This is one of the questions in the Rite of Installation of a Pastor:
Will you be diligent in your study of the holy scriptures
and in your use of the means of grace?
Will you love, serve, and pray for God’s people,
nourish them with the word and sacraments,
and lead them by your own example in faithful service and holy living?
I will, and I ask God to help me.
I do pray for you, people of God in Zion.
You are remembered as I compose Sunday’s “Prayers for the People.” I respond to your requests in prayer. We have shared prayers in hospital rooms and in my office space. Often times you are in my early morning prayers, called out by name or community. I have been caught up “at all times and in all places” during the Holy Meal, giving thanks for those who have channeled God’s grace and love. I will even pray for you as I share the bread, speaking the promise of God’s “for you.”
And, I confess, sometimes my prayers are for your patience and forgiveness.
I am writing, requesting your help in changing my prayer life. Rather than praying for you; may I pray with you? Is there a time or place in the near future when we can visit? It would be my privilege to meet in your home or office or favorite café.
In the meantime, please pray for me.
In and through Christ,
+ Pastor Steve Klemz
office: 801 582 2321
cell: 801 414 4833
We are back at work. Life has returned to normal. Lights that adorned houses in my neighborhood
since Halloween are now extinguished. Christmas music has gone silent. Stores are advertising Valentine’s
Day. And it’s only the sixth day of Christmas. It feels like it all went so fast, a brief flash of silent
light and then business as usual
Without candles and the singing, it’s a bit more difficult to open ourselves to the miraculous, indwelling
of Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us. It feels like ordinary life, which, of course, is what Jesus came to:
Life. It is not our Christmas card picture of life, but real, every-day regular life. It is not even a comfortable
life but the life of a homeless refugee family.
Here’s the real miracle of Christmas: In and through the Christ Child, God is besides us and within us
and for us all the time. Remember John the Gospel writer’s Christmas message for us:
What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. – John 1:4-5
In receiving this life and light, Johns says that we have received grace upon grace.
Thank you for the ways you have channeled this grace, one with another, in our holy days and holidays
and ordinary, challenging days. Whatever our resolutions, and whatever this year brings, live in the joy
that God is with us. This grace is sufficient, it is enough. Now we can get on with the living of these
days, feeding the hungry, sharing peace with the troubled, welcoming the stranger --- or whatever else
those who are least among us may from time to time require.
I am thankful for this moment. I will use it as an Advent exercise. “Come, Lord Jesus,” I will pray. Then
in the hushed reverence, I will listen, for a full minute.
+Pastor Steve Klemz
The most powerful moment in the movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, happens
when, for a full minute, nothing happens.
In the scene leading up to the moment, Fred Rogers and a journalist are sitting in a downtown Chinese restaurant. The journalist is in crisis. “Mister” Rogers asks his struggling friend to join him in an exercise.
“We’ll just take a minute and think about all the people who loved us into being,” Rogers quietly suggests.
“I can’t do that,” replied his troubled friend.
“They will come to you,” he assures him. “Just one minute of silence.”
The camera slowly pans the restaurant. After a few moments, the camera shot rests on Rogers’ face. He turns his head ever so slightly until he is looking straight at the camera --- straight at us.
We are inside a full minute when no words are spoken. We notice how silence envelopes the restaurant and now, all of us in the theater. It is profound.
“Thank you for doing it with me,” Rogers says, “I feel so much better.”
Norma and I agreed. Unwittingly, we had participated in a moment of mindful meditation.
Mister Rogers did not ask us to be grateful for the people who come to mind in those 60 seconds. He simply asks us to be open to whoever comes. No judging.
I am thankful for this moment. I will use it as an Advent exercise. “Come, Lord Jesus,” I will pray. Then in the hushed reverence, I will listen, for a full minute.
Who knows? Maybe Jesus will be as far away as the word, “come.” And, perhaps, somehow I will feel so much better, resting in a minute of silence.
+ Pastor Steve Klemz
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
CONNECTING THROUGH GRACE
We are a Reconciling in Christ community. All are welcome!
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
1070 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108