Pastor’s Corner

Pastor Phil Thorsen

Pastor Phil Thorsen

St. Martin's Lutheran Church

 

Rev-flection – by Pastor Phil – the week of October 4, 2020 (but I just posted it here November 10, 2020

As some of you I was receiving Physical Therapy this past summer from an injury received while stepping off a ladder a bit awkwardly while decorating a tall Christmas tree in a church sanctuary (not at St. Martin’s 😊).  During the therapy I learned about a couple of things that contributed to my injured right knee.  The first was that when my left leg became about an inch shorter as result of my breaking it two days before my wedding 34 years ago, my right leg has been making small adjustments over the course of time in my right ankle, knee and hip as well as the muscles and tendons that hold them all together.  The second was that my flexibility in both legs, knees, hips, and ankles had decreased over the years (and I was never very flexible to begin with). 

Over a period of weeks, the physical therapists introduced as series of stretches and strengthening exercises for both legs.  It began with exercises in a swimming pool until my knee was strong enough to bear my weight without much pain.   After that, my therapy continued with more exercises at the Rehab Clinic.  I graduated from therapy last week with my right knee in much better shape.  But here’s the rub.  Now the onus is on me.  I need to continue the program of stretching and strengthening exercises.  It needs to become a daily practice because let’s face it as someone about to turn 60, I am on the downhill side of life’s rollercoaster. 

All of this got me thinking about my faith and my faith practices.  Have my practices and routines changed on account of this pandemic?  Yeah, sure, ya betcha!  How has my faith been stretched during since March 13th?  What exercises am I doing now, or need to do to help to stretch it?  And what strengthening exercises am I doing?  What ones do I do daily or 3 times a week or weekly?  These are just a few of the questions I have asked myself these past few weeks?  Trust me, it has not been an easy inventory to take, especially when the answer to a question is something like, “Well, only when I feel like it or when I notice I’m starting to hurt.” 

Next week I’ll talk about some of the faith practices that have been part of the Christian tradition since its birth.  In the meantime, I invite you to reflect on how your practices have changed since the onset of COVID (for better and for worse).  Make a list and notice the things have that been helpful, those you miss and cannot do because of the circumstances we find ourselves in because of the pandemic.  And if there are any you could do but have neglected for some reason, add those to you list as well. 

Remember, we are under the mercy and ultimately, everything will be well.

Power and peace,

Pastor Phil 

Pastor’s Note – August 25, 2020

While driving to or from St. Martin’s last week I heard an interview with Vivek H. Murthy.  He is a medical doctor who has just come out with a book titled: Together – The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.  During the discussion and in his book, he offers four key strategies he believes will help us not only to weather this COVID crisis but also to heal our social world far into the future.  I hope you find them as help as I am.—Pastor Phil

  1. Spend time each day with those you love. This is not limited to the people in your immediate household.  Reach out also to the other members of your lifeline via phone or, better yet, videoconference, so you can hear their voices and see their faces.  Devote at least fifteen minutes each day to connecting with those you most care about.
  2. Focus on each other. Try to eliminate distractions when interacting with others.  Forget about multitasking and give the other person the gift of your full attention, making eye contact, if possible, and genuinely listening.
  3. Embrace solitude. The first step toward building stronger connections with others is to build a stronger connection with oneself.  Solitude helps us do that by allowing us to check in with our own feelings and thoughts, to explore our creativity, to connect with nature.  Meditation, prayer, art music, and time spent outdoors can all be sources of solitary comfort and joy.
  4. Help and be helped. Service is a form of human connection that reminds us of our value and purpose in life.  Giving and receiving, both, strengthen our social bonds – checking on a neighbor, seeking advice, even just offering a smile to a stranger six feet away, all can make us stronger.

 

          Dr. Murthy goes on to tell how a physician mentor he had who would pause and take a deep breath before he entered a patient’s room, using those few seconds to remind himself how grateful he was for the change to help someone heal.  Today, we all share this opportunity.  Healthy relationships are essential as vaccines and ventilators for our global recovery. 

          He ends the introduction to the book with these words.  “This pandemic isn’t the first and won’t be the last time our social connections are tested, but it is rare for the whole world to face such a grave challenge simultaneously.  For all our difference, our shared experience is itself a bond.  We will have this memory in common for the rest of our lives.  And if we learn from this moment to be better together, we won’t just endure this crisis.  We will thrive.

 

 

 

 

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Contact or Visit Us

Church Office Phone

704-982-7644

Pastor Phone

828-612-1595 (call or text)

Physical Address

16592  St. Martin Road
Albemarle NC 28001

Mailing Address

PO Box 429
Oakboro, NC 28129

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Pastor Office Hours

Monday -Tuesday-Thursday 10:00am - 4:00pm, by appointment

Wednesday: Sermon and Bible Study Preparation Day

Friday: Day off