Peel House Progress – November 14, 2020

Concrete was poured this week!
More rebar was put in after the initial pour was dry.
The electricians have been hard at work!
Tons of electrical work done in the attic.
Wall in this room was removed. Soon this will be the handicap accessible bathrooms.
Lots of duct work being done in the basement.
Doors on the safe are finally gone!
Now this artwork on the safe will be on display for all to see!

The Saint John’s Bible: Prophets

This week we travel through the Prophetic Books of the Bible, looking at the hopeful visions of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel and the call to action from Amos. These books are particularly profound when we consider the way that prophecies speak throughout the centuries, foretelling of the one who was to come and suffer for us all, Jesus Christ our Suffering Servant, as well as the ways we are to seek social justice in our world today. The artists took particular attention to draw a simultaneous link between the historical and the contemporary, to show us the way that these prophecies still hold value for us today. Join me this week for another exploration of the intertwining of theology and art in The Saint John’s Bible.

All are welcome to join this Zoom gathering so invite your friends! No prior knowledge of the biblical stories or The Saint John’s Bible is necessary. If you enjoy art, please join us!

Join our Zoom Meeting, 10:30 a.m. Sunday Morning
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

From Inspiration to Illumination, an Introduction to The Saint John’s Bible

Join our lunch and learn on Thursday, November 12th at 12 p.m. MST via Zoom!
Meeting ID: 872 8087 5301
Passcode: 367483

Michael Freeman, Michael Freeman Photography, London, UK

Tim Ternes is the Director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minnesota.  Tim worked closely with the artistic team in the creation of the original works and facilitated planning and communication between artists and commissioner.  This gives him extensive behind-the-scenes knowledge and great stories about all aspects of the project.  Tim will introduce guests to the story behind the making of The Saint John’s Bible, and explore the tools, methods, and materials used in the creating the Bible’s original folios.  You will be encouraged to stretch your own spiritual imagination as you and Tim explore several illuminations from the project.  

“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ –Matthew 25:24-25

I like the translation from “The Message” bible for this particular parable. The words are more plain spoken, easy to understand, as if they were speaking right to me. The final servant, the one who hid his money so it would be secure tells the master that he didn’t want to disappoint him, so he just kept what he had hidden and safe. That makes sense doesn’t it? He isn’t a risk-taker, he’s going to give back to the master what is his with no worries of disappointing him. I would bet that many of us make decisions that way sometimes, I’m not going to take the risk because I don’t want the result to be disappointing or I don’t want someone to be disappointed in me. How do you decide when you’re going to play it safe or when you’re going to take a risk? What is the measure we use to calculate risk and if it’s going to be worth it or not? For me, it’s always about who is the risk going to effect besides just me, is there any chance that I’m going to let someone down? It’s also a good time to remember that I can take a risk and that even if it doesn’t work out the people I surround myself with are not usually the ones who are going to be disappointed but the ones that are going to lift me up to try again. Take the risk, you never know what you’re going to learn!

-Pastor Carrie

Coping in a Pandemic: Three Strategies for Setting Mental Health Boundaries on Technology

By Michaela Eskew

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many children and youth to experience mental health problems including anxiety, stress, and depression. This 3-part podcast series includes three coping strategies for combating the technology overload we have all experienced in this pandemic.  Connection, Focus, and Rest are three things we may feel like we were always lacking but this pandemic has only put a greater spotlight on their necessity for proper mental health. Using the book The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction by Christine Carter, PhD, this series helps with practical strategies for giving ourselves grace and proper mental health boundaries in this pandemic.

Start the series by clicking below for Coping in a Pandemic – Connection

For those parents out there, there is a special fourth podcast just for you! If you are wondering, “How do I possibly get my kids to listen to these podcasts or even implement these strategies?” this podcast is for you! It’s a bit longer than the strategy podcasts, but it uses Christine Carter’s amazing book to provide solid research for what is stressing teens today (trust me its more than you handled as a teenager) and how to work with them to alleviate those stressors.

I hope these podcasts will be a resource for all that feel fatigued by technology and it is something you can come back to again and again as you need.

Peel House Progress – November 7, 2020

The rebar for the elevator footings are being delivered!
Placing the rebar getting ready to pour cement for the footings.
More demo being done upstairs.
Removing all the old wallpaper.
Electricians are working this week to run all the correct wiring.
Electricians in the attic!
Plumbers are also working this week on where the future pluming will go in the basement.
More kitchen demo. The blank area you see was filled in with concrete. They have no idea why it was done this way. Possibly sound proofing?

