PLUM Pastoral Message
Dear Partners in Christ,
Can you believe it is Fall? Where did the Summer go? It may have gone by quickly; however, we had much to celebrate this summer. We had the opportunity to meet Pastor Alex as each congregation held a fellowship time either before or after worship. We had a grand celebration at his installation where we met his family and treasured friends from his time in Ohio and his birthplace, Liberia. We also spent time together with three in-person potluck gatherings at Dormont Park, Settlers Cabin Park, and White Oak Park.
We have also entered a season of praying continually for Pastor John, our beloved sibling who is experiencing health concerns from an advanced case of Lyme disease. We are grateful for every day that his health improves. We are trusting God’s healing touch to strengthen and sustain Pastor John as he recovers.
As we make the switch to Fall, we are restarting the narrative lectionary that has been the selection of our scripture passages this past four years. When we began in 2018, it was new and foreign to have such long passages of scripture. Over time we have come to appreciate the unfolding stories that allow us time to journey through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation with a particular focus on one of the Gospels each year. This year it is the Gospel of Matthew. Additionally, we are reading and discussing Bishop Kusserow’s book, What is the Gospel, Thursday evenings at 8 pm on zoom or at individual congregations as part of in-person Bible studies or fellowship time.
We are also making the shift in living with COVID. It remains a concern. And yet the gripping terror that first assailed us in 2020 at the thought of COVID is being replaced with an awareness that it is here to stay. So too is the need for our caring actions towards another…we continue to pray for each other when someone succumbs to it and encourage individuals to stay home when ill.
Yes, the days are once again getting shorter and the evenings cooler. And we are growing in our maturity of dealing with the ebb and flow that our journey is taking us on. Father Richard Roher shared in his meditation A Ripening Mind and Heart, a concept called ripening. It is a process he describes for aging well. The transition we make from being anxious about everything to an awareness of patient learning. Here is how he applied it to our spirituality:
“If we are to speak of a spirituality of ripening, we need to recognize that it is always characterized by an increasing tolerance for ambiguity, a growing sense of subtlety, an ever-larger ability to include and allow, and a capacity to live with contradictions and even to love them! I cannot imagine any other way of coming to those broad horizons except through many trials, unsolvable paradoxes, and errors in trying to resolve them.”
Together we are learning this process of ripening. As individuals, as a ministry and as a community we are coming to terms with adapting and adjusting to the changes. May we continue to be guided by the instructions Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica on how to faithfully navigate this journey:
Be joyful always,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)
In service together,
 Richard Rohr, “A Ripening Mind and Heart,” Center for Action and Contemplation, September 18, 2022, accessed September 18, 2022, https://cac.org/daily-mediations/a-ripening-mind-and-heart-2022-09-18/.
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773