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, February 28, 2010

TRINITY WEDDING VOW RENEWAL
 FEB 14, 2010
ELCA NEWS SERVICE

February 27, 2010
ELCA Initiates Response
to Massive Earthquake in Chile

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- A massive earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.8 on the Richter scale, struck central Chile in the early morning hours Feb. 27, killing at least 122 people. The earthquake is the biggest to hit Chile in 50 years.

As a result of the earthquake, a tsunami warning was issued Feb. 27 for the entire Pacific basin, including all of the Hawaiian islands.

Staff of the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) ELCA has contacted companions in Chile. They are working to assess the situation and plan a response, said Megan Bradfield, associate director, International Development and Disaster Response, ELCA Global Mission.

ELCA churchwide staff has also connected with people in Peru, where the church is supporting those who are being evacuated due to the tsunami warning, said the Rev. Daniel Rift, director of the ELCA World Hunger Appeal, ELCA Development Services, in a blog entry.

ELCA International Disaster Response will be working with two historical companions in Chile, Bradfield said. They are the Iglesia Evangelica Luterana en Chile (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile), a member of the Lutheran World Federation, and Educacion Popular en Salud (Popular Education in Health Foundation), Bradfield said.

The church has approximately 3,000 members served by nine pastors in 10 congregations and 5 points of mission -- two in Santiago, two in ConcepciĆ³n and one in Coquimbo, she said. Educacion Popular or EPES works to promote quality and fairness in health care for the poor, and works to establish and train community health groups, Bradfield said. Over the past 20 years, it "has grown from a small, emergency-response team to a leader of systematic community mobilizations to improve health services and awareness," she said.

Chile is vulnerable to earthquakes. It is situated on the Pacific "Rim of Fire," on the edge of the Pacific and South American tectonic plates.

Chile suffered the biggest earthquake of the 20th century when a 9.5 magnitude quake struck the city of Valdivia in 1960, killing 1,655 people.

Financial contributions to support earthquake relief efforts in Chile can be made at https://community.ELCA.org/NetCommunity/SSLPage.aspx?pid=537 on the ELCA Web site.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adult Sunday School Changes Direction

Starting the first Sunday in March, the adult Sunday School class will begin working its way through the book, 40-Day Journey with Madeleine L'Engle. This wonderful book provides for each day Bible readings, prayers, prompts for reflection, and a chunk of text by Madeleine L'Engle--you might remember her as the author of the marvelous book, A Wrinkle in Time, but she's written far more extensively than that.

You can order your book directly from Augsburg-Fortress where it is now on sale at $8.70, and even with shipping, will cost less than Amazon. Kristin ordered an extra few copies, and you can buy one from her. Or you can simply show up each week, and we'll share the books that we have.

Please join us every Sunday at 9:30, starting March 7.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CHURCH-BASED SHELTER PROGRAM
AFFILIATION CHANGE
Pat Mantis and her assistant Patrick have moved over from The Coalition to End Homelessness to the Shepherd's Way's church-based shelter program and we have moved our affiliation accordingly.
We will receive a calendar with available dates shortly and reschedule our second duty week for this year. Our tentative March 15th duty week under the Coalition to End Homelessness program has been mutually withdrawn. We are excited to continue our four year relationship with Pat and Patrick in being a blessing to families in need of temporary shelter!
LENTEN BIBLE STUDY REMINDER
LENTEN FRIDAYS: SUPPERS AND BIBLE STUDY

6:30PM Soup, Bread and Salad Supper
7PM: Bread Baking DEMONSTRATION
7:30PM – 8:30PM Bible Study

FRIDAY MARCH 5th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST JOHN
PART I

FRIDAY MATCH 12th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST JOHN
PART II

FRIDAY MARCH 19th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST JOHN
PART III
The Readings for Sunday, February 28, 2010:


First Reading: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

Psalm: Psalm 27

Second Reading: Philippians 3:17--4:1

Gospel: Luke 13:31-35

This Gospel is one of those that might tempt us moderns to feel superior. We're not like that wicked Jerusalem, are we? We don't stone the prophets and others who are sent to us. We're a civilized people.

