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Showing posts from June, 2020

Pastor Sabbath Retreat

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In a few weeks, I will be offering a thing. Spots are limited, and registration closes July 12.   Step away from the busy. Come receive the gift of rest. Please join me at the beautiful and serene Christ’s Peace House of Prayer  in Easton, Kansas July 29-31. You will be surrounded by woods, trails and fields, with delicious food, peace and quiet, and the time marked by sunrise, sunset, simple meals and optional prayer practices and journaling prompts.  Two day silent retreat. It's been adapted for COVID: We will have a short gathering via zoom beforehand to prepare, and afterwards to debrief, with a two day respite from the world in between. Chapel and grounds will be available for individual meditation. Social distancing precautions will be taken. Stay in a cabin by yourself, or a private room with bathroom in the lodge. As of now, there are 4 solo cabins remaining, and 4 rooms in the lodge. To find out more and register, go to rootcreative.org  and select the tab

True Freedom

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 28 This summer, I will share new devotions from time to time, and invite you to browse through previous devotions that have been shared on this blog. Romans 6:15-23 What then? Should we act disconnected from God and each other because we are not under the law but under grace?  Absolutely not! Don’t you know that you are either ruled over by division and brokenness that leads to death, or by living the way you were made to live, which leads to connection to God and each other? Thanks be to God, we who were once ruled over by division have become obedient from the heart to the message of true freedom that is now ours to share.  Having been set free from isolation and disconnection we are now ruled by our true connection with God and each other. Where once we found ourselves trapped in cycles of hostility, and greater and greater division and contempt, now we can be ruled by belonging to God and each other, for greater and greater connection and

Our Sabbath of Discomfort

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 25 This summer, I will share new devotions from time to time, and invite you to browse through the many devotions that have been posted on this blog  since March 16.   Matthew 6:33-34 says, "But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today." Every pastor and church I know is doing the hard work of shifting mindsets right now, out of the pull-out-all-the-stops, short-term, full-throttled approach we took when we thought this thing would go on for a few weeks, to a settle-in-and-find-sustainable-ways-to-continue mentality. One thing our session (church board) decided in May was to not even to discuss in-person gatherings in the church building until September 1. After thinking we should get a jumpstart on figuring some things out, we've decided that decisio

Context

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 18 We will share a devotion Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays through Fridays. - Kara Today the confirmation class and I met to talk about what we're reading in our Action Bibles.  These are funny pandemic-era gatherings, facetiming from wherever we are: in bedrooms, on porches, buckled into back seats of cars.  We talk about something that we thought was strange, or confusing, or interesting from the bible reading. We've made it into the wilderness with the Hebrews, and today one of them commented how over, and over, and over again, the Israelite people forgot that God takes care of them.  God keeps getting them out of impossible circumstances, and they say, "You're our God and we will always worship you!" Then the next page they've boiled down their jewelry and made an idol because it took Moses too long to get back from the mountain and they got impatient and anxious without a leader. But God stays faithful. And onc

It's ok to not be happy

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 17 We will share a devotion Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays through Fridays. - Kara I saw a fleeting headline today that Americans' happiness measure is the lowest it's been in over 50 years. I am not surprised. I feel it in myself. I had a burst of rally at the beginning of the pandemic - kicked it into productivity mode and met the challenge head on. Then it went on, and on, and on, and still there is no conceivable end in sight. Then the collective trauma swept in from another angle, as our city cried out about the death of George Floyd, and the issues of systemic racism and police brutality that we've circled around for decades were thrown into the open and are now being talked about with more honesty and clarity possibly than ever before.  It's feeling like an open wound we're really eager (and perhaps a bit impatient) to heal.  But this too has gone on a long time, centuries, and the pain of it will continue, even as

While we are weak

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 14 We will share a devotion Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays through Fridays. - Kara   Romans 5:1-8 Very often, we let fear tell us who we are instead of faith.  But,  while we were weak , Paul says, while we were helpless to earn a thing, unable on our own to choose anything but our own demise,  Christ died for us .    While we were enemies, God reconciled us to each other. God didn’t say  Get it a little more together first, and get back to me . God didn't say,  You're on your own with this one.   God said,  Now, you, just as you are, in the farthest from me and each other that you can be, and the most against me and each other that you can get, I choose you. I love you. I claim and forgive and welcome you. Christ took on our division from God, and our violence against each other, into God’s own self.  In his own human body, it was put to death, and with Christ we were raised to life, so that our relationship t

