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Sharing love and suffering with Henri Nouwen’s Wounded Healers

All of us have been broken by something, but God puts us back together with the cross

Tim Mason
Tim Mason

Incarnation Lutheran Church

  • Contact: 16889 Espola Rd., Poway 858-487-2225 www.godamong.us
  • Membership: 400
  • Associate Pastor: Tim Mason
  • Age: 58
  • Born: St. Cloud, MN
  • Formation: University of Minnesota, Morehead State University, KY; Lutheran Northwestern (Lutheran-St. Paul) Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • Years Ordained: 27

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Tim Mason: Because God’s grace encompasses everything and God’s love is already here, I like to preach in a way that opens ears to the truth and joy that is all around us all the time. That’s the main thing. The joy, the grace, the love is here, even in the midst of all the terror and sadness we read about.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PM: One of my first memories, a missionary named Katie Clark visited our vacation Bible school to talk to us about working with children in Papua-New Guinea. I never forgot that. Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor, a pilot, that sort of thing — and I even finished my pre-med studies in college. But I could never get that memory of Katie Clark out of my head — and so I knew deep in my heart I wanted to be a missionary. In the end, I had to be truthful to that feeling. I could have done anything, but my heart said I have to be a missionary. That’s what I was born to do — whether I understood it or not. I would have rather been a seminary professor or international college professor; but when I was sent to Japan as a missionary, I realized I was an evangelist. I saw that in this way I could affect the world more, by being one who says to others, “God loves you.”

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PM: [Incarnation Lutheran’s Senior] Pastor Luther Symonds is very driven by mission-centered thinking ­— he thinks globally as well as locally. Globally, we’re helping street girls in Cameroon have a safe place to go so they’re not taken advantage of and abused, and we’re making real progress there. Locally, too, we do what we can with interfaith community services and caregiving ministries…. When you’re a caregiver, your faith comes alive and becomes real. If you don’t love someone, you won’t understand what love is, and if you don’t walk with someone through that valley, you’re not going to understand the depths of God’s grace.

SDR: What book has had the greatest impact on your ministry?

PM: Anything by Henri Nouwen, but especially Wounded Healers. That’s who we are — all of us have been broken by something, but God puts us back together with the cross, and we understand that fact by sharing love and suffering together. By doing that, serving others, we heal each other.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: Jesus says, “I have a place for you,” and we don’t know whether there is going to be a bright light or whatever. But when we die, we’re going to be recreated, made healthy, and welcomed, no matter who we are. Jesus has a place for us. We have enough hell right now — loneliness, despair, apathy. If Jesus can say to a criminal, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” and if Jesus can heal an enemy of his people, the centurion’s servant, then hell’s been dealt with. Those who reject Jesus make their own decisions, but that has nothing to do with what Jesus did on the cross… I think some people are going to be in for a very pleasant surprise.

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Tim Mason
Tim Mason

Incarnation Lutheran Church

  • Contact: 16889 Espola Rd., Poway 858-487-2225 www.godamong.us
  • Membership: 400
  • Associate Pastor: Tim Mason
  • Age: 58
  • Born: St. Cloud, MN
  • Formation: University of Minnesota, Morehead State University, KY; Lutheran Northwestern (Lutheran-St. Paul) Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • Years Ordained: 27

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Tim Mason: Because God’s grace encompasses everything and God’s love is already here, I like to preach in a way that opens ears to the truth and joy that is all around us all the time. That’s the main thing. The joy, the grace, the love is here, even in the midst of all the terror and sadness we read about.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PM: One of my first memories, a missionary named Katie Clark visited our vacation Bible school to talk to us about working with children in Papua-New Guinea. I never forgot that. Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor, a pilot, that sort of thing — and I even finished my pre-med studies in college. But I could never get that memory of Katie Clark out of my head — and so I knew deep in my heart I wanted to be a missionary. In the end, I had to be truthful to that feeling. I could have done anything, but my heart said I have to be a missionary. That’s what I was born to do — whether I understood it or not. I would have rather been a seminary professor or international college professor; but when I was sent to Japan as a missionary, I realized I was an evangelist. I saw that in this way I could affect the world more, by being one who says to others, “God loves you.”

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PM: [Incarnation Lutheran’s Senior] Pastor Luther Symonds is very driven by mission-centered thinking ­— he thinks globally as well as locally. Globally, we’re helping street girls in Cameroon have a safe place to go so they’re not taken advantage of and abused, and we’re making real progress there. Locally, too, we do what we can with interfaith community services and caregiving ministries…. When you’re a caregiver, your faith comes alive and becomes real. If you don’t love someone, you won’t understand what love is, and if you don’t walk with someone through that valley, you’re not going to understand the depths of God’s grace.

SDR: What book has had the greatest impact on your ministry?

PM: Anything by Henri Nouwen, but especially Wounded Healers. That’s who we are — all of us have been broken by something, but God puts us back together with the cross, and we understand that fact by sharing love and suffering together. By doing that, serving others, we heal each other.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: Jesus says, “I have a place for you,” and we don’t know whether there is going to be a bright light or whatever. But when we die, we’re going to be recreated, made healthy, and welcomed, no matter who we are. Jesus has a place for us. We have enough hell right now — loneliness, despair, apathy. If Jesus can say to a criminal, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” and if Jesus can heal an enemy of his people, the centurion’s servant, then hell’s been dealt with. Those who reject Jesus make their own decisions, but that has nothing to do with what Jesus did on the cross… I think some people are going to be in for a very pleasant surprise.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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