WORSHIP WITH US!
8:30AM, 9:45AM in the hall, or 11AM

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


Join Us For Worship!

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

SAVE THE DATE!
For Trinity's 50th Anniversary spring Picnic!
Saturday, March 6th at Treetops Park
Games! Food! Fun! Fellowship!
Sign up lists and details coming soon!
UPCOMING MEMORIAL SERVICES
At Trinity Lutheran
All Welcome.
SAT FEB 6th at noon
Mary Hurtig and Margie White

SAT Feb 13th at 3PM
Rohan Champion
Rosha McCoy's brother, Rohan Champion,
died on Monday, Jan. 25. He was 52.

Our thoughts and prayers go with the families and friends of one and all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

GOD’S SPA WOMEN’S WEEKEND
***SIGN UP DEADLINE is FEB 28th***
Last year three women from Trinity joined many others from throughout Florida for a relaxing weekend of faith and fun (and facials!)

Will you be a part of the special weekend this year?
Luther Springs, Hawthorne, FL  April 16-18, 2010
$155-St. Peter House Housing
$125-Morgan Village Housing

This weekend retreat for women is a time for renewal, relaxation, and rest. Come together and enjoy time away from laundry, telephones, cooking and careers. Meet new friends and soak in the beautiful scenery and solitude of Luther Springs. Weekend activities may include: lots of pampering, learning, devotions, and several spa-type activities such as facials, hand/foot scrubs, and massages. Free time can be spent reading a book on the front porch, resting by the pool, hiking, canoeing or paddle boating on beautiful Vause Lake, or just spending time with God and deepening your faith. The cuisine will offer a wide variety of healthy choices. We will conclude the weekend with Sunday morning worship and a light brunch. There will be an extra fee for some spa services.

For more information - please see Piper Spencer.
If interested sign up on your worship slip or let Piper or the office know.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

"If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it."
1 Corinthians 12:26
More than two weeks have passed since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The outpouring of gifts from members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to ELCA Disaster Response has enabled a swift response on behalf of this church.

Thank you for your generous financial support which now totals more than $2.5 million. Many gifts are still being counted. Our community-based partners are already providing:

Two water purification systems to bring clean water to 25,000 people.
Emergency food and medical supplies to thousands.
Blankets and tents to shelter 10,000 people who are homeless.
Funding, distributed through three partners, will increase as giving continues.
$300,000 has been sent to The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a key responder and member of Action by Churches Together (ACT). The funds support LWF efforts to provide shelter to people left homeless by the quake.
$150,000 has been sent to Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Baltimore, for material aid.
$150,000 has been sent to Church World Service (CWS) for construction of temporary water systems and distribution of water purification materials.
In addition, $25,000 has been sent to Lutheran Services of Florida for initial support to refugees and Haitian Americans entering or returning to the United States.

We are pleased that Louis Dorvillier, director for International Development and Disaster Response in the ELCA Global Mission program unit, is part of a delegation to his country of origin with LWF and ACT.
Your generosity makes this life-saving work possible. As we celebrate this outpouring of gifts and prayers, we also know that we have a long road to travel together. There is so much more to be done. This church is committed to walking with our brothers and sisters in Haiti for years to come; your continued support is needed to provide ongoing care.

I encourage you to visit the ELCA Disaster Response (www.elca.org/disaster) Web site for updated information, worship resources, bulletin inserts and details on how to offer financial support. General mission-support dollars and gifts to ELCA Vision for Mission make it possible for 100 percent of your gifts designated for Haiti Earthquake Relief to be used entirely for this response effort.
To give today, go online (www.elca.org/haitiearthquake) or call 800-638-3522.

In God's grace,
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
PS: more photos of your gifts at work (www.elca.org/bishopstatement).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

SOME HOUSEKEEPING
DETAILS
The office is open Mondays through Thursdays and closed on Fridays.
Any messages or emails left or sent after 5PM on Thursday will not be read until the office re-opens Monday morning. In the case of a pastoral emergency Pastor Keith should be contacted  on his cell phone.
That number is on the office answering machine and will be printed in the bulletin.

Pastor Keith's day off is Monday.
He will not be reading or responding to emails or taking routine phone calls on Monday.

Please be respectful that while our current staff are members of the congregation, that Sunday is their day to worship not conduct business.

If you are or need to use any of the buildings or property for any reason, please ensure that the office is aware as the Office Administrator coordinates the calendar and if your activity is not on the calendar scheduling conflicts may arise.

Thank you for helping us to support our staff who are such a blessing to us!
FAMILY GAME NIGHT REMINDER

DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO BE IN ON OUR FLAGSHIP FAMILY GAME NIGHT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH AT TRINITY.
FREE FELLOWSHIP AND TREATS BEGINNING AT 6 PM!!!
MEET THE NEW AND MINGLE WITH THE OLD!!!
HAVE A GREAT TIME AND COME HOME WITH A PRIZE OR 2!

GAMES BEGIN AT 7 PM
AND NO ONE GOES HOME EMPTY HANDED!!!

SUGGESTED DONATION FOR PLAYERS:
PRE GAME NIGHT-$4 PER PERSON/$12 PER FAMILY
GAME NIGHT-$5 PER PERSON/$15 PER FAMILY
FOR TICKETS BE SURE TO SEE ELAINE FRITZ, KATHY FUREY, FERDI HUTCHINSON, OR LISA MILLER
ALL OFFERINGS WILL BENEFIT TRINITY’S GENERAL OPERATING FUND
*It will not be necessary to move tables during the game for those who might find moving tables difficult*
FIRST COMMUNION
Classes are held by appointment on an "as needed" basis.
If your child is not yet communing or is communing and you desire for them to experience a class that focusses on age-aapropriate learning about Holy Communion, please make a note on your worship slip or contact the office or Pastor Keith
BAPTISM
With the season of Lent nearly upon us the following information applies ot those interested in Baptism.
The following Sundays are available for Baptisms prior to the start of the season of Lent:
FEB 7th or 14.

