Pastor Melody - August 14, 2022
Looking up in the sky, you can tell what kind of weather the day is going to bring, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it changes without much warning. That happened to us this week on vacation. We went to Michigan like we do every year. We go to this little town on the lake called Ludington. We love going to the beach. It has waves like the ocean, but it’s fresh water and no sharks. My family was enjoying the beach doing what we do best: some reading in the sun; some under umbrellas playing games; a few digging in the sand and a couple in the freezing water – that I didn’t touch! Then Gabe, my senior in high school, looked up at the cloudless sky and said, “It’s going to rain soon.” I thought he was crazy. There were blue skies as far as I could see except in the far-off distance where there were billows of grayish clouds. They seemed so far away from us that I didn’t think that it would rain anytime soon. Within fifteen minutes those far off clouds became darker and much closer. We started to pack up, and by the time we got the car all packed with our beach supplies, the sky was covered with dark, massive clouds. As soon as we closed the door to the rental, the rain poured down.
The clouds directed our day at the beach, and they directed our ancestors in the wilderness. While having lunch with a friend on Sunday, I was reminded of God’s actions with the Israelites in the wilderness. As most of the Confirmation youth know, the Exodus story is what I consider the most important story of the Old Testament. After God heard the cries of the Israelites when they were enslaved by the Egyptians and after God sent plagues and freed them, God guided them through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God guided them through the cloud to a particular place where they would camp for a few days or weeks. Then when the cloud moved, they moved. When they were where God guided them, they were cared for and protected.
This is how I strive to live my life – following where God is leading. Six and a half years ago, I came to Christ Lutheran, not because I was searching for a new call, not because I wanted to leave my church in Atlanta, but because I knew God was calling me here. The pillar of cloud had moved me to Charlotte. I have loved my time at Christ Lutheran. I loved participating in the lives of the children and youth as they grew in faith. Working alongside dedicated parents and volunteers has been a joy. Working with the passionate and Christ-filled staff of Christ Lutheran has been an amazing experience.
Now, I feel my cloud is moving. Where God is calling me next; I don’t know. But I do know that as the clouds guided us on the beach and as God guided the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, I expect God to guide me these next few months. I expect God to guide you, too. Christ Lutheran has always followed the calling of Christ and I know that mission will not stop. Children and youth will continue to grow in faith and God will be at work here in this place. This church follows the cloud of God’s guidance. As we walk, we are reminded together; God has never left us, never abandoned us. God has a plan, and we walk faithfully following.
Pastor Melody Simpkins