…We Seek!

You may hear “We Seek, We Serve, We Celebrate” a lot at Minnehaha. It’s part of our mission statement. So, as we plan our programming year, we ask ourselves what are we doing in each of these areas. How is Minnehaha helping people to do each of these things? Because seeking, serving, celebrating – these are all important aspects of our spiritual journey; these are all important aspects of growing a community.

We are thankful for our amazing Sunday School volunteers, who give their time each week to prepare lessons and lead the children & youth of Minnehaha in seeking. We are thankful for our wonderful music volunteers who engage our the children through music, and help them learn the power of connection and story as they prepare songs to share with us. We are thankful for Pastor Becky’s sermons, and all those people who put work into making our worship services a time for us to discover God.

We also are blessed here at Minnehaha to have opportunities to learn more about the world. To seek beyond our walls, and beyond our comfort zones. Through our Who Is My Neighbor ministry, we’ve learned more about the Somali immigrant community in Minneapolis. We’ve got to participate in breaking the fast during Ramadan, and to share stories, meals, and spend time together in community with our Somali neighbors. Next week, we’re excited to be offering a chance to join in with a tour at the Somali Museum of Minnesota – the only Somali museum in the world! Families are invited to join us for a tour at 2pm. The cost is $9/adult and $7/child or senior. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to Jenia at education@minnehaha.org by Friday, April 13th.

 

Welcome, Spring!

Easter’s almost here! We’ve been waiting for this – making our through the dark wood during Lent, exploring what gifts there are in fear and doubt and wandering. We’ve been waiting for this – for life to make it’s way through the frozen ground, for buds to show on trees, to feel the sun’s warmth. We know that all of this waiting is part of the wonder and beauty of life. That the gifts of the dark wood that we examined as part of our Lenten observation are real, that the trees that look dead are about to show us that they are indeed alive, that bulbs underground are preparing to break forth.
We know that we needed this winter, and we know as certainly and wonderfully that we need this spring – that we need Easter.
Each year, we are gifted – through nature as well as through the Easter story – with the incredible truth: God is life and love, and God conquers death and brings us life. We see the gift of life and hope all around us, we see God all around us. Even though it’s still a bit muddy and grey, head outside: look for spring’s arrival with every sense. Celebrate with your children the miracle of Easter!

Desert Rain

The desert of the North American southwest is an amazing place. Months and months go by without rain, and plants and animals adapt and survive and even thrive. I write from Arizona, where it rained all day yesterday, and so I was greeted this morning with the amazing smell of the desert after the rain. This very distinct smell comes from the creosote bush. It’s almost as if the plants come alive with the rain. Their leaves absorb the moisture, releasing oils that make this smell of desert rain. The creosote bush is incredible, more drought tolerant than any plant in North America. In the Mojave Desert, there’s a cluster (the plants clone and often end up in a ring pattern) that’s thought to be over 11,000 years old. They survive in the desert where other plants would never try, facing the southeast to greet the morning sun, and providing shelter and food for desert creatures.

I’m not going for a hike in the desert wilderness today, I’m drinking coffee and getting some work done. But, the sounds of the birds singing, the smell of the creosote, the barks of trees wet and content from the rain, these all seem fitting senses to be experiencing as we start this Lenten season. Knowing that I am surrounded by plants and animals who survive and thrive in wilderness, who have adapted to get through incredible droughts, who greet the morning sun, who’ve evolved as part of an ecosystem that protects and nurtures each other: this gives me hope – for all of creation.

Wilderness – literal and figurative – is part of all of our lives, our kids’ lives, too. Throughout Lent, Pastor Becky is exploring how this wilderness can be a place for us to encounter God, build community, find peace, and find hope. Throughout Lent, we can explore with our families where it is that we see God in this world, where it is that we can be God’s hand in this world, where it is that we can build community, make peace, and inspire hope. And, like the desert after a rain, we can be transformed by the water of life.

At Minnehaha in March, our regular weekly program continues. Join us on Sunday mornings for worship and faith formation, on Wednesday evenings for dinner and programming, and Thursday mornings for our Minnehaha Playgroup for children five and under and their caregivers. The last week of March is Holy Week. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will find more details about the week. It begins with Palm Sunday, but we also have special services on Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday before celebrating Easter (on April Fools’ Day this year!) All of these services are great things to attend with families – we participate in rituals and hear the story of Easter, and can celebrate as a community the incredible power of love in transforming the world. We hope you’ll join us.

Let it Shine…

We are in the season of Epiphany. This season – sandwiched in between the Christmas season and Lent – is one where we remember the early years of Jesus’ life and ministry. We celebrate his baptism and teaching and healing. We reflect on how his life showed us how to live, how he was love incarnate, how the light was in the world.

As Christians, we work to follow the example Jesus the Christ set for us. We work to be LOVE in action in the world. We work to be LIGHT in the darkness. Throughout the season of Epiphany this year, Pastor Becky’s sermons are focusing on social justice.  As we explore different aspects of what it means to work for social justice (focusing on immigration, civil rights, women’s rights, poverty, and environment), we remember our call to be light and love not just within our community, but for the world.

Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine…

 

Here is an article to dig deeper into our United Methodist heritage and the call to work for justice: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/ask-the-umc-what-does-it-mean-to-resist-evil-injustice-and-oppression