Baptisms may then be scheduled for Sundays beginning Easter Sunday April 4th

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

COUNCIL NOMINEE BIOS
(any mistakes, blame Pastor Keith)
CHURCH COUNCIL NOMINEE BIOS


Kristin Berkey-Abbott
A lifelong Lutheran, Kristin Berkey-Abbott joined Trinity in December of 2008, where she has been active with the ministry that brings meals to First Lutheran once a month, as well as other ministries. She earned her Ph.D. in British Literature in 1992, and she’s been teaching college level English classes since 1988. She is the Interim Chair of General Education at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. Her interests include labyrinths, monasticism (both old and modern), and the intersections of creativity and art. Her favorite writers: Madeleine L’Engle, Kathleen Norris, and Nora Gallagher. Her favorite poets are too numerous to mention, but these days, she’s reading Kelli Russell Agodon, Diane Lockward, and Natasha Trethewey.

Sarah Brombacher
Sarah is in the 11th grade at Miramar High School and was born in Pembroke Pines. For fun she
plays Flag football and is an athletic trainer for the football team. She is a hostess at Tommy's Restaurant in Davie. A product of Mrs Lacroix’s confirmation class, she currently enjoys serving as a worship reader, donating to the blood drive and participating in many of the ministries and activities that Trinity has to offer.

Devika Jeboo
Devika joined Trinity in 2001, after moving from Canada. She is married to Richard Jeboo and they have two adult children, Andre and Nandi. She has worked in the Social Services field for almost seventeen years. She is originally from Guyana and is currently the Treasurer of the Florida Chapter of her high school alumni association. Devika is actively involved in fundraising for this organization which has provided equipment for the school, money for school lunches and after school lessons and has made donations to local organizations such as His House and The Little Schoolhouse. At Trinity, Devika has helped to begin the Pastoral Care Team and has worked on stewardship projects.

Maya McCoy
Baptized in the Lutheran Church in Ohio, Maya McCoy joined Trinity in 2006 and is 14 years old. She, five other Trinity youth, and about 36,000 other Lutheran youth attended the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans this summer. Maya was confirmed in May with five other eighth graders. She is a freshman in high school at University School in Davie, where she enjoys drawing and playing the piano in the school musical. She has also played piano or organ at some Trinity services. This past summer, Maya volunteered at the Jubilee Center soup kitchen in Hollywood, which she hopes to do again.

Ro Mileto
Rosemarie (Ro) moved to Pembroke Pines in 1995 from NY. She and Andy joined TLC in September 2007. She is the mother of MarcAnthony, Nina and Lia who also attend Sunday School. Rosemarie has worked for The Associated Press since 1987 in NY and now in Miami. She has helped in initiating the Feeding the Homeless program and new TLC Bio Directory.

Denise Payne
Denise Antoinette Payne has and will always be a humble Lutheran. Denise currently calls South, Florida home, but her immediate family originate from Baltimore, Maryland. Denise and her family have been members of Trinity Lutheran since August 8, 1999. Mother to two young adult working women, Ashley and Brittany and grandmother to Kymora. Denise is the wife of James Stanley Payne, her high school sweetheart who she met when she was 5 years old. Denise is involved with numerous ministries and activities within the church, such as The Trinity walkers and Pray shawl ministries. Activities also include building houses for Habit for Humanity, help feeding the Homeless at First Lutheran, volunteering some time to a family in need during Homeless Shelter week, working the Pumpkin Patch, serving as registrar for Vacation Bible school, BOLD justice, and many other ministries.

CURRENTLY SERVING ON TRINITY’S COUNCIL

Kristin Berkey-Abbott (completing an open and unfinished term and eligible for re-election)
Faith Marie Lombardo
Earline LaCroix
Jon Nestigen
Bill Gearhart
Pastor Keith

Bob Smith (Acting Treasurer/Financial Secretary)
BISHOP' S SCHOOL
Any youth completing 11th or 12th grade this spring is invited to consider being recommeded for Bishop's School. The 2010 Bishop's School will be held the week of June 20-26 on the campus of Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. Youth from all over the southeast will come together to study with seminary professors, worship in Christ Chapel and witness the way God is working in the world and in their own lives. They'll learn what it means to think theologically!

Its formal purpose is Purpose: To recognize, encourage, equip, enlighten, and inspire Lutheran senior high
youth through a resident seminary educational experience focused on Christian faith, theology and doctrine, biblical understanding, church history and heritage, institutional structures, and a multicultural immersion experience.

If you are interested plase contact Pastor Keith no later than February 21st.
MAROONE ROTARY 5K Race
Join Piper and Pastor Keith for a little Saturday morning exercise as together we run/walk the Maroone Rotary 5K race on Saturday February 6th at 7:30AM in FT Lauderdale. Registration/check in begins at 6AM.

More info at
http://www.splitsecondtiming.com/ (under "events" go to calendar then FEB 6th)

The cost is $25 for pre-registration or $30 on race day.
Online registration ends FEB 4th.
http://www.active.com/running/fort-lauderdale-fl/maroone-rotary-5k-2010

The event benefits the Wheelchair Foundation, Rotary Scholarship Program and other local charities.
For more info please contact Pastor Keith or Piper
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, January 31, 2010:

First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm: Psalm 71:1-6

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Gospel: Luke 4:21-30


In this Gospel, we see the reactions of Jesus' listeners to his proclamation that the Scripture has been fulfilled. They can't believe that this boy that they knew as a child could be the Messiah. And then they decide to throw him over a cliff.

I wish I could say that I thought this behavior was bizarre, but I don't. Unfortunately, many people, even dedicated Christians, have this reaction to the Sacred.

How many times have you seen clear evidence of God working in your life? How many times have you discounted your experiences? "It can't be God. It's just coincidence that the issues for which I prayed for help and guidance have been resolved." We should be shouting for joy, and praying prayers of thanksgiving, and instead, we chalk it up to randomness.

