FaithBits

 

A weekly digital publication called FaithBit:

 

June 15, 2022

 

 

 

 

Grandma Prayers

By Janell Weum

I recently shared the homily at my aunt’s funeral. It was an awesome honor and responsibility to care for my family.

While we were at the cemetery for her burial, my cousin Danny asked me, “What do you remember about Grandma Mabel?” I replied, “I remember her sugar cookies and that she was always in the kitchen.” He probed further. “But what do you remember of her?”

I realized I didn’t get to know my Grandma Mabel. I saw her about twice a year and then it was within a large gathering of aunts/uncles/cousins. I was mainly interested in playing with my cousins, Marcy and Susan.  I think I was 12 years old when grandma died.

Danny shared, “I remember her telling me several times that she prayed that one of her grandkids would become a pastor.  You’re an answer to her prayer.”

I was totally shocked.  I never knew this. I’m not a pastor in the technical sense. (I’m an ELCA Deacon-retired). But I am pastoral and I served as a chaplain for 10 years.

My gratitude to God and to Grandma’s faith swells within me.  Her prayers were answered, but she didn’t get to see how; and yet she believed.  Back then, women were not serving in professional ministries and so her prayer reached across known possibilities.

This insight encourages me in my own prayer life.  It invites me to offer my prayers, especially for my family, and then to let go and trust God will answer.  It encourages me to see that God works through prayer. The mystery and power of prayer are both strong forces. It reminds me that some answers to prayer may take decades to realize the answer and that we may die without seeing the full picture.

Sometimes we may perceive the answer as “no” when it might be “not yet”. Sometimes we may have it all mapped out how we think God should answer our prayers and then we are surprised into a new way of being/thinking.

I grew in gratitude for my Grandma Mabel – my sugar cookie Grandma - who prayed for her family. She prayed and her family has been blessed through her prayers. She is truly an example to follow.

 


June 5, 2022

 

 

 

AMEXTRA Transformation

By Kim Rathjen

I recently returned from my 10th trip to visit Immanuel’s ministry partner in Mexico, AMEXTRA. My first trip was as a participant in a group led by our former Pastor, Susan Weaver. The subsequent trips have included nine visits to the community of Lomas de San Isidro on the margins of Mexico City and two to the Pej Pem Ecological Center near Palenque (plus 4-5 visits to the community of Tultitlan); I have led seven groups from Immanuel totaling about forty people, made one visit with my family and one visit by myself!

Immanuel’s relationship with AMEXTRA is more than 35 years old. One of Immanuel’s first Pastors, Gary Peterson, had a friendship with one of the men who started AMEXTRA. From the very beginning, Immanuel groups have made trips to visit and witness the work of AMEXTRA. I have seen the Immanuel community be transformed and individual lives changed because of this ministry partnership.

The tagline for AMEXTRA is “Transforming Communities, Changing Lives.” The three men who started AMEXTRA (Eugenio, Pepe, and Omar) based their organization on the concept in Romans 12:1-2 in which the Apostle Paul talks about the transformation that God creates in us when we worship God through service. The model that AMEXTRA uses is one of servant leadership. When invited into a community AMEXTRA staff begin a listening process to help the community determine what their hopes are for their community, and then AMEXTRA staff help the community to draw on their own gifts and skills to work together towards the expressed goals. This is a constantly evolving and changing process.

Immanuel has had the longest relationship with the community of Lomas de San Isidro, formerly known as Cartonlandia because the original homes were made from cardboard boxes (cartons) and debris. From providing dental clinics, to helping with the financial needs and manual labor of constructing a community center, to installing a small kitchen, to providing computers, to hours of working in the garden and interacting with women and children – Immanuel has a deep connection to the community. Currently, benevolence funds help pay the cost of the salary for the AMEXTRA staff who accompany the community in Lomas.

During the pandemic, most of the programming in Lomas stopped. Because people from the community isolated at home or moved in with family members in other parts of the country, several of the former community leaders are not currently involved. The herbal products and garden are in hiatus. But AMEXTRA is committed to this community and has started the listening process again to help the community discern how to move forward. It has started programming again with children; helping with homework, giving access to laptops when children must learn remotely, and providing fun and safe activities. A staff person was recently added who works directly with the children’s programs. Because Mariana, the AMEXTRA staff person who has worked in the community for 10 years, has developed relationships with the people, community members shared with her that domestic violence has risen during the pandemic. There are now two additional AMEXTRA staff working in the community to provide workshops, both in schools and at the AMEXTRA center, and one on one counseling for those experiencing domestic violence. During our visit this time we played games with the kids, did work in the garden, and listened and learned about the challenges faced in the community over the past two years.

