From our seminarian Caroline

A Reflective Thanks

I think it is true when “they” say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” It seems that once the 4th of July has passed, summer “feels” like it’s over! Case in point: I stopped at Target on July 5th, and they were setting up their “Back to School” section…NOOO!!! I’m not ready for that yet! Some children and parents may be…But, are we ever truly “ready?” What can we do about it? We can’t stop time…At least I know that I can’t. So, in the meantime, we can enjoy the time that we DO have, giving thanks for it, instead of worrying about what may be around the next corner. Give those worries and concerns to God, who is always walking that journey with us, even when we hit those patches that we would rather stay away from.

Speaking of giving thanks, the following verse has been sticking in my mind lately: “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3, NRSV)…I do want to take a moment to offer thanks for this community. THANK YOU to all of you who volunteered your time, gifts and talents, donated, and who prayed for Vacation Bible School this year! VBS would not have happened without your involvement!

In that verse from Philippians, Paul was expressing his gratefulness for the behavior of the recipients, “sharing in the gospel from the first day until now” (verse 5). The friendship and love at the heart of this letter are what make true community possible. We need each other, sharing in each other’s joys and sorrows. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” Apart from Christ, we can do nothing…Apart from each other, we also wither.

Community is also important in running. I am currently training and will be running in a half marathon (13.1 miles) with three friends on September 1st. On July 4th, the four of us participated in a 4-mile race at Lake Phalen, called “Free to Run 4 Miles.” The heat index that morning was already in the 90s! We signed up for this race before we knew what the forecast was going to be, but we were wondering what we were thinking!

When the weather is that hot, you have to adjust your running style, no question about it. One of my friends was really struggling with the heat, and she was urging us to run ahead without her. But, we weren’t going to do that. We were in this together, and we would leave no one behind. By slowing our pace, we were able to finish strong. Even with the heat, I felt good, and I can’t help but wonder that if I would have run on my own, I probably would’ve overdone it. We were able to encourage one another through the tough times and relish the accomplishment of such a feat together.

What resonates with me is the idea of “leave no one behind.” We are all in this together. What happens to each of us impacts the other. What we do matters…Your gifts and talents not only impact this community but also reach out to those outside the church walls. They are meant to be shared, giving glory to God and for the good of our neighbors. Everyone has gifts and talents. What are yours?

Think about some upcoming community events in the next month…The Buffalo Roast on the 19th is the big one…There’s also donations for “School Tools” that goes through mid-August to equip area children with the supplies they need in the classroom…Some cities have their local festivals…What are ways that you can share the joy of Christ and spread that light?

I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be involved with VBS. I had never done something like it before. I learned a lot in the process, knowledge that will stick with me. Thank you for the chance, and thank you to ALL of you who were involved with VBS! You are greatly appreciated! What a blessing it is to work with you all in ministry and how exciting it is to see what the next venture is for us.


Caroline Harthun,  Contextual Education Student

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