In some ways, this behavior is similar to the desire to throw Jesus off the cliff. We discount the power of God, and so we diminish our relationship with God. Later, in the Good Friday story, we scoff at Simon Peter's denial of Jesus, but we often deny God on a daily basis. Many of us are committed to a scientific, rational view of the universe that leaves no room for a divine power. We throw God over the cliff.

Or worse, we're committed to a view of the universe as dark, chaotic, and threatening. We discount the power of light and good to overcome the powers of darkness. Again, we throw God over the cliff. God commands us to be children of the light, committed to love. Many of us prefer to wallow in our feelings of fear and despair. Ah, despair, the sin that medievalists would remind us is the deadliest of the deadly sins--for it is despair that keeps us from believing that life can be different, that God is really in control. And if we can avoid believing that, then we can avoid our responsibilities towards this world that God created.

One of the most insidious ways that we continue to throw Jesus over the cliff is in our daily behavior, especially if those around us know that we are Christians. So often, our behavior undercuts our Christian stance. What will the rest of the world think of our triune God when they see us behave in ways that they know are distinctly not Christian? How do we lead people away from Jesus by our unflattering behavior? It's time to remember that we are to be an example of the kind of world that Jesus came to help us create.

The new year, which is quickly moving towards becoming the old year, is a good time for reflection, a good time to turn inward and to become aware of areas where we could still use improvement. Sure, God loves us the way that we are (a gift of grace to be sure). But God always calls us to be better. It's time to work on our attitudes and beliefs and actions that throw Jesus off the cliff, attitudes and beliefs and actions that make others think that God is indeed dead.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HEALTH KITS FOR HAITI
TRINITY'S WELCA will be coordinating the production and shipping of health kits for Lutheran World Relief for the sake and comfort of those impacted by the earthquake in Haiti.
You may donate any number of the following items and place them in the box provided in the narthex:
dark-colored hand towels
dark colored washcloth
bath-size bars (4 to 5 oz.) of soap, any brand, in its original wrapping
adult-size toothbrush in its original packaging
sturdy combs, remove packaging
metal nail files or nail clippers with file attached, remove packaging
NOTE: (do not substitute cardboard emery boards for the file)
Band-Aids® (or similar brand), preferably 1/2" to 3/4"
SOUPER BOWL
OF CARING
http://souperbowl.org/

Trinity Youth will be greeting you at the doors at the conclusion of worship on Super Bowl Sunday (FEB 7th) collecting change (and dollar bills and whatever you want to give!) as part of the national "Souper Bowl of Caring" campaign. 100% of all donations go to designated charities. This year the youth have designated Lutheran World Relief http://www.lwr.org/ and their work in Haiti in response the the earthquake as the recipient.
So look for the youth with the big soup pots at worship on Souper Bowl Sunday!
GOD’S SPA
WOMEN’S WEEKEND

Last year three women from Trinity joined many others from throughout Florida for a relaxing weekend of faith and fun (and facials!)
Will you be a part of the special weekend this year?
Luther Springs, Hawthorne, FL
April 16-18, 2010
$155-St. Peter House Housing
$125-Morgan Village Housing

This weekend retreat for women is a time for renewal, relaxation, and rest. Come together and enjoy time away from laundry, telephones, cooking and careers. Meet new friends and soak in the beautiful scenery and solitude of Luther Springs. Weekend activities may include: lots of pampering, learning, devotions, and several spa-type activities such as facials, hand/foot scrubs, and massages. Free time can be spent reading a book on the front porch, resting by the pool, hiking, canoeing or paddle boating on beautiful Vause Lake, or just spending time with God and deepening your faith. The cuisine will offer a wide variety of healthy choices. We will conclude the weekend with Sunday morning worship and a light brunch. There will be an extra fee for some spa services.

For more information - please see Piper Spencer.
If interested sign up on your worship slip or let the office know.

Friday, January 22, 2010

First LWF Relief Convoy
Arrives in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (LWI) -- The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for World Service (DWS) plans to scale up operations and strengthen logistics capacity in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic following the Jan. 20 arrival of the first DWS convoy with urgently needed relief supplies in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is sharing funds given to the church by members in response to the Haiti earthquake with the LWF/DWS, Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, and Church World Service, New York. Earlier this week, the ELCA News Service reported more than $1.2 million in credit card gifts had been contributed to the ELCA for Haiti relief.

DWS Program Coordinator Rudelmar Bueno de Faria underlined the need to expand LWF/DWS response in order to address quickly and effectively the needs of the stricken population.

Reports from DWS country program staff in Haiti indicate that the Jan. 20 aftershock of magnitude 6.1 had caused further destruction. Buildings that had already been damaged collapsed completely and more people have been injured. It is still unknown, however, whether the death toll has increased as a result of the aftershock.

An ACT (Action by Churches Together) Alliance rapid support team has already arrived in the region and is providing assistance to partner organizations locally in assessing the extent of the damage and the support required. ACT Alliance is the world's largest alliance of churches and related humanitarian and development agencies.

The support team is led by Elsa Moreno, LWF/DWS staff member in Geneva from 2006 to mid-2009. In an interview just before leaving Denmark for Haiti, Moreno told Lutheran World Information (LWI) that in the days to come the ACT Alliance would focus on delivering as much assistance as possible to the population in Port-au-Prince, as well as around the city and in other areas devastated by the earthquake.

Some of the towns include those closest to the epicenter, Leogane and Petit Goave. According to the United Nations, 80 to 90 percent of buildings in Leogane, 19 kilometers west of Port-au-Prince, were destroyed. Petit Goave, to the west of Leogane, was also badly hit.

Moreno and DWS collaborators in Haiti said that many people had fled Port-au-Prince and returned to their places of origin, putting a great deal of pressure on local communities to host them.

"The ACT Alliance will continuously try to assess the number of people going to those areas which are away from response of other agencies. The main work will focus on water, shelter and care for children," Moreno stated.

Moreno told LWI that two important components now needed to be put together -- emergency response and long-term development. "Our response is not only focused on the immediate needs, but also to help people recover in the long-term and start the process for development," said Moreno.

