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Pastors Column

By Pastor Lauri

Thankful for an Oil Spill!

One of the first things I did this morning as I entered my office in Ringsted was to put away the shell, pitcher, and oil used Sunday for baptism. My mind was somewhere else as I started these simple tasks. You may have already guessed what happened! The wooden container of frankincense slipped off the edge of the shelf and onto the counter splashing all over me. You would be able to smell me coming and going today! It got me thinking about this anointing oil and the power of being reminded all day that we are God’s people through baptism. In the Lutheran church (and other denominations) we use anointing oil at baptism and in some other life rituals. We also use it to bless the dying. This oil brought to Jesus by the wise men continues to be used to remind us, “Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever!”

In the Bible, oil is associated with the most solemn and awesome experiences of Old Testament religious and civil life. Oil was used as part of the ritual anointing to be set apart as a prophet, priest or king. The oil was referred to as “oil of gladness,” in keeping with the joyousness and thankfulness of the occasion. When oil was used God’s favor was shown especially when oil was used on the head. This oil showed unity with all those who had come before and those who would come after. In the New Testament we remember that Mary anointed Jesus, and at least two other places oil was used to anoint Jesus as the Messiah.

So this amazing oil will certainly give me a headache today but it will also remind me that as I go about my day, I am a child of God-a disciple of Jesus. What does that mean? It means that I can’t help but look for ways that I might show God’s love to those I encounter and find God’s creating activity in the world and be thankful for it. Since it is my goal today, here are some things I have been thankful for lately:

• Butterflies-They show up in front of my windshield and in our backyards to remind us that God continues to create and God will always say that creation is good!
• Presence- This is a gift to me and to the families who are grieving a loss. By being physically present, even when we don’t know what to say, we bring God’s love through ours.
• Time/Space-I have always been thankful for time and space to process joy, sorrow, love, hope etc. I have seen this lately when we give families the time they need before support is shared on social media. By waiting until the family shares online, we can give them this gift while they process and share their news with those closest to them.

Thankful for an oil spill today!
Pastor Lauri

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