In the Sanctuary at 8:30AM and 11AM -
a blended service of traditional and contemporary elements with communion

In the hall at 9:45AM
scripture, prayer, and creative response with communion

Worship each Sunday @ 8:30AM, 9:45AM, and 11AM

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, January 3, 2010:

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-14

First Reading (Alt.): Sirach 24:1-12

Psalm: Psalm 147:13-21 (Psalm 147:12-20 NRSV)

Psalm (Alt.): Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14

Gospel: John 1:[1-9] 10-18

When I was younger, the Gospel of John confounded me. What kind of nativity story did John give us? Does he not know the power of narrative, the importance of a hook in the beginning?

Look at verse 14, which may be familiar: "And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." As a child, I'd have screamed, "What does that mean? How does word become flesh?"

And then I became a writer, and I learned how the word becomes flesh. I invented characters who took on lives of their own, who woke me up early in the morning because I wanted to see what happened to them. Yes, I know, I was the God of their universe. But as anyone who has had children will know, you make these creations, and they have their own opinions, and they live their lives in ways you couldn't have known they would.

But lately, I've begun to see this first chapter of John in a less-writerly way. Words become flesh every day. We begin to shape our reality by talking about it. We shape our relationships through our words which then might lead to deeds, which is another way of talking about flesh.

Think about your primary relationships. Perhaps this coming year could be the year when we all treat the primary people in our lives with extra care and kindness. If we treat people with patience and care, if we say please and thank you more, we will shape the flesh of our relationships into something different. Alternately, if we're rude and nasty to people, they will respond with rudeness and cruelty--we've shaped the flesh of the world into a place where we don't want to live.

Our words become flesh in other ways, of course. It's not enough to profess we're Christians. Our words should shape our actions. The world is watching, and the world is tired of people who say one thing and act another way.

How can we enflesh our Christian beliefs incarnate in our own lives? That's the question with which we wrestle year after year. It's easy to say we believe things, but it's much harder to make our actions match our words, to live an authentic life.

The good news: it gets easier. You must practice. Our spiritual ancestors would tell us that daily and weekly practices help to align our words to our actions.

I have an atheist friend who says she envies me my ability to believe. I tell her that there's not a class of people who just have faith. We come to it by our actions. We pray, we pay attention, we meet in church, we study, we read the Bible, we help the poor and outcast, we pray some more--and years later, we realize that we are living a life consistent with our values.

It's time to think about the New Year, and some of us will make resolutions. What can you do to make your words and beliefs take flesh?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

All of the Christmas Eve services were fantastic! The atmosphere was filled with excitement as people filled the santcuary and the music and sermons were truly inspirational.

The 11:00pm was very special to me because the choir did an incredible job presenting the "Glorious Impossible" cantata. I'm very proud of the choir and I am excited about doing it again this Sunday at the 10:45 am service.

May the true meaning of Christmas fill your hearts and may God bless you always!

Jacob Smitter, Minister of Music For Praise

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 27, 2008:

First Reading: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Psalm: Psalm 148

Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52

How quickly the children grow up! Could this Jesus in Sunday's Gospel really be the same baby we just saw in the manger? Can this boy be the same Jesus we'll be meeting soon? We spend so little time with Jesus as a young boy that it's strange to get these glimpses.

Those of you who live around teenagers will probably find the Jesus in Sunday's Gospel familiar. He's so self-absorbed. He doesn't worry about his parents' feelings and anxieties. And yet, he's mostly obedient, mostly a good kid.

We think of Jesus as a special case. We tend to focus on his divine aspects and overlook the human ones. Yet any child arrives with his or her own agenda. In the end, most children are a bit of a mystery. We wonder where they get that quirky sense of humor, or those interests that are so unlike any others in the family. If we're honest, most of us have moments, maybe quite a lot of them, where we wish those children would just conform, just be the little people we wish they would be.

The relationship that Mary and Joseph had with Jesus was no different. We might protest, "But Mary and Joseph knew that he was special!" Every parent feels exactly the same way: this child is born for greatness. Yet in how many ways our children will break our hearts.

And it often starts with education. Notice that Jesus has ditched his parents to stay behind with teachers and scholars. He has his own business, and Mary has her wishes, and they will likely clash. Read Mark's Gospel (go ahead, it's short, it won't take you long), and you'll get a different view of Mary and her view of the mission of Jesus; she's not always happy, and in several places indicates that Jesus is embarrassing the family.

But in the end, this week's Gospel is also a story of nurture. God comes to be with us in human form, and not just grown-up, self-sufficient form. God becomes the most vulnerable of creatures, a baby, and thus becomes, the second-most vulnerable, a teenager. Those of you who struggle with a teenager may not find comfort from the Good Friday outcome of this story. But maybe you can find comfort from the fact that even Jesus could be a pain-inducing teenager.

And we all can find comfort from this chapter in the Christmas story. Hear the Good News again. God comes to be with us, in all of our brokenness. God loves us in spite of, because of our brokenness. God lives with and mingles in our human messiness. We might even say that God glories in our messiness, that out of our messiness salvation comes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ALATHEA playing Emmanuel at Trinity Lutheran SAT DEC 19th 2009.

Mandee pictured here - Cristi was off to the right - you can hear Cristi on the mandolin - couldn't frame both at the same time from my seat - sorry Cristi!


Please note: all services include candle lighting and Holy Communion.

5PM Indoor/Outdoor Sunset Service
Begins indoors and concludes with outdoor candlelight walk for Silent Night and Holy Communion at Sunset.

7:30PM Family Service
A service that features the talents of our children, youth and adults through singing, readings, and more.
Traditional hymns and the Christmas Story make this a service for all ages!

11PM Cantata Service
A service that features Trinity's Talented Choir under the direction of Jacob Smitter bringing a fresh and glorious Cantata to proclaim the birth of Christ!

DECEMBER 19, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pembroke Pines
Trinity Lutheran and Living Faith Lutheran run the Christmas Karaoke Booth!
Carl Berkey-Abbott from Trinity and Pastor Clark from Living Faith test out the booth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

SERMON on Luke 1:39-56 ADVENT FOUR 2009
The secret to good singing, my Glee Club director mused to me one day, isn’t having a great voice, though that helps, but singing with drama, with passion, with enthusiasm. And when in doubt, just say “watermelon,” and it will get through any song that you don’t know.

Christmas used to be a refuge for me and its music was the door through which I entered into a safe and peaceful place: the humble joy of the manger; the triumphant joy of angelic choirs; the dance of the night wind and the surprise of the shepherds.
Every Christmas Eve I would lose myself within those songs. My voice would join the heavenly chorus, my voice and the heavenly chorus of angels blended together singing of the midnight clear, and of the little town of Bethlehem, and gave glory to the new born king. In the music of Christmas, the words of Matthew and Luke come alive and the precious gospel enfolds us and transports us.