This trip we also flew to southeastern Mexico to visit the AMEXTRA Pej Pem Ecological Center. Immanuel’s last Capital Campaign, Building Up, included a benevolence gift of $40,000 to AMEXTRA. They are using the gift for growing needs at Pej Pem, which is a training center for eco projects. The workshops help local farmers learn eco-friendly techniques for growing food and cooking it in new and exciting ways, for dealing with human waste, and for water retention in the rainforest jungle. AMEXTRA also works with a collaborative of beekeepers, training them how to work with bees and to extract the honey for income. AMEXTRA purchases the honey at fair trade prices so that keepers can make a living wage from this difficult profession. This time our group also participated in a candy making workshop which is shared with local people so that they can make special sweets with the honey and sell the treats for more income. Most of the financial gift from Immanuel will be used to bring electricity to the Eco Center. Currently there is only a small amount of solar power and one tiny generator that is used sparingly. Electricity will provide opportunities to increase the impact of the Eco Center and the training provided there.

The work of AMEXTRA is helping to transform communities and to change individual lives in Mexico. I am certain of that after ten visits. It has also been my privilege to walk alongside many Immanuel members who have been changed because of their AMEXTRA experiences. God has also transformed me through my visits to AMEXTRA over the years. My understanding of how to help and serve others by giving them dignity and agency has grown. My understanding of issues related to poverty, immigration, the history of exploitation in Mexico and in my own backyard, and what is means to “help” have been influenced by my experiences with AMEXTRA. My understanding of my place in the world as a servant of God has also changed. I believe all these changes in my life have been the work of God as I grow closer to the person God intends for me to be, living and serving in the world God created, and I am forever grateful for this gift as part of the Immanuel and AMEXTRA relationship.

Kim Rathjen

Learn more about AMEXTRA


January, 2022

 

 

 

God's Word on my Cancer Journey

By Trevor Fleck

My family’s life changed forever about 16 months ago when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that has spread throughout my body, and the doctors said they could contain it but not cure it.  This terminal diagnosis spun me into a 2-week severe depression.  After days of crying and nights of not sleeping, I finally was able to turn matters over to God.  I prayed and prayed and soon came to peace with accepting whatever God had in store for me.  When this happened, my mindset turned from one of grief into one of hope.

This was easier said than done.  Going through chemotherapy was extremely difficult.  It was a challenge to take every day as a blessing.  But by continually asking for God’s guidance our family persevered.  I read daily devotionals and inspirational messages.  The ones that stood out I would take a picture of and save them in my “Bible Album” on my phone.  Whenever I would get down or have periods of doubt, I pull out my phone and read the positive messages.  This would renew my strength and spirit.  This worked!  I truly believe by continually seeking out God’s help he has guided me through this journey.  So far, it’s been miraculous.  I am currently off treatments and am cancer free, something the doctors said would never happen.  Using these messages on my phone has become a daily tool for me.

With my diagnosis I had every reason to be angry and bitter.  But cancer has taught me that God is good.  Faithful living has helped me to be thankful and to have gratitude.  It’s taught me to focus on my blessings and not the negatives.  I have found joy in a time of struggle, and now I live a more fulfilling life than I could have ever imagined.

 


November 16, 2021

 

 

 

The Dallas Club

National Youth Gathering Memories

By Marc Beyer

Since joining Immanuel over 15 years ago, I’ve always been impressed by the number of mission trips, backpacking trips, retreats, and other opportunities for our youth. But one thing has stood out to me. We don’t attend the National Youth Gathering. I went when I was a youth, and it was the highlight of my years growing up in the church. I’m so glad to hear that Immanuel will be sending a group to the 2022 National Youth Gathering!

I attended the 1991 National Youth Gathering in Dallas, Texas. Not long after the 1988 Gathering in San Antonio concluded, the “Dallas Club” was formed. Those kids attending the Gathering mowed lawns, raked leaves, shoveled snow, and yes, bailed hay as a way to earn money for the trip. This allowed us to not only fundraise, but to form a bond with the other kids who would be going on the trip with us. 

