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8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

Location:
7150 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
Across the street from Broward college South Campus lake
(954) 989-1903
tlcppines@gmail.com


Join Us For Worship!

Join Us For Worship!
Sundays at 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Special Congregational Meeting

SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING MAY 14th 
For the specific purpose of voting on Trinity council’s recommendation to grant an easement to 7100 pines plaza INC and Sky sunshine daycare for the establishment of a playground
Trinity was approached last summer with a request for an easement for a daycare moving in next door to build a required playground on our property so that they could be licensed and operate.
Council spent the last 9 months negotiating with the daycare and the shopping center to ensure the final agreement was satisfactory to all parties. Throughout this process, Tom Gearhart, Al and Shirley Gearhart’s son and a lawyer, guided us and reviewed every draft. We have also been in touch with both our insurance company and our current loan holder to ensure that the agreement is satisfactory in their eyes.
The daycare will have its own insurance and hold liability. They will be inspected, reviewed, and licensed by the City of Pembroke Pines. They are responsible for maintaining the area.
The area in question is the Trinity property south of the current fenced in area behind Charter Hall extending approximately 85 feet to the south and no further west then the current fence that surrounds the large ficus behind Charter. For those who remember the Prayer Labyrinth, it covers essentially the same area.
We are granting an easement for the expressed  purpose of allowing the construction of the playground. Trinity will continue to own the land and is contractually permitted to use the playground when it is not in use by the pre-school. The easement is on a four-ear renewable contract  with an escape clause should Trinity decide to sell that portion of the land sometime in the future.
For the easement Trinity will be permitted to use the playground (designed for pre-school age children for a Monday through Friday pre school) and received $250 a month compensation that increases $50 a month each year of the agreement is in force.  The playground will be fenced in for security. There is no cost to Trinity for allowing the easement or maintaining it.

If you have any questions prior to the meeting please direct them to either Council President Eileen Soler or Pastor Keith

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walking the Emmaus Road

The reading for Sunday, April 30, 2017:


Gospel: Luke 24:13-35


Today we read of the sojourners on their way to Emmaus. This story gives us an important window into the lives we are to have as Christians, particularly when it comes to the sharing of a meal, and our basic obligations when it comes to hospitality.

That hospitality is the often overlooked side of the Emmaus story. The travelers have walked seven miles together.  For those of you who are wondering, that might take the modern walker, walking at a fast clip, a bit over two hours; in Biblical times, with unpaved roads with poorly shod feet, I'm estimating it would take half a day. When they get back to their house, they don't say to Jesus, "Well, good luck on your journey."

No--they invite him inside. What remarkable hospitality. They share what they have. They don't say, "Well, I can't let you see my house in its current state--let's go out to dinner." No, they notice that the day is nearly done, and they invite a stranger in to stay the night.  They don't direct the stranger to the nearest inn.

Those of you who have read your Bible will recognize a motif. God often appears as a stranger, and good things come to those who invite a stranger in. For those of you who protest that modern life is so much more dangerous than in Biblical times, and so it was safer for people like Abraham and the Emmaus couple to invite the stranger to stay, I'd have to disagree.

Without that hospitality, those strangers never would have known their fellow traveler. We are called to model the same behavior.

One thing we can do in our individual lives is to adopt a Eucharistic mindset. Never has this been more vital. Most people have ceased cooking for themselves, and many Americans are eating at least one meal a day while they drive.

Rebel against this trait. Look for ways to make meals special. Cook for yourself. Invite your friends and loved ones to dinner. Occasionally, invite a stranger. Each week, go to a different bakery and buy yourself some wonderful bread. Open a bottle of wine and savor a glass.

Bread and wine are relatively cheap and available. When I was a teenager living in Knoxville, Tennessee, my father went to D.C. on business, and brought back sourdough bread. I thought I had never tasted anything so wonderful, and marveled at a city where you could just buy such a creation from a bakery.

