2/16 - Jesus Calls His First Disciples

. Posted in 2013 Lenten Readings




18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers; Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-20]

             Last fall a young pastor truly became a “fisher of men.” Unafraid to dream big he proposed an experience that we as a church had not thought of for a while --- to join the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering with our teenage members. This was not a few hundred miles away but in New Orleans far from parental control. So his plan began.

With a birds’ eye view and some reflection on how he helped to mold this youth group together I watched as he started to make our teenagers more in control of their confirmation meetings. Guiding them to plan “international dinners”, try prayer mazes, and youth sleepover missions fostering discipleship along the way.

I watched as he soothed parent’s souls with meetings, hats, phone lists and the help of Sue Hudson creating a cocoon of love and trust so that we would release our children to the hands of new experiences and engage in worship with their peers on a monumental level. Behind the scenes our members came forward and realized that such an experience could enlighten the children of this church to see their relationship with God in new ways and they sponsored our children; an act of discipleship that has touched my heart forever.

I watched through tweets, live videos, and Face book our children encounter thousands of “fish” to know that they are not Lutherans alone at Immanuel Lutheran in Holden. I watched as teenagers were inspired by a SPIRIT that spoke to them, used their music, looked like them and valued them. They know for sure now that wherever they go they will meet people who love God just like them. This was peacemaking in action.

I watched as our children came home with ideas, experiences, and dreams to make the world a different place. Children who have God’s action in their heart. Children who have God’s courage guiding them. Children who can reach into their soul and pull out this experience to guide them when decisions are difficult. Children able to engage in justice as they grow into adults.

Thank you Immanuel for being a congregation with vision and hope for our youth, thank you for daring to accept new people and experiences into our congregation so we may grow in our faith.

Submitted by Sherilynne Parretti