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...

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!
BOLD Justice
Community Problems Assembly as reported in the Miami Herald
Remember the Research Kickoff is Thursday December 3rd at 7:30PM.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On December 10 and December 17, Olan Mills will be at Trinity from 3:00PM to 9:00PM to take photos of our members and families. Sign Ups will be November 15 and November 22 after each service. If you prefer, you can email Rosemarie Mileto at rmileto@yahoo.com, to set up an appointment. At the photo sessions, you will be given a form to fill out to include your biography information in the directory. If you have any questions, please let me know. See you at Sign Up!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Living Waters:
A leadership event for all the baptized!
January 15-17, 2010
Living Waters is an event designed for lay leaders in ELCA congregations looking to connect with others through worship, fellowship, and learning. The second annual Living Waters event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Teri Elton, a professor at Luther Seminary, one of the eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is daughter of Dr. Rollie Martinson, a well known presenter and advocate for leadership and youth/young adult ministry. Dr. Elton will be sharing with us new and innovative concepts for developing our own leadership style and bring out the leadership potential in those around us.
When: January 15-17, 2010
Where: Life Enrichment Center, Leesburg, FL
Cost: Starts as low as $220 per person
Registration and More Information Available Online at www.fbsynod.com/livingwaters
We are hoping to provide food baskets for over 32 families both at Trinity and within our neighboring community, but we need your help!
We are roughly $300 short of our goal - and all donations need to be received by this Sunday - either through special envelopes in the offering plate or delivered to the office.
Please Help Us Help Others during this very difficult year!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 15, 2009:

First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3

First Reading (Semi-cont.): 1 Samuel 1:4-20

Psalm: Psalm 16

Psalm (Semi-cont.): 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25

Gospel: Mark 13:1-8

Here we are, back to apocalyptic texts, a rather strange turn just before we launch into Advent (and just so you won't be surprised, those Advent texts can be on the apocalyptic side too). This week's Gospel is the type of text that many Christians use to support their assertion that we're living in the end times, that the rapture is near.

Keep in mind that the idea of rapture is fairly new; most scholars date it to the middle of the 19th century. But Christians have felt besieged since the beginning, and indeed, at certain times throughout the centuries, they have been severely threatened.

Most scholars believe that the book of Mark was written just after a particularly brutal suppression of a Jewish uprising and just before the destruction of the Temple, a time when the empire of Rome made it increasingly difficult to be an alien part of the empire. The Gospel of Mark is the most apocalyptic Gospel, perhaps because it was written when people really expected the end was near (and indeed, in many ways, the end was near). The whole of chapter 13 of Mark is grim indeed. Perhaps the Gospel writer uses such a chapter to launch into the Passion story, to set the mood.

Or maybe the Gospel writer wants to remind us of the cost of following Jesus. Maybe it's the larger cost of existing in the world. Even if we're lucky enough to be born into a stable time period, to be part of a country with a stable government, if we're conscious, it's hard to escape the conclusion that it could all vanish at any moment. And even if we don't suffer on the grand (genocidal) scale, most of us will endure more loss than our younger selves would have believed could be survived.

Before we sink too deeply into depression, we need to remember that Jesus came to give us Good News. And that Good News is that we have each other, and we have a God who loves us, no matter what. If we devote our lives to that love, then we can survive all sorts of betrayal, loss, and persecution.

It's also important to look at the last part of the last sentence of this week's Gospel: "this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs." Birth-pangs. What is being born exactly?

The most positive spin on this bit is to say that the Kingdom of God is being born. We tend to think of the Kingdom of God as referring to Heaven, but if you read all the references to the Kingdom of God, it appears that Jesus isn't talking about Heaven as we know it. In some places, Jesus seems to talk about the Kingdom as already existing, perhaps as Jesus walking amongst us. In other places, the Kingdom of God will come to earth later, in a kind of purifying, redeeming vision. Yet again, we see references to this process already beginning, both with Christ's efforts and with the efforts of his believers.

Those of us who have had children, or who have had relatives and friends who have had children, know that parents have to go through a fierce process to hold that little baby in their arms. Jesus reminds us that the process towards the Kingdom of God can be equally fierce. Jesus reminds us that we must stay alert and aware, but that we need not feel alarmed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NOV 11th 2009



On December 10 and December 17, Olan Mills will be at Trinity from 3:00PM to 9:00PM to take photos of our members and families. Sign Ups will be November 18 and November 23 after each service. If you prefer, you can email Rosemarie Mileto at rmileto@yahoo.com, to set up an appointment. At the photo sessions, you will be given a form to fill out to include your biography information in the directory. If you have any questions, please let me know. See you at Sign Up!!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

NOV 10th
Men’s Ministry and WELCA
will meet in Charter Hall at 7:30PM

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Mark 12: 38-44 November 8, 2009
As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
41He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

