By Zach Johnson
Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, a global celebration of our common home held since 1970. People take the time this week to reflect on the beauty of the Earth and to think of ways they can better serve it. At Christ the King we gather together to serve the Lord and our environment in many ways. As you know, we’re currently raising money to help install solar panels at the church, which will provide clean, renewable energy for decades, helping our church and community together. We also have a dedicated group of community gardeners who work hard all summer to grow local produce for our community food shelf, providing fresh, delicious food for those in need. As a congregation, these are positive forward steps that we are taking to better care for the Earth. One thing I would like us to think about is what other steps might we take?
This week, for our SALT presentation following worship, the Care for Creation team is hosting a discussion about changes we can make at our church property to better care for the Earth. One proposal we have is to convert some areas of our property covered in turf grass into native rain gardens. This can help reduce costs, lower our collective carbon footprints, and provide food and habitat for threatened and endangered species. I hope you’ll join us in our discussion as we imagine new ways to help care for creation here at Christ the King Lutheran Church.
By Nate Crary
Waiting can be the worst.
We waited exactly 40 days after our daughter, Olive, was born before we could bring her home from the hospital. Each day had its ups and downs, while the tiny organs in her tiny body slowly began to fire up and learn their function. Some days felt like forever. Not knowing exactly when the waiting would stop did not help. And then, all of the sudden, the doctor told us, “We think Olive can go home tomorrow.” Relief washed over us and, in an instant, the waiting came to an end.
What was it like for all those who loved Jesus to watch him suffer and die on the cross and then wait for his resurrection? The passion story unfolds so quickly, turning from celebration with palms to Jesus’ last breath in what feels like a matter of moments. And, I wonder if that same amount of time felt like an eternity to all those who witnessed it in person. In an instant, we find ourselves with the women at the empty tomb. Jesus is risen, the waiting is over.
This, of course, is not the only story of waiting we find in the Bible. God’s people have found themselves waiting in boats, in the belly of big fish, in the desert, and in quiet rooms behind locked doors. While this Easter day might bring waiting to an end for some, still we wait for God’s whole creation to be restored in the midst of global disease and climate disaster, still we wait for God’s justice and healing to be delivered for all who suffer from police brutality and domestic violence, and still we wait for God’s peace to bring an end to senseless war.
The good news is this: whether or not we’re ready, Jesus is risen, indeed. The waiting is over. Alleluia.
Right now I am filled with gratitude. I am loudly singing “Hosanna" on this Palm Sunday. I am grateful for the words of encouragement and support I have received as I serve in the role of Church Council President. I am grateful that the congregation has a building with no debt. I am grateful that this congregation has supported the work of the Community Partners for Youth Program for 25 years reaching over 600 youth in 2021. I am grateful for the 30 people who have agreed to serve on the five Transition Task Force Teams. I am grateful for the financial generosity of the congregation in regards to the solar panel project. As of March 30, $75,634 has been donated by congregational members towards this project in just six months! That is an astounding expression of generosity and enthusiasm. Let’s all sing “Hosanna.” I am sure that you can also list signs of abundance in this congregation for which you are grateful.
But...I need to challenge your generosity again. I challenge all of us to donate additional funds to support the ministries at CtK. Can we donate an additional $50,000 above and beyond our budgeted income for 2022? We can do this! We could cut our budgeted deficit in half. Think of ministries and staff that we could support. At the Church Council retreat, we established some goals for the year focused on outreach to new members in the community, connecting CtK members through service and fellowship, and tending to the pastoral transition process. You will be hearing more about specific plans and strategies in the next two months. Let’s move forward financially supporting these goals. This congregation has been blessed so we can be a blessing to others. “Hosanna!”
Your partner in ministry, Diane E. Shallue, Church Council President
By Pastor Sarah Anderson
Throughout the month of March, Christ the King gathered food, cleaning supplies, money and prayers for the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf. Located just a few miles from the church building, this service to the community has been open since the early 1980s. If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited Ralph Reeder’s website to read their mission and familiarize yourself with their programs, you are encouraged to go to: https://www.moundsviewschools.org/foodshelf
Because 2021 marked the 11th consecutive year with over 3 million food shelf visits in Minnesota, Christ the King’s commitment and support to help reduce food insecurity is critical. Your recent food donations totaled 481 pounds! Gracias Merci Danke Mam’noon Dhanyavaad Ahéhee’ Thank You.
Every March is MN Food Share month, yet our year-round support is needed as 1 in 10 Minnesotans face hunger each month. Part of CtK's mission is to serve God and God's people by giving of ourselves and our resources, and the donations this month are one way we continue to live out our mission.
Some years ago ELCA World Hunger gave out magnets which added a phrase to a common table prayer. The entire prayer reads: Come, Lord Jesus be our guest and let this food to us be blessed. Blessed be God, who is our Bread, may all the world be clothed and fed.
May we continue to be instruments of God's hope in our community to help our neighbors be clothed and fed.