A key task of the DWS country program in Haiti now will be bringing relief to people who have lost everything. DWS would aim to engage and focus attention on internally displaced persons (IDPs) given the department's expertise in camp management, indicated Bueno de Faria. International relief organizations currently estimate the number of IDPs to be as many as 600,000.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LSF Helping Haitians Arriving

in Florida after Earthquake
About 25,000 expect in the U.S. in the Next Week
By Thomas L. Weitzel, LSF Communications

20 January 2010
Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) staff and volunteers are working around the clock to assist in the processing of Haitians arriving in Florida following the devastating earthquake that struck the nation's capital on Jan. 12.
About 25,000 Haitian Americans holding dual citizenship in the United States and Haiti are expected to arrive in the next week, mostly in Florida, according to Eric Tillich, Vice President for Agency Advancement at LSF.

"People are coming here basically with nothing except maybe a backpack," said Tillich, "after losing everything in the earthquake."

LSF staff and volunteers are currently assisting at Orlando Sanford International Airport by providing interpreters who speak Creole, helping with processing, and seeing that those arriving get food, water, provisions and any needed medical attention. Children are being given Mickey Mouse stuffed toys to provide some level of comfort.

In addition, LSF is partnering with the Florida Children's Coalition to coordinate volunteers from other agencies serving children and families.

"We are coordinating this volunteer effort on the ground," said LSF CEO Samuel Sipes, "and we are grateful for the support and assistance of our partner agencies that are also sending staff and volunteers."
That effort by LSF staff, volunteers and partners is a 24 hour effort, "because planes from Haiti are arriving 24 hours," said Tillich. "LSF is truly on the front line of assistance."

LSF staff and volunteers are also gearing up to assist with the processing of Haitian Americans coming into other areas of Florida if needed as well, he said.

"Prayers are very much needed for these people and for our staff as we work to help bring some much-needed assistance to those arriving in Florida," said Tillich.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DIRECTORY BIOS
Please return your directory BIO Forms as sooon as possiible.
Questions on the forms should be directed to Ro Mileto.
THRIVENT
MILLION DOLLAR
HAITI CHALLENGE
https://www.thrivent.com/helpinghaiti/index.html
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will add $1 to every $2, up to a total Thrivent Financial contribution of $1 million, when our members donate to one of the following:

•Lutheran World Relief.
•ELCA Disaster Response.
•LCMS World Relief/Human Care.
•WELS Committee on Relief.

Thrivent Financial will add a maximum of $250 per member donation, and donations will be accepted through March 31, 2010.For questions or to make a donation over the phone or via U.S. Mail, please call 800-236-3736 from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central time, Monday – Friday. When prompted, please say "directory" and enter ext. 83003.
HAITI
God in our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult, we will not fear. – Psalm 46


On Tuesday, January 12, just after 5pm, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the southern part of the country of Haiti. The international media is reporting that conditions in the country are extremely critical and most communication and travel to and from Haiti have ceased. Please pray for the Haitian people and those on the ground in Haiti.

“I do not have the words to express the great pain and sadness I feel for the people of Haiti,” said Bishop Edward R. Benoway, Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA. “Many congregations here in the Florida-Bahamas Synod share a special relationship with the people of Haiti through fundraising and mission trips. At this time, there are various groups from our synod and from around the ELCA serving in Haiti. Please also keep them and their families back home in prayer during this time of uncertainty. Our close partnership with the leaders and people of Haiti is now more important than ever.”

The Lutheran Church in Haiti is one of five Companion Synods with the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Our Synod Global Mission Team works continually with the people of Haiti to build churches, schools, and relationships. Mary Delasin, World Hunger and Advocacy Coordinator for the Florida-Bahamas Synod, reports that Pastor Joseph Livenson Lauvanus of Eglise Lutherienne d’Haiti (The Lutheran Church in Haiti) was in the United States when the earthquake occurred. He was just starting a trip around the Florida-Bahamas Synod to visit with congregations, raising awareness of the needs and work we are doing in Haiti.

“We are all shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the powerful earthquake,” said Mary Delasin. “With most avenues of communication destroyed, Pastor Lauvanus has not been able to contact anyone in Haiti yet. We are all praying for their safety and care.”

According to Ms Delasin, the epicenter of the quake was located in Carrefour, the location of the first Lutheran congregation established in Haiti. Many of Eglise Lutherienne d’Haiti’s congregations were within the area affected by the earthquake.

ELCA Disaster Response has already begun work coordinating efforts through Lutheran World Federation and other relief partners and government agencies. To donate to the relief effort or to learn more about what ELCA Disaster Response is doing, go to www.elca.org/disaster and click on the “Haiti Earthquake” link. 100% of your donations go directly to the needs of this disaster. A downloadable bulletin insert about the disaster will be available on their website soon.

“Our synod is committed to the continued partnership we share with the Lutheran Church in Haiti, especially in the aftermath of this disaster,” said Bishop Benoway. “I call on the people of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, and of the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to offer prayers and financial resources to assist the people of Haiti in their immediate needs.”
RUMMAGE SALE
ITEMS NEEDED
WELCA RUMMAGE SALE ON FEB 20th from 8am to 2pm

You may start dropping off your items in the area designated for SORTING in the Monson-Mueller Hall (the room to the left in the Fellowship Hall).
You may bring in your baked goods: FRI AM or early on the day of the sale (Pies, cakes, cookies, etc)

PLEASE NOTE:
1 NO bedding allowed: (PILLOWS, MATTRESS PADS, NOR MATTRESSES
2 NOTHING is to be left in the OFFICE



Meditations on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, January 24, 2010:

First Reading: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Psalm: Psalm 19

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Gospel: Luke 4:14-21


It's a shame that the Gospel lesson ends with verse 21. Verse 22 shows a predictable response; the people don't want to believe that something good can come from such humble beginnings. We might say it's the story of Jesus' life--people can't believe that God can work a divine purpose from such a marginal place.