Well now, most of us do. Even in small towns, it's possible to get good bread. And it's easy to make it for yourself, if you want to restore even more sanity to your schedule. And while you make that bread, you can marvel at the miracle of yeast, and think again about Jesus' call for us to be the leaven (the yeast) in the loaf.

Jesus calls us to a Eucharistic life, which requires a major readjustment of our mindset around the issues of food, drink, time, and hospitality. Consider the Capitalist/Consumerist model that our culture offers us, and the invitation from Jesus looks even more attractive.

So, before the day gets later, go and buy some bread. Think about the many ways that bread (and other grains) sustain most of us throughout the world. Drink some wine and think about the miracle of fermentation; ponder the reality that in many parts of the world, people drink fermented beverages because the water supply is tainted, but fermentation provides some protection.

You are the leaven in the loaf, the yeast that turns grape juice into the miracle of wine--how can you make that manifest in the world today?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Meditation on Doubting Thomas

The Gospel for Sunday, April 23, 2017:

John 20:19-31


I love the post-Easter encounters with Jesus. It's as if the Gospel writers knew that we'd need to be reminded of the amazing thing that has happened. It's no wonder that Thomas said he wouldn't believe until he'd touched the wounds.

Jesus was dead. He wasn't just passed out or in a deep sleep or let off the cross early. He died and rose again.

Notice that here, as elsewhere, Jesus knows what humans need and meets them on that level. He doesn't get huffy. He doesn't say, "Well, if Thomas isn't glad to see me back from the dead, then I'm not going to talk to him. I'll just hang out with people who believe." No, he lets Thomas put his hands inside of his side wound, if that's what it takes.

He forgives the doubt. He forgives the disciples who ran away. He doesn't show up to berate the disciples for hiding in a dark room when they've got work to do. He forgives all the human ways we can't rise to the vision that God has for our behavior, for our blessed lives.

Notice in these post Easter lessons how Jesus roots his actions in the physicality of life. He cooks people breakfast when they've been off fishing. He breaks bread and blesses wine. He presents his very wounded body. For those of us modern Gnostics who want to deny that Jesus was as human as the rest of us, these lessons seem specially placed to help us work against that belief. Jesus was NOT just a mystical creature with a human form that he could put on and take off, like a special set of clothes.

Perhaps that should be a lesson to the rest of us as well. When we feel despairing, we should look for ways to root ourselves in our physical lives; maybe we should try baking bread or cooking a meal. Maybe when we're almost sick with missing the ones that live far away, maybe instead of moping, we should write a letter to our loved ones, telling them how much we love them. Maybe we should plant some herbs or flowers, get our hands in the dirt, remember our roots in the world that deserves our love and attention.

Perhaps this approach would make a good way to minister to others. Instead of some sort of theoretical approach to evangelism, we should look minister to our neighbors’ physical needs; then we can think about their spiritual lives. We should ask people to dinner instead of asking, “If you died tonight, would you go to Heaven?” We should describe the great potluck dinner that awaits them at church, instead of the Heavenly feast that we have to wait so long to experience.

God came to this world to become physically involved--we are called to do the same.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Maundy Thursday

So tomorrow is Maundy Thursday.
Maundy comes from the latin "mandatum" for new commandment. As in Jesus saying "I give you an new commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus isn't taking about a feeling or emotion. He is talking about an action. Love embodied in us and through us. When Jesus talks about love of neighbor, he tells a story of such love in action, not for a friend, but for a complete stranger. On the side of the road. Beaten and bloodied.

When Jesus shows us love it is Jesus breaking religious taboos to relieve suffering far and wide; it is washing Judas' feet with those 30 pieces of silver newly weighing heavy in Judas pocket; It is Jesus asking God to forgive those who are putting him to death. It is reaching out to everyone high and low, rich and poor, religious insiders and outcasts. An on and on.

Love God and Neighbor Jesus said. Love one another Jesus said.

So tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, Trinity Lutheran has two services.
(1) At noon in the sanctuary we will embrace the traditional Maundy Thursday Liturgy, its readings, prayers, communion, washing of feet, and the stripping of the altar.
(2) At 7:30PM in the hall we gather with our brothers and sisters from the Bride of Christ Congregation who worship each Sunday afternoon in our facilities and the people of the Darul Uloom Institute, our local mosque, to share about Christianity's and Islam's understanding of love of neighbor and to participate in some small group dialogue and creative artistic expression of the love we share. And prayer. And dessert.

Y'all are welcome to join us in any or all of these Maundy Thursday opportunities.
:-)

Easter Meditation

Finally we move through Holy Week to Easter Sunday. At last, our Lenten pilgrimage draws to a close.

The stories we hear during Holy Week remind us of how to move from lives that have been reduced to ash back to lives full of resurrection. This year, the Maundy Thursday story speaks to me, perhaps because I've been reading theology that talks about the practices of Christianity.

 In An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, Barbara Brown Taylor observes, as many theologians have, that the teachings of Jesus revolve around the things we do, not the things we believe. The Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed came much later in Christianity. Long before we had creeds, we had Jesus saying, "Do this. Now do this. Now do this." We are to feed the hungry, care for the sick, protect the widows and orphans. Taylor comments on the Last Supper: "With all the conceptual truths in the universe at his disposal, he did not give something to think about together when he was gone. Instead, he gave them concrete things to do--specific ways of being together in their bodies--that would go on teaching them what they needed to know when he was no longer around to teach them himself" (43). We have "embodied sacraments of bread, wine, water, and feet" (44).

I have an atheist friend who says she envies me my belief. I argue that my beliefs come because of my practice, and that she could enter into spiritual practices, and she would be a different person in a year. She proclaims not to believe me, but she also refuses to try my experiment. Marcus Borg, in The Heart of Christianity, says "We become what we do" (192). Holy Week reminds us of what we are called to do.

We are called to break bread together, to drink wine together. We are called to invite the outcast to supper with us. We are called to care for each other's bodies--not to sexualize them or mock them or brutalize them, but to wash them tenderly. Thus fortified, we are called to announce that the Kingdom of God is breaking out among us in the world in which we live, and we are called to demand justice for the oppressed.

Of course, Holy Week reminds us of the risk. Jesus was crucified--that was a capital punishment reserved for those who were considered a threat to the state, people who would foment rebellion, for example. The world does not often respond kindly to the call for social justice.

But Easter promises us that our efforts will not be in vain. N. T. Wright's book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, is a great Easter text, and Wright says forcefully, " . . . what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff" (208). We may not understand how God will transform the world. We may not be able to believe that bleakness will be defeated. But Easter shows us God's promise that death is not the final answer.

Spring reminds us that nature commits to resurrection. Easter reminds us of God's promise of resurrection. Now is the time for us to rekindle our resurrection selves.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A Meditation for Palm Sunday and Holy Week



Those of you who have been going to church for awhile may have noticed that Palm Sunday sometimes stretches for a longer time than Easter Sunday. There's so much we cover these days. We start with the Palm Sunday story--some churches actually have their congregants start out seated, then they rise and march around the church, either inside or outside, and then they sit down again. And then, when they get to the readings, they hear the whole story of the Passion. We get Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday all in one Sunday. It's almost a relief to show up on Easter and only have to deal with one part of the story.

Easter is the part of the story upon which our Christian faith is rooted.  It's the place where most of us like to fix our focus.  But Holy Week reminds us of essential truths too.

Palm Sunday, which is now called Passion Sunday, reminds us of life's journey. No one gets to live the triumphal entry into Jerusalem day in and day out. If we're lucky, there will be those high water mark periods; we'll be hailed as heroes and people will appreciate our work. All the transportation and dinner details will work out like we want them to. Our friends will be by our side.

Yet the Passion story reminds us that those same appreciative people can turn on us just as quickly. The cheering crowd today can be the one calling for our blood next week. If we're lucky, we'll have friends who stand by us, but we're also likely to suffer all kinds of betrayals:  from our friends, from our governments, from any number of societal institutions, and ultimately from our bodies, our all too fragile flesh.

