God is with Us! 05.09.2020

A Collect – by Mary Stewart, Colorado 1904
Keep us, O God, from pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault finding
and leave off self- seeking.
May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face,
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment,
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things,
Make us to grow calm, serene and gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is 
the little things that create differences,
that in the big things in life we are one.
And may we strive to touch and to know 
the great, common heart of us all.
And, O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind.

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God is with Us! 05.08.202

Hello Friends,
Sunday we continue with the sermon series “Relationships in the Age of Covid-19”.    Relationships can be tricky, especially in this stressful time of social-distancing, working and schooling from home and fear about the virus.
At some point over these last six weeks the chances are good that every single one of us has lost our cool, snapped, said something we regretted,  or just not been a kind person.
Learning to ask for forgiveness, and to offer forgiveness are important pieces of growing into emotional and spiritual maturity.
Brene Brown came out with a really great podcast featuring the work of Dr. Harriet Lerner’s on apologizing.  I found it very helpful, and a good fit for our sermon series, so I pass it on for you to listen.
Brene Brown says,
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to apologize A LOT over the past six weeks – which makes this the perfect time to lean into Dr. Harriet Lerner‘s work on apologizing.
This two-episode podcast special is based on a course that Harriet and I did together on her groundbreaking book, “Why Won’t You Apologize: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts.”

When you listen, you can expect authentic, hard conversations (and one helluva role play) about making mistakes, healing hurts, and being brave.

During a time of deep uncertainty and anxiety – when many of us have struggled to be our best selves all of the time – apologizing has never been more important.”

Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/3dq1VZ0 

May all your apologies be good ones!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us 05.07.2020

Dear Friends,
I have been reading the news about the murder of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery outside Brunswick, Georgia, in February. Mr. Abery was out jogging when he was confronted by two white men.  He was killed by them.  
Why is this story, which happened in February, just now coming to light?
A few weeks ago armed protestors took over the capital building in Michigan.  Rifles strapped to their chests, their angry shouts of protest echoed through the capitol.  The police held their line steady and did not draw their weapons.  No one lost their life that day.
Do you think for one minute that if it had been black and brown skinned people brandishing weapons in a state capitol building that they would have been safe?  
I have a friend who grew up in Nigeria.  He is one of the kindest and smartest people I have ever met.  He told me the story of his car stalling at an intersection of a twin cities suburb.  He was awaiting AAA to help with his car, when a police officer pulled over and questioned him about why he was at the intersection.  The police officer went so far as to force my friend to get AAA on the phone to verify to the police officer that he had called them.  Before he left the scene, the police officer told my friend that if his car was still there in 20 minutes, that it would be towed away at his own expense.
A friend and I were talking about the pandemic and the need to wear masks.  She said, “I am afraid for my husband to wear one.”  Her husband is a person of color. She feared that a black skinned man wearing a mask would be a target for potential harassment or even violence.
I feel angry and very sad. 
It should not be dangerous for people with black and brown skin to do the common activities of daily life.
Driving while black.
Babysitting while black.
Jogging while black.
Wearing a mask while black.
Friends, the work of reconciliation has a long way to go.  
What is God calling you to do?
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! 05.06.2020

Thank to Alan, Karissa, Emily, Haralds and Gary for this beautiful and encouraging piece of music from last Sunday. Click on the link to see the video.  In this era of social distancing, it is nearly impossible to get all of the musicians in one shot!  You’ll see the camera move from the singers to the instrumentalists who are wearing masks.  Safety is important!
Here are the lyrics:
No Longer Slaves
Verse 1
You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Verse 2
From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

CCLI Song # 7030123

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser

© 2014 Bethel Music Publishing
For use solely with the SongSelect® Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com

CCLI License # 1628344

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God is with Us! Bridges 05.05.2020

How many bridges do you see every day?
Here are some thoughts recorded on a bridge over Minnehaha Creek.

We are on this side of the bridge.


