Across the Pastor’s Desk: Time for understanding others

Published 8:59 am Friday, January 27, 2017

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Eileen Woyen

Eileen Woyen is a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.

I didn’t vote for our current president.

Eileen Woyen

Eileen Woyen

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Now, before you stop reading and shout, “Oh, just another pastor talking about politics,” hear me out. Keep reading.

I haven’t had much luck in my voting predicting the next president, and I don’t want to talk about politics. I want to talk about how we interact with each other and the relationships we have.

Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, was facing a similar situation as many find ourselves today. People were not getting along. Isn’t it interesting how the Bible can speak to us?

Paul wrote, “Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’ or ‘I belong to Apollos’ or ‘I belong to Cephas’ or ‘I belong to Christ’ … for Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:10-12; 17-18)

There were many theological and ideological ideas going around in Paul’s day — just like now. People were forming themselves into camps — just like now.

Our world can always find a conflict somewhere. Remember, even God creates out of chaos. Conflict is going to be a part of our lives just like death and taxes. The question is how we react to the conflict in our lives.

My prayer and hope is that when conflict arises either in our family, at our schools, at our workplaces or even our government, that we would treat one another with civility. I pray that we will listen to one another. I pray that in our listening to one another we learn to respect each other.

We don’t have to agree.

We can agree to disagree. We can have a heavy conversation and have differing ideas, but we can also share a coffee or an ice cream cone afterwards.

I remember a sermon my pastor gave when I was in confirmation. As an eighth-grader, it made a huge impression. My pastor told us you don’t have to like everyone, but, because of Jesus, we must love one another.

Jesus died for everyone — those we agree with and those we don’t. Jesus loves everyone — those we like and those we don’t like. Jesus forgives everyone — even you and me.

A little bit about the Rev. Eileen Woyen

Eileen Woyen is the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. She is married to the Steven, a pastor at Our Savior’s in Lyle; and a grateful mother to Jake, 9, and Marty, 5. Woyen began her ministry in 2000 and her ministry with the good people of Trinity this September. Fun fact: She loves Ohio State football. Go Bucks!