What do we do with this knowledge?

The corridor between Palm Sunday and Easter instructs us in what to do.  We can watch out for each other.  We can find like-minded humans and stay together in solidarity.  We can make meals and take time to eat together. 

We can go even deeper into our care for each other, and on Maundy Thursday, we get a glimpse of that kind of care.  Some churches will read the Maundy Thursday text of the woman anointing Christ's feet with oil.  Some churches will read the Maundy Thursday text that shows Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.

Good Friday reminds us that we can do all these things, and still we may have to stand by helplessly as those whom we love are ravaged.  Or we may find that we are ravaged.

The Palm Sunday/Passion Week trajectory reminds us that we worship a God who has experienced this truth of the human condition first hand.

But we also worship a God who has been working through time and outside of time to transform this human condition.  We don't always see it, but Easter assures us that the process is in place and that resurrection will break through, even in the most unlikely circumstances.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mercy Without Limits this Sunday at 9:30AM

Love of God and Neighbor is the core of Jesus' teaching.
And the love of God is best lived through our selfless love of our neighbor.
And Jesus teaches that our true neighbor is the one needing mercy.
PLEASE come on out this Sunday April 2nd at 9:30AM to Trinity Lutheran's Charter Hall as Mercy Without Limits
http://www.mercywithoutlimits.org/ will share their story.
They have had some of their folks travelling America by motorcycle bringing the story of their ministry on behalf of Syrian orphans since last summer.
Remember Syria?
It is still there and full of suffering despite the news at capacity with other topics right now.

So blessed that this Sunday at 9:30AM in Trinity's Charter Hall that one of those riders, Ahmed, will share their story and the plight of Syrian orphans with us. Thanks Joelle Colville-Hanson for bringing this to our attention.
All Welcome! And I made home-made bread to share so you know that this is important.
Blessings Ever
Pastor Keith


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Justice Sunday 2017

Our church will be celebrating Justice Sunday this week, as we get ready for our 2017 Nehemiah action and another year of working with BOLD Justice, working with county leaders to make our world more just.

 Every year, when we have our Nehemiah action with BOLD Justice, I think about the book of Nehemiah, and the other prophets, books that are less familiar to me than much of the Bible.  Many of those Old Testament prophets focus on the idea of justice.

Justice is different from charity.  Charity often fixes an immediate problem:  think of a food bank, for example, where a family gets several bags of food to tide them over.  Justice looks at the larger picture and ponders why we need food banks at all--where are the jobs that would allow people to earn enough to buy their own food?

Even if we aren't successful at creating change, God still calls on us to work for justice. 

Not to contribute to charity, although God mandates that too. But to work for justice.

In a book I cannot recommend highly enough, The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg explains the difference this way: "Charity means helping the victims. Justice asks, 'Why are there so many victims?' and then seeks to change the causes of victimization, that is, the way the system is structured. Justice is not about Caesar increasing his charitable giving or Pilate increasing his tithe. Justice is about social transformation. Taking the political vision of the Bible seriously means the practice of social transformation" (page 201).

He offers this comfort: "The world's need for systemic transformation is great, but it is important not to become passive or discouraged ('without heart') because the need is so great. None of us is called to be knowledgeable about all of it or capable of doing something about all of it " (page 204).

We are lucky to be part of a church that works for both justice and charity.  We are stronger in a group than we are alone.  Together we can help create a world where everyone has what they need.

We have been successful on many levels.  It's time to celebrate that success--and to continue the work.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Verb Choices in the Beatitudes

This Sunday, we return to our study of the Beatitude with this portion:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled."

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Several weeks ago, we talked about what kind of righteousness--personal righteousness or societal righteousness.  But I can't stop thinking about the verbs, especially in the context of our current political time.

What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness?  What type of yearning is Jesus discussing here?

Many of us might say we hunger and thirst in this way.  Don't we post our outrage on Facebook as various groups look to be in danger of losing human rights?  Some of us have spent the last few months marching--some of us have spent decades marching.  Maybe we've taken a vow to communicate more regularly with our legislators.

