Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
I need help. I am so confused. I have always heard – and believed – the old axiom regarding March, "In like a lion and out like a lamb." Well, somebody forgot to tell nature that up here on the North Shore. I mean the wind was blowing so hard here that I began to wonder if the flag pole warranty was going to have to be put into effect. No worries as the warranty guarantee up to 70 mph. Still, it was windy enough that I had to hold onto the door when opening the truck door. And driving was an exhilarating experience, especially when exiting the tunnels up the shore and the wind hit full force. Still, that's what makes living up here interesting. I saw someone fly fishing in one of the stream beds. Now that's dedication. Interesting that the last of the month should be more like the first.
The sad news about the last is the last time I remember seeing Stew. It was December 2019, at our monthly Bay Area Ministerial Luncheon at the Northwoods. Stew Carlson, the former pastor at Sychar Lutheran Church in Silver Bay, was ever the gracious friend to all. I always ordered a double cheeseburger and fries, and Stew would always order his special sandwich. When asked if he would like fries or chips, Stew would mischievously grin and tell the waitress, “No, Chris will have enough fries for both of us.” And he was right, as usual. Many of you knew Stew as a dedicated - almost to the point of obsession - William Kelly High School Mariner fan. He not only loved his community, but he loved everyone in it. Stew also was not one to pass up an opportunity. I remember shortly after joining the ministers' group in Silver Bay, how Stew was able to "volunteer" me to assist in services at the Veterans Home and contribute articles to the Chronicle. There was no arm twisting. Stew had a God-given gift for inspiring others. He was also passionate about sharing his faith and had the blessed ability to relate to everyone he met. He will always be remembered for his eternally youthful and engaging smile. You just knew you were with a friend. Stew, you will always be missed.
Then there was also noted the first. That being the first ship of the season into Two Harbors port last week – the Indiana Harbor. We know it as a “thousand-footer” that regularly plies the Great Lakes. Actually, it is only 989 feet long, but who’s counting? Built in 1979, and can transport over 35,000 tons. What makes it special is that the ship’s arrival signified the beginning of a new shipping season and we got to see it as it passed our house. It can be the small things that give us hope and encouragement. The ship was a sign that normal shipping has begun again and everyday activities still go on.
Now we transition from the last week of March into the first week of April. I still think about the lion and lamb but in a different context. Particularly during this week, I think about the Lion of Judah and the Lamb
of God. This is the time we focus on the strength and sacrifice of Christ for all, and the message his resurrection has for all of us. Stew knew this message. He believed it, lived it, and shared it. If you also believe, then share this with others. If you have not heard this before, then ask someone to share it with you. You both will be encouraged.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
John 11:25-26 (NIV)
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
May you be blessed by God's word.