Written By Ana Becerra, Seminarian & Cristo Rey Mission Developer
There are many changes in life. Some are easy to adapt to, others are hard and difficult to admit, but indeed- we never stay the same.
It has been very hard for Cristo Rey members to not meet in person. Many of you have witnessed how our Wednesday night bible study has extended from one hour to three hours long. Indeed, Latinxs love to talk and we love to cook together! Typically during summer it is mandatory to attend at least one carne asada (barbecue) a week. The host starts the cooking process when the first guest arrives, and we believe that food tastes better if you cook it while you talk. There is no start or end time to these gatherings. You leave when other guests are showing some signs of tiredness or when you realize you have spent five to six hours with the host. This year has been different, it changed. There will be no carne asadas. Instead, we talk over the phone or Facebook.
Cristo Rey is suffering without in person connection. We tremendously miss you and want to see YOU. Especially now when Latinxs need to feel surrounded and supported by Caucasians and our church. We recognize we are different. We have different cultures and languages, but we belong to a church that continues moving forward. We are not the church we were in 2009. I'm no longer the only Latinx family who is invited to participate in programs. I’m a Christ the King and Cristo Rey member and soon to be an ordained minister. I'm your sister in Christ that shares concerns, pains and joy with you. I'm a team member who helps to plan worship. I'm a non-voting member who attends and reports to our council. I'm your sister in Christ who is eager to share the Gospel with the same Lutheran foundation as you, but with a different perspective!
Siblings, I am so glad we changed! Cristo Rey has met unofficially over Facebook and phone, but starting in July, we will have a weekly devotional meeting. We will also continue to have a monthly service the fourth Sunday of the month shared on Facebook Live. The change is not easy, but at the end of the day I smile when I look back to my first day at CtK. I recognize the love and hospitality I have received. I remember the struggles, and praise God for all the ways the Holy Spirit keeps tapping on my shoulders to invite me to witness Jesus Christ’s power and love among us. Let’s keep changing in the love of the one who died for us.
Tu hermana en Cristo, Ana.
Written by Nate Crary, Director of Worship
Even though I have learned a lot since my sweet son, Noah Alexander, came into this world a bit earlier than expected back on November 20, I still have no idea what I’m doing. Noah weighed 4.2 pounds at 33 1/2 weeks, and as my mother (Grandma Nana) observed during her first visit to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the U of M, Noah instantly made my universe a whole lot smaller. How I was living life before baby suddenly shifted to revolve around his and Chelsey’s basic needs to eat and sleep. My first diaper change, under the careful supervision of Noah’s rotating nurse, involved a sudden stream of unbridled urinary expression. I have no idea what I’m doing. But I won’t let that stop me from trying to be a good dad.
When Christ the King closed down in response to the threat of COVID-19 in our community, my job description more than slightly changed. Time once spent sending out weekly reminder emails to communion servers and coffee brewers was quickly filled by correcting audio drift and watching the snails-pace progress made during the rendering of worship videos. I have no idea what I’m doing. But I won’t let that stop me from trying to be a thoughtful Director of Worship.
When George Floyd was brutally murdered at the hands of a white police officer on May 25, the complicit numbness I have been clinging to as a cisgender, straight, white man in the midst of a racist pandemic was laid bare, exposing raw anger and sadness. I will no longer stay silent while I examine and challenge the ways I’ve used my own whiteness to gain power in our country, one that was built on what it continues to benefit from by destroying Black lives. I have already made shameful errors, and I will continue to mess up. I have no idea what I’m doing. But I won’t let that stop me from trying to be an outspoken anti-racist.
When Jesus told his disciples, “Take up the cross and follow me,” I’m guessing there were a few clarifying questions they wanted to ask before embarking on a lifelong journey of sacrifice, service, and certain exile. They were faced with a decision, like many of us face everyday, to leave the comforts of what we know and have grown used to, or to take a step in faith for the sake of love and for the sake of our neighbors.
People of Christ the King, white supremacy and racism aren't going away. COVID-19 isn’t going away. Being a dad (or a mom, brother, son, sister, or daughter) thanks be to God, isn’t going away. God’s claim on our lives as beloved children isn’t going away. So why would we wait to respond?
What are you waiting for?
Nate pictured with his son, Noah.
Written by Deb Wolterstorff, Director of Children & Family Ministry
Did you ever think at the beginning of 2020 that we would be asked to stay in our homes for an indefinite time? Since being quarantined, have you ever wondered out loud or in your head, “when will things be back to normal?” It got me thinking about how to incorporate these questions into our Vacation Bible School (VBS) time.
