Category Archives: Reflections

REFLECTIONS

I can’t tell you how grateful I was — after a few days away — to pull up to a congregant’s home this past week to find at least six others already there, helping solve the problem of a flooded basement. Others responded similarly to the recent death of a congregant’s child. This is exactly the kind of presence and caring for one another that I have been preaching about. Thank you to everyone involved for embodying such love and compassion.

Each of us has known crisis in one way or another, at one time or another. We have experienced heartbreak and struggle and despair. We have felt that impulse of fight, flight, or freeze, that narrowing of focus to do just what it takes to survive from moment to moment. The roof has begun to leak, the basement has flooded, our home has been gutted by flame. We have — or someone close has — had an accident, become gravely ill, been laid off, been betrayed, been assaulted or has suddenly died.

And yet, here we are. Somehow we did survive. Somehow we got through. How we explain this — how we make meaning of it — may be unique to each of us, and is the reason that faith communities exist. We are still here to tell the tales, to bear witness to one another. Perhaps in most cases — to paraphrase the Beatles — we got by with a little help from our friends. I might have lost my mind, for example, had friends and professionals not been there to help with my parents’ and in-laws’ repeated crises, brought on by health declines and a slide into dementia.

We are relational and resilient by nature, and by degrees. Our faith communities and chosen families assist us in coping with crisis. And it is in our nature to care for one another.

As we enter the cooler part of the year, when the harvest is in and the leaves turn color and fall to the ground — when the earth revolves in its inevitable way around the sun and daylight diminishes for a time — let us be grateful for one another. Let us remember to ask for help when we need it. And let us be there, present, for one another in our times of need.

Blessings,
Eric Severson

Endings and Beginnings



Greetings! I am thrilled to begin my ministry with you!

As you may be aware, my wife, Ellen, and I are moving to Midland from La Crosse, WI, where we have lived for 21 years. Months of purging or packing, fixing or disposing, buying and selling have been both grueling and very exciting. In many ways, we are ending one long chapter and beginning another. 
This process has reminded me of how blessed my family has been for so long with stability and — if not contentment — deep connection, relief, and joy. I am aware of the many choices and sacrifices, the generosity of friends and family members, and the privileges that make this transition possible. It is a bittersweet time of both loss and of tremendous hope and joy. It is exciting because it is a change of our own choosing. Not all changes in our lives are like that.

I deeply appreciate your decision to call me as your minister last May. As I shared then, my vision of ministry is one of affirmation, connection, and empowerment. I invited you to reach out in love, to heal divisions and pursue greater unity, even as we acknowledge our and others’ diversity. 
I hope to nurture, strengthen, and empower you so that we all might live more fully, and bring to reality a shared vision, embody a shared mission, and remain true to a shared covenant. For me, ministry is about being present to you, to repeatedly invite you back into covenant and mutual responsibility — to acknowledge our fallibility and our aspirations. To paraphrase Rumi, “though you’ve broken your vows a thousand times, come, yet again come.”
I’ll begin my ministry and end this column by repeating the question I left you with in May: To what things, great or small, might we be called together? By honoring our connections, reaching out in love, and building together, let’s find out. I can’t wait! Let’s get started.

Blessings,
Eric

P.S.: Several people have called me “Rev. Eric” in recent months. While I’ll answer to many things, I will hold off using the title “Reverend” until my ordination sometime next year.