For I am convinced that neither death, nor life…nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)

These words from the Apostle Paul are a balm for those who are afraid, angry, and anxious because

everything we know is slipping away. Paul – the Apostle – neither shies away from speaking the truth

in love nor pulls the wool over the eyes of those to whom he writes. He recognizes the power of

grief in the lives of those who follow Jesus and in the lives of congregations who are facing a difficult

reality about their future. Yet, he doesn’t shy away from speaking the truth in love because his

message is rooted in the kind of love that comes from God. Though everything else will eventually

pass away, “love never ends.” (1 Cor. 13:8a) Though we cling for dear life to prevent being cut off

from the things we hold most dear, nothing “…will be able to separate us from the love of God in

Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:39)


Whatever we face, even if it’s the most difficult thing we could imagine, we can trust God is present

and at work among us in Jesus Christ. Even if everything we hold dear slips through our fingers, we

can trust we are held in God’s hands of love. God’s love will hold us close and near. God will neither

let us go nor walk away from us. Even if our future looks uncertain, we may grieve and give thanks

for what’s been. Yet we are also invited to look into the future with hope, for, “…God is for us…,”

and thus, “…who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31b) Nothing “…will [ever]…separate us from the love of

God.” (Rom. 8:39)


The late pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson once wrote that at the heart of things, the pastor’s

vocation is to keep congregations attentive to God. This is a very lovely way to frame the way I live

out my call among you as your interim pastor. Whatever else is going on in the life of the

congregation, God has called, gifted, ordained, and sent me to invite you to rest and revel in the

good news of God’s saving love for you in Jesus Christ. When all else seems like it could fall apart in

a moment’s notice, I get to proclaim the crazy ways of God present and at work among us. When I

speak, somehow the Spirit uses my words and stories to point you to the cross – the place where all

hell really did break loose – and the empty tomb – where God’s graciousness sets us free. Martin

Luther once wrote, “All this [Jesus Christ] does so that I may be his own.” I love this line; I am

transformed by the power of this good news. I thought I’d share it with you, so that, wherever and

however you are, you, too, might bask in the glow of this news which is about you and with you and

for you, no matter what. The power of this Gospel, through the work of the Holy Spirit, meets and

reaches you wherever and however you are, no matter what.


I recently ordered a book I hope to read in the coming months: Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing

American Society, One Zip Code at a Time by Seth Kaplan. What caught my attention is the adjective:

Fragile. I wonder if we would describe congregations this way in these times. When I think of this, I

wonder what God is up to among congregations where the Word is proclaimed, and the sacraments

administered so that Christ might be present and wholly graspable. In this time, in the life of this

congregation, could we understand ourselves as those through whom God’s “grace is sufficient,”

and whose “power is made perfect” not because we are somehow durable, but because of God’s

unconditional and durable grace? (2 Cor. 12:9a)

All the Grace,


Pastor Paul Lutter, Interim Pastor, Peace Lutheran Church