But what I could not conceive of then and only now am just beginning to understand is that the song of Christmas is a voice with an edge to it, a voice that troubles as much as it comforts, that challenges as much as it soothes; that confronts as much as it soothes with compassion. The song of the manger cannot be sung without the deep bass line of the cross sustaining it. How can we begin to open our hearts to joy of Christmas without the context of Easter to give us understanding? Of the fullness of the in-breaking Kingdom of God made manifest in Christ Jesus.

One year, I was perhaps fifteen, I went to three straight Christmas Eve services – I just had my parents drop me off at church for the 7PM service and they picked me up after the midnight mass. Yes, they probably thought I was nuts. But they indulged me. I was in church after all. On Christmas Eve. There I could sing and sing and sing.

But then came my last year in high school when I was burning the candle at both ends. Swim practice 6 days a week. Three eight hour shifts at Burger King on the weekends. Honors classes. Prepping for the SAT. It all built up and I wore my body past the breaking point. I got so sick that that Christmas Eve I couldn’t sing. I sat there and tried. With enthusiasm even. I sucked on cough drop after cough drop and nothing worked. I could only listen. I went home in tears. Without being able to sing, I could not enter into the safe peace and warmth of Christmas and push away the world for just awhile.

Everything in our culture works towards making Christmas the happiness of all happiness and we work hard at it and we spend hard at it and we commit a lot of our time to it. But the joy of Christmas comes from knowing that God in Christ Jesus breaks into this world and declares victory at cross. That God is willing to take on our flesh, to become fully human to do it. To suffer as we suffer. To be tempted as we are tempted. To die as we will die and in death to break the power of death forever so that our death will become just a passage, another step of our journey into blessed eternity. The joy of Christmas is the promise that God does not measure value by the scales of this world. Jesus was born to ordinary people; born in a feeding trough for animals, in a stable for animals. The Wise men come from the east bearing treasure and they go straight to the palace and Jesus is not there. Was never there. And the palace hasn’t a clue what they are talking about. Because they at the palace have everything that matters to the world.

The song that we need to listen to – the one that deepens our understanding of Christmas and moves us from sentimental happiness to a deepening joy, a joy born of promise, is the song of Mary that we call The Magnificat.
It provides us with a glimpse of in-breaking Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that embraces God’s justice; that embodies God’s love and plan for creation.

The poor are favored and will be lifted up.
The rich and powerful will be brought down.
The hungry fed. The full will experience hunger.

The truth of Mary's words begin to unfold as Jesus begins his ministry by declaring at the very beginning, by reading from the scroll at the synagogue that he has come to bring good news to the poor, to announce freedom to the prisoners, to give sight to the blind, and to free everyone who suffers.

And the powerful and rich?

Well, there are some things that we need to say .
First of all, Jesus does not hate people with money. Rich widows helped to bankroll the ministry. Jesus ate with both the poor and the rich. They had to eat after all. They had expenses. Scripture gives no evidence that when they were thirsty that Jesus got water from the rock like Moses or turned their water into wine more than once or took table scraps and multiplied the loaves and fishes on a daily basis. Could he have? Sure. Did he? The silence of Scripture is deafening. So, probably not.

Jesus knows what we all know. That money and power are two sides of the same coin in this world and that both can be used for good and for evil and that sin can grow like weeds among the wheat wherever they are found.

Sing, Mary, sing.
Teach our souls to give glory to God.
Teach us how the poor have been exploited.
How their voices have been silenced.
How many of those with power have ignored them at best or hurt them or stripped them of their dignity.
How some have grown rich by their suffering.

Sing Mary, sing.
Sing of God's anger at injustice.
God's ear for the cries of those who suffer.
Give us such an ear to hear. Hearts to ache.
Hands to help. Hearts to love.
Spirits to move us to act with the whole of our being -
in the power of the Spirit. In the righteousness of God.
Sing of the mercy of God for us and for all.
Sing of God's forgiveness, God's grace, God's love.

Sing, Mary, sing.
Teach us to do small things with great love.
Let our song be our voices calling for change on behalf of the poor. Let our song be our hands working alongside our brothers and sisters who suffer economic and social hardship. Let our song be our hearts aching for the widow and the orphan, for the grieving and lost.

Sing Mary, Sing.
May our songs this Christmas carry God’s promised future in every word, in every note and melody. May we be God’s hands and hearts and voices to realize that future here and now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Potluck following the second service.
Time to share a meal together and spend time with the folks from ALATHEA and feed those going off to Chritmas carol for our shut-ins and the VA.
Please bring a dish to share.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lunch at 12:15PM
We depart at 1PM.
To our shut-ins, our sick, the VA Home.
Please Join us!
Call SAM in the office to reserve tickets now.
Before you forget.
(954) 989-1903.
Are you reaching for the phone yet...I'll wait.
See you Saturday Night at 7:30PM for the Christmas Concert Event of the season!

at the Trinity
Come anytime
6:30PM and 8PM
Pause during this hectic time
and allow the peace of Christ to rule in your heart!
Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 20, 2009:

First Reading: Micah 5:2-5a

Psalm: Luke 1:47-55 (Luke 1:46b-55 NRSV)

Psalm (Alt.): Psalm 80:1-7

Second Reading: Hebrews 10:5-10

Gospel: Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]

Finally, we have moved away from John the Baptist--although he's there, in utero, leaping at the sound of Mary's voice.

I love this Gospel vision of improbable salvation: two very different women, yet God has need of them both. I love the way this Gospel shows that even the impossible can be made possible with God: barrenness will come to fruit, youthful inexperience will be seen as a blessing.

Take some Advent time and look at the Magnificat again (verses 46-55). Reflect on how Mary's song of praise sums up most of our Scripture. If we want to know what God is up to in this world, here Mary sings it for us. He has raised up a lowly woman (who would have been a member of one of the lowliest of her society). He has fed the hungry and lifted up the oppressed. He has continued to stay with Abraham's descendants, even when they haven't always deserved it. We can count on our strong God, from generation to generation.

Take some Advent time and think about Mary's call to be greater than she could have ever expected she would be. She could have said no to God--many do. But she said yes. That acceptance didn't mean she would avoid pain and suffering. In fact, by saying yes, she likely exposed herself to more pain and suffering. But in saying yes, she also opened herself up to amazing possibilities.

Think about your own life. Where do you hear God calling your name?

Perhaps I will adopt a different New Year's resolution this year. I usually have resolutions about eating better and exercising more and tending to my writing. Maybe this year, I will resolve to say yes to God.

