God is with Us! Here’s to the misfits! 05.20.2020

Hello Friends,
Minnesota’s “Stay-at-Home” order went into effect on March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
For seven weeks now we have experienced some of the very best in humanity in responding to the Corona virus precautions.  Sadly, we have also seen some of the worst in humanity.
A restaurant owner, who has been working in the industry for more than three decades, said the the patrons on Mother’s Day were the most difficult he has ever had.   There was no empathy for the workers who were swamped and trying to get the orders out.  Customers were rude and one person almost became violent. There was just a whole lot of privilege.  “I want my pancakes and I want them right now.”
I understand that people are anxious and feeling cooped up.  But contrast the restaurant owner’s experience with the stories Lorrie Sandelin shares from the clients of the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf.  Every week Lorrie meets clients who are in tears because they are so grateful for the food.  Last week she received cards hand drawn by children who received food, expressing their thanks.
Who will you be during this pandemic?  Will you be the crabby pancake guy, or the filled-with-gratitude person?
Make this the day to choose to be extra kind, extra patient, extra loving and extra generous.  
Here’s to the Crazy Ones, by Rob Siltanen
Here’s to the crazy ones.  
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.  
The ones who see things differently. 
They’re not fond of rules.  
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. 
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, 
are the ones who do.

Galatians 6:9
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front, a poem by Wendell Berry

Practice Resurrection my friends, practice resurrection.
I love the idea that resurrection is not just an event that took place 2000 years ago.  Resurrection is a verb, it is an action.  It is something we do.
We practice resurrection when we offer kindness instead of criticism, hope instead of despair, justice instead of the staus quo. 
We practice resurrection when we donate to the Joyce Uptown Foodshelf. 
We practice resurrection when we choose to wear a mask to protect those who are vulnerable to the Corona virus.
We practice resurrection when we check on our neighbors and the person who lives alone.
We practice resurrection when we perform random acts of kindness.
Spend some time with the words of poet Wendell Berry.  Click on the link to hear his poem.
How will you practice resurrection today?
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III | The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery

This video is 22 minutes long and well worth every minute.
The speaker is Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, pastor of Trinity Church Chicago.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! The Dorsey Family 05.17.2020

Tonight’s devotion is a word of encouragement from the Dorsey family.  Kamaria created this video for a class.  Her assignment was to create a public service announcement related.  Kamaria’s encourages us to be “Stronger Together”!
Click on the link below to see her video.
Thanks Kamaria! We are proud of you and very thankful for you!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us – Picturing God 05.15.2020

Tonight’s devotion comes to us from Janet Bomar.
Click on the link to listen to tonight’s story.

How do you picture God?

 Passage  Name or Image
 Genesis 17:1, Exodus 6:3 the Almighty
 Exodus 3:14 “I am who am.”
 Deuteronomy 4:31 Merciful, Faithful
 Deuteronomy 6:4 Lord, One God
 2 Maccabees 6:14-16 Patient, Merciful
 Psalm 7:12 Just
 Psalm 18:3 Rock of Refuge, Shield, Deliverer, Protector
 Psalm 23:1 Shepherd
 Psalm 103:8-9 Kind, Merciful, Gracious, Slow to Anger
 Psalm 136 Warrior
 Psalm 144 Rock, Mighty Stronghold
 Ecclesiastes 12:1 Creator
 Song of Solomon 2:8 Beloved
 Isaiah 9:5 Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace
 Isaiah 11:2 Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength, Knowledge, Forbidding
 Isaiah 40:11 Shepherd
 Isaiah 41:20 Holy One
 Isaiah 42:14 Being in Labor
 Isaiah 44:6 King, Redeemer
 Isaiah 49:15-16 Caring, Faithful Mother
 Hosea 2:21-22 Faithful Spouse
 Hosea 11:1-4 Loving Parent
 Matthew 23:37 Mother Hen Clucking over Her Brood
 John 6:48-51 Bread of Life
 John 10:7 Gate for the Sheep
 John 10:11 Good Shepherd
 John 14:5-6 the Way, the Truth, and the Life
 John 14:25-26 the Advocate, Teacher
 John 15:1 Vine Grower
 1 Corinthians 6:19 Present Within Us
 1 Corinthians 12:7-13 Giver of the Gifts of the Spirit
 Galatians 5:22-23 Giver of the Fruits of the Spirit
 1 Peter 2:4,6 Living Stone, Cornerstone
 1 John 1:15 Light

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God is with Us! Hugs!!!! 05.14.2020

Hello Friends,

Some days I feel like I am handling the pandemic pretty well, and other days I feel on the brink of tears. 


