Reflections from the Holy Land-Week 3

Group 236

Before we were to witness history in the making during the ordination of the first Palestinian woman ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, now Rev. Sally Azar, we sat with the first woman General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation, Dr. Anne Burghardt. She reflected upon the work of this small Lutheran church in the Holy Land and how significant its presence is to the land of the living stones. Dr. Burghardt noted, “It’s not always the numbers that matter. What matters is the impact.”

In this season of Lent, I’m certain many of us are looking into our pews, hearts, and/or our daily lives and are praying for more. If you’re a deacon or pastor, you may be praying for more people, more families, more resources… If you’re a lay leader living out your vocation in the world, you may be praying for more certainty, health, ability, support… 


We’re all praying for something more; more of the thing that is evidently lacking or not as prevalent as it once was. I dare say some of us may even be praying for more confidence and faith in the One who promises to provide and never leave our side. If this rings true for you, consider Dr. Burghardt’s insight. We may be in a season of highlighting the “half-empty” perspective of our lives and ministries and haven’t given ourselves the opportunity to change the vantage point and notice the fullness and possibilities of impact with less.

Here’s what I’ve learned and would like to share with you; God is active even, and especially, as we journey toward the cross; even as we experience pruning as loss and grieve what once was. It’s in this season that Jesus opens our eyes to what truly matters: not numbers, but impact; not just resources, but relationships, not certainty, but faith. It’s in this season that the Holy Spirit strengthens and empowers us for the inevitable impact of Her move in and through us. Yes, us. You and me; the ones also called to make history and have a significant presence among the living: the ones called to live and serve for such a time as this- of all times.

Once more I pray, may we grant ourselves permission to grieve unapologetically while we also believe God’s promises and boldly trust in God’s company along the way… with God’s help and in Jesus’ name. Amen.



En Cristo,

Bp. Leila