But think of how many ways there are to kill the messengers of God. Let's start with our individual Bibles. Do you know where yours is? Have you touched it this week? This month? This year?

After all, one of the main ways God has to speak to us is by way of the Scripture. And if we don't read our Bibles, we lose out on a major avenue of communication with God. You might protest that you hear the Bible plenty when you go to church on Sunday. And that's great. Far too many churches have very little scripture as part of the weekly service. But it's not enough. We'd be better off if we read our Bibles every day. It's far too easy to be seduced by the glittering secular world; a daily diet of Bible reading can help us remember God's claim on us and our purpose in the world.

But the Bible isn't the only way we can learn about God and our place in the community. We can read the works of other holy people. There are plenty of books out there that can help us be more faithful. My reading list is fairly eclectic; if you're new to this, I'd start with the works of Henri Nouwen, Kathleen Norris, Madeleine L'Engle, Thomas Merton, and C. S. Lewis, among many others.

You could also listen for God. Many of us are pretty good at talking to God, especially if we're in trouble. But we're not very good at listening. Henri Nouwen suggests that we take 10 minutes a day to quiet our minds, to sit and just listen. You might also keep a journal, which can be a very valid form of active meditation for busy Westerners. Don't just write down what happens to you during the day. Keep a list of things for which you're grateful. Keep a list of your heartfelt desires. Make a space for any sorts of intuition you have. Ask God for insight. Keep a keen ear for what God replies. Write it down so you won't forget.

We stone the prophets sent to us by God by ridiculing, of course. There are many effective ministers and churches out there. Just because one church's style doesn't work for you doesn't mean that you should work to tear it down. We should all be about the same business: being a light for Christ in the world, so that we can help people find their way. If someone else's techniques work, we should celebrate that.

We stone the prophets that God sends to us by refusing to pay attention. Look at your life. To whom do you pay highest allegiance? Your God? Your boss? Your nation? Your family? What keeps your loyalties split? How can you find your way back to God?

God tries to get our attention in all sorts of ways. We're prompt to dismiss our strange dreams (both the night kind and the daydreaming kind) and strange voices (both our own and the ones that come to us from books and other media). We're quick to believe everything our culture tells us about who we should be.

In this time of Lent, we can repent for all the times we've stoned the prophets (metaphorically). We can turn our attention to God and once again, try to be more faithful. God longs to gather us, as a mother hen gathers her chicks (for those of you hungry for female images of God, here's a Sunday gift). Come be part of the brood.

Monday, February 22, 2010

FLORIDA BAHAMAS SYNOD ASSEMBLY
Voting members and visitors needed for Trinity
The Twenty Third Annual Assembly of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, April 30 - May 2 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort, Orlando, FL.
For a list of the workshops and more go to
http://www.fbsynod.com/assembly2010

We are allowed two lay voting members plus a lay youth/young adult voting member (confirmed and between ages of 15 and 22) and as many non-voting visitors as desire to attend.
Pastor Keith attends as well.

Trinity will pick up the cost of registration for any who desire to attend. Attendees will be responsible for rooms and meals.
The special rate for this event at the Wyndam is $139 a night for up to 2 people per room.
Room deadline is March 29th and we will book as a block in order to use our tax-exempt status.

If you have any interest in attending, please contact Pastor Keith as soon as possible.

Friday, February 19, 2010

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2010

FEEDING THE HUNGRY PEOPLE
AT FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH, FT LAUDERDALE

ONE OF OUR CONGREGATION MEMBERS IS CELEBRATING HER BIRTHDAY BY DONATING ALL FOOD ITEMS TO FEED THE HUNGRY THIS WEDNESDAY.

HOWEVER, WE WILL STILL NEED VOLUNTEERS TO HELP SERVE DINNER.
IN ORDER TO ASSURE THAT WE HAVE A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS, WE ASK THAT YOU COMPLETE THE SIGN UP THIS SUNDAY OR CONTACT JEAN MYERS

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, February 21, 2010:

First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Psalm: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

Second Reading: Romans 10:8b-13

Gospel: Luke 4:1-13

In this week's Gospel, we go back to the desert with Jesus. We see Jesus tantalized with the very same temptations that try to distract us from our relationship with God.