The very thought makes me a bit terrified. My control freak self doesn't like this idea of saying yes. My control freak self doesn't understand why I would want Mary, mother of Jesus, as a model.

How can we be like Mary? How can we be like Elizabeth, who receives an even more improbable invitation? Where would we be led, if we said yes to God?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Congratulations to Jennifer Rodemick!
Graduating (with honors) this week from the University of Florida.
Volunteers needed to greet families for photo sessions on Thursday, December 17. Hours that need to be covered are 1PM to 8 PM.

The photographers show up at 1PM to set up. Families start arriving at 3PM. I will be there at 8PM with my family and to finish up the night.

We need people to cover the rest of the hours. Sam was there all day last week. If they can cover 2-3 hours at a time that would be great.

Just call or email the office and let SAM know!

SUN, DEC 20th, the BLOOD MOBILE will be in our parking lot! What better gift to give during this holiday season that the GIFT OF LIFE? It doesn't cost you money and it takes just 15 minutes of your time! The Blood Mobile will be here from 7:30am to 1:30pm. Please come out and give the gift of life! You will be richly blessed by knowing that every pint can save three lives.

An early Christmas present for yourself and those you love!
Advanced Tickets:
Adults $12 Children under 12 $5
At the Door:
Adults $15 Children $7.50
Contact SAM in the office during the week or purchase Thursday between 3PM and 9PM during the directory photo shoot in Charter Hall or contact Kristin or Pastor Keith.
Contact the office (954) 989-1903
by close of business this WED
$10 per dedication
Please indicate "In Honor"
or "In Memory"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 13, 2009:

First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20

Psalm: Isaiah 12:2-6

Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-7

Gospel: Luke 3:7-18

I find myself growing weary of John the Baptist. I'm tired of this Advent cycle. Why is John the Baptist always here? Can't we have some angels appearing to Mary or Joseph? Can't we have a different part of the story?

I'm also tired of the prophets of this year's lectionary. I yearn for some old-fashioned Isaiah.

I also wonder why we don't have many great Advent hymns. I only really like "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel." O.K., O.K., the candlelighting/watch for Messiah song set to Yiddish sounding music is pretty cool too. But why aren't there more?

Clearly, I'm in a crabby mood. I'm tired of having John the Baptist call me a viper. I know, I know, I have all these faults. Don't threaten me with that ax. I try so hard to bear good fruit, but I'm afraid it isn't enough. I'm surrounded by people who are clearly in a more crabby mood than I am, and I'm trying to be sympathetic, but it's hard. This attempt of mine to transform myself into a compassionate person is taking longer than I thought it would. I see people at work having meltdowns, and my response is to hide under my desk (metaphorically, although there are days that the thought of literally curling up under my desk is almost irresistible). I don't go to them to say, "What can I do to help you through this painful time?"

Perhaps I'm ready for that ax after all.

Or maybe, I need to pay attention to John the Baptist with a bit more focus. Advent reminds me that I'm not my final, improved version of myself. Advent reminds me that I still have work to do. And I need to hear that message. I'm lazy and inclined to coast, and it's good to know that God has a vision for me that is vaster than any I could dream myself.

I am ready for those angels who tell me not to be afraid. I need that message of fearlessness in my Advent darkness. I am ready for the Christmas miracle of a God who wants to be with humanity so much that God comes to us as the most vulnerable creature: a baby born to parents low on the social ladder of a society that is far from the corridors of power.

Oh come, Emmanuel. Ransom me!

Monday, December 07, 2009

From your Shelter Week Co-ordinator, Lyn Joseph:

PLEASE bring all the Shelter Week food to church on SUN, Dec 13th.
Also, we are still in need of a second overnight host for Monday night [December 14]. and for Wednesday night [December 15], and Thursday night [December 16]. The hours are from 8pm to about 7am – when the family gets picked up by the coalition van. We would be most grateful for any time which you can donate to this cause. If anyone is able to do a portion of a shift, due to previous obligations or commitments; please remember that we can also work with your schedule and have a relief person come in to finish off your time.

For any questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact Lyn Jospeh - or leave a message at the office.
WELCA's Cookie Exchange Christmas Meeting will be on TUES, DEC 8th at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. There will be readings, music and a Sing-a-long with Jacob. Following the program we will adjourn to Charter Hall for our Annual Cookie Exchange. Please bring 2 dozen of your favorite homemade cookies. Not only will these be eaten after the program, but then packaged for our "shut-ins" and the rest exchanged amongst everyone. Bring your family and friends. Everyone is invited!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Your prayers are requested for The Reverend Ron Springer, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church (ELCA), Fort Lauderdale, FL, and his wife, Marion.

Pr. Springer became ill earlier this week with flu-like symptoms. His wife, Marion, found him unresponsive on Tuesday afternoon after returning home from work. He is currently unresponsive and on a respirator at University Hospital in Tamarac, FL.

Pr. Springer has served as pastor at Christ Lutheran Church since January of 1998. He transferred from the Metropolitan New York Synod, ELCA, where he was ordained in 1980. Pr. Springer is well known throughout his conference and the Florida-Bahamas Synod as an active participant in mission and ministry and currently serves as Dean of the Broward/Bahamas Conference (#2).

Please hold Ron, Marion, their family and friends, and the people of Christ Lutheran Church in your prayers.
Luke 3:1-6 ADVENT TWO 2009

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

How does that voice cry out to you?
Does it call you by name?
Is it Urgent? Tough? Gentle? Patient? Passionate?
How are you hearing that voice today?

The voice cries out to us from the wilderness. Are we listening? Are we listening with our ears?
With our hearts? With our souls?
The voice cries out to us from the wilderness.
Are we listening?
You and I. Mall Walking can always produce interesting experiences. At the end of one trip a few years back I went by one of those numerous little booths that one finds in the middle of the corridors. I was walking quickly in order to meet Piper in front of a pre-arrange spot. Sometimes the salespeople can be rather insistent and sometimes they are sitting around looking bored and talking on their cell phones. I found myself confronted by one energetic young woman.
"Would you like me to steam your shirt?" she asked.
To which I responded "No thank you. My shirt is fine."
I had not taken two steps when I heard her say a bit too loudly and quite sarcastically to a co-worker:
"Yea, right, his shirt is fine."
Her words probably came easily enough after a long day on her feet trying to make sales.
I was probably not meant to hear them.
And the fact that upon later inspection my shirt was a bit wrinkled did not take the edge off her sarcasm one bit.
“Yeah, right, his shirt is fine.”

When she asked me if I wanted my shirt steamed, I had responded pleasantly, patiently.

Her sarcastic rebuke hit me while my back was turned. Nothing phony about those words. No fake smile. No bland pleasantries. They were honest words, if not a bit painful in tone.

