Light and Life

Just after the darkest time of the year, the earth rotates on its axis to bring the sun back into our lives, one day at a time. So, the season of Epiphany celebrates the Light that has come into the world. We will hear gospel texts about Jesus as the Light of the world. Specifically, the gospels read will be about the Baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist’s further testimony about the Christ, the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and the calling of the disciples. The month concludes with the Sermon on the Mount.

On Sat, Jan 21, there will be a Feed My Starving Children MOBILE PACKING Event at the Mpls Campus – the goal is to package 95,000 meals for people in need in Jamaica. Carol and I will be there along with our grandchildren. It is a great opportunity for an intergenerational service project. Join us! See page 4 for more information.

At the Mpls Campus, on Jan 29, we will welcome back to the pulpit the Rev. Craig E. Johnson, interim pastor at Mount Olivet from 2011 to 2014. We owe so much to Pastor Johnson for stabilizing and advancing the congregation following the sudden death of Rev. Paul Youngdahl. He is known for his excellent pulpit messages and engaging style. Come and give a warm welcome to Pastor Johnson.

2017 promises to be a banner year for Mount Olivet. We will launch a capital campaign for our West Campus to construct a new and exciting building to spur the growth of this already rapidly growing expression of Mount Olivet. And, will be launching a final push for the new Mpls Campus East Addition for music and education. Our theme might well be: Come and grow with us!

Most exciting of all will be becoming better acquainted with our Senior Pastor-Elect, David Lose, who will be making appearances at our two campuses on occasional Sunday mornings, interviewing staff members, and consulting widely about his strategic vision for Mount Olivet. His goal is to be prepared to “hit the ground running” when he officially arrives this summer.

In college, I had majors in English and History. I was a student of the poems of John Milton. In Lycidas, Milton reflects on the death of his friend, a young and faithful cleric. Milton uses the occasion to chastise lax clergy with whom he was acquainted:

Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least
That to the faithful herdman’s art belongs!

He later notes the consequences of their laxity, “The hungry sheep look up and are not fed … !”

I am gratified by the notes of appreciation I get for our pastors and their ministry, from the preaching and teaching they do to the faithful pastoral care visits they make in hospitals and homes. They are, each one, shepherds who care for the flock. They know the “herdsman’s art.” They have the heart of shepherds. They work diligently on the messages they prepare (lest the hungry be not fed)! I am proud to call them friends and colleagues.

Pastor Dennis J. Johnson
Interim Senior Pastor