A Note about COVID-19 and LCM Programming
Message from 3/18/2020
Before I say anything, please hear that God is with you. You are not alone. We are in this together.
I met with staff and LCM’s student servant leaders via Zoom yesterday, and we’re committed to continuing to walk alongside our LCM community, especially in this time of isolation and uncertainty. We’re excited, actually, to experiment with being community together, in this new way and we hope that you can join in!
First things first, if you’re not yet on Instagram, we’re inviting you to hop on the Insta train and open an account, because we’re moving everything to that space! Give us a follow at @umnlutheran and stay tuned for more content on there.
Secondly, we’ll be hosting pause @ home with Instagram Live on Wednesdays at 8pm. We will send out the digital bulletin to you tomorrow! As your pastor, I am so grateful that you all are comfortable with imperfection and authenticity. As we figure this new format out, I’ll be modeling both of those things.
It has been such a wild week since I last emailed, and even more so considering the changes that have happened since we last saw each other. I know many of your hearts are breaking with the news from President Gabel yesterday. I know others of you are feeling confused and anxious as an uncertain future awaits you. And still, others are adjusting to life at home, when you haven’t lived with your families for months or maybe years.
It’s a lot. It’s okay for it to feel like a lot, too. Don’t minimize your sadness, just because someone else might “have it worse.” Lament has long been a ritual practice within many religious traditions. It’s a way for people to name their grief and loss, and trust that God hears that pain, and will move with you from pain and brokenness and transform it into something new.
In that vein, we’ll be hosting a space to lament together in community on Instagram today. On our most recent post, we are offering space to vent, to offer up our disappointments and losses, and the ways we are in mourning. Our DM’s are also open if you want to keep your lament private.
We’ll move from this space into bringing you moments of lightheartedness, invitations to keep building community online, and ways to center yourself amidst the uncertainty in our world right now. But first, we’ll gather together to mourn what’s been lost. And then tomorrow night, we’ll gather for worship at 8pm, resting in familiar words and songs, hearing the gospel proclaimed, and praying together.
It’ll be so good to be together. I hope you can join us…
Message from 3/12/2020
First, take a deep breath. The spirit of God is with you and within you. We live in God’s world, and there is nowhere we can go that is beyond God’s presence—home, classes, work, student groups, restaurants, forests, and street corners. These are uncertain times in our world, but the world is always full of mystery and unknown. Certain circumstances just make this much more obvious. Throughout the best and the worst life brings, God is with us.
I certainly hear the grief and loss that many of you are experiencing, as you contemplate this being the last semester of your senior year, or the relationships that were just starting to form that may not develop, or a class you were really digging no longer meeting in person. In time, I pray that you can also see the ways we will all be changed by this experience, hopefully drawn together in news ways and strengthened to take on new challenges. But I get it. Right now it’s confusing, and for many of you, it sucks. It does for me too. This poem has been helping me, though, as both a grounding and sending prayer for my day. Maybe it will do the same for you, too.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
At LCM, we are committed to walking alongside you in your faith and life, and none of that stops because you’re being asked to stay in your homes and take classes online. It will just look a little bit different:
- We will be leaning heavily into our small group ministry, knowing that Christian communities have long gathered in small groups to pray, to share lives, and to share the love of God with your neighbor. If you aren’t a part of a huddle, but would like to be, please go here to sign up! If you know someone who could benefit from being in a small group during this time, pass the link on to them as well.
- Following the guidelines and requests of both the U of M and Grace University Lutheran Church, we will be canceling all other programming until April 1 (this includes pause student worship, soup, and any larger meetings or events). As the University re-evaluates, we will as well.
- Pastor Kate, Dana and Bergen are all available for 1:1 conversations and pastoral care – for you and your friends. Just reach out individually or sign-up here.
- We also have students available for 1:1’s, or even FaceTime chats if you’re sick (or they are). If you’d like to connect in that way, click here to sign up!
- We are currently considering ways we can creatively gather online, to worship, to grow in faith, and to be in all of this together. Please read our emails for updates, and/or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
- And please, if you are even a little sick, stay home!
We recognize that this can be a particularly trying time for people who are lonely, isolated or who have struggles with mental health. Please check in with one another regularly. And please, reach out if you need it. We are here.
Also, in the midst of unknown and stressful times, reading/watching the news, logging into email, or pulling up social media can create more fear and anxiety. We encourage you to take a break from screens, to breathe, to move, to find moments of delight and wonder, to find new and creative ways of connecting with others, and to draw near to God.
Remember, we are in God’s world. We are all connected to each other—not only for an hour on Wednesday nights, but in every moment of our lives.
Go—and stay—in peace. God is with you. Thanks be to God!