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God's Hope Floats

Friends, it is a little TOO easy to relate to the familiar Noah’s Ark story of Genesis.However, teaching it to a multi-aged class this Sunday taught me something new.Noah put his reminder on the ground where he would be able to touch it and to remember that even a seemingly forever-flood comes to an end.Faithfulness means remembering that God is with us.God put a reminder in the sky where we can remember to look up, to look around, and to remember that God’s love cannot be overcome by any kind of flood, fears, or sorrow.It had not occurred to me, until today, that we need to build a reminder for ourselves, too. Like Noah, we know that these days will seem far away by next year.However, we need to remember that isolation, fear, and tiredness do not last forever; God has set a promise in the sky.So, I encourage our families to build a touchstone in your house or garden to remind us that God’s hope floats. You might read the God’s Hope Floats story of Noah from our website and write  wha…
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Butterfly Days

Butterfly Days

The Children's Circle Preschool year end rituals are among the things that I have missed the most in these difficult days of sheltering at home.One of my favorites involves butterflies and waiting.Classrooms of children watch for butterflies to open –in their classroom!It is a momentous occasion.We pray with the teachers that the butterflies will emerge.We watch and wait with the impatient children.The children learn words of waiting, hope, and anticipation to go with those feelings. The butterfly is also a metaphor for the impending end of the school year, when the children will go forth to new places, new people, and new experiences…taking their early learning and stories of becoming with them.

Then, it struck me that these are butterfly days, and how we talk about them with and NEAR our children matters.
Words matter, and stories are memory forming. Parents, we are all aware, acutely aware, of the difficulties of these days. Nothing is the same! HOWEVER.What is…

Churching where we are: We are ALL able around God’s table!

I sat in the sanctuary Sunday, and it felt VAST.Some might think of it as “empty…” but there was a huge sense of space and a connection to beyond the walls.I realized that Our Church circle is SO WIDE! We were gathered, in our own homes, but each of us was there standing, kneeling, sitting,and  praying together before our God.Your home is a “room” in the House of God if we gather in the name of Jesus Christ.
Kid’s club has been talking a lot about how we do not do “random” acts of kindness.We do them on purpose!We do INTENTIONAL acts of kindness in the name of Jesus Christ.We do them because Jesus asked us to do them! God helps us to do them! It is part of who we are and WHOSE we are as God’s beloved children.
One activity from Kids Club is the “I CAN” cube.  It helps to remind us that, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). You can do this at home.Take an empty square box, or make one, or take an old block,  and decorate it with 6 ways y…

The Next Crop of God's Gardeners

Do you remember that everything looks bigger as a child?   My grandfather’s house was on the top of a large hill.  It had a garden when I was growing up; it seemed HUGE to me. He had pear and apple trees.  He grew corn, green beans, lima beans, tomatoes (of course), black eyed peas, and potatoes among other things.  
Even though my grandfather was blind, he had been gardening for so long that he knew the plants by touch and how to sow by heart.  My grandfather grew food for his household, our family of 5, the neighbors, and plenty for the freezer.Gardeners know it’s important to grow a “cover crop,” too.These crops, like clover and soy beans, replenish the soil with vitamins so that vegetables will grow healthy and strong.I do not remember my Grandfather growing a “cover crop,” but since he rotated his plants, he may have accomplished the same thing.Nurturing and replenishing soil, planting seeds and on and on it goes.Second Presbyterian Children’s Sunday School is like a precious g…

Kingdom Come, in the Kingdom of Make Believe?

Parental confession:my children did not grow up on Mr. Rogers.They just didn’t fall into that group. They were more Barney and Sesame Street.This bothered me for a VERY long time.It bothered me like, how “we ought to be going to church, but we aren’t” bothers some other parents. Is watching Mr. Rogers the same as going to church?No.Words matter and Fred Rogers was carefully and fully inclusive; he never spoke of “God” or “sacraments,” but his neighborhood was a study in formation, children’s radical formation where all are welcome, feelings are named, and children are respected.
I think it is Kingdom work to facilitate those same things being found at church.No, not just at Sunday School – which is usually story telling focused and appropriation tasked.
I mean, at church: At coffee hour where there are tables for their size among the adult-sized tables. At worship where there are “movement breaks” and welcoming words “just their size.” At fellowship activities where there are activ…

Be a sheep

Here's to Christmas Pageants!  Years ago, okay decades ago, I lived in Crawfordsville, and they had an epic one. You see, the church let the YOUTH GROUP tell the Christmas story.We all know that can be a little risky. It was not told in King James English, or even NRSV.  I didn’t get to see it;  I was in Sunday School. Still, I treasure two memories from that event; yes, they are memories of an event I did not see and yet became part of our family Advent Lore. It changed the way I wait. First memory, the kings arrived down the center aisle on bicycles, and second the shepherds’ big line was, “’Biding’s a bore.”  Any time I have to wait, I repeat that line.  The shepherds are SO RIGHT!  “And in the same country there were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8 KJV). They were waiting. 
Shortly after that, Christmas Pageants disappeared from the churches I attended.I don’t know if the contemporary interpretation was a determining factor, …

My mother grew orchids

My mother has lived with me for about a year and a half now.I have tried several ways of easing her path and making her feel at home.  Family photos are on the walls. Favorite foods are clustered at easy reach.Treasured furniture passed down from my grandmother is scattered around the house.Coffee in the morning, ice cream sandwiches at night are both favorite things.  Many of the things I remember from our homes growing up are there. However, it was not until we had a window full of plants that it looked like “our home” instead of “mine.”

You see, growing up it was never what we had; it was always what we did.We ate family dinners. We attended church together. We sat up at night in pjs watching White Christmas (the movie) each December.We always had some kind of sporting event on the tv. We argued about politics.We fought about justice issues.
My mother smocked our dresses and sewed our raincoats. My mother cultivated orchids; she didn’t collect things. It is what she did rather tha…