Something bitter in my throat that tasted like indignation welled up.
And I’m thinking – I’ll make her path a bit straighter. No problem.

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The words grab us. Call us to action. Practically demand response . Are filled with passion: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

How does that voice cry out to you?
Does it call you by name?
Is it Urgent? Tough? Gentle? Patient? Passionate? Intimate?
How are you hearing that voice today?

After I overheard the personal steamer salesperson's contribution to our nation's general decline in friendliness, I took one half step. Should I turn and vent? Should I get her name and register a complaint with her manager? Should I remind her that as a salesperson, making fun of potential customers was just not sound business practice?

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight

As a kid, I got straightened out a few times.
Like the time I broke the four foot bottle of wine from Italy that someone had given my parents as a gift, splattering its contents on the thick green shag carpet of our dining room.
Like the time I pushed a nail through my bicycle tire just to see what would happened.
Like the time I put my foot through my bedroom door in a fit of disagreement with my older sister.
Like the time that I melted the carpet in the bathroom after finding my father’s lighter.
Mom and Dad took the time to straighten me out.
But here in the mall half a step removed from a steam cleaning salesperson who was having a bad day, these words of John the Baptist echo in my heart:
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight

The straight path is the path that helps build the Kingdom. That’s the path on which you and I want to be walking.
The path that builds up the Kingdom.
Here we talk a lot about proclaiming that very Kingdom in word and deed in all that we do and all that we say.
Here we talk about seeing Christ in all and on that day, in that place, Christ, met me with a touch of sarcasm and was wielding a must-have steam cleaner that could be mine for a very reasonable price.
Seeing Christ in who we want and when we want is one thing. Seeing Christ in all with no asterisks and no fine print. Well, that’s something else altogether, isn’t it?
Having beheld Christ in her, what was I to do?
What would you do?
What would you do having seen Christ, steamer in hand, with his back turned against you in disdain?
My feet said to walk. My head said to complain. My heart, well, It didn't join the conversation that I was having with myself.

The voice calls in the wilderness, sometimes in the most surprising of ways:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord!

I just walked on.

Every single day the voice calls out to us. Calls us by name. Calls to us intimately. Passionately. Constantly:
Prepare the way of the Lord!

It has been calling since we were first called in our Baptism to turn from darkness to the light. From the ways of death to the ways of life. From our sin, to God’s own righteousness.

Prepare the way of the Lord!

Saturday, December 05, 2009




Thursday, December 03, 2009

Saturday morning the monthly yard day begins at 9AM and we'll be gardening at 10AM at the Veteran' Garden at the new flagpole location

Saturday evening at 6PM is a potluck dinner at which we'll be feeding the youth and staff from the Lippmann Shelter for Youth and spending time getting to know our recent visitors. All invited - please bring a dish to share. We are also collecting new or gently used teenage clothes to donate to Lippmann that evening. Clean clothing may be left on the entrance bench in Charter Hall.

At 7PM our ADVENT Workshops begin.
Decorating gingerbread men (please bring a couple of cans of icing to share), making homemade Christmas cards and Chrismons (Christmas ornaments) and Christmas breads and even decorating the Charter Hall trees will keep us busy!

At Sunday morning Worship (8AM and 10:45AM) we will be blessing prayer shawls and Confirmation Bibles and experience another Advent mini-drama. Adult Sunday school continues at 9:30AM in Monson Mueller Hall studying the Advent texts, while our children continue in their Advent time in Sunday school. Sign ups for the Christmas Eve 7:30PM program will commence. The High School Youth will finish prepping for their faith interviews.
encourage the daily discipline of setting something aside for God throughout the season. Families can enjoy the ritual of daily watching their contributions grow as we count the days until Christmas. The folders, which total $20.00, can returned DEC 20th, 24th, or 27th. You may prefer to write a check or use cash in that amount, rather than turn in the coins.
Trinity Lutheran and Living Faith Lutheran will be joining together at the City of Pembroke Pines’ Snowfest on Saturday December 19th from 10AM to 2PM. We will be co-hosting a Christmas Karaoke booth to get the word out about our Christmas Eve services. Sign up to help out on your worship slip.
Sunday December 13, 5:00 pm - St Joseph’s National Polish Catholic Church located at 5401 SW 64th AVE, Davie, FL 33314 will be holding its “Annual Christmas Candlelight Service” which is a community event. Approximately seven local churches will be participating. Our choir will be performing as well as our director. Immediately following the concert, a dinner (catered by the Ark Restaurant) will be served in their fellowship hall. The event and dinner are free. During the concert a free-will offering will be taken to benefit a local charity. Come a little early to assure a good seat.

MANDEE AND CRISTI “ALATHEA” will make their return to Trinity on Saturday evening December 19th at 7:30PM for a stop on their highly anticipated 2009 Christmas Tour. Tickets now on sale in the office, before and after church and at select church activities. Advanced tickets are $12 for Adults and $5 for children. At the door they will increase to $15 and $7.50. This award-winning folk duo hail from Tennessee and travel the country logging over 150 concerts a year. They last played at Trinity in the spring of 2009 and we are blessed to have been able to be included on their current tour.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

WELCA's Cookie Exchange Christmas Meeting will be on TUES, DEC 8th at 7:30pm in the Sanctuary. There will be readings, music and a Sing-a-long with Jacob. Following the program we will adjourn to Charter Hall for our Annual Cookie Exchange. Please bring 2 dozen of your favorite homemade cookies. Not only will these be eaten after the program, but then packaged for our "shut-ins" and the rest exchanged amongst everyone. Bring your family and friends. Everyone is invited!!!

On SUN, DEC 20th, the BLOOD MOBILE will be HERE! What better gift to give during this holiday season that the GIFT OF LIFE? It doesn't cost you money and it takes just 15 minutes of your time! The Blood Mobile will be here from 7:30am to 1:30pm. Please come out and give the gift of life! You will be richly blessed in doing so.
We are still in need of a second overnight host for Monday night [December 14]. And also for Wednesday night [December 15], plus Thursday night [December 16]. The hours are from 8pm to about 7am – when the family gets picked up by the coalition van. We would be most grateful for any time which you can donate to this cause. If anyone is able to do a portion of a shift, due to previous obligations or commitments; please remember that we can also work with your schedule and have a relief person come in to finish off your time.

For any questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact Lyn Jospeh - or leave a message at the office for her.
We need Greeters from 2:30pm to 6pm on DEC 10th and DEC 17th to sign-in people at the photo sessions.
Please contact the office or sign up on your worship slip.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 6, 2009:

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4

First Reading (Alt.): Baruch 5:1-9

Psalm: Luke 1:68-79

Second Reading: Philippians 1:3-11

Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

This week's Gospel brings us back to John the Baptist, who went to the wilderness to hear the word of God. He comes back from the wilderness to tell people to prepare, that the paths will be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth.

