by Deb Wolterstorff
I will have to admit, writing a blog is not my favorite thing to do. I am not a very good writer. I have trouble putting my thoughts into words and on top of that, I am all over the place trying to figure out what I should write about. First, I was thinking something about love (with Valentine's Day coming up), then I was thinking maybe something about hope. Then it was “how to handle plan B” and then...wait for it...maybe I should write something about being focused.
As I left the house this morning, I saw the sticky note that I had on my door, “God is in Control.” After a very hard time in my life, I had placed sticky notes all over the house with “God is in Control” on them to remind me that God has my back, to remind me that even though things are tough right now and my life had taken a drastic turn, I could rely and lean on my Savior, AND it gave me some peace. I had done this many years ago and there are only a few that are still up. Because they have been up for so long, sometimes I just don’t see them anymore, but this morning...I did! And again, I am reminded that amidst all that is going on in the world, amidst all the changes going on at church, amidst all the worry (and joy) I have for my kids – God Is in Control!
I need to trust in Gods’ love and infinite wisdom. I need to trust that God can work changes in our world, our church, and in those that I love beyond anything I can ask or imagine. I need to let go of my anxiety and worry and know that I/we are in the amazing, loving arms of God.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." - Ephesians 3:20-21
By Megan Crosby
Pastor Sonja shared a poem with us at a worship meeting this last Tuesday and I want to share it with you.
“Fortunate are the poor in spirit.”
Fortunate are those who are willing
to let themselves be censured by the word of God,
to re-examine their views.
to believe they haven’t yet understood a thing,
to be taken by surprise,
to have their mind changed,
to see their convictions,
their tidy systems,
and everything they took for granted
swept out from under them,
and to face the fact, once for all,
that there’s no such thing as a matter of course
and that God can ask anything.
Last weekend I went sledding with my four-year-old, Sophia. We had gone down the hill in the same sled, and I had just stood up when my feet were taken out beneath me by another person sledding down the hill. It was a classic cartoon moment. I landed hard on my right side, hearing my back crack all the way up my spine. I felt pain in my wrist and elbow and the wind had been knocked out of me. I got up and decided I hadn’t broken any bones and that I no longer needed a trip to the chiropractor.
Surprised and dazed. That’s how I felt in the sledding accident. It’s also how I’ve felt for a good chunk of the pandemic and the resurgence of Covid with the omicron variant. My work, my life, everything got upended and some things were out right taken away. However, the pandemic also gave me (and many people) time to re-examine my life and think, “Who am I now? How do I really want to live? What is really important to me? What needs to change?” These same questions are also useful for communities and congregations. Our church and the community in which we live is undergoing numerous transitions besides the most obvious pastoral transition at Christ the King. God is inviting us to ponder these questions, to be open to ideas we may not have even considered before. It’s going to be a journey, but we won’t be on the path alone. God is still there, especially when we don’t feel the ground beneath our feet.
By Kisten Thompson
Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday is January 15 and the third Monday of January is now a Federal holiday where we commemorate his remarkable work and legacy on behalf of racial justice and commitment to change and racial equality through non-violence. To help mark this date, two members of Christ the King’s Racial Justice Working Group will be sharing their gifts with us in this morning’s worship: Nathan Lemke and two of his children are leading the Children’s Message, reading and talking about the book, The Other Side; Priscilla Berg is sharing possibilities for partnership with New Brighton during a Mission Moment.
Then following worship, you all are invited to zoom fellowship where we can see each other and talk together, not only about how we’re all doing, but also reflecting together on what Priscilla and Nathan shared in worship. Even as Christ the King is in transition and needs to adjust some of how we’re doing ministry together, the work of Racial Justice continues.
And Racial Justice group invites you to a zoom event this Thursday, January 20 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. for a guided conversation from Come Together for Racial Justice. From their invitation: “Next week's gathering will be grounded in a conversation between three wonderful, Black voices: Pastor Kelly "PK" Chatman, Pastor Babette Chatman, and Rev. Dr. Robin Bell. If you know these three you know that the conversation is bound to be juicy!” Pastor Kelly and Pastor Babette are both well known to Christ the King through Local Mission Partners-it’s wonderful to hear them speak!
I’ve been attending these zoom meetings and have found them to be insightful, helpful and life-giving. We meet via zoom (there have been around 100-150 people from all around the country); we listen to the speakers and then go to break out rooms for small group conversation with other participants. What better way to learn and build relationships! I hope that you can join this group. Here is a link to learn more: CLNE COME TOGETHER.
Peace to all!
Pastor Kisten Thompson, Bridge Pastor, on behalf of Racial Justice Working Group
By Amity Lantz-Trier
I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is. I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. God’s power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.
Ephesians 3:19-21 CEV
We are bound. Bound by our sin, by the expectations of others, by poverty, by -isms that try to divide us, and by so much more. In a life that often feels as if it has young people in a suffocating grip, we want them to imagine the boundlessness of God: boundless love, boundless creation, boundless forgiveness, boundless invitation, boundless promise. All offered from a gracious and loving God who knows and adores them. All so abundant and endless it cannot be measured.
What are the stories of God’s people, both in Scripture and modern-day, that share the awe and wonder of just how vast our God is? What does it mean, what does it look and feel like to live a life “filled with all that God is”? How can young people find themselves within the boundlessness of Christ’s love?
from ELCA Youth Gathering
The 2022 ELCA Youth Gathering is taking place in our hometown! This July around 30,000 ELCA high-school youth and their adult leaders will gather at the Minneapolis Convention Center for 5 spirit-filled days of learning about God’s boundless love, creation, forgiveness, invitation and promise. The youth will experience interactive learning, worship, bible study, service and fellowship as they grow in their faith surrounded by their peers.
An important part of the Gathering’s ministry are the two pre-events, the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE), a faith formation and leadership development event primarily for youth of color, and the tAble, a gathering that brings together, blesses and empowers youth with disabilities.
We are excited to be sending a group of our youth to both the MYLE pre-gathering event and to the gathering itself!
You may be asking yourself, “How can I help?” Here are two possibilities:
We are so excited to have the ELCA youth gathering in our backyard and can’t wait to experience what God has in store for us this summer!
Director of Youth and Family Faith Formation