Sat, Aug 10, 2013
Day one of presentations from the dynamic Grace Place Lutheran Wellness Ministries team began with an opening Morning Prayer service led by Director of Christian Education, Joel Symmank. Dr. John Eckrich and Dr. David Ludwig then led the group through presentations discussing church-worker stress and burnout. In one of the statistics cited, it had been found that fully 80% of pastors and their wives will experience clinical depression at some point in their ministries. Depression is a taboo subject at times, but most people experience some type of depression at different times in their lives, such as the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or difficulties with present circumstances.
The presentations focused mainly on two aspects of the “Wheel of Wellness:” vocational wellness and relational wellness. Both of these areas of our lives have far reaching effects on our wellbeing and that of our families. In confronting our difficulties and our fears or stresses, we can look to our Baptisms and to God in Christ for us. The retreat will focus overall on all of the aspects of life that lead up to full wellness as they are centered in our Baptisms in Jesus Christ.
Struggles such as depression are a part of the Christian life. In fact, Jesus guarantees us that we will struggle with all kinds of difficulties. This is a part of the tension of living a life as a Christian in a fallen, broken world. It is a part of living as both saint and sinner at the same time (simul justus et peccator). In Christ, we have been declared righteous, holy, blessed, and blameless. In Christ we are children of the Heavenly Father. In Christ, we are whole and well and at rest. However, while all of those things are true of us in reality, we still live in the time before the ramifications of those truths have been fully revealed, and so we live with our sinful selves, the sinful world, and the brokenness brought on by sin. This affects our lives, our relationships, and our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Yet in Christ, no matter what we are experiencing at any given moment, we are still guaranteed that we are children of God. As children of God, we have been reconciled to Him through Jesus despite the stresses and sins of this life. Due to this reconciliation, we can now be reconciled to one another:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV).
After the presentations, there was time for noon prayer, lunch, and family time. In the afternoon, Joel played a concert for participants, which was a wonderful way to relax and enjoy each other. The day then closed with Evening Prayer before participants were able to choose a place in town for dinner.
- Pray for continued health for all participants, especially the children.
- Pray for continued benefit from the speakers and presentations.
- Pray for the healing and reconciliation given by God in Christ to be preached through all of the world.