For my first piece in the Faith newsletter, I will share a reflection with you from this past weekend in which Jen and I backpacked up to Mission Falls (a.k.a. Horsetail Falls). Jen and I made the steep hike with our hiking packs full and our dog, Pericles, in tow. With bear spray easily accessible, we hiked all the way up to the falls and then continued on toward Lucifer Lake by following the trails above the falls. The hike, as you might know, gets even steeper at that point and started to wear on us pretty quickly. To top things off, after we had hiked and sweat, and sweat some more, the trail seemed to simply disappear! Bushwhacking in the brush above the falls, we were perturbed to find that we had somehow missed the actual trail up to the lake and, upon further searching, could not seem to locate it anywhere. Needing to camp where there was easy access to water, we decided to hike back to the top of the falls and nestle out a spot for the night there. This ended up being a wonderful turn of events as we spent the night on a rocky outcropping right above the water with one of the most splendid views of the world I have ever had.
While there, perched on that rocky outcropping, gazing on the falls and valley below while the sun waned from its peak in the sky, I reflected on the name of the falls below me, the mountains around me and the valley in the distance- Mission. For me personally, the mission of God has led me to and fro, to the other side of the world and back again, ultimately leading my wife and me here. I find the region to be aptly named for my presence here and our presence together as church. We work together not solely out of human concerns or personal objectives, but for the greater mission which God has placed on our lives. The mission of God surrounds us, leading us through our everyday lives and binds us together as church in all that we do together.
From the inception of the first Christian church in the world, Jesus has called us to mission toward the world. Right before ascending into heaven in the book of Acts, Jesus told the early apostles how they were to be as the church in the world. “…you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). So it is for us still today. Though like me hiking above the falls we may get lost from our way from time to time, God’s mission continues to surround us and secure us with beautiful hope for our lives. It is easy to get lost, mired down with distrust, despair and even hatred at the world around us and the ones we love. But God brings us back, time and time again, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to once again see the reality of God’s mission in the world.
Faith Lutheran Church is an extension of God’s mission in the world, in the aptly named “Mission” Valley. Everyday that we exist and continue in our ministry, we continue as witnesses to God’s mission in the world. Every Sunday we gather, every time we greet with love in Christ’s name, and every time we welcome someone to hear the Gospel, we are missionaries for God. May God’s mission guide our future together, keeping us in His grace as witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the earth”!