The first temptation is so basic: basic sustenance. Most of us in the first world find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of earning money. Why do we earn money? Well, of course, we need to cover our basic needs: food, shelter, clothing. But most of us have far more than we'll ever use. If you're like me, you have a multiple sizes of clothes in your closet, and even if you stayed within one size, you've probably got a month's worth of clothes that you could wear before you'd have to repeat. If you're like me, you've got a month's worth of food in the fridge and pantry, even when it's not hurricane season. If you're like most Americans, you have several cars, several computers, several televisions. Maybe you even have several houses.

And once you have that stuff, your stuff holds you captive. You have to continue to work so that you have a place to put it all. You have to insure it. And then, you might feel you need to replace it all. You can't possibly drive an old car. It's cheaper to buy new than to fix. And so on.

Lately, I've been feeling that when I buy something I don't need, I'm taking it out of the hands of someone truly needy. I tie up my money in my own need for stuff, and then I don't have any to give away to someone who has no belongings. I'm trying to think more about that fact before I buy.

Jesus is then tempted with power, and it's the rare person I've met who doesn't wrestle with questions of status and fame--and the power that comes with it. Even if you wouldn't sell your family or your self to be on reality TV, you've probably felt this temptation--or envy, because you weren't someone getting offers of fame and fortune.

The third temptation shows the danger of succumbing to the second temptation: once we become wealthy and powerful, we're likely to forget that we're not God. We use our money to insulate us, but we forget how fortunate we are to have that money. We begin to think that we earn that money because we're so talented, so capable, so educated--for many of us, the fact that we have one job over another is largely a matter of luck. I got my first real teaching job because no one applied with the credentials to teach Business Writing, which was what they wanted, so they went to the second thing on the wish list, which was someone with a British Lit background, which was me. For someone with a Ph.D. in Literature, I'm always haunted by the fact that there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of people out there, many of them with better credentials/publications/experience than me--yet I am employed, and many of them are not. It's a happy accident--well, happy for me--it doesn't have as much to do with my individual skills and talent, as to being at the right place applying at the right time.

In our society, money makes us feel powerful. Fame makes us feel powerful. Acclaim makes us feel powerful. And these temptations take us away from God, where the true power lies. We want to think we can do everything on our own. We want to be like God--all powerful. We need to remember the words of John the Baptist: "I am not the Messiah."

We need to look to the model of our savior, who also wrestled with temptation. We need to be resolute in our refusal.

Perhaps we also need to invite some desert time into our life. As I grow older, I'm more and more fascinated by these brief pictures of Jesus retreating. We, too, need to carve some retreat time into our lives so that we're able to withstand the temptations that the world will hurl at us.

Maybe we can only find a few minutes a day. Start with that. Move towards a time where you take a day off, true Sabbath time, when you will only do what enriches you. Hold as your goal a time when you can go on retreat, whether it be a camping trip, a retreat sponsored by a church group, time at a monastery, or even a time when you tell everyone you'll be out of town and you take a retreat in your house (those of us coping with canceled trips this tough winter could try that consolation prize).

During our retreat time, we could meditate on the words of Jesus, so that we, too, are sustained when we return to regular life: "Man shall not live by bread alone," "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve," "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

LAST CALL FOR RUMMAGE
Rummage for this Saturday's rummage sale must be dropped off by clse of business WED.
Thursday and Friday day time are set up days.
Baked goods may be dropped off FRI or SAT prior to 8AM.
Rummage sale goes from 8AM to 2PM
Helpers still appreciated for during the sake and at 2PM and after for clean up.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

LENTEN AFFINITY GROUP
SIGN UPS
Four groups are forming so far and there is room for more!