The Saint John’s Bible: Wisdom Books and Psalms

This week we travel through the Wisdom Books of the Bible as well as the Psalms, looking at some beautiful pieces that capture the tragedy of Job, the universality of Ecclesiastes, the love of the Song of Solomon, and the rhythmic prayer of the Psalms. I can say that with our country currently feeling anxious and unsettled these pieces come at a perfect time; they are reflective and devotional, helping us to remember that God is the one in control. Join me this week for another exploration of the intertwining of theology and art in The Saint John’s Bible.

All are welcome to join this Zoom gathering so invite your friends! No prior knowledge of the biblical stories or The Saint John’s Bible is necessary. If you enjoy art, please join us!

Join our Zoom Meeting, 10:30 a.m. Sunday Morning
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

“Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.” Matthew 25:1-2

We’re starting Matthew chapter 25 and will be reading through it for the next three weeks. Three parables about the kingdom of heaven with special emphasis on final judgement and the end times. My first thought was how in the world does this passage speak to the election that will have happened by the time you read this? Bridesmaids who run out of oil and are shut out from the party doesn’t exactly seem relevant. Although we will be waiting for results to the election and the wait may be longer than anyone wants it to be. But the story isn’t about something as banal as politics. This is a story about our ultimate hope, the coming of a messiah. It’s the promise of one who will finally bring wholeness and healing to our world, something no president can do. That’s something worth waiting for. How do we wait for a messiah? What does it mean to live our lives as if Jesus’ return were today? That’s a question worth pondering.

-Pastor Travis

A Word of Encouragement for American Youth

Hi Youth of First Lutheran,

Please read this – it is very important.

As I write this we are 5 days from Election Day and it feels like America is the farthest it has ever been from being united. Many of us are triggered by the things we hear from social media and news outlets and are feeling upset. If you are feeling that way too, I want you to know that I care so much for kids living in this time and I hope these next few words will be of help for you.

Many of you might be feeling anxious, you have a voice and opinions about the country and yet you are not yet allowed to vote. That can feel very discouraging, but right now we need your voices more than ever. Regardless of where you would have voted in this election, our loyalty to Christ always comes first. Just as Jesus walked with the children, the sick, and the outcasts of his society, he walks with those that feel invisible and silenced in this society and calls his followers to do the same. Jesus taught us that no one is to be overlooked and the care of the entire community is in our hands.

Christians (and even Old Testament Jewish believers) have long struggled with governments and leaderships. I’m not talking about the Egyptians holding the Israelites as slaves before they were taken out into the wilderness and the promised land by Moses, although that was a hard time for the Jewish people. I’m instead talking about the kings of the Old Testament, people that were flawed and made mistakes just like us. Even in a kingdom that should have been ruled by good kings and queens following God, they still messed up. Why? Because they forgot that God was supposed to be the ultimate king. Then zoom many many many years later and you have Jesus saying the same thing. Anytime he is tested about how to be good citizens in Israel, he responds with something along the lines of “do what you have to do: pay taxes, follow civil laws, but don’t forget who your real leader is.” Then in the early church, after Jesus had died, his disciples tried to follow those same rules. They didn’t focus on government leadership, they instead focused on feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and telling people about Jesus.

Throughout history Christians have been trying to follow the rules of separation of church and state, to help them to remain both good citizens and good Christians no matter who was ruling the kingdoms and countries they lived in. And remember most of these people never got to choose their rulers at all, they just had to obey them! We are so lucky that when we do reach 18 years old, we get a vote in how our country is run! Our Christian faith doesn’t change after this election, we are still called to Love God with all our soul, with all our heart, and with all our strength and Love Our Neighbor as ourselves. We are also called to care for God’s creation. Jesus doesn’t want us divided, God wants us united working toward God’s kingdom.

So, if you are feeling anxious about the upcoming election, like I am, then try to rest in the idea that God is not surprised by this election or any election for that matter. Please hear that: you can rest and be at peace. There is a larger plan at work for God and God’s kingdom on earth. In the midst of that plan we are given free will and we must actively pursue the care of all creatures and people. These thoughts give me some peace in this conflict-ridden time, but what really helps is to walk away from the
craziness of social media and news outlets and be with real people that I care for and need me in this pandemic. Who can you reach out to?
I hope this letter helps you to see that you are only the most recent generation that has felt fear about changes in power, felt longing for a better world, and tried to walk the fine line between being a good citizen and being a good Christian. Just like Christians before you, I encourage you to seek out fellow believers and keep working toward God’s Kingdom because that’s the only power that matters.

May God be with all our elected officials, both recently elected and those returning for another term. May we always remember who is really in power and the world that God called us to create. Remind us always to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, look after our sick and visit the imprisoned (Matthew 25: 31-46). Calm our fears and return us to right community with one another. It is in Jesus’s power and name that we pray, AMEN!

Michaela Eskew
Minister of Faith Formation

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