calendar May 4, 2012 in Assembly, Bishop messages

‘Be God’s Dandelion Church!’

‘Be God’s Dandelion Church’

At the opening worship of the 2012 Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly, Bishop Claire Burkat compared the church to a dandelion.

“Just one bright yellow flower, when it’s done blooming yields hundreds of tiny seeds that parachute through the air and land to take root, starting the process all over again,” said Burkat.

The religious authorities of Jesus’ time thought they had dug out the roots of our faith, but the resurrection changed everything and hundreds of seeds were carried by the wind and planted everywhere. “Ecclesia Plantanda. The church was planted,” Burkat said.

Quoting 1 Corinthians 3:6, Burkat reminded the assembly that it is God who gives the growth, not us — and often in the most unexpected and inhospitable places.

Burkat said she is often asked about missions that are welcomed into the synod and then die.

“Let us remind ourselves and each other—The Gospel does not die when a church closes, painful and heartbreaking as that may be,” said Burkat.

No congregation can last forever, but even when a church dies seeds of witness to Christ are spread. The Gospel is spread across time and space. “Our denomination serves the Gospel,” said Burkat, “not the other way around.”

She told the Assembly about seeds of word and service currently being spread throughout the synod. Congregations like St. Paul, Telford are using Skype to engage in Bible study.  Zion, Flourtown uses and interactive wiki to teach confirmation. Prince of Peace, Philadelphia received a Wheat Ridge Ministries “Burst” grant in partnership with Lutheran Children and Family Service to temporarily resettle refugee families in a former parsonage. St. Paul, Red Hill is hosting “Table Talk,” an informal Bible discussion in new members homes. St. Peter, North Wales is assisting with the planting of a new Korean faith community.

“We are called to spread the Gospel,” Said Burkat. “Everyone is a potential dandelion seed who believes that the power of God through Jesus Christ springs eternal—anywhere, anytime, anyplace.”

Burkat told the story of Katniss, a teenage character from the popular movie, “The Hunger Games,” which pits teenagers against each other in a game of war. When she is tempted to give up, Katniss comes upon a dandelion.  She remembers her dead father who taught her to fight starvation by eating the greens and heads of dandelions.  For her, the dandelion is a sign of hope.

People are drawn to this story because of the hope, courage, and justice within Katniss’ story.  Likewise people are hungry for the message of Jesus Christ.

“You have that message,” said Burkat. “It is a seed planted within you. Let its leaves and flower nurture those who are hungry around you.”

“Live a dandelion faith! Be God’s dandelion church,” she said.