Showing posts from August, 2020

Reflecting on Blessings

  By Brenda Rivas, Communications Manager “God is in the business of blessing us more than we can even understand.”    --Cory Driver, ELCA minister of word and service In searching the internet, one can find endless quotes, verses, poems, posts, and more about blessings. Many of us cover our walls, both in our homes and on our social media sites with words reminding us to “count our blessings” and focus on gratitude. But that is often easier said than done with all the negativity and fear that surrounds us. It is so easy to fall into a trap of despair or anger when we’re stuck at home, when we find it harder to engage in our usual distractions.   As an introvert, I actually enjoy being home alone. I’ve been taking this time as an extended refresher. But even an introvert like me has things that they miss, people that they wish they could connect with in person. I get frustrated at the fact that with all the restrictions it becomes more difficult to travel and I miss moments like celebr

Take Time

  Take time to enjoy God's creation | Video Reflection with ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton  "See God's joy and love and even humor in His created creatures..."  Presiding Bishop Eaton *Hear more about taking time to enjoy God's creation at the link above. Can we take some time in this day to recognize the beauty of the world around us. Let us give thanks to God for this divine blessing and bounty. Let us take time to reconnect with God’s great creation. Though we may have to remain physically distant from other people, we can take this time to get closer to nature. Thanks be to God for the wonderful and wondrous world he has shared with us. 

Focusing on Blessings and Gratitude

  During this time of uncertainty, if you really look, there are still many reminders around us of all the blessings we have received throughout our lives. As families and loved ones gather online or with masks, we are given the opportunity to express our gratitude for their presence in our lives, for their love and their support. But gratitude isn’t just a practice for stressful times, it is a gift for everyday. There are studies that show that those who regularly perform intentional acts of gratitude experience more positive emotions. They relish more in good experiences, improve their sleeping habits, and are able to deal better with adversity and with creating new and stronger relationships.   Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be difficult or grandiose. It’s often the little things that create the most positive impacts. To express more gratitude in your life consider keeping a gratitude journal, setting aside a few minutes each day to say a prayer of thanks or simply saying than

What Does It Mean to be Blessed

  By Bishop Brian Maas   “…the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”       --Matthew 11:5-6   “Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” That’s a pretty low bar, isn’t it? That if the idea of being blessed—being holy, happy, content, pleased—appeals to us, all we need to do is take no offense at Jesus. How can one take offense at Jesus? What could possibly be offensive about the Good Shepherd of easy yoke and light burden? Well…maybe that’s not the part that Jesus thought would be offensive. Jesus’ words in Matthew are intended for John the Baptist, who wants to know if Jesus is the Real Deal, or if the long-awaited Messiah is someone else. Jesus invites John to consider the evidence: all kinds of slaves are being set free. Slaves to sightlessness, to injury, to illness, to the despair of poverty, to death itself are set f