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

An Advent Journey

Happy Advent from Minnehaha Children’s Ministries!
On December 3rd, we’ll begin the Advent season. Advent is the time when we prepare for Christmas, for the arrival of Jesus into the world. We know (literally and figuratively) the darkness that’s around us, we know longing for peace, we know stress from trying to prepare. As we journey through Advent this year, we invite families to contemplate how God is beside us through our journey, even in the darkness. We invite families to connect with one another on this journey – working together to bring justice and light to the world. We invite families to celebrate that God comes to us, and in that there is cause for much joy. There is hope.

Parables

For the past few weeks in Sunday School, our children have been hearing different parables. Jesus used parables to help teach his followers, to make a point to his opposers, to give people a way to better understand the kingdom of heaven.
Most of us need help with understanding this.  The kingdom of heaven is here, it’s coming; the kingdom of heaven is in us, it’s around us; the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.
We’re not going to get it all figured out, that’s for certain. But, we work hard with our kids here at Minnehaha to keep them questioning and wondering. We want them to know that’s is okay to be confused, to have doubts. And, we want them to know that we’re with them through all of this – that as a community we are seeking what it means to be followers of Christ, and what it means to be God’s hands in the world.
We are with them in their confusion, in their wonder, in their discovery, in their joy, in their sorrow, in their calm and in their chaos. We are with them when faith in God comes easily, and when it seems impossible to believe. We are with them: this is being a community of seekers, this is being a church family.