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May 22, 2020

For Native Americans in Montana, June is the month of wild roses.  In Idaho, however, it seems to be May and this year these roses are numerous and beautiful.  In fact, out on the island that is near my home, the wild roses are as high as the trees!  I have never seen this before, but they are beautiful.  How is it that these roses are so much taller and brighter and more beautiful?  I can only speculate.  First, they get plenty of water.  Scripture writers have taken note of this and written often about these trees, "planted by streams of water".  They "spread out roots by the river, and shall not see when the heat comes, but their leaves shall be green; they are not concerned about years of drought and always produce fruit" says Jeremiah.  The psalmist suggests that those who are faithful are like these trees.  "They shall bear fruit in season, their leaves will not wither, and they shall prosper in all they do." (Psalm 1:3) Jesus tells us that life with him, like the river, gives access to the water of life, eternal life.  We can't help but grow and prosper and bear fruit, the wisdom of scripture tells us, when we walk with God and endeavor to be the people we were created to be. But something is different about those river roses.  They are very tall! And I think what makes them so tall is that they grow very close to and have the support of other, taller trees that grow behind them.  I have been thinking about those bushes that are as tall as trees as I read the Gospels at the end of this Easter season.  Jesus speaks, in the Gospel of John, about coming into the world on behalf of the Father/Creator.  He came so that we might know God more truly, more completely.  He came that we might more fully understand what it was to be the human beings that God intends and loves.  Jesus, in so many ways, stood among us as a strong, tall tree inviting us to grow beside him, higher and stronger than we could even imagine, just like those roses on the river.  When he was crucified many thought, even hoped, that without his presence and support, all who had grown tall and beautiful would fall; go back to being just ordinary scrub.  Even those who had learned to stand with Him were worried.  Then they experienced the resurrection and Jesus' presence with them and among them.  They did not fall.  They found instead, that they had become something, someone new, tall and strong, beautiful and steady.  But now it is time for Jesus to ascend to the Father and many are still fearful of being on their own.  Jesus is clear.  We are all intended to grow tall and strong and fruitful, just like Jesus, even surpassing Jesus!  And we are not alone.  We have each other and the Holy Spirit, that presence of God that blows where it will, will be with us and in us and among us.  It will sustain us and support us and make more things possible than we can image.  Then we, like Jesus and wild river roses, will glorify God by being fully the work we were created to be.

We will worship at Grace and online this Sunday.  The bishop has asked that everyone wear masks for the safety of all during worship. We are asked to do this through May.  We have submitted our safety plan and you are aware of all other protocols we have in place. We ask that you make the choice of where and how to worship that is best for you. Good news!  Mia Croswaithe has received notification that she now has full privileges and authority as a pastor in the Lutheran Church.  We will therefore has a Celebration of New Ministry on Sunday, May 31.  The bishop will be visiting and we will be celebrating Pentecost and new ministry.  We will be worshiping in the Parish Hall so we can accommodate as many people as possible.  The bishop has requested that we all wear masks. We will have a vestry meeting this Tuesday at 7 p.m. via Zoom.  Mia will send the connection to vestry members. We are considering putting together a Zoom book club as a chance to:

  • get together, 

  • discuss some amazing insight on Scripture, and 

  • pray together, seeing where God is leading us

We’ll be reading “Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again” by Rachel Held Evans. - Rachel Held Evans Amazon Apple iBooks IndieBound. If the Bible isn’t a science book, instruction manual, or position paper, then what is it? New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans invites readers on a journey of rediscovery as she explores the magic of the Bible, engaging the old, familiar stories in new ways that honor the past and enlighten the present. This books has opened my eyes up to see the Bible in news ways that cracks open some of its amazing energy and power.  And it’s just so fun to read.  I’ve been wishing for people to talk with about it!  The cost of the book will be completely or mostly covered. Are you interested?   Please let Mia know which of the following times would work for you:  ( Sundays 4pm Sundays 1pm Wednesdays 4pm Wednesdays 7 pm We would also like to begin Adventure Club the first part of June.  This is our hiking club for youth and those young at heart.  We want to get our youth out of the house and together again.  And we want to be safe.  Studies seem to indicate that outdoors is the safest place to be and that children aren't as at risk for the virus as adults, but we will need to deal with the issue of transportation.  If each family drives their own children, this isn't a problem, but for some this won't be an option.  I am proposing that we have all in the cars wear masks and keep the windows open enough to provide good airflow.  when we get to our destination and are out of the car we could do without the masks until we drive home.  The warm temperatures of summer should also lessen the chances of contracting the virus.  So, we need your input.  What would make you comfortable as a parent or chaperone?  Are there other measures we could take?  Please email Karen+ your thoughts or concerns and let's see if we can make this happen. ( Please keep Father Milt in your prayers.  He seems to be in his last days.  He was a good and faithful servant of Christ here at Grace and we are grateful.


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