March 11th. March 11th was the last time we were able to gather for worship. It's been 113 days. We miss you all, and we've heard from many of you that you are missing the CtK community as well. We hear you, and we want you to know that we (your pastors and council) are discussing ways for us to safely be together.
Despite the fact that we've been apart for so long, God's love has STILL been coming to life through all of you and through our beloved faith community! See the picture of that happy kid to the left? That's Billie....and she's beaming in that photo because a ministry of this congregation -- King's Tools -- built her that shiny new ramp back in early June.
Wheelchair life was relatively new to Billie and her family back in June. Though Billie was flourishing and growing into it nicely, her family was still having some troubles getting around home with it, and saw the need for some adaptations. After exchanging a few emails, we quickly realized that King's Tools would be able to help out with building a ramp to make entry into their house much easier for Billie and her family. Within a week, Billie's mom was able to take this photo and send it to us here in the office noting, "We are so excited about this ramp!! The wheelchair sets Billie up to be at her best-- I can't wait to share her more with the world." The truth is, WE can't wait for Billie's gifts and love to shine in the world either! Because of the ministry of King's Tools, Billie is going to be able to thrive and more fully share her gifts with the world! THAT, my friends, is how God's love is coming to life!
Curious about King's Tools? It's this great ministry we have at Christ the King that consists of a group of people who like to build and fix things. They have a mission of serving ALL God's people who might need assistance with a project, regardless of church membership. If you're interested in learning more about the work they do, or if you'd like to join the group, give us a call here at church and we can get you connected with Jim, their faithful group leader!
Peace be the journey,
(Thank you Judy Deckert for sharing this springtime reflection that gives hope.)
On a sunny morning, God comes alive in rainbows released in my living room. Sunlight refracted by crystal crosses dance in colorful display. My heart skips a beat in gratitude for the new day. Early morning, I wonder, 'How will God color in the days canvas?'
Outside it is Springtime. Shades of green dominate with punctuation of dandelion yellow. Purples pause perennially as crocus, iris and at last lilacs appear Peonies pop Riotous colors shout, 'Come out, come out. Come out and play, God is alive!'
On a dreary drippy day there are no crayon colored fireworks. However, it is somber gray, dark clouds, weighing heavy. My spirits start to sink, and I think about God coming alive in gloom and crisis. I remember an age-old promise of another time in history, when the wayward world was flooded, a few were sheltered in place, and reopening was done in stages. Many people died, disregarding the warnings. The few who heeded God's directive were ridiculed. Yet they labored on, counting, and measuring according to God's master plan in saving the world.
After the flood, God established a covenant and sealed it with a sign, a spectrum of color, a rainbow. God made a promise with Noah and sons, as well as all future generations not to flood the earth again. This covenant is universal and inclusive. People of all color, names, places, and times are included. Every living creature, every animal of the earth is included. All of us are precious to God and are a part of this covenant of protection and promise.
During this pandemic of historic proportions, God comes alive in a new covenant set forth in Christ Jesus. No matter what storms batter our small boat, or flood our fragile lives, Jesus is our "Rainbow coming around the bend... He comes to us as we enliven hope in others through calls and notes. He comes alive as we gather online for worship, bible and book study, coffee hour. He colors our lives with mercy and grace and empowers us to be the colors of the rainbow, setting hearts free to be the people of God. Jesus is our sign that God is with us, the Spirit presenting prisms of opportunity to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay home.
And when I see you happy. Well, it sets my heart free. "I'd like to be as good a friend to you, as you are to me." (song, Open the Door, Judy Collins)
During these turbulent times with caution and disconnection and inequity front and center in our lives, we may feel helpless at times desiring to be more involved in our world as followers of Jesus. What that looks like for each of us is different as God has blessed us all with different gifts. It could look like random asks of kindness for our neighbors, knitting prayer shawls for families dealing with the grief of suicide, serving meals, buying groceries, financial support for non profits serving the marginalized in our communities, supporting changes to our systems that promote injustice by our words and action (signing letters of support for new laws, joining a march supporting awareness and action for change).
It is a challenge set before us, like the curtain torn at Christ’s crucifixion, injustice and suffering exposed; unhidden. May you continue in prayer and action. This walk of faith may look different now but these times are calling us to see the resurrected Christ and be present in our world as his followers now more than ever.