Today's Gospel takes me to several places. First of all, I wonder about the nature of God and the wilderness. How often does God appear to Biblical people in the wilderness? What does this say to those of us who never get any wilderness time?

I also think of John hearing God's word in the wilderness and his getting to work to tell preaching a "baptism of repentance." It's an interesting thought--if one hears God's word and believes it, how would one's actions change? What kinds of turning around might we expect?

We might also think in terms of the old tent revival preachers: if you knew God was coming back this month, coming to speak to you, what would happen next in your life?

On the RevGalBlogPals website, I came across this Bonhoeffer quote:

"It is very remarkable that we face the thought that God is coming, so calmly, whereas previously peoples trembled at the day of God . . . . We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God's coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God's coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for every one who has a conscience.Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love."

The recent Thanksgiving holiday may have made you painfully aware of all the crooked pathways within yourself that need to be made straight. I'm am always aware of how I have tried very hard to be a more patient person, and how often I fail so utterly to be the patient person I want to be. I'm easily frustrated, especially by problems which are really just money problems. A friend of Anne Lamott's reminds us all that "if you have a problem you can solve by throwing money at it, you don't have a very interesting problem" (Traveling Mercies 259). I am so often not grateful for the gifts that I have, the ones that money can't necessarily buy: my good health, the fact that most of my loved ones are on this side of the grave with me, a boss who treats me well, and time to carve out a creative life.

Our personal failings are often mirrored in the larger culture. We live in a world full of the crooked and the rough. We live in a world desperately in need of the sanctification that God offers. In The Reason for God, Tim Keller reminds us, "The Biblical view of things is resurrection - not a future that is just a consolation for the life we never had but a restoration of the life you always wanted. This means that every horrible thing that ever happened will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual glory and joy even greater" (32).

We might say, "Well, lovely, but that doesn't help me right now. Right now, I'm irritated with my family who drives me crazy, and I'm irritated with myself, because I can't seem to do basic maintenance tasks, and I'm fed up with watching all the governments whose actions affect me so deeply."

When I'm feeling that way, I try to take a page from the ideas of John Keats, the great English poet: I try to see my struggles as soul making. In Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott says, "At some point you pardon the people in your family for being stuck together in all their weirdness, and when you can do that, you can learn to pardon anyone. Even yourself, eventually. It's like learning to drive on an old car with a tricky transmission: if you can master shifting gears on that, you can learn to drive anything" (219-220).

God comes to us in so many ways, and we don't even notice. Advent reminds us to be watchful, to wait with anticipation. Advent reminds us of the promise of God's presence, no matter what issues we struggle with in any given day.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009




CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said he will share priorities and hopes for the ELCA, and wants to hear stories from members about the church's work in their own contexts, when he hosts an online "Town Hall Forum" Sunday, Dec. 6. The hour-long forum begins at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time (4:30 p.m. Central Time).

The program will be webcast live from Chicago, where Hanson will be joined by an audience of ELCA members. The audience will ask questions of the presiding bishop. Web viewers can watch the event and submit questions at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall

"I think having this during the season of Advent is an important reminder that when our unity is in Christ, we will always be looking toward God's future in a spirit of 'expectant hopefulness,'" he said. "That's what characterizes my view of the ELCA."

Hanson said he wants to use the forum to build on a conversation he began in a Nov. 19 open letter to ELCA members. In that letter he said that the church stands together in God's grace, "but we are not standing still." Hanson wrote that the ELCA proclaims Jesus Christ and is "fully engaged in this mission by caring actively for the world that God loves.

God's mission is serious work that calls for serious commitment."

Hanson told the ELCA News Service he plans to discuss in the forum how the ELCA is a church "in God's grace going forward in mission, and how that shared commitment to be engaged in mission continues to define who we are in the ELCA."

"I look forward to hearing stories from members participating online of how the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon them and through their congregations," he said. "I also look forward to sharing priorities for our life together in the ELCA."

Hanson said he expects the conversation will include some discussion of what has transpired in the ELCA since the churchwide assembly, which directed changes to the church's ministry policies. Those changes, which created the possibility for people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as clergy and professional lay workers, have caused some disagreement in the ELCA.

"I would hope we can talk about how, in these weeks and months following our churchwide assembly, we have the opportunity to be a church that does not deny our differences on human sexuality, but isn't defined by those differences. It gives us an opportunity to witness to the culture that such questions need not finally separate us," he said.

The Town Hall Forum will also be available for on-demand viewing on the ELCA Web site by the close of business Dec. 7.


The presiding bishop's Nov. 19 open letter and a video resource are at http://www.ELCA.org/faithfulmission on the ELCA Web site.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Teenage new or gently used clothes may be dropped off this week to be distributed to the Lippmann Shelter for Youth as they visit us this Saturday Night at 6PM
This Saturday
December 5th at 10AM
Building the Veteran's Garden at the Flagpole
All Welcome!

Mowing and Weedwacking
9AM to Noon
Saturday December 5th

Saturday, November 28, 2009

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

My father hadn’t been in the hospital a day in his life until he turned sixty. Then he needed back surgery. No problem – they were going to fuse a couple of vertebrae and after recovery and therapy he would be able to swing a golf club again without pain. But in the work ups, the cardiologist found something that concerned him. His heart wasn’t as healthy as it could have been. So instead of back surgery, he had a heart catheterization and angioplasty.

In my time as a pastor I have made a number of trips to the cath lab for parishioners – it is an amazing thing to behold – like an assembly line. One after the other after other heading into the procedure room where a doctor will peer into their heart to see how it is - to check its health and respond accordingly. They can do amazing things for our hearts these days and more innovative and exciting things are coming in the future.

But what about our spiritual hearts? What about the health of our spiritual hearts? As we prepare for the coming of Christmas, what are we doing to strengthen them in holiness?

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

The word “holiness” conjures up many different images, like the hermits and mystic monks who fasted and dwelt in caves out in the desert in order to commune with God in perfect peace and serenity. But unlike them, you and I are called to dwell in the world. To live in the dynamic tension of what it means to be in the world and not of it. We dwell in the world on the one hand as strangers for whom heaven is our true home and on the other hand as shining lights, pointing others to the true light, so that they may give glory, honor and praise to God. We must seek holiness not by withdrawing from the world, but by embracing what it means to be the very light of God drawing others to God.