It's a problem that many non-Christians have with the religion; in fact, some scholars might argue it's one of the central problems that many non-believers face. The idea that God would take on human form diminishes God, at least in some people's minds. Some people find it absolutely incomprehensible.

Perhaps some of our fellow Christians find it incomprehensible too. We hear echoes of this disbelief when people talk about Jesus' ministry: "Sure that was fine for Christ, but he was part God." The next part of this sentence is usually one designed to let us off the hook: so, therefore, I don't have to do what Jesus did (feed the hungry, visit the sick, work for the rights of the oppressed); after all, I'm only human.

Jesus was human too, and therefore, anything he did, we could do. In fact, some theologians posit that Jesus came to show us how to live God's vision for us right here on earth, in our own communities. The passage that Jesus reads from Isaiah gives us an idea of what God has in mind for us and our mission in the world: preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, set the oppressed free, give the blind their sight.

Interesting to think about church communities and individual Christians. How are we living out Christ's mission? Notice that Jesus doesn't say, "I came to show you how to model your church/synod/denomination according to modern business practices so that you can build up your endowment." Jesus doesn't say, "I came to give you this cool prayer--if you pray it three times a day, you'll get rich." Jesus does not say, "I came so that you might know to meet in a building once a week." Jesus doesn't say, "I came to revamp your worship service with music/media/atmosphere that's more accessible to the modern seeker mentality." Jesus has a very different agenda than the ones that modern people might want him to have.

As we will see in the coming weeks, Jesus focuses on community. Not just once a week, meet for an hour community, but a deep, committed group of people. He works with the people he meets, people like you and me, people who are far from perfect. He works where he is, in a distant outpost of a powerful empire. He doesn't say, "Well, I better move to Rome, because that's where the rich and the powerful people are, and they know how to get things done." He looks around, sees what needs to be done, and does it.

And it's important to realize that he does his work at great risk to himself. Empires realize that their future is threatened by communities that are deeply committed to the vision of God. They'd rather have us spend our hard-earned money (and work ever longer hours to get more money) on cheap junk made by oppressed people on the other side of the planet.

In the first weeks of this new year, it's a good time to think about how we might make this year different. How can we be part of the work that makes the scripture be fulfilled?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HAITI UPDATE
The coming days are critical as teams dispatch to Haiti to conduct search and rescue efforts. Lutheran World Relief is working with partners on the ground to deliver aid. Every dollar donated is critical to this life-saving effort. Please give today.

There are several ways you can help:
•Pray: for all those affected and those who are there to help.
•Give: by making a donation to the Haiti Earthquake fund, you will help ensure that LWR is able to quickly provide the most effective assistance.
LWR accepts donations by phone at 800-LWR-LWR-2, online at lwr.org or by mailing a check or money order to:
Lutheran World Relief Haiti Earthquake
P.O. Box 17061
Baltimore, MD 21298-9832

Or Give Right Now - Now you can also text gifts to LWR from your cell phone. It’s quick and easy. Just text LWR to 40579 to make a $10 donation. Remember to reply YES to the confirmation.
Messaging and data rates may apply.

Once immediate needs are met, further gifts will be used to help LWR respond where the need is greatest, in Haiti or elsewhere around the globe. Please also consider making an unrestricted donation which will enable LWR to respond quickly to the next emergency.

•Act: LWR plans to send material aid, such as quilts and health kits, to Haiti. Help restore hope and health to people in Haiti and all around the world by making quilts or health kits – visit lwr.org/beinvolved to learn more.
•Connect: As we learn more about the needs of the people of Haiti, LWR will explore more ways to help. Keep up with our on-going efforts by visiting lwr.org/Haiti.

TRINITY
WEDDING VOW
RENEWALS
during worship on Sunday February 14th
8AM and 10:45AM
All Welcome!
Please RSVP by responding to this post or calling or emailing the office or Pastor Keith

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pastor Keith , Piper and Boys
bring Trinity Greetings to Janice Sable
for her 70th Birthday

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lutheran World Relief
Text-To-Give
From LWR FB Notes
"Now you can support LWR right from your cell phone!

Starting this Sunday, just text LWR to 40579 to donate $10. Remember to reply YES to the confirmation.
It's quick and easy. See - Just text LWR to 40579.
Many of you have already responded with a gift. My profound gratitude goes out to you for reacting quickly and compassionately to this disaster.
Thank you for your prayers and support in this time of desperate need.
Note: Messaging and data rates may apply; however, some carriers have waived this fee for donations."

Friday, January 15, 2010


BISHOP MARK S. HANSON,
PRESIDING BISHOP, ELCA
I greet you in the name of Jesus.


The images of the despair and destruction in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti continue to overwhelm us, but they also call forth our response of prayer and generosity.

Paul’s letter to the Romans gives us words of comfort and hope. Paul writes:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:22‐27).

Thank you for continuing to hold in prayer the people in Haiti and all those who are working to bring relief. Thank you for your generous financial gifts. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is already working through longstanding partnerships with The Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief to provide emergency food, water, shelter and medical supplies.
This church is uniquely positioned to provide immediate and ongoing help. The ELCA has committed an initial $250,000 from ELCA International Disaster Response, and we’ve authorized an additional $500,000 as congregations respond both to the immediate needs and long‐term rebuilding efforts.

For those of you who would like to support these relief efforts, I encourage you to visit www.elca.org/haitiearthquake or call 800‐638‐3522.

Our phones are open the entire Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m. CST. One hundred percent of all gifts made to ELCA Disaster Response, designated for Haiti Earthquake Relief, will be used for immediate relief and ongoing recovery.

Thank you for being the church together in mission for the sake of the world.

I invite you to pray:
Merciful God, hear our cry for mercy in the wake of the earthquake. Reveal your presence in the midst of our suffering. Help us to trust in your promises of hope and life so that desperation and grief will not overtake us. Come quickly to our aid that we may know peace and joy again. Strengthen us in this time of trial with the assurance of hope we know in the death and resurrection of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
ELCA Seminary Student
May Have Perished in Haiti Earthquake


CHICAGO (ELCA) -- It is believed that Benjamin Judd Larson, a student at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, died from the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, according to the Rev. Duane H. Larson, Wartburg president.