I'm thinking that the key to understanding these verbs, this hungering and thirsting, has to do with our intention.  Notice that we are blessed not if we rage and rail for justice.  Jesus does not say "Blessed are those who are angry about injustice."

Of course our anger may be what moves us to the deeper emotion, the hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  Hungering and thirsting speaks of a yearning that lasts, that even as it is filled, it reoccurs. 

These verb choices suggest that we are never done with the task of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.   After all, even if we've eaten the most filling meal, we'll still be hungry 24 hours later.

In these times when many of us feel like we're fighting for rights that we thought had been secure, that thought is an odd comfort.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Women's Sunday at Trinity

March is the month designated to celebrate women's history; March 8 is International Women's Day.  We might ask ourselves why we still need to set time apart to pay attention to women.  Haven't we enacted laws so that women are equal and now we can just go on with our lives?

Sadly, no, that is not the case.  If we look at basic statistics, like how much women earn compared to men in the very same jobs, we see that the U.S. has still not achieved equality.  Although the Lutheran church has been ordaining women since the 70's, although we have a female bishop in the top position, our local churches are still likely to be led by white men.  If we look at violent crime rates, we discover that most violent crime rates have fallen--except for rape.  If we look at representation in local, state, and federal levels, we see that members of government are still mostly white and male.

And that's in a first world country.  The picture for women in developing nations is bleak.

Most of us understand why a world where more women have access to equal resources would be a better world for all of us.  Many of us have spent years and decades working to make that world a reality.  Those of us who go to Trinity are lucky enough to have a church that supports the vision of equality that God offers to us as what the Kingdom of God looks like.

Not everyone has that experience.  And sadly, many people have experienced discrimination against women coming at them through their churches.

So, this Sunday at Trinity, we'll hear about women of the past who have kept the flames of faith alive.  We'll ask forgiveness for all the ways we've been agents of oppression.  We'll envision a better future for all.

It's what we do every Sunday, although this Sunday we'll use the lens of gender to help us have a clearer sight.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

What Type of Righteousness?

This Sunday, we continue with our study of the Beatitude with this portion:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled."

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Next week, I'll write more about those verbs, hungering and thirsting.

Why righteousness?  Why are we hungering and thirsting for this quality?  What does it mean?

One of the traditional ways to interpret the word righteousness is to talk about moral correctness, about doing what God has told us to do, about living the right way, about keeping the commandments.

Many of us have been harmed by that way of thinking, by being told what proper children should do, how good wives should behave, about what kind of desire is O.K. and what is not, about how we must constrain ourselves into the forms that have been deemed to be acceptable. 

But we have been reminded over and over again that Jesus does not come to judge us this way.  God may be sorrowful over our actions, but it's not because we're not following some ancient code.  It's because our actions are so harmful and not allowing us to live the kind of wonderful lives that God knows are possible for us.

What if righteousness is not about our individual lives?  A more modern interpretation might take a larger intrepretation--we are hungering and thirsting for a society that is more just, more merciful, more like God's kingdom than the empires that oppress us.

Walter Wink reminds us that even if we believe in free will, this belief doesn't mean that God can't act in the world. But God won't act if we don't ask or demand it: "This is a God who works with us and for us, to make and keep human life humane. And what God does depends on the intercessions of those who care enough to try to shape a future more humane than the present" (Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, page 301).

It's important to remember that there are many ways to work for justice, and one of the most important is to keep in our minds a vision of a better world, a place of peace and justice. Too many of us succumb to despair. We can't believe that change will come. Yet the history of the late twentieth century teaches us that social change may come in what appears to be a sudden instant, although observant people have been preparing for years or decades.

We are called to be part of that creative process.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Transfiguration Sunday

The readings for Sunday, February 26, 2017:

First Reading: Exodus 24:12-18

Psalm: Psalm 2

Psalm (Alt.): Psalm 99

Second Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-21

Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9


Here we are at Transfiguration Sunday again. We celebrate this festival on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, although the earlier festival day was August 6.

