Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Deck-orated by God!

In Preparation for our Maker Fun Factory VBS by Group Publishing, I'll be posting daily devotions for our volunteers! Join us on the journey and remember, "We are made with a purpose, created to create!"
Remember: God made you!

On Monday "Decker" the Crab will be telling the kids that "God lovingly creates people." Here are some verses to keep in mind:

Genesis 1:26 NIV Reader's Bible

Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Psalm 139:13-14 NIV Reader's Bible

"You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful.  I praise you for that.  What you have done is wonderful.  I know that very well."

Our curriculum reminds us that as Christians we believe we are lovingly, intentionally, creatively, and masterfully handmade by God.

I like to imagine the whole trinity at work creating us.  When I read over Psalm 139, I enjoy picturing how Jesus grinned while my hands and heart were knitted together in my mother's womb.  Did he giggle at how clumsy I would be? Did he look forward to hearing me play my flute and sing? Did he know the obstacles and barriers that would be in my way? Did he brim with pride knowing the strength planted in my being to tackle those challenges? When might Jesus have grinned or brimmed with pride as you were created?

Maybe I'm just being silly, but I think Jesus is a little bit silly too;) I'll leave you with this beautiful passage from Proverbs 8, where Lady Wisdom looks back on the creation of all things living and charges humankind for the days ahead.  May the Spirit continue to breathe life and joy into your lungs and spirit as we prepare for a fun week with our Creator and the beloved creation! Pastor Kati

"Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company, delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family. So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life. Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure."
Proverbs 8, The Message

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Memorial Day Litany

For better or for worse, our faith and our patriotism are embedded in one another.  We could choose to separate the two, but I sincerely feel that when we honor this connection across different faiths, we also open the door to be held accountable to the message of reconciliation which accompanies the calling to fight and endure suffering for freedom.
Our congregation has a tradition of doing a Memorial Day Litany and I edited a few lines in an attempt to include this parallel message of deliverance from evil and reconciliation with one another.  Feel free to use in your congregation or family gathering.
Memorial Day Litany
Minister: Lord, you have called us to be the salt and the light of our world.  Today we come before you, giving thanks for all of the faithful who have gone before us and fought the good fight through faith, that we might appreciate the many liberties we enjoy. For justice, freedom, the pursuit of happiness and the opportunity to worship where we please,
All: We give thanks to you, O God, our creator, redeemer, and sustainer.
Minister: For those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms we cherish, in our own country and abroad,
All: We give thanks to you, O God, our protector, liberator, and reconciler.
Minister: For those who continue to risk their lives for the sake of freedom,
All: Let us support their every effort and stand by them and their families in time of need.
Minister: Guide our nation in the way of truth and peace.
All: Let our conversations reflect your teachings, wisdom, and mercy.
Minister: We pray for our President, his advisors, military leaders and Congress in these tense times.
All: Give them courage to listen and act in cooperation, boldness, and benevolence.  Guide their steps to fight against those who spread hate and tyranny throughout the world. Almighty God, you are our strength and our shield. Guide each of us as agents of peace, liberation, and reconciliation in the legacy of those who have gone before us. Amen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A thanksgiving for the gifts of motherhood

* A bittersweet reflection

The three most influential women in my life are my mom and my two grandmothers.  They not only passed down genes and habits, some good and some challenging, they also set an example for how a woman can flourish, lead and encourage the flourishing of others.  Lately I’ve been thinking about the storms they survived many years before I was born, and how their sorrow and pain would one day develop the love, faith and joy which nurtured me in my youth. Everyone who knows or has seen a photo of Vera Salmons, knows I have her grin. When my eyes are sometimes a grayish blue and other times an olive brown, I remember Rosie Benton’s caring eyes. I know I have her hips, if only I had her waist! And for anyone who knows Ann Salmons, there is no doubt I am my mother’s daughter, from our love of wonderful music, to our zealous love of crafting, we love to give our entire beings to our passions. I had hoped to share their joy in holding my own child this mother’s day, and instead I am holding the grief we share in the loss of a child. 

Over the last several months, many mothers have shared their stories of miscarriage and child loss with me in the wake of our loss.  Sometimes it is all a blur, because no matter how many months or years we knew our child, the grief is still raw and painful.  We all yearn to love, be loved, and experience that mysterious connection of body and heart. 

As we look towards Mother’s day, I am choosing to be thankful. I am thankful for the joys of motherhood I have felt for a short while. I am thankful for the many women who comforted me and walked with me through shadows and light during these past several months. I am thankful for my mother and my grandmothers.  I am thankful for their love.  I am thankful for their faith. Most of all, I am thankful for the strength I feel in my very being that they passed on to me. I am thankful that my parents can remind me of Granny and Mama’s stories, and I am thankful for the hope that I will one day share their stories with our children. Glory be to God, Alleluia. Amen.