Jesus was scolded by his mother, like every child.  Jesus felt the physical impulses of his body and the emotions that go with being human.  He laughed and cried.  He felt anger, sadness, grief and joy.  Jesus even experienced death and resurrection - something that we all will experience, some day.  When we struggle with Jesus, we struggle with one who knows what we are going through.  We struggle with one who loves us. 


What are you struggling with in your faith?  What life struggles are weighing heavily on you?  We all have them; let’s struggle together.


If you are in need of pastoral care - a phone conversation, home visit or Holy Communion - please call, text or email one of us.  


Rev. Brenda Henry         Rev. Sue Devine      Rev. John J. Gropp

     412-390-8005                412-496-4889              412-680-7867

  brenda.henry@gmail.com   skdkod81@gmail.com   pjgropp@aol.com


Blessings to you all,


Pastor Sue and your pastoral team




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