See, here’s the thing. Congregations and their pastors make this unwritten, unspoken pact: “Pastor if you never preach about money, we’ll never ask you to.” People get squeamish, uncomfortable and sometime even indignant when the subject of money comes from the pulpit. The problem, of course, is that Jesus talks about money. Talks about it a lot. Talks about the significance of what we choose to do with it. Tells parables that remind us that all that we have in life has been entrusted to us by God – that it is all God’s and we are stewards of it. Caretakers, if you will. We have barely gotten started and we find ourselves at this roadblock. At the first serious meeting about finances here I nearly a decade ago, I am standing before a group of concerned parishoners saying this very thing. Stewardship is about what we choose to do with what God has entrusted to us and a gentlemen points out that the money that he has he made and that it is his and he has no idea why I keep referring to what we have as coming from God since he earned it by the sweat of his own brow and his own smarts. “It’s my money,” he declare. “I made it.” See this is why folks like me need to be preaching about money, finances and stewardship as much as Jesus did, and folks everywhere in the parish need to be talking about money, finances and stewardship not just of the church but in our own households, because someone if one person has made it to age 50 growing up in the church and believes that what they have is theirs, not God’s and the idea that all we have has been entrusted to us by God for us to steward on God’s behalf and that how we steward is a matter of faith is a bunch of hooey – if one person who grew up in the church believes that – than undoubtedly many more do as well.

Why? Because of the unwritten unspoken secret pact that congregations and pastors make with one another: Pastor if you never preach about money, we’ll never ask you to.”

While I was in Baltimore there was an article in the paper one Saturday – that’s the day that the articles on religious things tended to show up. This particular Saturday the article concerned a pastor of an independent downtown congregation and his closet. It made the front page of the local section in full color – this huge walk in closet filled with custom-made suits. Not ordinary suits of various shades of grey and black, but suits of blue and yellow; loud audacious suits. Snazzy, I suppose, knowing absolutely nothing about suits myself. The article seemed to be captivated with the idea that this pastor who could wear a different custom made suit every day for a month felt that he was called to project success to his congregation. That the more successful he appeared to them with new suits, jewelry, and a nice car, and so forth, that the better that they felt about themselves. At least that is what he said. His calling as a pastor was to embody success, so the congregation would feel that they could be successful too, just like him. In the photo he had this big grin his arms spread open inviting all of us to admire his closet of suits. God wants him to be a success he said. God wants us to be successful, too. And have nice things in abundance and feel good about it because we deserve them .

The problem for me is that I am not that sure God is overly concerned with whether or not we project success or make others feel good about our own success as a form of encouragement. God, I think, is very concerned with what we do with what God has entrusted to us. That’s at the heart of the gospel. Full walk in closets and the preaching of prosperity as a sign of God’s blessing – you do for God and God will do for you in abundance - these are not at the heart of any Gospel that I have read, but folks eat them up Tiramisu with a good cup of coffee.

So Jesus and his disciples were hanging out at the Temple watching people bring their offerings. People watching became a teachable moment when the many rich folks who deposited large sums were followed by a poor widow who drops few coins worth in the box, perhaps a penny. Which offering, do you suppose impressed them more? These being the same disciples who argued over who was the greatest among them; who would get the seat of honor in the Kingdom; and what was their reward for giving up everything to follow Jesus. Who would they notice more – who would garner their attention? Would they notice the old woman dropping a few coins that most folks wouldn’t even bend over to pick up from the ground or the rich and successful folks dropping bags of cash from hands whose fingers each had a gold ring and whose fingernails hadn’t seen a speck of dirt in their lifetime? The one in the plain rags or the ones in the clean stylish clothing and new sandals?

We associate money with power and privilege. The teaching that Jesus gives concerning the scribes is the story of folks with that same view. They love to be important, in the public eye, invited to the best houses where they are served the best meals, to have folks look up to them, point them out to their children and so on. It is no great stretch to believe that the disciples were following the rich folks dropping their huge offerings in the collection plate at the temple with their eyes wide. The disciples and Jesus were dependent upon the kindness and generosity of rich widows and others to provide for their means. And here in the Temple one supposes that those same disciples saw more money than they could ever imagine. Jesus watches their eyes watching the money or knows their thoughts – either way – it is time to teach.

The widow in the gospel like the widow of Zarephath from our first reading is not a person of means, but a person of strong faith. Is their god the God of fine appearances and a magnitude of possessions? No. Both of these widows have essentially nothing to speak of, but what little they have they choose to share and that is an act of faith that Jesus lifts up for blessing. They share from their own poverty which is not a safe thing to do, but an act of such trust and spiritual courage that God blesses the widow and Jesus lifts up this unnamed widow whose penny worth of copper coins continues to teach us something that no school offering an MBA in this country can match.