Ben Larson's wife, Renee Splichal Larson, and his cousin, Jonathan Larson, were in the same building as Ben at the time of the earthquake. Renee and Jonathan "made it out, eventually found each other, then returned to St. Joseph Guest House in the attempt to rescue Ben, to no avail," Duane Larson wrote in a Jan. 14 letter to the Wartburg community. Wartburg is one of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Jonathan and Renee are being evacuated to the Dominican Republic, and "we're hoping that (they) will soon travel back to the United States," Duane Larson told the ELCA News Service.

Ben, Renee and Jonathan are fourth-year Wartburg seminarians certified for ordination. They traveled together to Haiti to help with the new Haiti Lutheran Church. Ben was teaching at the Pastors and Lay Leaders Theological Conference in Haiti.

"We so grieve with (Ben's) parents, April and Judd; for Renee's loss of her husband; Jonathan's loss of a dear cousin, for our loss of a beautiful friend," wrote Duane Larson. "Ben's baptismal light burned so brightly in our community and for all who came to know him. We grieve the loss of so clear a proclamation, with eyes twinkling, of Christ's love, compassion and humor," he wrote.

Ben's mother, the Rev. April Ulring Larson, is pastor at First Lutheran Church, Duluth, Minn., and former bishop of the ELCA La Crosse Area Synod. His father, the Rev. Judd W. Larson, is a retired ELCA pastor.

"Ben was so excited to become a pastor," said April Larson in a Jan. 14 statement from First Lutheran Church's executive committee. "Ben loved Christ, and he loved people," she said.

"We hold Renee, April, Judd, Jonathan and all of Ben's family and friends in prayer, trusting in God's mercy and the promise of the Resurrection," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop. "Our prayers are with the people of Haiti, and their families and friends throughout the world."

The Rev. Thomas M. Aitken, bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Minnesota Synod, Duluth, has been ministering to April and Judd Larson at their home. He said in an interview that First Lutheran Church will host a community prayer service Jan. 14 for the people of Haiti. Aitken said he will offer a reflection at that service.

The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director, ELCA Global Mission, said he has visited the building where Ben Larson is believed to be trapped on the third floor. That building is the St. Joseph Home for Boys, he said.

Renee and Jonathan tried twice to get to the place in the building where Ben is located, but were unsuccessful, Malpica Padilla told the ELCA News Service. Malpica Padilla had been in contact with staff at the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Geneva, and asked if they could send LWF staff in Haiti to travel to the building site where Ben Larson is believed to be located. But, they could not gain access to the building.

Ben Larson is a "best friend" of Malpica Padilla's son, Felix. The two attended Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, together, and sang in the college's Nordic Choir, said Malpica Padilla. Luther is one of 27 ELCA colleges and universities.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

TRINITY LABYRINTH VANDALIZED.

One of Florida's largest prayer labyrinths and a very special site of worship, prayer and contemplation was damaged early this week by unknown vandals. Approximately 70 tiles were crushed or missing. "We will rebuild in time for our Good Friday Stations of the Cross Walk," declares Pastor Keith. The Labyrinth has most recently been used as the site of the 5PM Outdoor Candle Light Christmas Eve Service.

HAITI LETTER
From the Florida Bahamas Synod
God in our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult, we will not fear. – Psalm 46

On Tuesday, January 12, just after 5pm, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit the southern part of the country of Haiti. The international media is reporting that conditions in the country are extremely critical and most communication and travel to and from Haiti have ceased. Please pray for the Haitian people and those on the ground in Haiti.

“I do not have the words to express the great pain and sadness I feel for the people of Haiti,” said Bishop Edward R. Benoway, Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA. “Many congregations here in the Florida-Bahamas Synod share a special relationship with the people of Haiti through fundraising and mission trips. At this time, there are various groups from our synod and from around the ELCA serving in Haiti. Please also keep them and their families back home in prayer during this time of uncertainty. Our close partnership with the leaders and people of Haiti is now more important than ever.”

The Lutheran Church in Haiti is one of five Companion Synods with the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Our Synod Global Mission Team works continually with the people of Haiti to build churches, schools, and relationships. Mary Delasin, World Hunger and Advocacy Coordinator for the Florida-Bahamas Synod, reports that Pastor Joseph Livenson Lauvanus of Eglise Lutherienne d’Haiti (The Lutheran Church in Haiti) was in the United States when the earthquake occurred. He was just starting a trip around the Florida-Bahamas Synod to visit with congregations, raising awareness of the needs and work we are doing in Haiti.

“We are all shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the powerful earthquake,” said Mary Delasin. “With most avenues of communication destroyed, Pastor Lauvanus has not been able to contact anyone in Haiti yet. We are all praying for their safety and care.”

According to Ms Delasin, the epicenter of the quake was located in Carrefour, the location of the first Lutheran congregation established in Haiti. Many of Eglise Lutherienne d’Haiti’s congregations were within the area affected by the earthquake.

ELCA Disaster Response has already begun work coordinating efforts through Lutheran World Federation and other relief partners and government agencies. To donate to the relief effort or to learn more about what ELCA Disaster Response is doing, go to www.elca.org/disaster and click on the “Haiti Earthquake” link. 100% of your donations go directly to the needs of this disaster. A downloadable bulletin insert about the disaster will be available on their website soon.

“Our synod is committed to the continued partnership we share with the Lutheran Church in Haiti, especially in the aftermath of this disaster,” said Bishop Benoway. “I call on the people of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, and of the entire Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to offer prayers and financial resources to assist the people of Haiti in their immediate needs.”

