Advent begins…

And, just like that, Advent is here. At Minnehaha, that means Christmas Pageant preparations are under way, the Advent Wreath is set, plans are being made for Christmas Eve services. At stores, it means holiday displays and sales are in full force. It coincides with our approach to the Winter Solstice – with nights getting longer and longer.

What does it mean in our homes? To our families? To our children?
Advent is the season of waiting – of anticipation and reflection. As we move closer to Christmas, to celebrating the birth of Jesus, we’re reminded of the intense need for hope, peace, joy, and love. We’re reminded how much we need light in the darkness. So, how can make space in our busy days to nurture – in ourselves & others – hope and wonder?
We hope that some of our offerings at Minnehaha this Advent will help you with this challenge. I encourage you to carefully peruse the opportunities this month at Minnehaha to seek, serve, and celebrate: opportunities to pause together amidst the chaos (wonderful as it may be) of this time of year to bring light to the world.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5

Letting Go…In Gratitude

Folks that have been around Minnehaha this past month might have noticed me hobbling around. One misstep while out enjoying a beautiful autumnal day landed me in the ER with a dislocated ankle, and six weeks in a boot (hopefully no more). It’s been good to look to the trees in inspiration: to see the power and the beauty in their letting go. Those leaves which nourished the trees throughout the summer are released to the ground, are beautiful falling to the ground, return to the earth to continue to nourish. The trees must let go of them. It’s part of their life cycle, it’s what allows them to survive.

There are things in our lives that nourish us in one season, but might need to be let go off in another. There are things that we must let go of in order to survive and thrive. Being forced to slow down makes this reality more stark. When hands are needed for crutches, they simply cannot keep as many balls juggling in the air. So, I am grateful for people who remind me that it’s okay to let some drop. I am grateful for the inspiration of the trees. I am also grateful for the compassion and generosity of people who take on new tasks or share in responsibilities. It’s what being a part of a community is all about.

So, as we move into a new month, I hope that you & your families find moments for gratitude, and for clarity in what things can be let go of as you continually move into a new season.  I hope that Minnehaha is a place where you find – with grace – the courage to continually grow and change and nourish yourselves and others.

 

Return to Routine…

I am always so excited for summer’s arrival, to depart from regular routines, to live outside a bit more. I am equally excited to say goodbye to summer, I am ready for routines to return and for autumnal blue skies. I always love the color of leaves changing, the smell of pumpkins, visiting apple orchards, and even back-to-school shopping. But, for me the most comforting part of fall is that return to routine. Having a predictable rhythm to our days offers security. And, as you do when a “new year” begins, I find myself considering how we want to being this (school) year anew. What do we want as part of our daily routines? What do we want in our weekly routines? How will we achieve that allusive balance? How will we make time for all the things we want to do? How will we make time for each other? What activities will invigorate us? What things will offer us renewal? What will offer time for connection?

We consider all of this things as a church family as well, and so, as a new program year begins, we consider how we balance all that we do. What are we doing to seek, serve, and celebrate? What are we doing to bring God’s transforming love to the world? What are we doing to be a sanctuary – a place where all feel welcome and safe and are blessed?
We hope that you will make Minnehaha a part of your routines this year, and that you will join with our community in opportunities to connect with one another and the world, that you will find this community one that renews, that you will find this a place where God’s work is done.

…We Serve!

We often talk about how we are called to be the hands of God in the world.
We talk about how we might follow Jesus’ example in our daily lives; embracing opportunities to serve one another and our greater communities. We strive to  understand love as a verb.

Last week, our kindergartners and first graders worked hard to make May Day baskets. This Sunday, they’ll walk a few blocks from church to a nearby senior living cooperative where they’ll deliver the May Day baskets to church members who are residents there. We do this with different groups of kids each season, and highlights are consistently getting to peer into the apartments and visit with the seniors. This is a simple way to begin connections and relationships. It’s a simple way to lead our kids in serving. Taking time to notice one another – to do something special and kind and thoughtful for our neighbors – this is one way we can be God’s hands in the world. We are grateful for teachers who give of their time to help make these experiences possible.