There was a guy, let’s call him Bob, who attended here years back. A quiet guy, humble. Not too many folks knew him and probably no one knew him well. One Sunday I received a note in the offering plate – sealed in an envelope to my attention. Bob needed for me to know why he had only given whatever change was in his pocket in the plate that day. It probably didn’t amount to much, but it was all that he had since his personal financial situation had gone down the toilet. Lost his job. Owed money. We have heard stories like his multiplied over and over again in the last few years. So I am in the office, tears welling up in my eyes because here is a grown man apologizing to me for having to agonize over his stewardship of what God has entrusted to him and feeling terrible that all he had for God was a handful of pocket change while far too many folks never thought about what they gave at all. As Jesus said of the widow I say of him: He put in more that day then all, because he gave out of his poverty. He gave all that he had.

Stewardship is always about what we choose to do with what God has entrusted to us – it is like the parable of the Talents – God gives to each of us according to our ability and then expects great things from us. Some people get all caught up in what it can do for them power, privilege, better, best. The news especially of late is full of people who have made money their god and have hurt countless people in their journey of selfish self-destruction. But we are people of the cross and of the Kingdom and Christ did not die to fill our closets but to free us to serve and love our neighbor or as we put it in our mission statement: Share Christ, Live by Loving, Care by Serving and see Christ in all. Christ did not die for our hearts to cling to gods that cannot save us, the gods of money and power and privileged, but so that the Lord our God might rule in our hearts and minds and souls forever to eternal glory.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Will not meet in November, but gather on
SAT DEC 5th from 10AM to noon.
General maintenance and we will begin the Veteran's Garden surrounding the newly relocated Flag pole.
All Welcome!

on your worship slip
or let the office know you desire to participate.
$8 donation per wreath for materials.
That night we will share a potluck supper (bring your Thanksgiving leftovers!) at 6:30PM
and beginning at 7:15PM make Advent Wreaths for home use and set up the "Greens" in the sanctuary and hall.
People have asked several questions pertaining to the actions at last summer's ELCA Churchwide Assembly and what is going on currently.

Find out:
Current ELCA ministry policies
Why are changes being made.
What actions did the assembly take.
What changes are proposed.
How to comment on drafts.

At http://www.fbsynod.com/church-together
The Florida-Bahamas Synod has also put together a number of resources on the actions at Churchwide and how we can be the church together in the midst of disagreement.

Issues concerning sexuality will always raise concern and spark emotional conversation. What is vital is with what heart we will carry on such conversations, ourselves. In John 13 Jesus reveals that one of his disciples will betray him and before the rumors and finger pointing and denials can take off and destroy their fellowship, Jesus admonishes them by giving a new commandment. Not a request. Not a tool. But a commandment:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

How is that love manifested?
In patience, kindness, forgiveness, bearing, hoping, enduring and not for our own sakes, but for the sake of one another. Jesus throws away the checklist and defines love even more simply, yet much more completely and challenging as the writer of 1 John puts it:
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.

The depth of our love for one another is called to be as deep as we can possibly conceive.

Conversation about issues that evoke strongly held beliefs and understandings about God, the Holy Scriptures, and aspects of the faith can easily degrade into unloving debates when not firmly grounded in such love. Without love we stop listening gracefully and patiently. Instead of trying to put ourselves in our brother's or sister's shoes we assume the rightness of our own position and stop caring that others may have something to say to us that is important for us to hear, even if we disagree with it or it troubles us.

I would also add that as the Apostle Paul contends, that we are all part of the same body: So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. In the midst of disagreement, we are always more together than we can ever be apart. The presence of the Holy Spirit assures us that in relationship we grow, learn, love and find blessing.

As a reminder, nothing passed last summer at the Churchwide Assembly with respect to ministry practices concerning sexuality forces us to enter into the opportunities that the actions will be opening up for those congregations that will find in them a blessing. This is clear in the language and has been clearly stated all along.

For those folks for whom the actions are proving a burden, I invite you to contact me about setting up a private time for conversation as some already have.

Trinity has especially in its recent years been strongly enriched by its diversity and built a reputation as a place of welcome, warmth, and joy. That is God's gift to us, not of our own making, lest we boast. We will never agree in all things, but we can agree that we are Jesus' People, relying completely on the extraordinary grace for our lives and for all.

I will close with the words of St. Paul to the congregation at Philippi:
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus...

