Bath Day

Oct 4 Blog Photo--candle

Today’s reflection is written by Easter member Katie Larson:

As my oldest daughter, Clara, is now 2 ½, I have been trying to find ways to incorporate faith into her daily routine.  As her Baptismal anniversary approaches, I have been focusing on showing her the connection to water and the Word.  Whether she is washing her hands, brushing her teeth, or even running through the sprinklers…God is always there, listening to her and loving her.  Reminding her that on her Baptism, she was promised, by God, that she is always beloved!

Every night before bed, I cherish our time praying together, and marking Clara’s forehead with the cross of Christ.  Instilling a strong foundation, so that she knows that she is protected and safe because God’s love is big and everywhere.

During the Baptism class we took as parents, Pastor Brandon talked about the importance of celebrating your child’s “Bath Day” every year on their Baptismal anniversary.  I love the idea of not only bringing out their candle to light, but also looking at pictures from that special day, and even getting a cake to celebrate!  Last year, Clara’s Godmother made a contribution to ELCA Good Gifts on her anniversary, to help teach Clara at a young age that God loves all of His children, and that this love can be spread through giving and sharing.

How do you remember your Baptism?  Parents, Godparents, Aunts/Uncles, Grandparents…how have you reminded your children of their Baptism?  What family traditions do you share?

“…sustain Clara with the gift of your Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever…Amen.”

 

Katie Larson is a member of Easter Lutheran Church.  She lives in Eagan with her husband Andrew, and their two young daughters, Clara and Audrey.  In her free time outside of working as a marketing recruiter, Katie enjoys writing on the topic of faith and parenting.

A Prayer for Pentecost

Today is the Feast of Pentecost in many Christian churches. Here is a poem-prayer I wrote this morning as I was thinking about Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I invite you to spend some time praying and pondering this sacred mystery with me.

Holy Spirit--stained glass window--Julie McCarty--Spiritual Drawing Board

(click on images to enlarge)

A Rainy Day Pentecost Prayer

On this day of Pentecost, a cloudy sky dimly shines through the window
while I sit here, sipping my cup of tea,
gentle raindrops falling on a wood
of bright green leaves.
No tongues of fire
or windy skies,
but that is
how it is
sometimes.
God comes
not only
Raindrops on puddle--Julie McCarty--Spiritual Drawing Boardin excitement
and special
effects, but
also in a
drop,
in the quiet,
to still our souls
and remind us
that the Divine,
the Holy Spirit,
is Holy Presence,
truly “God-with-Us”
in Spirit form–everywhere–
both near and far
and high and low
and deep within my heart,
and your heart, and the hearts
of people living on the other side
of the globe–maybe even of the universe.
Yes, Lord, pour out your Spirit afresh on us,
on all of us, renewing our lives and the earth,
raining down on us like raindrops, soaking deep
into the soil of the earth and the soil of our souls.
May this rain of the Spirit bring new life, an ever-growing
communion and holiness within and among us, more and more each day.

Flower with raindrops--Julie McCarty--Spiritual Drawing Board

About the writer: Julie McCarty is a writer, spiritual director, and volunteer coordinator of Easter Prays / Easter Praise! blog. In her spare time, she is learning the art of photography and painting. Visit her at Spiritual Drawing Board, www.spiritualdrawingboard.com .

Granddaddy was a Hillbilly Scholar

Ever hear this phrase? -“If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” The country duo Van Zant used it as a song lyric in Help Somebody.  I’ll admit it-I love Country music, my favorite is a little classic Kenny and Dolly circa mid 80’s. My love for country music should come as no surprise. My dad has a pickin’ porch on his property in rural east Texas. (Pickin’ porch-a porch that looks like a western store front made for playing bluegrass music. My daddy has a banjo and a handle bar mustache-true story.) The first line of Help Somebody -“Well, granddaddy was a hillbilly scholar, blue collar of a man.” Ok… so none of this is my point, but I couldn’t help myself-let’s regress.

The song, with it’s deeply highbrow lyrics, came out in 2005. It was the same year when the life I had planned for myself had taken a dramatic turn-probably why it struck me so. I learned so much that year- including the realization that we have such little control over life’s really big stuff.