It's such a familiar story that we may feel that we can get nothing new from it.  But it's a story that bears repeating. 

When I read the Gospel again, I'm not surprised by Peter's offer to build booths and celebrate the Transfiguration in a commercial way.  Christ's command to tell no one makes me pause.  Why can't we share this amazing moment?

Christ says this often. Go and tell no one--that seems to be a constant command. And it seems antithetical to the task of the Church.

In just a few months, we'll get a very different  Pentecost message. Aren't we supposed to go and witness? Spread the good news? If Jesus is our role model, what do we make of his command to stay silent?

In some ways, perhaps Jesus knew the times he lived in. He knew that early fame would undo his purpose. He knew that people would focus on the physical plane--"This man can heal my blindness"--but not the spiritual plane, the one where we need healing the most.

He also knew that people who see visions, who catch a glimpse of something otherworldly, are often shunned by the community. What would have happened if James and John and Peter came down from the mountain and proclaimed what they had seen? How would the community have responded?

Jesus knew that he couldn't appear too threatening to the status quo too early. In the verses that follow, the ones not included in this Gospel, Jesus makes clear that persecution follows those who see visions. And that persecution still persists today. Our culture tolerates those of us who pray. It's less tolerant of those of us who claim that God replies to our prayers.

The life of the believer is tough, and one measure of its difficulty is knowing when to speak, and knowing when to hold our tongues. Sometimes we should keep our counsel. Sometimes we should testify verbally. Always we should let our lives be our testimony.

Christ also might have been wary of the human tendency to rush towards transfiguration.  We yearn to be different, but so often, we shun the hard work involved.  We might embrace transformation before we stop to consider the cost.

Like Peter, we might want to turn Christ into Carnival: build booths, charge admission, harness holiness. Jesus reminds us again and again that the true work comes not from telling people what we’ve seen, but by letting what we’ve seen change the way that we live. Our true calling is not to be carnival barker, but to get on with the work of repair and building of the communities in which we find ourselves.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sandra Carter Funeral Service

The funeral for Sandra Carter will take place as follows:
Visitation: Thursday February 23rd 4:30PM - 6PM in the sanctuary
Funeral Service Thursday Feb 23rd 6PM in the sanctuary.
Memorial meal to follow in the hall.
Singers invited to be of an adhoc choir to lead the hymns

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Who Are the Meek?

By Kristin Berkey-Abbott

When I first read the Beatitude text that talked about the meek inheriting the earth, my thoughts went immediately to the traditional definition of meek:  the ones that keep their eyes down, the ones that don't toot their own horns, the ones that will let themselves get bulldozed by the strong--the ones that will suffer brutality and take it.

But later in this same chapter of Matthew, we'll get to the part about turning the other cheek.  Here, too, I was taught that I was reading a text advocating non-violence.  But a more careful reading and analysis suggests something else.

These are resistance texts. Yes, resistance texts.

These are texts that show us how to resist evil in such a way that evil elements will not turn around and destroy us. Likewise, these are texts that show us how to resist evil in such a way that we don’t become the evil that we are resisting.

It’s important to remember that the culture of Jesus was a vastly different culture. It was a culture based on honor. It was a culture based on social hierarchy. It was also a culture ruled by Romans who were not going to tolerate social unrest, Romans who would not hesitate to slaughter dissenters.

So, if an member of the occupying empire army orders us to give up our coat, we can strip naked, giving up coat and shirt--which is an assault on honor, an assault that mortifies the soldier whose orders led to public indecency as much as the one who strips.  It's also a way of showing that we won't be controlled.  But we haven't done anything wrong--in fact, we've followed instructions and gone above and beyond.  What's the poor soldier to do?

Jesus shows us how to live in this world, how to resist evil without being destroyed by evil.  Some of us are in a position where we can do more to resist evil and oppression--and Jesus will call on us to do it.  But some of us cannot.  Jesus shows us how to live in the world, especially if we live on the margins of society.

What if the meek inherit the earth because they survive?