Our VBS theme for the summer is “Lock Down Faith.” We will explore bible stories that involve being ‘locked up’ including: Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Whale, and the Empty Tomb, just to name a few. Noah, Jonah, and the people in these stories were changed by their experiences. How were they changed? How have we been changed by our time in our homes? Did their lives go back to ‘normal’? What does ‘normal’ look like for us living through a pandemic? Will we be changed?
VBS is scheduled via ZOOM on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00-10:30 starting this Tuesday, June 16 through Thursday, August 6. This eight week forum is designed for children (ages 3 through 5th grade) but the whole family is welcome to join us.
Each week we will focus on a new story. On Tuesdays, the story and music will be shared. On Thursdays, we’ll do an activity – a craft, game or science project – that highlights our weekly story in a creative way.
It’s not too late to join us! Please go to lifeatctk.org and sign up.
Director of Children and Family Ministry
Written by Ana Becerra, Seminarian & Cristo Rey Mission Developer
When I moved to the United States in 2000, I knew I needed to learn and adapt to a new culture. One of these culture changes was celebrating prom and graduation. The word graduation is only used when when someone finishes a two year technical college or a four year degree. Indeed, we have ceremonies from kindergarten until high school, but we use the word “finished" or "exiting.”
In 2014, I had my first “graduate.” We had a family dinner with four of his grandparents to celebrate. This year I have my second “graduate.” I did have plans for a bigger celebration than his sibling had, but 2020 has been a tough year. A world pandemic has given us a new way to live. We need to be social distancing, and with that often comes the postponement of gatherings.
My sweet Joshua is okay having a celebration with only six of us. Last week I was planning a celebration for him. However, three days after George Floyd was killed our hearts were not ready to celebrate.
To all who graduate this year, I want to let you know that even if you have not had a celebration, I AM PROUD OF YOU. I recognize that the last three months of your school year were nothing as you would have planned. You’ve had to quickly adapt to e-learning and you did it. You did not get the opportunity to walk around your school for the last time as a student or the chance to sign your friend’s yearbooks. There are so many things you did not get to do.
Now is the time for new chapters in your life. I pray to God that you may feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The LORD blesses you and keeps you; the LORD makes his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turns his face toward you and gives you peace in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Written by Jen Miller, CtK Member
I was watching the news last Friday night, the night that the Post Office and the Wells Fargo bank on 31st Street were burned, and the news anchor said something that stuck with me.
“Fire is something that gets people’s attention.”
This week, as we celebrate Pentecost, we hear the story of the apostles receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by wind and fire. We often see this story depicted with delicate little flames perched lightly atop the heads of Peter and the eleven, but if we pay close attention to the text of Acts 2:2, we get a different picture: “And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”
The flames of Pentecost aren’t cute, innocuous flames. They are the lifechanging flames, the flames of a burning house, accompanied by the noise a building makes as it’s about to fall down.
“Fire is something that gets people’s attention.”
At the first Pentecost, in the city of Jerusalem, God wanted to get the attention of Peter and the other apostles, to show them that they were equipped to spread God’s message of salvation and love to the entire world. God wanted to get the attention of all of those in attendance, people watching from all over the world—Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia. God wanted to spread the message that God’s love was for everyone—there were no limits. God wanted to instill this message in people so strongly that they were willing to endure imprisonment and even death to make sure that it spread around the world.
Two thousand years later, in the city of Minneapolis, fire should still get our attention. Fire should shake us up and help us see that we live in a country with fundamental inequality at its core. Fire should draw our eyes to the black man named George Floyd who begged for breath, for life, and for his mother, and who was denied everything by the white man kneeling on his neck. Fire should draw our attention to the ways in which we are complicit in enabling such racism, in the ways we look the other way, in the laws we enact, in the people we elect to office.
“Fire is something that gets people’s attention.”
But God’s fire can also be seen in the aftermath. God’s fire can be seen in the neighbors cleaning up Lake Street, offering water to those, white, black, and brown, working side by side to restore their community. God’s fire can be seen in the woman playing her violin the morning after the riots, offering beauty and hope in the midst of destruction. God’s fire can be seen in the hundreds of thousands of dollars already raised to restore the businesses destroyed along Lake Street.
We should be part of this fire. Because, like on the original Pentecost, the whole world is watching. People from Miami to Seattle, from Toronto to Berlin, from Los Angeles to Chicago, are gathering together to see what happens in Minneapolis.
Let us, like the twelve apostles, risk all that we have to spread the fire of God’s love and justice. Because fire is something that gets people’s attention.