Wanna feel like you were there?

In our world today, it is actually quite easy to live vicariously through others.
We can still talk and share stories and reminisce, but we can do more.
We can communicate as an event happens through phone calls and text messages and internet.
We can relive moments through videos and other recordings.

So if you want to share a bit of the excitement and gain more understanding of what we learned while at the ELCA Youth Gathering, check out the following website: http://www.youtube.com/user/elcagathering
This is a collection of videos from the mass gathering.
There are the presentations by featured speakers, performances by musicians, poetry readings/life reflections, and other videos uploaded that connect with the experience.
I especially recommend watching musician Rachel Kurtz’s “Hallelujah”, speaker Nadia Bolz-Weber, speaker Shaine Clairborne, speaker Leymah Gbowee, musician Tony Memmel and Bishop Hanson’s Sunday sermon.

Power of Prayer

I have been thinking a lot about what prayer can accomplish.

I remember teaching confirmation last year and talking about how the psalms are prayers and can typically be lumped into a few different kinds: mad, sad, glad.

And I hold to the fact that we can often clump prayers into categories as well.
Mad, sad, glad still count.
But so do many others.

Because we pray to God when we are angry and upset with how things are going in the world.
We ask for justice, for understanding, for retribution.
We want God to right all wrongs and to take away pain.

Because we pray to God when we are sad or grieving or lonely.
We ask for peace and healing, for the knowledge that God is with us, giving us comfort or strength as we need it.
We want God to keep us happy and healthy.

Because we pray to God when we are happy and thank Him for blessings.
We thank Him for sparing lives, for healing, for peace.
We want God to know that we are grateful.

I prayed in gratitude that the crash wasn’t worse. I prayed in gratitude that even though I heard the words “head-on collision with a drunk driver going the wrong way down the interstate” and my heart stopped when I thought of all the accidents in ND that ended with death, my sisters are alive. I prayed in gratitude that my sisters are alive with injuries that are no longer life-threatening. Life-changing, but not life-threatening.
And I’m especially grateful for the amazing people I met or heard from, people who are strangers to me and my family but were concerned and wanted to help.

I also prayed for peace and understanding, for something good to come out of the pain, for God to be my strength.
And I found that my heart was not full of anger and hate.
I’m not to the point of forgiveness yet, because I think I would either need more time or else to see the man who hurt my sisters.
But I’m not angry.
Disappointment that anyone would drive after drinking, yes.
But not anger.
Because I hope and pray that God will continue to do good.
I’m grateful that God watched over my sisters.
I don’t understand why it happened, and it broke my heart when my sisters would start crying and questioning why they were hurt and why they are in pain.
But I’m not angry.

Pastor Kara’s week update

Chaos reigns supreme…at least it seems like it.
In reality, God reigns supreme and I know it.
My whole family knows it.

I have spent the past week with family. After church I took off for the Black Hills to see a new nephew. While I was there, I got a phone call in the wee hours of the morning (the morning I was planning to come back to ND) informing me that two sisters were in a car accident in Kansas City area. They were involved in a head-on collision with a drunk diverging the wrong way down the interstate. Their car was crunched so much that all who responded to the scene were amazed to see anyone alive. The person following put out a fire and the firemen had to put a chain on their car connected to the truck to keep it from falling off the concrete barrier pic the overpass upon which they were perched. 
KrissaMarie is doing well. She has tenderness in the abdomen from the seatbelt and a torn ligament in her knee. But she is already back in SD and needs to schedule reconstructive surgery.
Kayla is the one struggling with two broken femurs as well as a crushed right elbow and broken left forearm and wrist. She is lucky to have survived, even if she has limited mobility and severe pain.
My family is grateful that God was watching out for them and keeping them safe.
But this means that I am missing out on much happening in our communities up North.
I am thinking of all of you and hope to be home in a couple.days.

Prayers for Pastor Kara and her family

Last week Pastor Kara and her family gathered for the wonderful celebration of the birth of a baby boy.  Today the aunts were all heading back to their respective homes when Kara received a call that her sisters Krissa and Kayla were involved in a head on collision with a drunken driver in Kansas City.  The sisters survived but have serious injuries.  Please keep all of the Wiechmann family in your prayers. 

It’s a rude wake up call when times of celebration are marred by tragedy.  In the midst of our lives we have the mountain top experiences as well as the dark valleys.  God was with Moses on the mountaintop and is the shepherd that guides through the dark valleys; God is present all the time in all places under all circumstances.  Confident in the work of the Spirit, we know that the family is surrounded by God’s gracious healing and strength.