A Message from Pastor Vern
“I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.” (Ephesians 3:19)
Love…. Christ’s love…. When you think about that love, the love of Jesus, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a spouse or partner. Maybe it’s the wisdom of a family member or neighbor that was shared with you sitting on front porch swing one Carolina summer evening. Maybe Christ’s love takes you to that view of standing in the surf looking out to the horizon at the beach, or the endless canvass of those rolling blue ridge mountains from a cabin. Maybe Christ’s love is in the smell and taste of granny’s apple dumplings or broccoli casserole. Maybe Christ’s love is that classmate that cried with you when your teammate died in an accident. Maybe Christ’s love is in the pastor, counselor, or friend who held space with you as you opened up for the first time about your parent who abused you at home, or helped guide you through the conversation of if your marriage be reconciled or not. Maybe Christ’s love surrounds you in the melody of singing “Thine is the Glory” on an Easter morning or “Silent Night” in the darkness of a candlelit room at Christmas where the only discernable color was the vibrant red of 100 poinsettias.
Has an experience or moment been triggered in your mind? An experience where Christ’s love was palpable? Ephesians 3:19 is an invitation to experience the boundless love of Jesus, so wonderful that it can’t be measured. This Ephesians text is also the central text for an experience that several of our young people at St. Mark’s are going to have the opportunity to take part in - The ELCA Youth Gathering in the summer of 2022.
Next summer, thousands of 8th-12th graders from all across the country will gather in the Lutheran mecca known as Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Minnesota, at US Bank field (home of the Minnesota Vikings) where they will have the opportunity, the experience to hear, see, know, and feel Christ’s boundless love for them through worship, through service, through prayer, and through building and nurturing relationships.
My hope and prayer is that just as that moment that came to your mind earlier that you quickly recalled, that moment of knowing Christ’s love, this experience, this Youth Gathering will be one of those moments in the minds of our young people for the rest of their lives where they say - “There, at US Bank field, in Minneapolis, in the summer of 2022, that is where I experienced Christ’s love.”
In months to come you are going to hear A LOT about Youth Gathering. You will have an opportunity to be a part of making this experience a reality for 8th-12th graders at St. Mark’s. We will need your prayers, your financial generosity and participation in fundraising, your encouragement and words of support, all so that just as you were able to recall that moment where Christ’s boundless love flooded your memory, together we can create that experience for Christ’s boundless love to be experienced by some of the youth among us.
Think again about that moment where you experienced Christ’s love… and know that love that you felt then, is with you right now, wherever you are, and is with you wherever you go.
Peace to you in the boundless love of Christ,