For more information and to donate money visit www.elca.org/disaster.
HELP IN HAITI
Folks are invited to give through Lutheran Disaster Response
www.elca.org/disaster
Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, January 17, 2010:

First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5

Psalm: Psalm 36:5-10

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Gospel: John 2:1-11

Today's Gospel presents the first miracle of Jesus, the turning of water into wine at a wedding. No doubt that some preachers across the country will take this opportunity to talk about weddings and the sanctity of marriage; they'll see the participation of Jesus as his sanction of this institution. Perhaps others will talk about miracles, while others talk about the proper way to treat one's mother.

I'm less interested in the marriage issue than in the miracle issue. In this Gospel, Jesus resists his mother's urging to help out with the wine. Why does he do that? Does he have a splashier miracle in mind as his announcement that he's arrived? Is it the typical rebellion of the child against the parent?

We don't know. We do know, based on the accounts of the Gospels, that Jesus performed many kinds of miracles. One day he's turning water into wine, and the next month he restores sight to the blind. Later he multiplies loaves and fishes, and then raises the dead. Much critical ink has been spilt over the issue of what these miracles mean. Some of them seem worthy of God, while others seem a bit frivolous.

You might make the argument that we shouldn't care about whether or not the wedding guests had wine. You might argue it's a trivial miracle.

You would then remind me of friends of mine who loftily declare that their petty problems shouldn't be a concern to God. Why tell God about my tough day at work, when God has quite a job ahead in Haiti? Why should I wine to God about my financial woes, when there are whole countries who live on less money than I make in a year?

The story of Jesus tells us that God wants to be with us more than anything else. God doesn't want to wait until we're in severe trouble. God wants to come to our weddings and parties. God wants to celebrate and drink wine with us.

In the story of Jesus and his mother, we also see a God who will listen to our requests. At first Jesus says no, then he relents. For those of us who are reluctant to ask God for what we need, we might take this lesson to heart.

We often protest that what we need is too hard for God to provide for us. But this miracle reminds us that we undersell God's talents.

What does Jesus need for this miracle? Water and jars. What could be simpler?

Perhaps this could be the year that we rid ourselves of our scarcity thinking. We worship a God of abundance and great giving. Rejoice in this good news.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NEWS
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am sorry to start the new year off with more of the following news that has crossed my desk...
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of the passing of Margie White. Margie was a long time member of Trinity along with her husband, Frank. Margie was famous for making beautiful handmade crafts for our Holiday Bazaar... she couldn't sleep at night so would stay up doing counted-cross stitch items. Margie had turned 90 on September 30th. Margie entered the Church Triumphant on December 23rd.

Other news: Tim Stevens (8:00am) father entered the Church Triumphant on January 2nd. You may send Tim and his family condolences at: 4721 SW 164 Terrace, Ft Lauderdale, 33331

Also, Rosha McCoy's (10:45) aunt, Mercy Seevaratnam entered the Church Triumphant on Jan 2nd. You may send the McCoy's condolences at: 8960 N. Lake Dasha Dr, Plantation, 33324
Please keep these families in your prayers...
And now to close on a happy thought...
Congratulations to Casey and Jillian Buchta on the birth of son, James Andrew Buchta!
and to Grandma Cathy, Grandpa Dennis and Great Aunt Barbara and Great Uncle
Dennis Gilson!

Sam
Office Administrator

Thursday, January 07, 2010

TRINITY TALENT SHOW
FRIDAY JAN 22nd
SIGNUPS HAVE BEGUN
We've got singing, pet tricks, puppets and Pastor Keith and Piper will be dancing the Jive.
What will YOU add to this festive evening?
Sign up to be the next act on the program or to donate food for the evening on the worship clipboards or by calling the office .
There will be a suggested $5 donation for the evening - you get to partake in the food and beverages and all proceeds go to our Anniversary Celebration Fund.
As a reminder, our Anniversary Weekend is OCTOBER 9th and 10th
UPCOMING FRIDAY NIGHT
POTLUCK AND CONVERSATION
(some dates have changed and Evenings Added)

A MONTH OF FRIDAYS IN LENT
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 26th:
LUTHERAN BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

FRIDAY MARCH 5th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE PART I
The Last Supper

FRIDAY MATCH 12th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE PART II
Gethsemane

FRIDAY MARCH 19th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE PART III
Crucifixion
NO ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS
THIS SUNDAY
Class returns Sunday JAN 17th
in Monson-Mueller Hall
at 9:30AM
PLEASE MAKE PLANS TO JOIN IN!
DIRECTORY PHOTOS
FINAL DAY
FRIDAY JAN 15th
3PM to 9PM
The Entire Trinity Family is invited to sit for photos
No Charge and you received a free photo and directory.
CONTACT SAM in the office immediately to set your appointment
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, January 10, 2009:

First Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7

Psalm: Psalm 29

Second Reading: Acts 8:14-17

Gospel: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

In this season of New Year's resolutions, consider this question: How would your life changed if you believed that God loves you the way you are, right now, before you even make any changes to become a better person?

It's true. God's not waiting for you to become more spiritual before God claims you. Even if you never get to the point where you pray more often, where you give away more money, where you become that good and patient person you are sure you can be, God loves you, marks you, claims you, is deliriously happy with you.

You don't have to lose that twenty pounds for God to find you worthy. You can have a wrecked household budget, and God still loves you.

Is your wounded elementary school/high school/adult child within you leaping up for joy yet? God would have given you beautiful Valentines during those horrid parties where the popular kids got all the Valentines and you didn't. God would choose you for the volleyball team, even if nobody else would, and God would never say hurtful things about your serve. God would have made sure to include you at lunch so that you wouldn't have had to spend your lunch hour hiding out in the library. God wouldn't make painful comments about your frumpy wardrobe, your golf swing, your decorating skills, your home repair skills, your kids, your career.

I worry that I'm veering towards goofiness, but I think that during our long years through the nation's educational systems, most of us learn all the ways we are inadequate, and most of us never unlearn those lessons. Even as grown ups, often the focus (in pop culture, in our jobs, in our families, in church even) is on our failings, on all the ways that we would measure up if we just did this thing or that thing or another thing. And then we work hard on self-improvement, and we've still got those messages: well, great, now you can focus on changing this next enormous thing.

