Pastor Mark Harris’ Page


But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off 
have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

Craving Togetherness

Thousands of soldiers and nearly one hundred catapults encircled the fortified city. Though one could seldom hear a clash of swords or the battle cry of a charging platoon, the evidence and effects of war permeated the land. Days had become weeks. Weeks, in their turn, had given way to months. The vast army which encamped around the city gave no indication that retreat—or relief—would occur any time soon. For the invading forces, both fresh supplies and fresh troops arrived with regularity. In contrast, the citizenry within the slowly cracking walls had begun to feel the strain of a relentless blockade. Not only were supplies dwindling, but each passing moment brought an elevated sense of anxiety and weariness. Such is the experience of enduring a siege.

This military term—siege—became prominent in my awareness a handful of weeks ago when one of my prayer partners employed the word during our conversation. He suggested that this very concept may indeed be one of the best ways to understand what it is so many of us are experiencing and enduring these days. The key to the success of a well executed siege resides not in the severity of the attack, but rather in its ability to enforce isolation over time. By keeping the blockaded target disconnected from any other source of support or supply, the aggressors are able to compel the surrender of those inside. 

In many ways this concept fits our reality—including our spiritual reality—so very well.  Surely you have felt the effects of this siege causing great disruption in your religious rhythms and relationships too. Though we are able to gather in the sanctuary once again, our experience of worship is certainly more physically limited than what we had known before. Many of our musical and fellowship groups in this congregation have not been able to get together in person for a long time… and sadly there is no clear “finish line” on our temporal horizon. The fatigue we feel as a result of this, as well as the great yearning to connect with others in our Cross family, are real. We are craving togetherness.

Our Creator did not design us to be solitary creatures. He made us for community. This strange season—this siege—will compel us either to surrender or to adapt. It is one of my sincere and pastoral prayers for our Cross family that we will faithfully follow the lead of our Savior Jesus through these trying times. Kyrie eleison! He has not been even slightly caught unaware by what we are enduring now. Even before we had the inclination to ask for His help, He was already preparing for us exactly what He knew we would need.

Inside the back cover of this September 2020 edition of Cross Ties, you will find a simple form you can fill out to join one of our brand new small groups. Please hear the sincerity in my tone as I write this to you: Our new Small Group Ministry is designed to help you break through the isolation of this siege, to provide you with the togetherness the Lord has designed you to enjoy as His child, and to promote your continued growth as a lifelong follower of Jesus. I highly recommend this opportunity to you and would be delighted to have you participate with us in this first season, Building Together, as we learn more fully what it means to be part of the community of Jesus.

—Pastor Mark Harris

ood      © 2017 Cross Lutheran Church, New Braunfels, TX.