Spiritual Care & Development
First Monday: First Monday will be on March 5, featuring a program called “Faith Stories.” You are invited to bring a photograph of someone who has impacted your faith in some way (or an object that represents this person). There will be time to share our stories, and we hope that you will be encouraged by learning more about our family of faith.
First Monday is a gathering of folks aged 50+ who meet for fellowship and fun on the first Monday of each month, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. We meet in the Great Room at PUMC for a potluck lunch followed by the program. Bring a friend and a dish to pass. If you have questions about First Monday, please contact Pastor Kate, email@example.com.
Growth Groups: Growth groups started up again at the end of February! We have several groups following along with our sermon series, Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, as well as a couple of groups going through the third installment of Journey 101: Serving God. We look forward to seeing how God works in the lives of those who have signed up.
If you missed the sign-ups this round, never fear! There will also be a mini-Growth Group season in the later spring with options to focus on two of our mission priorities: Race and the Environment. You will see more information about these short-term groups in April. If you have questions, please contact Pastor Kate, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spiritual Care & Development: March is known for many things: St. Patrick’s Day, the first crocuses budding up through the snow, and the old saying, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” March is such a changeable month here in Wisconsin. It’s Spring one day, and Winter again the next. The Farmer’s Almanac online says that it’s not likely that the old adage has any real meteorological value, but has stuck around due to its catchy rhyme more than anything else: “We can only hope that if March starts off stormy it will end on a calm note, but the key word is hope.”
Hope is a good word to hold onto both for the weather and for the general state of affairs that we face at this time. I’m writing this message at the end of February, with the school shooting in Florida just over a week in the past. There seem to be more casualties and unrest at every turn. These are real things to grieve. They are just as real as the snowstorm that catches us off-guard late in the season. Yet our faith also tells us that the brokenness we see will not have the final word—God’s justice and grace will win in the end.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a 20th century French philosopher, has a quote, “Deep hope flows over deep time.” This quote grounds me when I feel overwhelmed by the news or by struggles in my own life. It reminds me that God works on a different time scale than I can comprehend. It also reminds me that despite this incomprehension, I am invited to step into this flow of hope, here and now.
If we want to have deep hope that flows over deep time, we need deep practices to help sustain us. The month of March is also known for the church season of Lent—the 40 days leading up to Easter, a time to reflect, draw closer to God, and prepare our hearts to celebrate the Resurrection. It is also a time that you might want to consider trying out something new, a practice that could help sustain you through into deep hope. Here are a few practices to consider:
· Take a media-fast. This could be as little as choosing not to consume media (news, T.V., YouTube, Facebook, etc) one day a week, or by setting a timer and planning how much media you would like to consume each day. Use the time that you would normally spend on media reading scripture, praying, journaling, or listening to faith-inspiring music.
· Start a gratitude journal. Take a moment at the end of each day to reflect on the past 24 hours, and identify one or two people, events, or things for which you are grateful. Spend a moment in prayer thanking God for these gifts.
· Take a Pause. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and in need of “deep hope,” take a moment to pause. Light a candle and remember that the Spirit of God is with you at all times, and is at work in our world at all times. Take a moment to focus on the flickering light, and offer your fears and anxieties to God in prayer.
May these days, whether like a lion or a lamb, be filled with the deep peace of Christ in your life.
Grace and peace,
Kate Sweet, Pastor of Spiritual Care & Development