The trip itself was an amazing experience. Growing up in a small town in northeastern Wisconsin, flying to Dallas, Texas was a big deal. I was just a few weeks away from my 16th birthday, and didn’t have much experience traveling across the country without my parents. We were all a little out of our comfort zone and didn’t quite know what to expect.  

30,000 Lutheran youth descended upon Dallas in July. Needless to say, it was hot. We were split into two arenas – the Dallas Convention Center and Reunion Arena. Speakers included Dr. Tony Campolo and Maya Angelou who spoke on the theme of the Gathering - “Called to Freedom.” The Jay Beach Band provided the music.

The youth took over the hotels in Dallas. A highlight was definitely the opportunity to meet other Lutheran kids from across the Country and the hotel experience itself. We had large group sessions in the arenas, but also had opportunities to grow our faith in smaller sessions back at the hotels.

Looking back, it is hard to fully capture the experience in words. Some of the details are admittedly foggy more than 30 years later. It’s one of those things that you just have to experience.

But I do remember this: A few years later I was a student at St. Olaf College. I met another student who was a transfer student from a small college in Arizona. I didn’t know anything about her and doubted that we’d have much in common. Somehow, though, it came up in conversation that we had both attended the National Youth Gathering in Dallas. That told me all I needed to know. Because we had shared that common experience, I felt like I knew her even though we had just met. My thinking was that if you attended the National Youth Gathering, too, then you are my kind of person. Indeed, we remain good friends to this day.

So, I encourage all eligible Immanuel youth to attend the National Youth Gathering. You won’t regret it!                

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Learn more about the National Youth Gathering


November 15, 2021

 

 

 

Made new through faithful & generous giving!

By Paul Carroll

I have been surrounded by people willing to mentor and guide me throughout my life. Their gifts of time, wisdom, and encouragement have shaped who I am and helped make it possible for me to thrive in life.  Their generosity has inspired me to pass on what gifts I can through my own faithful giving and sharing.

Like talents, skills, and knowledge, money is also a gift. It’s refreshing to stop thinking of money as MINE, but rather think of it as a gift I am asked to manage and share.  I also believe that when these gifts are shared with others, those gifts are multiplied. 

Life has taught me that happiness is fleeting; joy lasts longer. We all crave friendship because joy is easily shared between friends by building each other up. It is the act of helping a friend that teaches us the joy of helping others. I find it encouraging to extend that joy further out as I help and bless others by sharing what I am able. I have a theory that if I go to heaven, I get to relive the memories of the good I’ve done and the joy I’ve brought to others lives. And hell?  Perhaps that is where I relive the pain I caused. Faith-filled giving helps bring joy and comfort to others beyond just my immediate family and friends, multiplying the gifts I have been given. That’s pretty cool and brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.


November 8, 2021

 

 

 

Sharing The Peace

By Brian Northrop

“God does not want us to be in disorder, but in harmony and Peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

Sharing the Peace is one of my favorite aspects of our Church service. I witness many people approaching others that they may or may not even know to pass this Peace along. Some even walking several rows away to give a simple wish for each person they greet with sincerity. Where else in your everyday lives can you come together as people of God to share intentionally such a genuine blessing with each other?

When we share that “Peace be with you”, it’s a brief, yet time-honored, tradition that reinforces our desire to be “Peacemakers”. And isn’t that something that our community and world could use more of right now? This expression even goes back to how Jesus himself greeted his disciples! (“Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them ‘Peace be with you’", John 20:19)

During the pandemic shutdown last year, we weren’t able to gather as we always have and share the peace with each other. I missed sharing this blessing! But, coming back together has revived this important connection. Despite the ongoing challenge of Covid, this expression of peace to each other can now take many forms, but no less diminishes the message and connection we share each week,

Our sharing of peace with one another is just one way our church makes a difference, and I am so grateful for the difference it makes in my life. And as a member of the Stewardship Committee, I think of how many other difference making ministries and moments our faithful giving supports. Our financial gifts to Immanuel make this “communion of community” possible, all those blessed moments where we share the good news and are “made new” by God in our faith journey. 


November 5, 2021

 

 

 

 

Jesus, Justice & Jazz

National Youth Gathering 2009

By Kelly Meyers (Pictured third from the right)

We each have experiences that have left a lasting impression on us. One of mine was attending the 2009 ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans as a chaperone.

Our congregation at that time hadn’t attended a National Youth Gathering and was skeptical of its value. We had decades of commitment to summer mission trips and the gathering was more expensive and seemed to be more about entertainment. Wow. Were we wrong!