WELCA (Women of the ELCA) currently has an opportunity available to serve from the comfort of our homes. Below is the link to a sign-on letter that advocates for immigrants and refugees. It calls for changes to policies that are causing harm to fellow human beings. If you would like to serve by signing your name, you can do so by clicking here.
The year was 1968, and I was a stay at home mom raising two toddlers along with my consciousness of what it means to be a mother. There was other consciousness training going on. It was the start of the feminist movement. Coupled with rising racism, social unrest, the Vietnam war and assassinations of noted leaders, it was an infamous year where consciousness might have been raised a few inches and for a while. But, as we struggle in this virulent, violent time, we know humanity has a long way to go in consciously living out the abundant life God calls us to.
Sages of old noted, 'There's nothing new else coined, 'History under the sun. Someone repeats itself.' Half a century later, this appears to be true. Trying to explain the Corona Virus, data gatherers have pointed out other pandemics and plagues every 100 years. Justified wars go on and on with inexplicable cause. Social contracts get adulterated with racist clauses. The haves and have not chasm deepens. Headlines scream of autocratic leadership. Innocent people are slaughtered.
Consciousness is indeed being raised, but to what end? One of the tips utilized in '60s consciousness training groups was active listening, closely connected to dialogue. Self-centered human beings lack this basic skill. It's really a sin, as Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry preached on Pentecost Sunday at the National Cathedral. When individuals are absorbed in their own selves to the extent of dismissing the rest of God's creation, we're in a whole peck of trouble.
We dread what's next. Can it get any worse? Yes. For we know what powers and principalities, politics and persons can perpetrate when empire has its way. We know the lack of consciousness put in words from the cross. 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' Therein lies our hope. Christ Jesus raised more than consciousness when he went through hell's horrors and showed us the way through such a time as this.
With that hope and assurance, we can ask what is the new thing God surely is bringing about even as the sun tries to hide the shame and savagery humans have wrought. Who do you need to look at with love and welcome as a sibling in Christ? Where is a dialogue waiting to happen to dig out the systemic injustice and forge a new path for Jesus sake? He'll be there. "Where two or three are gathered in his name..." he promised. Lord God, you promised.
Greetings Members of Christ the King!
We hope this finds you well. If you were unable to attend the State of the Church webinar last Wednesday night, May 27th, we recorded it and have attached it below.
During the State of the Church Webinar, Pastor Nate, Pastor Dara, and two council members gave updates on how things are going at Christ the King during our time apart. They offered some updates on our financial position, and what staff have been working on. They also gave some insight into our initial plans for re-entry
once it is activated.
God’s Blessings & Peace,
Pastor Nate & Pastor Dara
We all know that during the pandemic we are in a time of crisis. Everything we know has been turned upside down. Our narrative of what we are comfortable with has taken a new direction. It has been difficult and for some even painful to be physically distanced, to remain safe and continually be mindful of the others. However, kindness and compassion are vitally important attributes to share with one another in these days. We are all in this together. No one is alone. As we enter the last week of the Easter season, let us remember Christ’s resurrection power is for all. May we sow its hopefulness abundantly throughout our day.
In our Monday evening book study discussion group, we are reading The Book of Joy. I am amazed to see the joy that comes through the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. Both have had to deal with traumatic situations in life. Exile and disruption, apartheid and racism, yet they choose joy as a way of life. Where are you seeing joy, was the question to begin the discussion? Many answers came in the form of joy of family and milestones of defending dissertations. Watching springtime through nature, birds hatching and even caring for people in need. Where are you seeing joy in your day? How is Christ’s resurrection power helping you? Where is God’s love coming to life?
Jesus modeled for us a life of kindness and compassion filled with joy. He endured the difficulties of life, suffered, died and rose from the dead. Jesus was abandoned, but he has never left us through the gift of the Holy Trinity. Let us look around amid the pandemic and see the joy that surrounds us, where God’s love is coming to life.
Christ’s Blessings & Peace,
Years ago, I read something that sounds kind of odd: "The reason mountain climbers are tied together is to keep the sane ones from going home. Whoever said that was spoofing a bit. Anybody knows mountain climbers are tied together to keep from getting lost or going over a cliff. But there's another piece of truth here. When things get tough up on that mountain, when fear sets in, many a climber is tempted to say, "This is absurd! I'm going home."
