Spiritual Care & Development

Discipleship Reflection: A Great Pumpkin Faith

October is often defined by the last day of the month—Halloween. In the Peanuts cartoon series, the character Linus celebrates Halloween with his unwavering belief that “The Great Pumpkin” will come to the most “sincere” pumpkin patch, bringing toys and goodies to those whose faith don’t waver (think Santa Claus in pumpkin form). “The Great Pumpkin” first showed up in the Peanuts cartoon strip in 1959, at which point it became an annual tradition. Most of us are probably familiar with this story through the animated feature, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” which was released in 1966.

Poor Linus. He waits and waits, enduring the scorn and mocking of his friends who doubt what they cannot see.

Sometimes it seems that our Christian faith faces the same kind of scrutiny. Whether from friends or family, social commentary, or even our own doubting hearts, sometimes it seems foolish to trust in God when it appears that so much is wrong in the world. Where is God’s goodness and grace? Where is the peace of Christ?

When we face disasters, loss, violence, and discouragement it can be especially difficult to hold onto faith. Hebrews 11:1-3 says,

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.”

The chapter goes on to recall the history of God’s saving acts for the people of Israel. What this reveals to me is that sometimes we need help to remember that there is something deeper at work in our world. Jesus never leaves us on our own, and the stories of faith help us remember that this is true when we can’t see it for ourselves.

This is why I think it is so important to be in deep relationship with other Christians, such as in a Growth Group, and to join together in worship regularly. We need to share our stories of God’s salvation, where Jesus has shown up in our lives. We need to listen to one another’s stories, especially when we are going through a season in which it is hard to trust in that which is unseen. We need to pray for one another and help to bear one another’s burdens. In this way, we reveal the love of God. 1 John 4:11-12 says,

“Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

We don’t need to go out to the pumpkin patch to wait for a benevolent pumpkin that may or may not arrive. We can gather together for worship, pray with one another, serve one another, laugh together. We already have Christ in our midst, as we share our love and stories of faith together.

First Monday

This month’s First Monday gathering on October 2, 11:00am-1:00pm, features a presentation by Pastor Kate Sweet titled, “What All This about Spiritual but Not Religious?”

You may have heard friends or family members say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” This is certainly a hot-button phrase these days. We’ll explore what people mean when they say this, and what this spiritual movement means to us in the Church today.

If you’re 50+, please join us at the church for a potluck lunch and this interesting conversation!

Care Team Resources: Caregiver Chronicles

The Care Team at People’s church has been providing companionship and accompanying older adults and those with medical needs for over 15 years. We are supported by the umbrella organization Catholic Charities and their Respite Care Team ministry. They help organize and equip Care Teams in churches throughout Dane County. One of the resources that they provide is a monthly newsletter called The Caregiver Chronicles. This newsletter provides articles pertaining to caregiving issues, information about upcoming events and resources, and words of encouragement for those providing care to loved ones. If you or someone you know would benefit from receiving a copy of The Caregiver Chronicles, please let Pastor Kate know. We have electronic and paper copies available monthly.

Sue Koch