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Showing posts from March, 2020

Deep and wide

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Daily Devotion - March 31 I will send a brief message each day while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara I'm thinking today about the Body of Christ - that community that transcends all human boundaries- including time and space- connecting us with those gone before and those all over the world.  I'm thinking about how we are planted and tended to by God, how we care for each other, how vast and unending this connection is. We are all in this life with and for each other.  The photo above is of the space we use for prayers in our zoom worship services. Instead of our prayer candles in sand, we're repurposing an Advent (with Lent extension!) "wreath." Next to it is our church Peace Plant.   This plant was given to me as an ordination and goodbye gift by First Presbyterian Church in South St. Paul in 2006.  When I joined up with LNPC to be your pastor in 2008, this plant was a sad small, half-dead version of itself that had long since stopped bloomi

How it begins and ends

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Daily Devotion - March 29 I will send a brief message each day (except Mondays) while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara   John 11:17-45 Lazarus This week, when our MN lockdown began, Governor Walz explained how we are too late to flatten the curve. Now we are hoping to buy some time to get enough hospital beds in place  - even if they are in stadiums and hotels.  We are too late to keep the worst from happening, now we are just trying to extend its hit so we can be more prepared when it does.  When Jesus finally gets to the home of his dying friend, he’s not even a little too late; he’s  four days  too late.  There’s no extending or preparing; it’s over, not even close.  There’s no turning back. He was supposed to be there, and he wasn’t, and Lazarus died. Jesus, you’re too late. If you had only been here.  These are the closest people to Jesus.  He loves them, they are the ones that scripture says Jesus loves.  Other than the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loves” wh

Rain instead

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Daily Devotion - March 28 I will try to send a brief message each day (except Mondays) while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara my neighbor's tulips Have you stepped outside yet today, Minnesota friends? Do it. Then breathe in deeply. Again. It rained last night. And it is supposed to rain all weekend. We've been annoyed about that in my house -  we had big weekend plans to be outside. We cleaned the yard and "opened the deck" last night-  which is to say, we scrubbed it down and put out the deck furniture, moved the grill into place, ready for our first big outdoor meal this weekend. But we got rain instead. So much rain. All weekend long. This morning, though, first thing out of bed, I stepped outside and I breathed. My friend called it "fresh scrubbed air," and that's what it is.  That's what the unexpected feel of the cool, heavy, humid air on my skin and the deep earth smell did to me; it made me feel like this

Held

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Daily Devotion - March 27 I will try to send a brief message each day (except Mondays) while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara Yesterday a friend shared this poem, and we ended our online Adult Confirmation class with it last night. I love this poem so much. It is what  we are talking  about when we talk about  The Way of God and The Way of Fear.  This is  what we mean  when  we talk  about  Sabbath Wisdom . God is near to you today, beloved.  Right here, close. MARY OLIVER for CORONA TIMES (Thoughts after the poem  WILD GEESE ) By: Adrie Kusserow You do not have to become totally zen, You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better, your body slimmer, your children more creative. You do not have to “maximize its benefits” By using this time to work even more, write the bestselling Corona Diaries, Or preach the gospel of ZOOM. You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn everything capitalism has taught you, (That you are nothing if not

Anxiety - a reasonable response

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Daily Devotion - March 26 I will try to send a brief message each day while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara I like to tell this a lot, so you've probably heard it from me, but here I go again. A couple of years ago, on a road trip, I listened to a wonderful  On Being podcast  in which Krista Tippett interviewed Benedictine Monk  David Steindl-Rast , who talks about the power of gratitude to reconnect us to God and each other, to ground us again in what is real. But what stuck out to me most in this interview is how he answered her when she asked him about his perspective of living in a time where things seem so precarious and terrible. She couldn't have known what was coming in 2020.  Nevertheless, his words made such an impact on me then, that I kept stopping and rewinding the podcast to hear them again, (while my kids groaned behind me in the car and told me to quit it). This is what he said: We must acknowledge our anxiety...  We must acknowle

Blessed are those who Mourn

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Daily Devotion - March 25 I will try to send a brief message to my congregation each day (except  Mondays)  while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara This morning I awoke to a message from a friend, about her 14 year old. "He won’t do school work. Won’t leave his room. Won’t shower. Won’t take a walk because what’s the point. I don’t know what to do. And I don’t have anything to motivate him. Or anything to take away when he won’t do schoolwork. This sucks." I knew what she was talking about.  This was my daughter, briefly the other day. I laid her in front of an episode of Nova and we counted that as school.  It was me briefly, (a different day, thankfully than her) and I closed the door and watched 6 straight episodes of "Good Girls."  But today I had some perspective. Her son is meeting a need. In  NVC , we talk about how  needs are qualities that contribute to the flourishing of life,  shared by all human beings.  One of those is the need to

Keep Walking...

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Daily Devotion - March 24 I will try to send a brief message to my congregation each day (except Mondays) while we are pausing gathering in person.  - Kara On Sunday afternoon - when we were all in our Sabbath time, I went on a walk in my neighborhood with Andy.  Some neighbor had placed these near the sidewalk, so you read the whole message by walking by. It was so beautiful - imagining someone sitting down and creating this, one word at a time, paint and wood, time and love, caring enough about the rest of us to set them out to be a blessing to us all. The Kingdom of God is like this. CONNECTING RITUAL: Perhaps  tomorrow when we wake up , whatever time that is in each of our homes, we might all receive this blessing, and so join our souls: Peace Within May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May

Be Here Now

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Daily Devotion - March 22 I will try to send a brief message  to my congregation each day while we are pausing gathering in person. Today's is the sermon from our  online  church gathering. - Kara  Luke 10:38-42 Martha I was having an anxiety moment this week on the phone with my sister. This is a surreal reality we are living in, where there is no end in sight, where the threat looms, the numbers climb, the scenarios unfold, and none of them rosy. The losses pile up, big ones and little ones, the pressures build up, big ones and little ones. And life as we’ve known it has ground to a screeching halt.  An unfathomable stop. And the questions loom: What happens with school? With the economy? When we start getting sick or losing those we love? What happens to the vacations we had been saving for? To the job we had just gotten? To the comfortable, familiar rhythms of life?  Haircuts, and dentist appointments, and movie theaters, and coffee shops?  What are we going to do? 

Welcoming ourselves

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Daily Devotion - March 20 I will try to send a brief message to my congregation each day while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara   I have been repeating my sister's words to myself all day today: "We have grace for what is actually happening. Never for what might be." I felt that grace today.   I realized in some ways, I have been blocking myself from receiving that grace. I have been using productivity as armor - if I keep busy I don't have to feel my disappointment, my fear, my anxiety, my cabin fever.   If I keep busy I don't have to feel the discomfort of being.   Today I unclenched a little bit. I tried to let the feelings come in a little more. And I tried to slow down and practice the gentleness I encouraged you all to give yourselves yesterday. What if we gently welcomed the upheaval of emotions?  This is an unprecedented situation. Feelings will come without warning, and they will likely surprise you.  Here