The gathering was about faith – personal faith growth, faith in action, and faith in community. With 30,000 youth from around the country (and some from around the world!) we worshipped, we spent time in study, we served, and yes, we had fun!  

The theme for the 2009 gathering was “Jesus, Justice, Jazz.” Each day was a different focus. One day was our ‘Jesus’ day – time in devotion, study & prayer in small group sessions. A second days was our ‘Justice’ day – serving in the community of New Orleans (Even 4 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city – there were thousands of opportunities for service and connecting with the people of that beautiful city). A third day was our ‘Jazz’ day – interactive exhibits, hands-on activities learning about the ministries of the ELCA around the world, and ELCA bishops & staff available for conversation and photos.

Each evening we had a mass gathering at the Superdome. Think of your favorite concert – this was SO MUCH MORE. Powerful, thought-provoking speakers. LARGE group games, and awesome Christian bands. The final morning all 30,000 of us worshipped & shared communion together in the Superdome. That worship service was creative, powerful, and connected all of us in ways I cannot describe.

That week we walked (A LOT! ), discussed, prayed, learned, celebrated, served. Our kids made friends with youth from around the country. But most importantly the gathering gave us a bigger vision of the church – primarily the ELCA – in action, and our place in it. We looked beyond our congregation and saw a church making a difference in big and really small ways. Our youth came back inspired to learn, serve, and lead. And to share Jesus, Justice & Jazz.

I am thrilled for the opportunity to send my daughter to the 2022 gathering in Minneapolis! And I look forward to Immanuel supporting it’s youth getting them to the gathering and celebrating their faith on fire afterward!


September 13, 2021

 

 

Immanuel Feeds Me

By Phil Weber

During a recent summer outdoor service at Immanuel Pastor Angela spoke about a Christian Lebanese couple who had found their way to our church one morning. Noticing how they were sitting enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the courtyard, Pastor Angela walked over to welcome them and struck up a conversation. At one point the Lebanese gentleman in his broken English said with great passion, “you give me bread!” Some moments passed and it became clear that the gentleman was asking for communion. So, together the three of them then proceeded to share the Holy Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper amid the trees, birds, and light summer breeze.

As I reflected on this profound experience of connection surrounded by the people of Immanuel amid a sea of blankets and lawn chairs - absorbing the music, collective prayer, singing, and Holy Sacrament of Communion - I was struck by the power of this gathering around me and in the collective sharing of this Bread of Life. It was at that moment I realized how Immanuel, feeds me. This past year of forced disconnectedness has interrupted our routines, rituals, and our quest for regeneration - all that is derived from our sharing together in the births, baptisms, confirmations, and in the blessing of the Lord’s Supper with our Immanuel community.

This particular day reminded me of how the Bread of Life - in all its sacramental parts, not only connects me to my Savior’s love and grace, but to the promise of God’s salvation that is reflected in the gathering spaces of Immanuel amid the smiles, warmth, and love shared together.

 


July 25, 2021

 

 

 

Welcoming Newcomers

By Betsy & Greg Hedding

“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7

This past year has been a time of disconnectedness from our families, friends, and various communities, including our church families. It was during this time, that Greg and I decided to explore finding a new church community after being members of another Lutheran church for 38 years. We had heard about Immanuel Lutheran Church from a couple of people, and decided to “start attending” Immanuel online in March 2020. Along the way, we learned that Immanuel Lutheran Church has a long history of organizing outdoor adventures, particularly hiking trips in the Bighorn Mountains. Since Greg and I love the outdoors, particularly hiking, we decided to sign up for Immanuel’s 2021 Bighorn Mountains adventure. 

After we signed up, we got included in the initial planning for the trip including a couple of Zoom meetings where we began to “meet” some of the trip leaders and other participants. From the onset, we were so impressed with the thorough communication about the trip and the welcome we received when we showed up in our first Zoom meeting. As you can imagine, it is hard to move to a new church in the midst of a pandemic, particularly when you aren’t actually meeting anyone in person. However, both Martin and Pastor Paul were extremely welcoming letting us know they were glad we were going to be joining the summer trip. We also had the chance to participate in several “practice hikes” in the late spring where we got a chance to meet some other people who were traveling to Wyoming.

