People who live north of Hwy 29, especially north of Hwy 8, said, “Wait, what? More time outside?”
Winter lasts a few weeks longer up here. It’s pretty much gone now; a few stubborn piles of snow can be found. But those last two weeks of March and much of April still felt like winter.
This put a crimp in my efforts to get some exercise. No gym/fitness center (treadmill/bike), spotty snowshoeing (due to the never-ending melt/freeze/melt/freeze cycle), and challenging conditions for walking/hiking (translation = ice) led me to walk through our Trinity campus several times on a daily basis.
The place is mostly empty in the afternoons. So, come along with me on my (almost) daily “prayer walk” through the Trinity campus. Trinity family, you may remember some of these sights (it’s been a while, I know). Those of you who’ve never been here, well, read on.
420 steps. 1/6 of a mile. 3 minutes and 30 seconds. That’s the length in distance and time of one “lap” through Trinity Lutheran Church and School. I averaged 12-15 laps each day. I typically listen to an audiobook whenever I’m walking, however, the first two laps of each walk inside the Trinity complex gave me an opportunity to pray and reflect upon our Lord and his grace upon our Trinity family.
I start at the front church doors, head through the welcome center and into the fellowship hall. All have been eerily quiet over the past six weeks – no gatherings, no conversations, no fellowship, no Bible study. But I remember all of these opportunities well, and the people who participate. I thank God for them all and ask the Lord to keep all safe until we can gather again.
Then I travel through the hall that connects church and school, past a large representation of our Mission Statement (in short: Teach, Train, Tell) and past the stained glass window pictured above. It’s from the original downtown Minocqua church and quite appropriate for the entrance to the school.
Once inside the school, I walk around the gym, then down the school hallway. On the right, in order, are the classrooms of Mrs. Wieting, Miss Wentker, and Mrs. Wetterau. Many reminders of the children they teach are still evident: pictures, shoes, snowpants, etc. I think of them, ask God to watch over them all – students, parents, and teachers. At the end of the hall is our church/school secretary’s office (Mrs. Richardson’s domain), as well as principal Mr. Wieting’s office and classroom.
Then it’s back down the school hallway, through the connecting corridor, past the church kitchen and into the church by way of the door on the right-hand side. As I travel down the far right side aisle, I see symbols of God’s work and presence throughout: the stained glass windows, the baptismal font, the altar, the pulpit, the large cross. Here, many thousands have heard the Word and received the Holy Supper. Here, hundreds have been baptized and confirmed, married and buried. I offer thanks for God’s rich grace and ask him to speed the day when Word and Sacrament will be available in public worship again.
When I arrive at the front of the church I turn left and head to the center aisle, then left again. As I walk toward the fellowship hall, I see the empty pews in all of their glory, but I also “see” many of you (our Trinity family). You are creatures of habit. Many of you sit in the same (or close to it) location, and you attend the same service each weekend. You’re still attending, growing in faith through online worship and personal study, and look forward to returning.
The lap quickly comes to an end as I reach the front doors of the church; locked now, for nearly six weeks. But God’s Word isn’t bound; he is accomplishing amazing things during this time. The Lord is accomplishing exactly what he wants during this time. Of this I am confident, and for this I offer thanks.
The weather has definitely turned more Spring-like – biking/walking/hiking/fishing are all available now. (14 mile bike ride yesterday, Opening Day of fishing tomorrow – forecast is sunny and 69 degrees!) But I’ll always be grateful for these (almost) daily prayer walks through Trinity Lutheran Church and School.
Scripture is filled with encouragement to pray and the Lord’s promise of blessing when we do. An ever-so-brief sampling (all are NIV84):
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
- “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
- In an intriguing Scripture that indicates increasing intensity, Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
30 Days of Gratitude:
#30 – For this simple, daily exercise to express gratitude throughout the month of
April. It’s been beneficial for my heart and soul and perspective. I’m going
to continue, but privately. I will be writing all of these down for that
Blessings Jar (available soon in the Welcome Center).
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand