Weary Sometimes, But Never Alone

A colleague of mine in the ELCA’s Conference of Bishops posted a beautiful prayer today. It’s called, “A Prayer For: The Exhausted.” I shared an image of the prayer on my Facebook page as soon as I saw it. It spoke to me, especially in light of the fact that I’m attempting to take a few days off for the first time in several weeks. I’m not sure if I’m exhausted, but I’m definitely a little tired. As I’ve offered this prayer today, Jesus’ words from Matthew’s gospel echo between the prayer’s poetic verses.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30)

Being called to serve in the church is difficult in the best of times. I’m not sure what kind of times we are walking through today, but the best of times might not be the first descriptive word most pastors, deacons, church staff, or volunteer church leaders would use? This truth is compounded by the ongoing reality of COVID-19; our daily struggle to navigate digital and in-person worlds; the seemingly unending cycle of political rhetoric; and a million other things that seek our attention. In my first few months serving as a Bishop, the conversations I’ve had with church leaders usually don’t involve joyful exhortations because everything is going exactly as they had planned.

But God is faithful. And God is still God. Jesus is still Jesus. And Jesus will always be our Savior. May Jesus’ words in Matthew’s gospel remind us that we don’t walk this journey alone – in the best of times and in every other time that we encounter along the way. As tired, or maybe even exhausted, as we are sometimes, remember…we are never alone. Thanks be to God!

Together we pray…

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About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan. View all posts by Bishop Craig Schweitzer

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