Once we arrived in Buffalo to join the week #1 group, there were other ways so many people extended a warm welcome to us. We got to hear stories about the long history of bringing all kinds of people to the Bighorn Mountains and giving many of them, their first experience of hiking in the mountains. Because so many of the people we met have been on this trip for multiple years, it would have been easy to feel like outsiders. But that was not the case at all - in fact, everyone went out of their way to be friendly and help us feel accepted. We experienced firsthand what Paul said in Romans about “welcoming one another just as Christ has welcomed us.”

Our experience on the Bighorns Mountain trip helped us feel both connected to our new church community as well as excited about how we might reciprocate the warm welcome we received! And for those of you who are long-time members of Immanuel and have never gone on the trip, we would highly encourage you to consider it in a coming year. The chance to participate in an “inter-generational” trip is so fun. There were options for all ages and experience levels with hiking. As each of us evaluates the value of community in our lives, there is a richness in an opportunity to gather with all ages. After our experience, we guarantee you will feel welcomed!

 


June 7, 2021

 

Community!

By Becky Carlson

I don’t need to tell you things have been different this past year. We’ve all been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. It’s taken “normal, everyday” things like going to work or school, gathering with friends, running errands, and attending church- and turned them on their head. We’ve had to flex in ways that previously would have been inconceivable. 

My family’s normal practice of attending church during COVID has been a challenge. While I’ve been grateful for the streaming options available, the adjustment has been difficult. I found myself grieving the loss of connection to church family, feeling shame over not being more active with church, and being downright sad that, just like everything else, “doing church” felt foreign and unfeasible for us amidst COVID.

But then, during a text exchange, a Faith Group friend and I decided to “do church” by going for a Sunday morning walk together. We sent an e-mail to the other women in our Faith Group to see if anyone could join. To our delight, nearly everyone was able to come! That Sunday, during the time we might have otherwise tried to wrangle our kids to watch the church service, we spent time in fellowship walking around Staring Lake. Our time together was an incredible gift. We were able to catch up with one another, share joys and challenges, and simply be present together in God’s beautiful creation.

This year has been hard. There has been so much loss, and so much that’s needed to change. Our walk that morning was a beautiful reminder for me – and now hopefully for you – that even amidst the challenges we are facing there are beautiful ways to be together and get back to things we love.

 


April 19, 2021

 

9,000 meals and more!

By Brian Vik

I have had the privilege to represent Immanuel with our Cornerstone ministry.  The relationship between Immanuel and Cornerstone is approaching nearly 15 years and the time spent has been very rewarding for me and for many members of our Immanuel family. 

The Lord has indeed blessed us by providing us the chance to serve meals to the many families at Cornerstone through our monthly Taco Tuesday event.  To date, we have served approximately 9000 meals to the Cornerstone community.   Additionally, Immanuel has also been active around the holidays with gift donations, decorating the facility for the annual holiday event, as well as serving as elves to help children wrap gifts and on occasion even getting to play Santa for a few hours.

I personally have been fortunate to be involved with all these activities.  All I did was read a blurb in the church bulletin over a decade ago and before you knew it I was mixing up tacos, rice, beans and quesadillas.  It has been a labor of love ever since and would not replace it for anything.  Besides, it never gets old doing God’s work and I like to think that our efforts make a difference in the lives of the folks we serve. The smiles and the thank yous we receive tell us everything we need to know.

The pandemic has changed things.  Over the past year we have not had the same opportunities to interact, but our meal program has continued.  Kim Rathjen has arranged for meals to be brought in for the families - - and I still find myself making my way to Cornerstone monthly to drop them off.   No one can be sure when we can return to normal – or even what that will look like, but I truly hope to be back serving tacos one day in person.

Brian Vik (Brian is pictured second from the left)

Interested in learning more about the work of Cornerstone?  Watch the video of Cornerstone’s Sr Director of Advancement, Courtney Poja, who spoke to a group of Immanuel members on Weds, April 14.   (video is at www.immanuel.us/serve/cornerstone )

Are you or someone you know in an abusive relationship?  Contact Cornerstone 24/7 for resources and support. Call 866-223-1111 or text 612-399-9995


April 5, 2021

 

Easter Memories

By Cindy Paulson

At a recent staff meeting Pastor Paul asked what our favorite Holy Week memories from our childhoods were. My first thought was the many times we traveled to Minneapolis from wherever we were living to spend Easter with my grandparents. And then other memories came flooding… 

… comforting my sobbing mother when she was 68 because she missed Easter worship for the first time in her life because she was in the hospital, and the witness she was to us with her incredible faith.  

