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Abiding

Well, my dear friends, 2020 is nearly half over! And what a year it has been thus far…I don’t even need to list all that has happened, all that has changed. And we don’t yet know where all of these events are leading us.

So, perhaps you are like me and you feel a need to just stop for a bit, take a deep breath, and lean into the beauty of God’s creation. I like to spend time sitting on my back porch in the summer. Right now it’s breezy…I can see the tree branches blowing a bit…I can hear the birds singing…I can see the splashes of color from the garden baskets my daughter and I planted…I can even hear the sounds of remodeling from the next street over with the old 70’s pop songs playing softly.

And it dawns on me that in the midst of our work and our callings, we need to tend our souls…to abide in God’s presence…to truly rest, remembering who we are and to whom we belong.  Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them, bear much fruit for apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

There will always be valuable work to do in our vocations as the people of God…but for today, your “work” is to abide, rest, refresh, renew. Find that space whether it is physical or emotional or mental and take a break. Let Jesus tend to you for a bit.

Breathe deeply. Be still. Be well. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

Peace,

Pastor Kisten

The Holy Spirit Will Teach You Everything

John 14: 25 [Jesus said] I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

The motto and mission of my school district growing up was: "Fostering lifelong learners in a caring environment." Concordia College, where I went to undergrad, had a similar but more specific mission: "To send into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life."

What I love about the mission of both of these schools were their emphasis on lifelong learning. We're never "finished" with school or learning. We're always growing, always being made new, always adapting to a changing world.

Today, that is truer than ever! Thank God the Holy Spirit will "teach us everything."

One very concrete way that you can participate in the Spirits work and continue to be a lifelong learner is to sign up for the "Me and White Supremacy" Book Study group that begins on Monday evenings in July. It'll be challenging, for sure, but it's a place to start in anti-racism work.

The Spirit will teach us everything. Let's get to the work of learning.

We Will Not Be Swamped!

Psalm 93:

 1The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty;
 the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength.
 He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
 2your throne is established from of old;
 you are from everlasting.
 3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
 the floods have lifted up their voice;
 the floods lift up their roaring.
 4More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
 more majestic than the waves of the sea,
 majestic on high is the LORD!
 5Your decrees are very sure;
 holiness befits your house,
 O LORD, forevermore.

There's a lot of conversations happening about things going under. The argument seems to be about either stopping the spread of COVID-19 or saving small businesses, lest they "go under." We worry about all kinds of things going under in this time of economic uncertainty - churches, families, businesses, non-profits, corporations, local governments.

All of that is possible. None of us know the trajectory that COVID-19 will continue to take or how many times we'll have to lock things back down to save society from a larger tragedy than we already have going on. Between one and two thousand deaths per day, above what was happening one year ago on average, is already a huge tragedy.

But our Psalm makes clear that God has always been and God always will be. The Lord is King. And not only that, the Lord is high above any red ink or dangerous waters that come to swamp us and drown us. We will not go under. We will not be swamped.

We may worry. Businesses may fail. Our economy may falter. But the Lord will not be swamped. The cross is planted firmly in the soil - driven down into the bedrock. It will not be swept away by even the most tragic currents.

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