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pandemic

Be Known

You can view Pastor Kris’ reflection, Be Known, HERE. Listening to Amanda read Dr. Seuss’s “My Many-Colored Days,” and having read… and reread… and read once again… the Bible passage from Matthew this week… I found myself not really knowing what to do with Jesus’s words. WHAT did Jesus just say? For there is A LOT going on in this passage. Which resonates with what is going on around us today, because there IS A LOT going on in the world. There are all the feelings. All the disjointedness. All of the uncertainty of what lies ahead. So today I want to hold sacred space to hold “all the ...
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At Home

You can view Pastor Kris’ reflection, At Home, HERE. The images we have seen from around the world are powerful. The burned-out buildings. The smoke. The struggles. Can we see a ray of hope? Can we rebuild? Can we heal? Heart by heart? And… can we do it now? This week in the midst of a pandemic, in the controversial swirl of conversations on racism in the public and political spheres—we at Memorial UCC also began our summer “All Church” book read. When the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ first asked us to consider reading Chuck Tennessen’s book back i...
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Encountering the Unknown

Our regular worship platform, Zoom, was down on Sunday, May 17. Pastor Kris re-recorded the service, which you can watch HERE. Are you ready? We are going to leap into the unknown. Or, maybe it is more accurate to say we have already jumped into the unknown, or been dragged into the unfamiliar, after all the twists and turns we’ve rapidly navigated during the pandemic. I don’t know about you, but many days have left my head spinning. One moment, everything is crisp and new as the air warms, tree swallows swoop about, and the redbuds trees bloom. The next second the state of Wisconsin ...
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Pondering Possibilities

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection HERE. With summer approaching, many of us are finding our summer plans changed due to the coronavirus. From summer camps, to summer school, and family trips up north, life has been altered. Even pastimes such as taking in a baseball game, Concerts on the Square, and firework displays, have been canceled (or moved online). A phrase my family uses a lot keeps coming to mind: Regrouping. As in, “let’s go back and regroup.” We most often use this phrase when we are on family vacation in northern Minnesota. Following hours spent out on Lake...
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Find Sanctuary

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection HERE. As we pause in God’s presence, take a deep breath, and release it. Now, hold these three words on your heart: Rooms, refuge, and resilience. Rooms. Refuge. Resilience. Come into that space—a holy abode of rooms. Places which provide refuge, refuge which builds resilience in our minds, bodies, and souls (and I’ll share more about the rooms in just a moment). This is a sacred opportunity to be rooted in the interconnectedness of God’s love with the world around us. Looking at all of the small squares on my computer scree...
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Walking Together

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection HERE. Safer at Home. By my counting this is Day 33. Thirty-three days of Zoom meetings and worshiping online. As I read the Bible passage this week, the action of walking caught my attention. Because, for me, the past 33 days have been filled with lots and lots of walks. How about you? Have you been going on walks? If so, what have they been like? Do they feel any different? Do you walk with anyone? Have you encountered people in your neighborhood you didn’t know? Or, is your neighborhood silent? This is a time in which where we wal...
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What We Have Lost

You can watch the video of Pastor Kris’ reflection HERE. This has been a most unusual, emotionally packed week. Stories in the news have captured our attention: There has been financial disruption. There have been protests as women and men stand up and insist on being seen as they work to save lives. As individuals show up… and tell about the real human tragedy, the real losses, all the underlying illnesses, and the overwhelming presence of death in isolation that is tearing lives apart. The anguish. Tears. Grief. We have been there. We have seen. There is so much tragedy g...
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Wilderness: A Place of New Life

You can watch the sermon HERE. I have to tell you; the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones has always been one of my favorite Bible stories. As has the tale of Lazarus’ death, and the musty, mildewy wraps that trail from his body as he emerges from his tomb. For me, these are both stories that pull together the grief, loss, tears, hope and love of a community. In both narratives, God’s breath blows new life into desolate voids. And now we have our own, desolate void, don’t we? A new virus. Real life concerns. Our routines upended due to the pandemic. COVID-19. As we gather for worship t...
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Wilderness: A Place of Healing

Last Sunday during worship, I mentioned that planning for each week’s worship service begins months in advance. I am finding great irony in the fact that I was beginning to reflect on the sermon for today waaaaay back in late December, early January. Back then, the theme for today’s sermon, Wilderness: A Place of Healing, began to develop. Around that same time, thousands of miles away, doctors in China and officials at the World Health Organization were beginning to share with the world that a previously unknown pneumonia was rapidly spreading through communities. First called a “novel coron...
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Wilderness: A Place of Surprises

You might not know that planning for each worship service begins months in advance. That gives the worship team, from the music ministries to the worship committee and faith development, time to collaborate. Back in December, in all its darkness and cold, with the holidays in full swing, I sat down to prayerfully reflect on Lent. The Bible passages we read today had already been selected and the hymns picked. The theme chosen for these 6 weeks was wilderness. On that day waaaaay back in December a sermon series emerged. Thus, when Lent arrived two weeks ago we started out with Wilderness: A p...
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