In the aftermath of Black Friday and before the coming of cyber Monday, this could be an excellent opportunity to rant and rave about how we have all been complacent in pushing Christ out of Christmas. You know:
"Look, it's nearly Christmas. I can't be bothered. I'm much too busy. Cards to write. Tree to get up. Lights to hang. Gifts to buy. Who knows what Aunt Lucy wants. She's impossible. How am I going to pay for this? Parties to attend. More gifts to buy. Let's put on some music so we can feel the Christmas spirit. Let's go to the mall and lose ourselves in the crowds and take in the fake snow and the smiling Santa’s and the tinsel and feel good by saving money by spending money and spending money to make us happy."

But let’s encourage one another to leave the complaining aside and instead admit to ourselves that own hearts yearn for a deeper holiness now more than ever. It is not so much about wiping the slate of a modern commercialized Christmas clean or fighting the fight against "Happy Holidays" or recapturing some pretend Norman Rockwell view of Christmas that never really was. If we want to put Christ back in Christmas, let’s begin with our own hearts that thirst for an intimacy with God through Christ that somehow has eluded us or just slipped away. The holiday season is full of easy comfort food for the soul that seeks to fill our need for a greater holiness that draws us closer and deeper into the love of God in Christ Jesus, but in the end it just does not fill us. We can shop till we drop for those we love and watch every movie and every cartoon and listen to every song and somehow we are still hungry in the end, aren’t we?

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

The young mother arrived with an infant in her arms.
She had lived with her parents until she informed them that she wanted to make a go of it with her boyfriend, the father of her child. To marry him and make a life together. They showed her the door. It was either him or them. She left with the clothes on her back.

The church-based shelter program isn’t about judging people – it is about surrounding them with the love of Christ by providing them a roof over their heads, food, and safety.

When the mother arrived she had no clue what would happen next – her world had just been turned upside down and she didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Next thing you know people are out buying baby formula and clothes, setting out a good meal, and chatting away her nervousness. Her baby had a dozen grandparents before the week was out. For the next week she was home with us. We let her and her child into our hearts and they filled us with something deep and powerful and spiritual.

Friends, let us exercise our hearts in holiness with each word. With each action. Let our words and deeds become the light that guided the shepherds. Let them be the wind of the Spirit blowing through us into the world. Let them be the Word of God made manifest, a word that goes out and never comes back empty.

The Lord stands ready to fill and strengthen our hearts always with such holiness if we have eyes to see Christ present in those who stand before us in the world. If we are willing to take the risk to see plainly and compassionately, to love authentically and boldly, to embrace the brokenness of others, so that Christ may make them whole again. Amen.


Fri November 27th

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sundays at 9:30AM in the east side of Charter Hall
We are currently studying the ADVENT lectionary texts a week in advance.
This week, Pastor Keith steps in for Kristin Berkey-Abbott.
We will be reflecting on Luke 3:1-6.
All Welcome!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 29, 2009:

Jeremiah 33:14-16

Psalm 25:1-10 (Ps. 25:1)

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Luke 21:25-36

Many of us begin to accelerate our holiday preparations about now. Perhaps you've already gotten all your shopping done. Maybe you put up your tree a week or two ago, so you could shift into full celebration mode when you returned from your Thanksgiving travels.

If you're in a festive mood, the readings for Advent must often seem jarring. They tend to be apocalyptic in nature. Take this week's reading from Luke, for example, with its mention of men fainting with fear and the heavens shaking and the return of Jesus (at least, that's a common interpretation of what this text means). Many of the Old Testament readings for Advent will focus on the prophets who foretell doom and offer comfort to the oppressed. If you're oppressed, perhaps you feel fine. Otherwise, you might sit there, wondering why we can't sing Christmas carols like the rest of the world.

It's important to remember that Advent is seen as a time of watching and waiting. We remember the stories of others who watched and waited (famously, Mary; not so famously, the legions of people who have felt the yoke of oppression and yearned for a savior).

It's also important to remember that one of the main messages of the New Testament (as well as the Old Testament, according to some interpretations) are tales of the Kingdom of God breaking into our current reality. Many modern theologians talk about the Kingdom of God, and about the mission of Jesus, as both “now” and “not yet.” N. T. Wright says, “Jesus was telling his contemporaries that the kingdom was indeed breaking into history, but that it did not look like what they had expected “(emphasis Wright’s, The Meaning of Jesus, 35). He goes on to clarify that Jesus, like many Jewish mystics, “was bound to be speaking of the kingdom as both present and future” (37). Brian D. McLaren ponders the implications of the message of Jesus: “If Jesus was right, if the kingdom of God has come and is coming . . . if we do indeed have the choice today and every day to seek it, enter it, receive it, life as citizens of it, invest in it, even sacrifice and suffer for it . . . then today our future hangs in the balance no less than it did for Jesus’ original hearers in AD 30 or so” (The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything 180). In later pages, he ponders the kind of decisions that people who believe the impossible is possible might make—and the kind of decisions that people who believe that the Christian way is just too unrealistic and difficult will make (181-182).

One of the messages of Advent is that God breaks into our dreary world in all sorts of ways, some scary, some comforting, some magnificent, and some hardly noticed. The story of Jesus is one of the more spectacular stories, but God tries to get our attention all the time. We are called to watch and wait and always be on the alert.

The message of Advent is truly exciting. God wants us to participate in Kingdom living now, not just in some distant future when we go to Heaven. What good news for people who might find their nerves frazzled by all this celebrating, all this money being spent, all this once-a-year cheer which can seem so false.


O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him,
tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Seek the LORD and his strength,
seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done!
Post-Thanksgiving potluck FRI NOV 27th at 6:30PM
Advent Wreath Making and "Greening" of the sanctuary at 7PM.
ADVENT Worship begins this Sunday NOV 29th!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beautiful weather spoke of spring in Florida. The knocks on the door came with increased frequency. It was a complicated business, encountering the needs of humanity. Story after story; some different, yet some exactly the same. People wanting food. People wanting money. People wanting to tell you how they came to know Christ then asking for money. People wanting to share their medical histories. Their personal histories. We would listen patiently to each and every tale of pain and suffering and then typically offer to assist as we were able by addressing what we perceived as the actual problem. To make the calls. Do the research. Write the letter. Whatever it took. One gentlemen called needing medical care for a particular condition, but he couldn’t afford it. He couldn’t work. Spent his days at home. He named the amount that the particular procedure would cost. Figuring that there was some free or low cost medical help out there for him, we made the calls. Spent hours researching the problem. When we called him back with the good news of where he could go and what he had to do to received free treatment, he began talking about his alternator. I wasn’t sure what alternators had to do with complications from diabetes, but this had triggered a memory.

Now a gentleman had called earlier and left a message about an alternator. We dug around and found it on the desk. Same number as the guy needing the medical procedure. Different name, though. Wanted a few hundred dollars because he couldn’t get to work without his car. Caught him trying to work two scams at the same time under different names and being bold enough to call the same church with both stories. The kind of thing that can take a cheerful heart down a peg or two.

