Sunday, July 27, 2008

Poof!

I don't feel any different. I don't feel divine or righteous and there is no thin glow radiating from around my head. But I do feel up to the challenge and will ask God to help me. I do feel grateful for the love and support I feel today.

I suppose I should have seen this coming long ago. This is not the first time I've worn red on a festival day (note the shoes - sadly, that was conscious). God has had this in store for me since day one and I have those present this morning to thank for teaching me to hear that call.

This photo is probably framed on God's Ha! I told you so! shelf.

Promises were made this morning by God, the congregation and me. The faith in my heart makes me confident in God's, grateful for those that echoed around me and hopeful about my own. This is a good call. I cannot think of anything I'd rather be set aside for.

Tu che, God. Tu che.

The Homeland

Matt packed pages and pages of family history on this trip. We were prepared to go looking for the old homestead in south central Sweden. Thanks to Matt's great uncle Luther, most of the research was in hand and we were off to explore.

The adventure took us by the original IKEA and to the Emigration Museum of Sweden. We followed clues from Luther's research and winding roads out into the countryside. Signs and familiar descriptions led us deep into the woods where we found the lake. Matt's grandfather's grandfather learned to fish at this lake more than 100 years ago. Lilly pads and birds entertained us as we wandered to find signs of an old paper mill and the foundations of buildings.

The land is a young fisherman's dream. I walked the trails watching Matt discover a cave and an old boat. His grandfather's grandfather left this place when his was ten and settled just west of the St. Croix River, a region that raised Matt and taught him to fish. The more time we spent there, the more the place resembled Scandia, Marine on St. Croix and Lindstrom. And the more I learned about Gustavsfor and legend of Carl Johan Magnuson/John Carlson, the more it felt like my homeland too.

Kyrkan, Kirken, Kirkjan

We honeymooned in Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Of course, this is a silly idea for two students employed part-time. The U.S. dollar isn't exactly holding its own and Scandinavia has an expensive reputation. But we've learned that you are allowed to be foolish and extravagant when planning a honeymoon. People will look the other way and say lovely and supportive things like, "This is just the time to take a trip like that!"

Our days were filled with buffet breakfasts, coffee on the go, tiny rental cars, people watching, hiking in the rain, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers and fjords. We are those people you see in museums and on tours. We've studied up, read every photo's caption and ask for the audio guide headphones. If there's a tour guide, I'm usually in front, asking the dorky questions.

Some of Matt's greatest entertainment came from watching me encounter ancient churches and the congregations of quaint towns. I circle the grounds, take in the view and touch the foundation's stones. I take in every detail of the pulpit's wood and the choir loft's staircase and finger through hymnals. One afternoon, our boat pulled into a small village in the fjords just long enough to board a few more people. The captain shared that the town hosted a famous Stav Church. Matt stood quietly amused as I hustled awkwardly around the bow, searching the skyline for a steeple and wishing I could go find it.

My heart broke a bit when I would stand in some churches with so much spiritual grandeur and history, unable to find an invitation to worship or sign of activity during the week. One Saturday night, we slept in the shadows of a beautiful country church, but there were no bells in the morning or people pouring inside.

Churches are historical sites for so many places and cultures, but is a church still a church when it merely invites tourists in from buses for pictures without a word of proclamation or community?
If others are wooed by these homes of God's mystery like I am, there is good reason to believe they are not finished speaking to God's mission in this world today. They are more than museums and photo stops. They are more than signs of yesterday's Christian life because there are prayers said in their walls by those passing through. The mystery lives there because people from all corners of the globe are still curious about God's house.

May we be the church by holding up the mystery with open doors and words proclaimed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Here we go!

I begin a third year of blogging only because I would miss so many of you without it! It has been great to keep in touch and meet through comments and conversation, both in AZ at Mountain View and Life at Luther. Now I'm on my own again at tangled up in grace, wading through a wonderful summer of change and excitement.

Matt and I got married on Friday! It was an awesome celebration that started on the Mississippi River Thursday evening. Family and friends arrived in town and we rehearsed before dining on the river in beautiful weather. The boat was a great way to get our loved ones together and mingling before the chaos of Friday and an opportunity for us to say thank you to everyone involved.

The worship service was beautiful! The music was regal and serving communion to our guests was a powerful way to solidify words spoken about the Body of Christ during the sermon. I relished every moments, knowing that it would feel like a big blur later on. The sun cooperated every time Matt and I stepped outside, but storms had their say too. The reception overflowed with good food, fabulous toasts, sweaty and silly dance moves, and a beautiful view of downtown Minneapolis from Nicollet Island.

It's impossible to speak with everyone that night and convey how much they all mean to you, but hugs and smiles abounded. If there were problems, I was too giddy to be approached or too distracted to notice. We had a ball!

On Sunday, we received news that St. John's Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis voted to call me as their Associate Pastor. This possibility has been on our hearts for a few months now and it is good to know that things are official! My ordination date is Sunday, July 27 (10am at Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina) with a potluck lunch to follow. I will begin serving at St. John's in mid-August.

The call process has been a long one and filled with lessons about patience and vocation. I'm so thrilled to be serving a congregation that is theologically equipped and ready to grow in their community. The people I've met thus far have been excited about the history and future of this parish and I'm blessed to be growing with them.