The life of faith can be like that--doubts set in, despair overwhelms; and the whole notion of believing in God seems absurd. Jesus knew his followers would have days like that. So he said you all are tied together like branches on the vine-or like climbers tied to the rope-tied together by the Spirit, to trust in One who is always more than we can understand, to keep us moving ahead on the journey of faith, to encourage us when believing seems absurd.
Every generation faces new questions and perplexities. Does the sun revolve around or vice versa? Should nuclear weapons ever be used against an enemy? Is welfare the best way to bear one another's burdens? Jesus knew there were things sacred writings didn't address, things he had never talked about. But he added, "The Spirit will be your tutor, guiding you into all the truth."
We're in some pretty perplexing times, sticking close to home, physically untethered for fear of catching the virus. But, we are still tied together in Jesus. We feel a tug on the rope whenever we are tempted to settle for answers that make more sense but cannot give life. We feel the Spirit's guiding when we have lost our way and question the path we should take while staying connected to each other in Christ Jesus.
We've got a mountain before us. Grab the lifeline. Hold fast to God's Word.
Worship. Pray. Hang on. Wash your hands. Stay home.
In a world where we are continually barraged with discouraging news, and as of this week, a whole slough of conspiracy theories, it can be hard to spot the places where God's love, hope, and grace are abounding. Sometimes though, God has a way of hitting you in the face and showing up in your email box to take you on a little journey to show you where God is dwelling. That's what happened to me this week.
Early in the week I received an email. Actually, early this week I received a LOT of email...wowza! It's like people suddenly remembered that email is a thing. Anyway, this particular email came from someone I don't often receive emails from--it was one of our 8th grade confirmation students. In his email, he told me about a little project he's been working on. During his time at home he has been building bird houses, and he would like to donate them to some care facilities in the area. He was wondering if I had any ideas on what facilities he could contact, and if I had contact information for specific people there (it just so happens I have both of those!).
Ya'll. This is an EIGHTH grader! Let's be honest, there are a LOT of things he could be doing with his time at home. We are living in a time when young people have countless ways to connect with one another via different social media apps, and countless Disney content to consume on Disney+, not to mention any other streaming service out there. But this gentleman has chosen to get to work building bird houses to share with local nursing homes and care facilities. He's caring for creation AND doing something to spark joy in the lives of people who were an isolated group even before we began social distancing. This is God's love coming to life! This 8th grader is doing God's work of bringing the Kingdom of God to the here and now!
So...remember how he asked me if I had contacts for people? One of the people I thought to get him connected with was one of our dear CtK members who is the president of the resident's association at a local senior living community. This particular member is a vivacious, servant-hearted, faithful child of God who continually inspires me to keep on serving God and others no matter my age or what happens in life. So...I called her to see if I could share her contact information with this student.
Over the course of our conversation, this kindhearted woman shared with me the things that she's been working on during our time of physical distancing. Part of her day includes spending 4, yes, FOUR hours a day at her sewing machine making masks for people. Now, that might not come off as an impressive number of hours, but I have to be honest with you...I don't remember the last time I did any one thing for 4 hours straight, nonetheless something that requires cutting, ironing, and paying attention to fine details. I was pretty impressed by this.
So where are all these masks going? She's recruited 4 other women (all over 90, by the way) to join her in making them, and they are giving them to the staff of their LARGE facility they are living in. Mind you, these 5 women rarely get to connect with one another in person because of changes in procedure in their facility, so they have had to become pretty innovative in the way they work with one another.
Now, somewhere along the line, the staff of the care facility requested a different style of masks. Rather than getting discouraged by this, our dear Ctk member and her group of sewing angels got busy sewing this new style. Their one request: before staff get one of these new masks, they turn in their old one. Not to recycle the fabric, but so this group of 5 women over 90 can make arrangements for the 1st set of masks to be sent to Pillars and be distributed to those who are experiencing housing insecurity during this devastating time.
Ya'll. God showed up in my email box and at the other end of my phone this week. Through these two faithful members of CtK, God's love is certainly coming to life to bring hope, joy, grace, and reminders that God IS still here working among us even when things seem grim.
Peace be the journey,
Here’s the recording of our recent State of the Church webinar