Tend Life

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 12 I will share a devotion Sundays, and Wednesdays through Fridays. - Kara I repotted the church peace plant yesterday. It had outgrown its pot - the one session planted it in nearly twelve years ago. You can read more about that plant  here . It made me think about how we are changing and growing during this, in ways we don't yet understand and maybe can't yet see. It made me wonder about what kinds of containers will support our life together in the chapters after this one. And it made me come back to the moment - it was also a tactile thing to do that used my body (it's heavy!) and needed my attention, and it wasn't crisis or worry or fatigue.  It was simple.  Instead of being consumed with the unknown, I was consciously tending life. I saw my hairdresser today for the first time since January (!) She had taken six weeks off for surgery just before the pandemic hit.  I texted her when she left telling her to go easy on

Passion for What is Possible

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 11 I will share a devotion Sundays, and Wednesdays through Fridays. - Kara David Steindl-Rast, in  Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer,  calls hope, "opennesss for a future that does not come later." He says, Some people imagine that hope is the highest degree of optimism, a kind of super-optimism.... A far more accurate picture would be the hope happens when the bottom drops out of pessimism.  We have nowhere to fall but into the ultimate reality of God's motherly caring. He goes on to say: On Easter morning the angel announces the resurrection of Jesus, not by saying, "Here he is; he has come back to life!" No. Looking for him in that way would mean looking for the living one among the dead. He is not here. Nor is he alive with our aliveness that is closer to death than to life. "He is risen" runs the good news, and "He is not here." All we can experience from the perspective of our de

Hope, right now

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Devotion for Being Apart - June 7 I will be sharing a devotion Sundays, and Wednesdays through Fridays. - Kara Psalm 27 These are intense times, when it feels like so much is falling apart – and probably it needed to fall apart – the climate is at a breaking point, the deep disease of racism has been festering at our nation’s core since its founding, the inequity in healthcare and our economic structures, the vitriol in our politics, they all continued to plug along in devastating dysfunction.  But now it feels like everything has burst open and is a leaking mess.  After three months sitting in our time-out corners, we can see how badly broken and destructive it all really is.   But we are people of hope. We are people who trust what we cannot see.  So what is our hope?  And how do we live in hope, especially when things feel devastating and hopeless. One answer has been, our hope is that one day this mortal life will be over and we will be with God. That is hopeful.

Boundaries & Choices

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Daily Devotion - June 5 I will send a brief message each day (except Mondays) while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara my view of my uncle's funeral On Wednesday we drove 2 1/2 hours into Wisconsin for small, family funeral for my uncle. We were told it would not be made public.  They would provide seating outdoors and play the sound through speakers for those who didn't want to come inside.  Masks would be worn.  I imagined my grandma, and my uncle's wife and kids inside, and the rest of us outdoors. When we pulled in the parking lot was full. The tiny church building was packed to the gills with nearly 150 unmasked people. My sisters' families and my own sat outside in our masks.  My aunt and grandma were swarmed and hugged by nearly everyone there. We could hear them all singing side by side, inside, while we joined from the parking lot. Then the entire crowd flooded out and made its way up to the cemetery, where they lingered closely around

Imperfect Together

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Daily Devotion - June 4 I will send a brief message each day ( except  Mondays) while we are pausing gathering in person. - Kara This morning I read this article: “ Paternalistic Racism of Nice White People. ”      I recognized myself, both because I had this messaging in my own upbringing, and also because I contributed to groceries that day at Sanford Middle School. Here’s the gift of this time. Discomfort. Confession. Recognition of the sin (another word for division from God and each other) that has a hold on us, sin we join in without realizing it.   Also, I do not regret sharing groceries.  The call came from the community and it was something I could respond to.   A risk of this time is that we try so hard not to do it wrong that it could paralyze us.  We live in a time when we tell each other what to do, what to think, how to act, what to say, and then we are terrified we’ll do, think, act, say the wrong thing and get called out.  Whe