Ascension Day

2020-05-22T05:50:09-05:00

Today is Ascension Day, it is a lesser known liturgical holiday in the church that always happens on a Thursday – because it is 40 days after Jesus was crucified that we celebrate the day Christ was Ascended to be seated at the right hand of the Father. In the first chapter of Acts (verses 1-3) we read about how Christ had spent the first 40 days after the crucifixion appearing to the disciples to convince the disciples that he was indeed alive, and to share with them about the Kingdom of God. Then, later (verses 6-11) we read all about Jesus ascending into heaven (something we talk about every week when we say the Apostles Creed).
To be honest, Ascension Day is not a day I had reflected much about until many years ago when I was part of a team of Children, Youth and Family Ministry folks that created a joint event in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods that was a breakfast for all of the Children, Youth and Family Ministry professionals for networking, support and blessing. This breakfast was held on Ascension Day and included a blessing from both Bishop’s and a sending to kick off the beginning of all of the summer ministries (camps, mission trips, VBS, Summer Stretch). This became an annual event and one I looked forward to every year. I was able to connect with colleagues I didn’t see often, network, and be inspired. It also meant that each year, I reflected on Ascension Day and what it meant – something, quite frankly, that I had never done before.
You’ve all probably heard the saying that “You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. We all probably know that be true, whether it is a person, or a thing. There are many things that I am realizing were more important to me than I thought – and strangely enough, this breakfast and this day was one of those things. I was so surprised this morning to realize how sad I was to be missing out on that this morning. In light of the things that we are missing, I’m trying to be more appreciative of all the little things.
I read a blessing this week for Ascension Day, and wanted to share it with you – so you all could share my appreciation for this day too. Take some time today, read this blessing, and then appreciate all of the people and things in your life that are important to you!
For Ascension Day It is not for us to know — and yet we desire the dates and times, heaven’s clandestine calendar synced with these earthly plans. Love incarnate is woven through the things we bear — even now the fabric of this social distance keeps and calls us all Essential. Forming faith looks different, the grief of this summer’s loss heavy and raw. Our collective lament echoes in the places we should be playing all together. But even these reverberations are worship to the ears of God who knows plague, who weeps for what is lost, who calls children into the very heart of things. The comings and goings of Jesus are tearing at that ancient schizo between heaven’s love voiced and the river still moving over and around. So look to the sky all you want, but also remember; the awe you feel is bound to the holy mess of now, your mortal view and a Spirit still moving to breathe peace, tend wounds and stir up wild hope. Be drenched in this power and trust the thing we are meant to know: We are becoming a new generation, ascending in liberation and love! @metaherrickcarlson

Ascension Day2020-05-22T05:50:09-05:00

Looking through the Psalms

2020-05-11T16:19:12-05:00

 

 

Today is just one of those days. I find myself back in the Psalms today, specifically reading Psalm 102. One of my favorite things to do when reading a passage is to read it in several different translations, I really liked reading it from the Message today. This Psalm is a prayer for help from someone pleading to God for an answer to their prayers.

It’s said that when he was dying, St. Augustine asked that the Psalms be hung from the wall facing his bed. As he was dying, he sought the comfort of the Psalms. The Psalms ought to give us courage and confidence as we reflect on our own lives and on the struggles, sins, and “enemies” that afflict us. They teach us to plead without restraint, to hold nothing back as we talk to God.

This Psalmist here is at their loneliest and lowest point, and cries out to God to listen to their pleas and acknowledges that God hears the prayers of the needy – and the words that this Psalmist records will be left as a testimony to future generations. There are times in our lives when we don’t know what to do, except cry out to God, times when there are no easy answers. In those times we know that God can handle our cries, God hears our cries and God will walk with us through the challenges that we face.

 

Looking through the Psalms2020-05-11T16:19:12-05:00

The Psalms

2020-04-21T10:32:39-05:00

We are back in the Psalms. The Psalms is a book of sacred poems of prayers that are meant to be sung. In the original Hebrew text, many of the individual psalms contained the word “mizmor” meaning a poem sung to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument. The Psalms have had a very important impact on how we have developed Christian Worship over the years, and have been the source of many songs. For today’s devotion, read Psalm 95 or listen to this version of Psalm 95 that is sung by the Australian band Sons of Korah.

The Psalms2020-04-21T10:32:39-05:00

Sunday School Lesson for April 19

2020-04-18T15:36:37-05:00

Here is a copy of the Sunday School Lesson For April 19th. Just check out this YouTube link, and then look in the comments to download the coloring sheets and other activities that go along with it! We can’t be together, but there are still some fun things that you can do at home to support the lesson!

Sunday School Lesson for April 192020-04-18T15:36:37-05:00

Psalm 16 – A Trust Psalm

2020-04-17T10:50:24-05:00

Whenever I feel anxious or worried I often look to the Psalms for comfort and reassurance. Every emotion that you are feeling can be found in one of the Psalms. There are Psalms of thanksgiving, Psalms of lament, Psalms of thanksgiving and Psalms that cry out for deliverance. For whatever reason, I feel better when I know that someone else has felt the same emotions that I am feeling, because it makes me feel a little less alone. I don’t know about you, but my emotions have been all over the place. It has been a little bit like being on a roller coaster ride with all the ups and downs and crazy loop de loops. Whatever emotions you are feeling are ok, they are normal. Reading the Psalms helps me remember that when I see that the writers of the Psalms experienced many of the same emotions I do, and they weren’t afraid to express those emotions to God!

Today I read Psalm 16, and I invite you to take a few minutes and read this Psalm as well. Psalm 16 is a trust Psalm, which is a Psalm that expresses faith and confidence in God amid great difficulties, threats and dangers. It does my soul well to read trust Psalms these days. After you read this Psalm, take a few minutes and make list of all the good things God has done for you, and thank God for those things. It isn’t always easy for us to remember all of the seemingly small things that God has done for us, that we need to be thankful for, especially amidst all of these big emotions we are feeling, but when we switch our mindset to be grateful for all of the small things we do begin to see how God is present in all things.

P.S. Don’t be afraid to share the full breadth of whatever you are feeling with God, God can handle it.

Psalm 16 – A Trust Psalm2020-04-17T10:50:24-05:00