If you look back at the things that have happened to you along the way, do we not have times when we say-  “Whoa…I did not see that one coming.”? My experience, this thing that I hadn’t planned for, left me on my knees calling out. It also brought me to a beautiful place of growth and joy.

BanjoPicking-Small

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

As we enter into this new year, I have my idea of what I’d like the coming year to look like. I have goals for my personal and professional growth. I’ll also do my best to remain open to what God may have in store for me-cause who knows.

In 2015, no matter where it may lead us, “Let’s Prosper”

In this, let us pray,

“Jesus as we enter into the coming year we ask for your favor, may we prosper. Help us to relax the grip of control we have over our lives Lord so that we are able to recognize the direction you may place before us. Amen.”

Also,

“May my peers think none less of me, now that I’ve exposed my love for The Gambler, and Islands in the Streams. Amen.”  

Spreading the Good News and Holy Spirit Prayer

Do you use social media to express your faith? To spread the good news of  Christ’s mercy and love? To post a friendly and encouraging word?

A recent sermon at Easter Lutheran focused on spreading the gospel, and I thought how some of us do that today using social media. Like the first disciples, we spread Jesus’ message of love, forgiveness, and healing, in the public venue without even leaving our chairs. It still amazes me. If you enjoy using social media, you might think about some ways you could combine your gifts for words and photos with the gospel message online. One way to do this is to create a Facebook page devoted to spreading Jesus’ words to others, in much the same way some of you have created business pages online.

So I thought today I would share with you a prayer I posted on my public Facebook page, Spiritual Drawing Board. This prayer arose in me this morning, as I was thinking about Pentecost.

Many Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost Sunday, 50 days after Easter (this year, June 8). Traditionally, some Christians in the past prayed everyday to the Holy Spirit for nine days ahead of the Pentecost. This practice was a kind of devotion and spiritual way of preparing for the celebration of God’s Spirit with us and within us.

Below is the prayer I posted on Facebook…and I invite you to treat this moment as a devotion/prayer time for yourself.

Open sign--Julie McCarty--Spiritual Drawing Board--Eagan MN

 

Thinking about upcoming feast of Pentecost,
the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Join me in prayer? ...

O God,
I believe your Holy Spirit is within me, but please
help me not to “close” the door to your loving presence.
May my heart (soul) expand more and more within,
fretting less about myself
and allowing your Holy Spirit to live and move and act
more fully within my life each day.
Give me open ears, that I might hear You,
open mind, that I might think more clearly about You,
and open heart, that I might love You
and all your beloved people
more fully each day.
This I ask in the love of Christ,
and in the communion of the Holy Spirit,
Amen.
 

Trust in God–even in the hard times

Editor’s note: Thank you to Pastor Paul, for sharing the following devotion: 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  –-Romans 15: 13

In my late teens I had a great struggle with the Christian faith in which I had been raised.   After rejecting Christianity as both irrelevant and untrue, I found myself in a terrible disquiet of heart.  How could I live in a world without God; a world with neither moral nor spiritual guideposts?

After many turns and twists of mind and heart, I came back to a faith which for the first time was mine.  In was at this time I memorized this hymn, “Praise the Savior,” which remains for me forever associated with my new-found joy in knowing the Savior:

 

Budding leaves--Trust in God--Julie McCarty - Cropped CopyPraise the Savior, ye who know him
Who can tell how much we owe him?
Gladly let us render to him,
All we are and have.

 Jesus is the name that charms us,
He for conflict fits and arms us,
Nothing moves and nothing harms us,
While we trust in Him.

 Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,
He is faithful, changing never,
Neither force nor guile can sever,
Those he loves from him.  

Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving,
To thyself and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving,
Promised joys in heaven.  

Then we shall be what we should be,
Then we will be what we would be,
Things that are not, nor now could be,
Then shall be our own.
(Words: Thomas Kelly, traditional German melody)

 

Prayer:

Dear Lord,
be with us in the times when it seems that we are alone in a dark world.
Give us light for our paths and hope for our journeys.
May your Holy Spirit give us the gifts of unquenchable hope and joy.
As we pray with whatever faith there is in us,
give us courage to believe and the strength to follow you
whether we see you or not.
Amen.

 

Pastor Paul Harris has been serving at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, Minnesota since 2000. His special emphasis is adult education, and he is also known for his dedicated ministry to the people of Tanzania.