Ever in Christ with Much Love
Pastor Keith
Tis Sunday (Nov 8) after church (for Thanksgiving Eve Service).
Nov 15th rehearsal is cancelled.
We will still rehearse on Nov 22 and play on Nov 25 at 7:30 PM.
Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Friday November 6th.
Potluck at 6:30PM
Presentation from 7:30PM to 8:30PM
In Charter Hall


BOLD Justice
Community Problems Assembly
Tuesday November 10th at 7:30PM (registration begins at 6:45PM) at All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale.
This is one of the major BOLD Justice Events of the year!
Come out and vote on the new issue for BOLD Justice to tackle in 2010!
Carpooling available.
The three finalists for the issue of 2010 are:
(1) Crime/Police and Community Relations
(2) Homelessness
(3) Healthcare

Any questions see Pastor Keith, Janean Baumal or Verel Joly
On SAT, NOV 7th, Trinity Lutheran will host World Community Day.
“Piecing Earth Together” is the theme. Registration and refreshments begin at 9:30am and the program at 10:00am This will be an interesting program that all the ladies won’t want to miss. You may bring a friend!
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 8, 2009:

First Reading: 1 Kings 17:8-16

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

Psalm: Psalm 146

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 127

Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28

Gospel: Mark 12:38-44

In some churches this Sunday, congregations will hear the story of Ruth, and then hear about the poor widow in the Gospel. Some pastors will tell their congregations that the lesson to be learned is to be nice to your mother-in-law, and some will wrap the poor widow into a stewardship Gospel as they ask congregations to give until it hurts. What is Jesus really trying to say?

I've often had trouble with the historical church's approach to women, but rarely has the message of Jesus seemed anti-female. With Gospels like this one, at first I'm pleased to see that Jesus uses a fmeale as a model of good behavior. The Gospel seems to fit with the story of the rich young man who is told to give away all that he has to the poor and with the message of Jesus about the yoke we must wear.

But then I stop and think. She's not just any woman. If Jesus just wanted a model of good behavior, he might have stopped there. No, she's not just any woman. She's a widow. Women didn't have much status in the days of Jesus, and widows had even less. Why would Jesus make her a widow?

I suspect that Jesus, as always, has something to tell us about the power structures of his day--power structures that look a lot like power structures of our day. The poor widow is poor not because she couldn't manage her money. No, she was poor because of the class structures put in place to keep her destitute. She is surrounded by men who have no trouble making their financial commitments to the Temple, while she gives all that she has.

Jesus calls us to always--always--help the poor, the destitute, and the outcast. But that is not enough. Jesus also calls us to participate in Kingdom building. We are to work to transform the world so that nobody will be poor and outcast. We are to work towards a world where everyone has enough so that no one has to donate their last coins to the Temple to help the poor.

Helping the poor is charity work, and it's important. We're called to do it. Transforming our society so that we have no poor people in need of charity work is social justice work, and we are also called to do that.

You might think about your own life. Where do you see poor widows in need of help? How can you help transform our society so that at some point there will be no poor widows?

Jesus also has a message that we shouldn't ignore about holding on too closely to our coins. Those of us who are successful have an increasingly easy time believing that we're successful because we're worthy and smart. We have an increasingly easy time believing that we're successful solely because of our own efforts.

Those of us who have suffered misfortune realize that our station in life often has little to do with our efforts. We have the luck or misfortune of the family we're born into. We make decisions early in life about jobs, marriage, education--and those decisions have impacts decades later that we couldn't have realized at the time we made them. There are global forces at work that are much more powerful than our puny efforts in our own behalf.

We like the American Success Story, which tells us that anyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. We like that story, although statistics don't bear out the truth of that story--quite the opposite.

Jesus has a different story to tell us, a story where we are truly free, and judged by a different rubric, one that is seldom valued by the world. Jesus values radical generosity, generosity that the world would regard as lunacy. Jesus invites us into the transformative grace of that story.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Being Church Together
in the Midst of Disagreement


Webcast - Being Church Together
Are you interested in being a part of a dialogue around how we are continuing to do mission and ministry despite our disagreements over human sexuality?

Join this live webcast event featuring Florida-Bahamas Synod Bishop the Reverend Edward R. Benoway and Synod Vice President Ms. Cheryl Stuart on Thursday, November 5, 2009, at 7:00 PM as we share our stories and hopes for our continued shared mission for the sake of the Gospel. The webcast will conclude with a common service of Holy Communion.
The nearest WEBCAST location is Abiding Savior Lutheran Church
1900 SW 35th Ave
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33312
Phone: (954) 583-3212

RSVP ONLINE at http://www.fbsynod.com/webcast/186-rsvp-for-the-event
Let Pastor Keith know if you need a ride.


Miami Metro Zoo!

Trinity's Youth and Family Trip
Bring a friend!

Depart Trinity 9:30AM
Carpooling Available.
Please let us know if need a ride/have a ride.

COST: $15.95 age 13+ and $11.95 ages 3-12 Children two and under are free.

Depending upon the number of people we could save a couple of dollars off of that price as a group discount. There are also discounts for AAA members, Miami Government employees, Seniors over 65 and military.
RSVP via email to Pastor Keith, leave a message at the office or sign up next week on your worship slip. Direct your questions to Pastor Keith.