When the knock on the door came later that afternoon, I will admit to feeling a bit wary. A young man in his early 20’s introduced himself as “Jim” had an urgent need of help. He needed money for gas. Just like another guy had just the week before. That guy had needed gas to get to work – hadn’t been paid you see. New job and all. But this young man needed gas because they were leaving Florida. Heading to North Carolina to move in with family. And their car was on fumes and they had gotten off of the turnpike and we were the first church that they saw. “My girlfriend and I would really appreciate it,” he said. We walked outside to the car. I needed to see it with my own eyes. I needed something to assure me that this just wasn’t another scam. The car wasn’t as old as me, but it was close. Through the windows I could see piles of things, clothing and such. And in the passenger seat sat a very pregnant young woman. “We haven’t had anything to eat,” Jim said. I went to the narthex and grabbed that week’s donations of food and handed it to him. I watched him dig out a can of peaches that he immediately handed to his girlfriend who produced a can opener from the glove compartment and went to work on opening the can.

It was the can opener that finally broke my heart wide open.
We invited them in to the hall for lunch. Chatted and made sandwiches. Got to know them. Hear a bit about heir life. Gave them money for gas and more food for the road. Searched around some donated clothes for something that might fit Jim’s girlfriend. They thanked us profusely and went on their way. It would be easy to talk about what we did for them – that would be both easy and typical. But you and I are not called to lives that are either of those things.

We recall the words of Isaiah:
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly.

It is one thing to talk about providing bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty and clothing to the naked. Can we do that? Yes. Do we do that? Of course. Do the hungry need food and the thirsty water and the homeless shelter? Yes, yes, and yes. But let me ask – what is the difference between giving food to the hungry and sharing food with the hungry?
I suggest that the giving of food is an act of charity, while the sharing of food is the first step as an act of justice. In addressing the needs of others, we need more than to feel good about our charity. We need more than the exercising of our generosity from a safe and impersonal distance. We need to participate in God’s call to justice and the first step is to move forward from acts of giving to acts of sharing – of opening ourselves up to the possibility of transformation by removing the boundaries that separate us. The feeding program at First Lutheran Church in which we participate each month is a prime example. Folks from churches that are serving the food are also asked to sit at the tables with those whom they are serving. To listen to their stories and to share in the conversation. To erase the boundaries that declares us different.
The first step in responding to God’s call of justice is to move from giving to sharing, by realizing that we receive as much as we give and that in sharing we can be transformed.
Jesus talks about the Manna – how God made it rain down from heaven, but the people ate it and still died. It satisfied their hunger, yet it did not seem to grow their faith. In Jesus, God came into the world to share his living bread with the world. Bread is everywhere throughout Jesus’ ministry: from the miraculous feedings of the 5,000 and the 4,000 to the meals in which Jesus ate with the rich and the poor, with the outcasts and the Pharisees and finally breaking bread at the last supper with the disciples, themselves. Jesus broke bread, gave thanks, ate and shared. In every meal hearts were challenged and sometimes even changed, The sharing of the bread then gave way to Jesus becoming the living bread through whom God transforms all who eat of it through the power of his limitless grace. In Jesus, God moves from giving bread to sharing bread to becoming bread for the sake of the world. And we are called to share that living bread by reaching across the boundaries as Jesus did and seeing in the eyes of all, Christ himself. To do so will change us. Will transform us. For the Holy Spirit uses such moments for the profound work of continuing what began in our Baptisms. Our sanctification.

It is easy for our hearts to be hardened by those who would take advantage of our generosity – to let cynicism rule in us instead of grace, generosity, and compassion. But this is not God’s way. This Thanksgiving as we eat our bread may the true bread of heaven continue to challenge us, to push us, to call us forth to move from giving to sharing, to being the people who refuse to accept the boundaries drawn by a world of have and have nots. Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Special liturgies throughout the season.
Join us especially for the Baptism of Noah James Velez
NOV 29th at 10:45AM.
Advent Calendars still available in the narthex.
Our directory will be awesome!
Sign up for your picture time slot - just contact SAM at the Office 954-989-1903. All who have a relationship with Trinity are invited to participate!
Tickets for the December 19th 7:30PM Alathea Christmas Tour concert at Trinity are now on sale. See SAM in the office during business hours or stop by the narthex before or after any worship service or see Kristin Berkey-Abbott or Pastor Keith any time. Advance Sale discount: $12 adults and $5 for kids 12 and under.
Your weekly Sunday worship slip and worship insert is FULL of great information on all the seasonal activities and ministries. - check it out!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CHRIST THE KING John 18:33-37

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

It all begins with water, you know.
Ordinary water. Tap water. Probably a bit cold.
Splashed. Poured. Dunked. Immersed. It doesn’t matter. The water by itself is nothing. A teaspoon or gallon. A font or a lake or a river or an ocean. Salty or plain. Water is water when you get right down to it.

But, promise is promise, especially when it is God doing the promising and then a promise becomes THE promise. The power of promise connected with that water creates a sacred act of grace, a sacrament we call Holy Baptism.

It is our death day and our birthday. We die to ourselves. Die to the world, Die to sin and rise, reborn as children of God, children of hope. As children of promise. We are reborn and behold, we become part of the newness of God at work in the world; we experience God’s power to redeem us.

People are going to ask you some day if you are born again. When they do, do not hesitate. Do not doubt. Do not pause in confusion, awkward embarrassment or trepidation. The day that water carried by the power of God’s promise found you, you were born again. Born of water and the Word. Born of the Holy Spirit. Born of grace. Born a second time for the last time for all time.
And it is at that moment when there is a powerful and divine intersecting of lives: Jesus’ life and our life. Jesus enters into the world’s story and becomes the story, taking on our brokenness, our sin, our weakness. Becoming the story, Jesus transforms it. No longer is the story of the world and all who dwell upon it a story of death, but rather it became part of the story of God’s plan of salvation for the world.

That plan of salvation is not hidden, not meant to be hidden by us either. Not meant to be a secret or our secret or THE SECRET, but as we learn in Scripture that faith comes by hearing – and not just any faith but life-giving faith – salvific faith – as it comes from hearing, it must be proclaimed. Loudly. Boldly. Clearly. Spoken in words. Embodied and spoken in life, in actions, in deeds, in laughter, joy, in kindness and compassion, in patience and forgiveness, in everything.
For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

And all who have been reborn through the water, Word and Spirit, in the act of grace we call Holy Baptism, are called to testify to the same truth. In the original written word of the New Testament the word for truth is alathea and that is what we testify to: the alathea of God revealed in and through Christ Jesus. This truth is the testimony of a loving God who chose to forgive rather than condemn; to suffer in innocence; to die in humility; to die to defeat death. It is the story of a loving God who could not bear to be out of relationship with us; that the pain of that relationship broken by sin needed to be healed.; that we and God needed to be reconciled because God desired it more than you or I could desire anything, ever.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

Testimony is a sacred word. We might comfortably place its roots in the courtroom. One person gives testimony – truth tells – about what they witnessed – what they know - what they swear to be true. Sworn testimony. Such is testimony. It is not just talking, but witnessing, holy truth-telling.

