Reflection of Walking Together Event
On Saturday March 12th Marsha Sandstrom, Barb Austad, Justin Swanson, Pastor Marilyn, Claudia Balcom, Merry Yates and Emily and Zayley Crossfield attend the annual walking together event organized by the synod.
Walking together is a low stress day of gathering with friends in Christ throughout the Synod. It is about making connections, hearing stories of faith from others and knowing we are not alone in our struggles and our joys.
At the event there were
· More then 550 people worshiping and collaborating
· 40 workshops to chose from over 5 sessions
· Topics ranging from music to racism and social justice
· And a Great Lunch!
Here are some of our favorite moments.
My favorite thing about Walking together is starting out the day in worship with 500 other Lutherans. And from that worship heading off to hear learn from others experience from new ideas on how to reach out in your community, to ways to talk about money, to how to strengthen your spiritual life. There are options for everyone. I look forward to sharing with you some of the ideas and experimenting together as we listen to the Holy Spirit guide us in the ministry God is calling us to.
One of the greatness part of Walking together is sharing the experience with people from our church and sharing in fellowship. The group studies are a great way to hear what other churches are doing learning about different cultures. One workshop was on Muslim and he was able to share his journey as to what it takes to come to America and the struggles that they face. He was able to share how coming to our wonderful country also divides families for different reason. There is a wonderful short small group study handout on the Walking together web-site called “My Neighbor Is Muslim” that can be printed. It is written by Professor Todd Green on behalf of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. I have personally read the study guide and found it to be very educational and something that we as Christians should know so we can be culturally sensitive. Refugee facts and figures: 2015 – 19.5 million world refugees and the U.S. resettles ½ of 1% of them.
If I remember correctly I have gone to Walking Together for four years now. I recently took some time to reflect on why I keep going back every year. The short answer is; its fun and fulfilling. Looking a little closer I came up with this; it’s a social, spiritual and educational event. Social is pretty obvious, there are people that I see at this event every year. We get to talk about our lives, what’s happening in our churches and communities. This is were I feel the connection between our brothers an sisters in the synod; that we are part of something bigger then all of us. This is connection is near palatable in worship. So many of us rarely get to experience coming together in worship with over 500 people. Only when we gather as a synod does this happen. I can’t image 10,000 like the youth gathering or Churchwide. But this day is really set up so we can learn from each other. (The social and spiritual is almost like icing on the cake, still an important part though). I have often found a renewing energy with fresh perspectives. An energy that has often shaken things up and perhaps pulled you in a direction originally not thought of or unseen. There has been moments when I have left with more questions than answers. I feel that this part of spiritual growth, and this is place were we can grow together but also ask any question. I will always look forward to Walking Together; for the energy, connections and growth that happens. Because our faith journey is certainly not alone.
Throughout these weeks of lent we have talked about and asked God to open our eyes, our hands, our ears, our hearts, our lives. It is my prayer that as we move into Easter and the joyous celebration of what the Lord has done for us that we will continue to seek God with our eyes, hands, ears, hearts and lives open to the Love God has for us.
In the next weeks we will be reading through the book of John and the ways that Jesus appears to his disciples after the resurrection. We will hear about the doubts, the wonderings, the fear of what has happened and what is going to happen now. In it I pray that we will hear the promise and love that God meets us with, in Jesus.
As we read I encourage us to ask, what is it that keeps the disciples from seeing, hearing, believing the truth about Jesus? What is it in our lives that keeps us from the same thing? What keeps us from truly opening our hearts?
Jesus meets the disciples in these feelings, where they are and reminds them of his love and the love of God. Thomas doubts, questions. Many of the disciples fear. Many are concerned with what is going to happen next. May we see how God’s love is offered to us freely in all aspects of our human existence. That there is hope in the midst of suffering, constancy in our wilderness wondering, freedom instead of slavery. I pray that as we read through these Easter readings, our eyes, hands, ears, hearts and lives will be opened in new ways and filled with the Love of God so that we are empowered to live that love shouting Alleluia, He is Risen, He is Risen indeed Alleluia!
Blessings as we Journey,
Ps here are the Gospel readings for the 5 Sundays after Easter: John 20: 19-31, John 21:1-19, John 10: 22-30, John 13:31-35. John 14:23-29, John 17:20-26.