The Bridge
I stood on the bridge at midnight,
As the clocks were striking the hour,
And the moon rose o’er the city,
Behind the dark church-tower.

I saw her bright reflection
In the waters under me,
Like a golden goblet falling
And sinking into the sea.

And far in the hazy distance
Of that lovely night in June,
The blaze of the flaming furnace
Gleamed redder than the moon.

Among the long, black rafters
The wavering shadows lay,
And the current that came from the ocean
Seemed to lift and bear them away;

As, sweeping and eddying through them,
Rose the belated tide,
And, streaming into the moonlight,
The seaweed floated wide.

And like those waters rushing
Among the wooden piers,
A flood of thoughts came o’er me
That filled my eyes with tears.

How often, O, how often,
In the days that had gone by,
I had stood on that bridge at midnight
And gazed on that wave and sky!

How often, O, how often,
I had wished that the ebbing tide
Would bear me away on its bosom
O’er the ocean wild and wide!

For my heart was hot and restless,
And my life was full of care,
And the burden laid upon me
Seemed greater than I could bear.

But now it has fallen from me,
It is buried in the sea;
And only the sorrow of others
Throws its shadow over me.

Yet whenever I cross the river
On its bridge with wooden piers,
Like the odor of brine from the ocean
Comes the thought of other years.

And I think how many thousands
Of care-encumbered men,
Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
Have crossed the bridge since then.

I see the long procession
Still passing to and fro,
The young heart hot and restless,
And the old subdued and slow!

And forever and forever,
As long as the river flows,
As long as the heart has passions,
As long as life has woes;

The moon and its broken reflection
And its shadows shall appear,
As the symbol of love in heaven,
And its wavering image here.
Praying for you and for me and the people we will be on the other side of this bridge.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! 05.04.2020

Hello Friends,
Lake Harriet UMC has so many amazing young people.  They are students, athletes, singers, musicians, artists and actors.  I’m excited to share tonight’s video with you.  This song, from the musical Bright Star.
Lake Harriet’s own Ariana Advani recorded the song.  It was used during the worship service on Sunday, May 3rd and it’s so good I thought you’d enjoy hearing it again!
Let’s keep in our prayers all of the middle and high school students.  This season is challenging for all of us, but it is especially challenging for young people who cannot attend school or be with their peers.
If you know a teen (especially if they are not your kid) reach out to them to let them know you care!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! 05.03.2020 – A poem by Mary Oliver.

Tonight’s devotion comes from Lorrie Sandelin.  Lorrie serves as the Director of the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf and as the Volunteer Coordinator at Lake Harriet UMC.

For tonight’s devotion, I am sharing on of my favorite Mary Oliver poems. I have been thinking about it a lot this week and hope you will find something that resonates with you too. Especially for me right now, the last part is a reminder that during  this time where there is so much uncertainty and anxiety, go easy. Be kind to yourself and one another. 
When I Am Among The Trees 
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world but walk slowly,
and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say,”and you too have come into the world to do this,
to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”

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God is with Us! 05.02.2020

Hello Friends,
Rachel Held Evans was an incredibly powerful writer, theologian and mother.  She died one year ago today at the age of 37, leaving behind a husband and two very young children.  
I’ve been thinking about her today, and thought I’d share with you a short video clip.
You can see her author’s page at this link on Amazon.
Who are the writers, theologians and people who have influenced your faith?
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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God is with Us! 6th Grade Ministry 05.01.202

Hello Friends,
Tonight’s devotion comes from Dave Bruins.  Dave has been involved in youth ministry since he was in college.  He currently spends Wednesday nights with a group of 6th grade boys at church (now on ZOOM).  
Dave explains why he so thoroughly enjoys these boys and getting to know them.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins
P.S.  Dave and I met at through a youth ministry called Young Life.  He worked with students at Richfield High School and I worked with students from Washburn High School.  

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God is with Us! 04.30.2020

Hello Friends,
Two of my favorite things in the whole world are flowers and children.
May you spend your days strewing flowers.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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