All this effort towards self-improvement can make us a bit self-absorbed, and we forget to work on some of the real and serious problems in the world. What would happen if we decided that God needs us to be the person that we are, right here, right now, without any changes? What if we declared ourselves to be good enough?

Try it for a week or two or three. Tape the words of God to your bathroom mirror: "You are my beloved son/daughter; with you I am well pleased." Act like you believe that God loves you. Silence those voices in your head that tell you otherwise. Cease that negative self talk. And minimize the amount of time you spend with people who don't value you.

Think about the ministry of Jesus. Think about the healing nature of kingdom building that God calls us all to do. Jesus doesn't waste time saying, "Oh, if only I didn't have to spend so much time with all these sick people. If only I could get an audience with our Roman ruler. If only I had a different purpose, a different ministry, a different destiny."

We never see Jesus working to lose weight or to exercise more or to read more or . . . . Jesus gets right to work at the job God has called him to do. And keep in mind that God declares Jesus beloved and pleasing early on, before Jesus has actually done anything.

We don't have time to waste with all this negative New Year's negativity. God loves you before you ever make a self-improvement plan. In your baptism, God has already declared you perfect. Perhaps this year, instead of endless self-improvement plans, you could pledge to remember God's love for you each time your skin touches water. Imagine how your life might change if you could just do that!

Saturday, January 02, 2010


SERMON FOR SUNDAY
Matthew 25:31-46
A voice pleaded between hacking coughs: “I’m a good person pastor. That matters to God doesn’t it?”I’ll be OK for heaven, right? I mean there are a lot of people who have done bad things, terrible things and I have been a good person, a good father. I’ve been kind. How could God not let me into heaven?”

A hacking cough. Lung Cancer. Facing tricky surgery, Bill was flat-out scared. Nurses prodded and poked. An IV line was rigged. Endless questions, releases to sign. More questions.
“Are you wearing any dental work?”
“Have you eaten anything since midnight?”
“Are you allergic to anything?”
“”What are you here for?”
“Surgery,” Bill coughed.”They’re taking part of my lung.”
“Which lung?”
“How the hell should I know,” Bill said. “The one with cancer in it.”
“Left lung,” a nurse said. Heads nodded in agreement.
Things were speeding up now.
EKG beeping for each heart beat.
He took my hand for prayer and for a moment everything just stopped and waited for us. What a powerful thing prayer is and can be. A time to speak of grace beyond measure; un-earnable, unattainable, unmerited by our goodness no matter how much we have banked in kind deeds and compassionate living. A time to lift up the assurance of God’s promise written in each of our hearts through Holy Baptism.

I am sure God loved Bill’s good deeds, but in claiming Bill as his own through his Baptism into Christ Jesus, God loved Bill with a saving love we call grace that all the good deeds in the world cannot buy or earn or claim. .

We read: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

How is everyone feeling about your Baptism right now?
Pretty good?
Great even? Strong? Hopeful? Terrific?

A woman comes into my office with a baby. She wants to talk about Baptism.
“I want my child to have a blessing she said. The rest of that stuff, I’m not sure I buy, you know. Sins forgiven and eternal life and Child of God. All that church stuff. But I believe that it is a blessing and I want her to have it.”

How are you feeling about your Baptism? Pretty good?
To me a blessing is God shinning the light of God’s favor upon that which is blessed. Of sanctifying it – making it holy.

A blessing is fine, I tell her, but that is not what Baptism is, thank goodness. That doesn’t begin to describe what it is.
“You believe what you want to believe,” she said. “I believe that it is a blessing.”

The Lutheran understanding of Baptism, is that it is life from death. Forgiveness of sins. The promise of the Kingdom. One becomes part of the household of God. Salvation – the outpouring of God’s grace – so much more than merely a blessing.

But it would take more than a single conversation on an impatient afternoon with a fussy child in tow to explain. To teach. To offer another view, another possibility. Whatever she believed would not impact the thing itself. What God would do for that child in Baptism did not depend upon what the mother thought it was. Baptism is God’s act for us, not our act for God. It is what God does. God accomplishes. What it frees us to do.

Freed from the need to earn our salvation, an impossible task that would leave us in fear and worry our whole life long, instead we have been set free to see Christ in others. Not the people that we choose, but those whom God has chosen to place in our path, in our life, before us today, tomorrow, and every day. Strangers and friends, neighbors and co-workers. Children and adults. People completely different from us and perhaps sometimes, rare to be sure, even like us.

Richard Jensen, writing about this text, keyed me in to something that I think we need to hear. He points out that the sheep are utterly surprised that the things they did served the will of God. They were completely surprised that those things that they did were anything special. But when Lord, they say, when did we do those things for you?

The very people who take this text to heart don't even know that they are serving anyone, especially Christ. They have come to so embody the Christian life, freed by God's grace, that serving and loving neighbor is as natural as breathing. They have become as Paul writes in Ephesians "imitators of Christ."

I think this morning of little Natalia Santiago giving up her hair for “Locks of Love” - for the sake of a complete stranger . I think of Lyze in the early stages of another mission trip through school – this time to Honduras. Folks serving the homeless, the hungry, buying clothing for those without, the list goes on and on.

This parable isn't meant for us to figure out if we have been sheep or goats and plan for the afterlife accordingly, but rather offers for us a glimpse of what life lived as children of Kingdom, should be. It can be an uncomfortable and messy life, can't it? I think of Mother Theresa lovingly collecting up the neglected and rejected dying on the streets of Calcutta and caring for them along with her sisters during their final days and hours. Instead of dying in the gutter amid refuse and mud, they had clean beds. Instead of dying in filth, they were bathed and had their hair washed and combed. Instead of dying alone, they died among those who loved them because for Mother Theresa and her sisters, THEY WERE CHRIST.

“Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

That my friends is what Baptism has freed us to do.
How are you feeling about your baptism, right now?
Amen.