Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect and pray with us.
I want to share with you my theology of life. It's what I call my "bumper sticker theology." I want you to think about the back bumper of a car. On the left corner there's a bumper sticker that says something like "Bad things happen". Something like "stuff happens." Something like "sh-tuff happens." It actually says "it happens". Sometimes - a lot of the time - life happens, and part of it is the "it" of life. Struggles. Bad things. Heart ache. Brokenness. The storms of life. I don't believe the "it" of life is God ordained, or God orchestrated. "It" just happens.
But there's more. Go back to the bumper. On the right side there's another bumper sticker. This one reading "grace happens". Grace - which is love and care and comfort and acceptance and peace and being embraced by God - grace happens. Grace, which Pastor Greg Meyer of Jacob's Well in Minneapolis defines as "God loves you, because God loves you, because God loves you." Read that last line out loud. (I'm serious - do it now.) Now read it out loud again, changing the pronoun "you" to the pronoun "me". That's grace.
So here's my theology of life: We live our lives in the tension between "it happening" and "grace happening". That's where our stories intersect with God's story.
I'm sharing this as we are coming up to July 2nd. And a lot of "it" has happened on July 2nd at VLM the past few years. A powerful storm came through two years ago which uprooted towering trees around Camp Hiawatha, knocking out power and creating quite the mess. Last year on July 2nd five of our counselors were in a car accident shortly after they left Camp Vermilion for a holiday break. One died. One critically injured. So much "it" happening! But in the midst of all the "it" of life, grace happened too. When the storm came there were no campers at Hiawatha. (Thank you God!) And the people at the camp for a retreat were skilled with chainsaws and got right to work. We shifted some campers around the next week so they still had their VLM camping experience. After the "it" of the accident last year, grace was experienced through the love of God coming through the community of faith, both at and beyond our camps. In the "it" of life there is no better place to be than surrounded by faith-filled people, whose tears express God's tears, and whose embrace is God's embrace. Yes - in the midst of the "it" of life, God is present holding us. Grace happens.
Remember the story about Jesus walking on the water? The disciples were in a boat, and all of the sudden they see Jesus coming out to them. They were afraid. The "it of life does that. And Peter - the bold one - said "Lord if it is you, command me to come out to you on the water." And now I continue in the words of scripture, from the 14th chapter of Matthew. "..29Jesus said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
In the midst of the "it" of life, when he was sinking, Peter experienced grace happening. Jesus reached out His hand, and caught Peter. He can do the same for us. He can and He will. It happens. Grace happens. May you experience grace happening in the midst of "it" happening.
-Rev. David N. Anderson
St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids, MN
VLM President of the Board