Across the Pastor’s Desk: Faith needed in polarizing world

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, June 28, 2018

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Shane Koepke

Shane Koepke


There was a guy named Paul who is responsible for writing a lot of the New Testament in the Bible, mostly in the form of letters to people who were starting churches. Throughout all the letters, Paul often uses the phrase “…grace to you and peace from God…” and in an ever increasing, polarizing world, I think we could use these words. Not because they are just from the Bible, but because they came from a man who took a long journey to get to those words himself. Paul’s job prior to becoming a follower of Jesus was as someone who rooted out Christians and sent them to jail or worse, death. Paul’s journey was one that required God to work within him first — then, and only then, was he free to go and do. Too often we think that relationships should be bound to thinking one way or believing the same things. Wrong. Sometimes it takes tough conversations bound in grace and peace that give us freedom to move forward in healthy and productive ways. Grace and peace founded in God aren’t bad ground rules for a relationship.

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I would even go so far as to say that we must use grace and peace with ourselves as we encounter our own faith journey. A few years ago a friend of mine called in tears because she had been publicly shamed for saying that sometimes she has doubts in her faith. The person, rather than being grace-filled or peace-filled, chose to tell her how they “never doubted” their faith. Unlikely. Highly unlikely. The reality of faith is that it is a journey, with highs and lows, confidence and doubt. And, if you read any story of great leaders in  the Bible you’ll find it’s true: Moses, Job and Mary all had doubt and yet God still found them leaders nonetheless.

I pray as you encounter the unbelievable and the absurd, even the things you would rather avoid, you might have “grace and peace from God” for the journey.

Shane Koepke is a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.