… taking my daughters to their godparents Greek Orthodox Church for Good Friday and Easter services. Orthodox services are rich with tradition: the priest carrying the Christ icon, leading the entire congregation in a procession outside to place it in a “tomb” on Good Friday; the Easter service, which starts at 10:30 Saturday night and culminates with the sanctuary lights being turned off with only the light from the eternal candle glowing. At these services it is impossible to not feel all the emotions, the tears and ultimate joy of Christ’s final days on earth.  

As we approach the second Easter of the pandemic, instead of the disappointment and sadness I felt last year, these memories will help guide me to “feel all the feels” of this holy weekend and the hope and the joy Easter. 

Thanks be to God! 

 


March 29, 2021

 

 

 

 

Calling me to care and sending me to serve

By Bev Osekowsky

As jury selection ends and the trial of Derek Chauvin begins, I think back to the scene of George Floyd on the ground under the knee of a policeman and the subsequent death of Mr. Floyd.  I was appalled by the video and thought someone should have done something to prevent this from happening.  My next thought was, “We can't let this happen again,” but how does this “we” start if it isn't by individuals working together on the problem.  Maybe this was the time that I could no longer be the complacent one but needed to be one of those individuals that did something.

At that time, Immanuel provided information, both in videos and in book studies, that were so helpful in educating me about racial issues.  I knew racism existed in our country, but I did not realize all the laws that were enacted to the disadvantage of black and brown people and to the advantage of white people.            

I also joined an Advocacy Group that Kim Rathjen, our Director of Outreach, had started.  Through that I found out about bills in the legislature that the ELCA synod supports and ways to connect with our representatives in the state and at the national level to advocate for those bills.

In Luke 10:29-37 Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan after a lawyer asks him who his neighbor is.  “A man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead,” Luke 10:30.  Jesus continues to tell the story of how a priest and Levite pass by the injured man and do not help but a Samaritan, who is hated by the Jewish people, binds the injured man's wounds, helps him to an inn and pays for his care.

Jesus not only told this parable to the lawyer, but he told it to me and others who read the Bible.  He is stating that where there is a need, that is where I should be.  I am to be his hands and feet on this earth.  He is “Calling me to Care and Sending me to Serve.”  The question is, “Am I listening?”

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Learn more about Immanuel's justice initiatives


March 15, 2021

 

 

 

 

Your hand is leading us, your love supporting us.

By Cari Larsen

“Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us, your love supporting us.”

When I was in high school I joined “the adult choir” at our small church and this was a favorite piece of our director, Ellis, and we sang it a lot. He even included the lyrics in a card he gave me for graduation. It’s hard for me to just say the words – I feel compelled to sing them. It was a song that I thought about for quite a bit of college, but at some point it faded from my memory.

As we’ve dealt with the COVID 19 pandemic, I’ve heard Pastor Angela say this blessing via church on Zoom. Hearing those words I know in my heart so well has been an unexpected source of comfort each time I hear her say them.

This morning I walked through the Labyrinth at Immanuel and this hymn came to me again. One foot in front of the other. Head down just watching where I was going. Through the tight turns and longer expanses, even with an eye that could see exactly where I was heading and knowing that the path would lead directly there, these words came to mind: “your hand is leading us, your love supporting us”. A reminder, I think, that even when we feel in control or when we want to feel in control or when everything is absolutely out of our control, we can rely on God to provide a path.


March 8, 2021

 

 

 

 

Brokenness and Restoration

By Kelly Kautz

We humans get broken. Sometimes we are broken by life circumstances or societal inequities, and sometimes through our own sinful actions and choices. No matter how we become broken, God’s restorative love is at work putting us back together.

At times, in our brokenness, God’s restorative love works through others to provide healing and restoration. When I broke my wrist in January, the doctors and nurses put my wrist back together to allow it to heal. The hand therapists taught me exercises to restore its strength and flexibility. My husband braided my hair and tied my shoes. Our friends fed us. 

At other times my brokenness is the result of my own sin as I turn from God, breaking my relationship with God and with others. God’s restorative love is with me at these times, making me whole and enabling me to reflect on my behavior, repent and repair the damage I have done, and return to God. 

We humans get broken, and I am grateful for a God who is always with us, loving us and restoring us to wholeness.

"Yes; it’s out of his fullness that we have all received, grace indeed on top of grace." John 1:16 (New Testament for Everyone)

 


 

 

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