Not being able to hug my granddaughters is THE HARDEST part of the pandemic for me.  On a Zoom call one day, the almost three-year-old granddaughter said, “Grandma I want to hug you.”  I texted something to the girls yesterday evening.  My son, the father of the girls, texted back to say that the four-and-a-half year old granddaughter was feeling very sad because she couldn’t have any hugs from her grandparents or her uncles.  (FYI – one of the “Uncles” is an aunt named Teresa, but when 6 of 7 are uncles, you call them all uncles.  We love them calling her “Uncle Teresa” so please don’t anyone correct them.)


We spent a little time facetiming with the girls, talking about their day, them asking us to show them all of their favorite toys at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  We talked about how Governor Walz has some new rules coming out and that soon we could see one another in groups of less than ten.  We counted out mommy, daddy, sister, grandma, grandpa, and all the “uncles” on our side of the family and it was 10 people and that made them happy.  We counted mommy, daddy, sister, Grammy “Poof”, and the uncles on their mom’s side of the family, and that was 7 people, which also made them happy.


“But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. “ Luke 15:20

This story of one of the world’s best hugs, comes in the story of the Prodigal from Luke 15:11-32.  This is the joy and love of God for each of us, that God runs to us to embrace us.  The joy and excitement I feel when I think about one day hugging the little girls again, gives me a tiny picture of how God feels about each one of us.


Enjoy this great video of creative ways people are finding to give their loved ones hugs.  This is how excited God is to embrace you every single day!


Hug Shield


Grace and peace,

Pastor Karen Bruins


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God is with Us! Shelter Me 05.13.2020

Dear Friends,
The Bible speaks of God as our shelter, our rock and our strength.  These images of God’s strength are so helpful during this anxiety-filled pandemic.  
For today,  talk to God about what kind of shelter, what kind of strength you need.
You can think of God like the sheltering wing of a mother hen as she shelters her chicks. 
Have you ever been caught in a rainstorm and had to run to shelter?
Sunday May 10th, Dawn Uribe sang a beautiful new song called, “Shelter Me”.  It was written in response to the pandemic by Father Michael Joncas.  He is the same person who wrote “On Eagle’s Wings”, one of the most loved hymns of the Christian church.
I encourage you to read the words of Psalm 61 and then listen to Dawn sing “Shelter Me”.  


Shelter Me

May the God who is our shelter and our strength comfort you!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

Psalm 61 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Assurance of God’s Protection

1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.

From the end of the earth I call to you,
    when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me abide in your tent forever,
    find refuge under the shelter of your wings.  Selah
*In the Bible Selah is often found at the end of a sung phrase.  It was a cue to take a pause in the singing.  It can also be translated as Forever.  

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God is with Us! Give me grace. 05.12.2020

Hello Friends,
Janet Bomar shares another beautiful story with us tonight.
Click on the link to watch her video.

Give Me Grace – read by Janet Bomar

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God is with us? Where are you God? 05.11.2020

Whew! This pandemic has me feeling all sorts of things: anxiety, fear, boredom, worry, wonder, doubt and hope.  
How are you feeling?
Psalms are a cry of the heart.  Here are some thoughts –click on the link for the video.
Friends, may you pour out your heart to God this day.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! 05.10.2020 Mothering Day

Hello Friends,
Today is Mother’s Day, or as it is called in some countries, “Mothering Day”.  
On this day we honor all of the women who helped to raise us: moms, step-moms, aunties, foster moms, grandmothers, coaches, church school teachers, mentors and more.
Please enjoy “The Mommy Book” read by Janet Bomar, Director of Children and Family Ministries.  

The Mommy Book

In “The Faith We Sing” hymnal we have at church, there is a hymn called, “Mothering God”.  It was inspired by Julian of Norwich a 14th-century mystic, (c. 1342–c. 1416).  Jean Wiebe Janzen wrote the poem.  Click on the link to hear the hymn.

Mothering God

Mothering God, you gave me birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of ev’ry breath,
you are my rain, my wind, my sun.

Mothering Christ, you took my form,
offering me your food of light,
grain of new life, and grape of love,
your very body for my peace.

Mothering Spirit, nurt’ring one,
in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow
until I flow’r, until I know.
Pause today and give thanks for the women who have shaped your life, and for the God who is a Mother to us all.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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