What we know of Jesus we know because of testimony. A story, The Story, told, shared, proclaimed over and over again. Holy truth that one day became written word.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
And for this we were born, born of water, born of Spirit, Born of promise. But what is the truth to which we testify? Is it the truth that comes from listening to the voice of Jesus?

A story is told of a congregation in which one of its young people suffered from significant disability that left them unable to speak discernible words. But she approached the pastor one day and indicated as best that she could that she wanted to read the scriptures at worship, one of the lessons, first or second, it didn’t matter which. The pastor was amazed and delighted. He knew that no one would understand her – but since the lessons were printed in the bulletin he saw in empowering her to serve in this way the hand of God at work, something profound and powerful.

When the Sunday arrived and the lesson was announced she proudly walked to the lectern shouted what must have sounded like random noise and sat down. By the time the worship service ended the trouble started. The elders called an emergency meeting and were unanimous in their direction to the pastor. The list of readers would now have to be approved by them since the pastor had proven himself incompetent at the task. And they were clear, that only people who could execute the task of reading the Holy Scriptures clearly and with proper reverence need apply for the task.

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
But who testified to the truth that Sunday? Not just any truth, but THE truth, the truth that Jesus died for: Was it the young woman? The Pastor? The Board of Elders? Who testified to the truth?

For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Will be available beginning this Sunday in the Narthex.

ADVENT COIN FOLDERS will continue to be available at the bulletin table for those who desire them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

is being collected between now and SAT December 5th.
Clothing may be left in the Narthex.
Tuesday, November 24th
at 11AM, followed by a luncheon in the hall.

The Jamaican Government is honoring our own Beverley Nichols-Grant! The Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine is honoring her on NOV 21st for her role as co-founder.

The Association surveys the schools and colleges of Jamaica searching for potential athletes that could be developed for competitive sports. They educated them on self-development, nutritional needs and trained and developed them both physically and mentally.

Congratulations Bev!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



For their 7:30PM
Saturday December 19th
concert at Trinity Lutheran

Adults $12 in Advance
Children 12 and under $5 in advance




FEB 14th
8AM and 10:45AM
during Sunday morning Worship
All vow renewal participants are invited to a special dinner at the parsonage on Saturday, February 13th at 6PM.

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 22, 2009:

First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

First Reading (Semi-cont.): 2 Samuel 23:1-7

Psalm: Psalm 93

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 132:1-13 [14-19] (Psalm 132:1-12 [13-18] NRSV)

Second Reading: Revelation 1:4b-8

Gospel: John 18:33-37

Some of us may be thinking, what a strange text to lead us into Advent. Some of us may be thinking, what a non-kingly Gospel for Christ the King Sunday. The weeks to come will be full of strange juxtapositions.

This whipsawed feeling should help us feel sympathy for the Jews of Jesus' time. We know that the Jews had been on the lookout for the Messiah for many years, but they certainly weren't looking for someone like Jesus. They wanted a more traditional vision of a King. They wanted someone who would sweep in and clean up current life. Specifically, they wanted someone to kick the Romans (and all the other outsiders) out of their homeland. They wanted someone to restore their vision of life as it should be.

We're probably familiar with that feeling. We, too, probably want a God we can control. If you don't believe me, head to the Spirituality section of your local bookstore and take a look. We're given prayers we can pray to make God do what we want (usually, in these books, to bring us riches). We're given visualizations to try. Or maybe we want a God that makes us feel superior. Here, too, there are plenty of books that will help, that will explain why one belief system over another will elevate us.

The Gospel readings for this week, and the Advent/Christmas texts remind us that we don't worship that kind of God. We worship a God who is willing to become one of the most vulnerable kinds of creatures in our world: a newborn baby, born to underclass parents, in an underclass minority, in an occupied land. We worship a God so radical that he is crucified as a political criminal. Yes, a political criminal--crucifixions were reserved for crimes against the state in the Roman system. It's interesting to reread the Gospels with that fact in mind and to learn anew what Jesus said that made him seem so radical and subversive to the Romans.

We worship a God that wants nothing to do with our human visions of power. Our God turned away from wealth. Our God calls us to a radical generosity. Our God turned away from political power. Our experience of God, in Jesus, reminds us that if we behave in the way that God wants us to behave, we will come into direct conflict with the dominant power structures of our day.

Our God is one that we will encounter in the oddest places, like a manger or in criminal court. Advent will remind us that we need to always be alert to the possibilities of this encounter, but that it likely won't happen in the way that we've prepared for or expected.

We come to the end of a liturgical year, the end of that long, green season after Pentecost (as my 5th grade Sunday School teacher called it). We begin a new year trembling with fear and hope. It is a good time, as all new years are, to make resolutions. In the next liturgical year, how will we prepare to meet God?

Monday, November 16, 2009


8AM – 2PM
Lunch and Baked Goods Available!
Come out and begin your Christmas Shopping Early and Support our Trinity Women!
Those who desire to donate baked goods for the sale may bring them in on FRI between 10AM and 2PM or Saturday morning before the sale commences.
Adult Sunday School will re-commence this Sunday November 22nd with a class focusing on the Worship texts for the Seasons of Advent. Class Will meet in Munson Mueller Hall.

Here are four options for Adult Sunday school over the next few months. Please rank them in order of your preference from 1 (most preferred) through 4 (least preferred).
A space is provided to write in a course you would love to attend and bring a friend to that isn’t already listed.

You may respond to hard copies of the survey to be distributed Sunday morning or via email, BLOG comment or Face Book comment

_____ Spiritual Practices: new week, new practice. So one week the class might talk about praying the liturgy of the hours, and one week the class might explore the idea of labyrinths, and the next week they might talk about fasting, and so on.

______ Art and Spirituality a class that explores artistic practices and how they can deepen our experiences of God: one week journaling, one week iconography, one week some elementary pottery making, one week poetry, and so on.

_____ Making Sense of Scripture is a study in dialogue form that covers seven big questions about the Bible and encourages readers to not be afraid to have questions or doubts when reading Scripture. Examples of questions covered include: What is the Bible? Is the Bible True? Where did the Bible come from? How is the bible the Word of God?

_____ I would like a class on

and I will invite a friend!