You may sign up for the following on your worship slip or add a new group that you are willing to organize via a call to the office or the Sunday morning clip board.
(1) Butterfly Gardening
(2) Early Sunday Morning Run/Walk at the Beach
(3) Dinner and Scriptures
(4) Walking Group - walks around the lake at BCC South  - across the street from Trinity
LENT AND EASTER AT

TRINITY LUTHERAN

WORSHIP
ASH WEDNESDAY
Imposition of Ashes 7AM
Imposition of Ashes with Holy Communion Noon
Imposition of Ashes with Holy Communion 7:30PM
Pancake Supper 6PM to 7PM

SUNDAYS WITH HOLY COMMUNION
8AM and 10:45AM



FEB 21 (Justice Sunday), FEB 28 (Justice Sunday), MAR 7 (Justice Sunday), MAR 14 (St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Service), MAR 21 (Memory Sunday)

PALM SUNDAY March 28th
8AM Holy Communion with Procession of Palms and the Reading of the Passion Gospel
10:45AM Holy Communion with “The Cry of the Whole Congregation” A Dramatic Presentation of Christ’s Passion

MAUNDY THURSDAY (April 1, 2010)
NOON MAUNDY THURSDAY COMMUNION SERVICE
7:30PM Dramatic Presentation with Holy Communion, Foot/Hand Washing, and the Stripping of the Altar.

GOOD FRIDAY (April 2, 2010)
Noon to 3PM: Self-Guided Stations of the Cross at the Prayer Labyrinth
7:30PM Service of Readings and Shadows (Tenebrae) with Adoration of the Cross

EASTER SUNDAY (April 4, 2010)
6:30AM Sunrise with Candle Lighting and Holy Communion
8AM Easter Morning Service with Candle Lighting and Holy Communion
10:45AM Cantata Service of Holy Communion
EASTER BREAKFAST 7:30AM to 10AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL
9:30AM EASTER MORNING Children’s Easter Egg Hunt and Celebration

BIBLE STUDIES, SUPPERS, BREADMAKING,
ONLINE OPPORTUNITIES AND MORE!

AFFINITY GROUPS KICK OFF DATES AND MORE INFO
Coming Soon!

TRINITY FACEBOOK WEEKLY REFLECTION BASED UPON THE PASSION STORY IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN COUPLED WITH BREAD RECIPES (AND BAKING NOTES) THAT REFLECT THE STORY IN SOME FASHION.
FEB 17th Week 1 John 12 – John 13
FEB 22nd Week 2 John 14 – John 15
MARCH 1st Week 3 John 15
MARCH 8th Week 4 John 17
MARCH 15th Week 5 John 18
MARCH 22nd Week 6 John 19
MARCH 29th Week 7 John 20

LENTEN FRIDAYS: SUPPERS AND BIBLE STUDY
6:30PM Soup, Bread and Salad Supper
7PM: Bread Baking DEMONSTRATION
7:30PM – 8:30PM Bible Study
FRIDAY MARCH 5th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST JOHN
PART I

FRIDAY MATCH 12th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST JOHN
PART II

FRIDAY MARCH 19th:
THE PASSION OF CHRIST ACCORDING TO ST JOHN
PART III

SERVING
WED FEB 24th Feeding the Hungry at 1st Lutheran
SAT MARCH 6th – Yard Day at Trinity (Mowing and Such) 9AM to noon
MARCH 15th – 20th Church-based Shelter Program (tentative)
WED MAR 17th Feeding the Hungry at 1st Lutheran
SAT MAR 20th – Memory Walk at Hollywood Beach 7:30AM
SAT APR 3rd - Yard Day at Trinity (Mowing and Such) 9AM to noon

BOLD JUSTICE
MARCH 2nd BOLD JUSTICE TEAM ASSEMBLY TUESDAY 7:30pm – 9:00pm
MARCH 18th - BOLD Justice Rally THURSDAY 7:30 – 9:00pm

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CONGRATS AND PRAYERS
FOR OUR 2010 COUNCIL:


Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Bill Gearhart, Earline LaCroix, Faith Lombardo, Devika Jeboo, Denise Payne, Ro Mileto, Sarah Brombacher, Maya McCoy, Jon Nestigen, Pastor Keith, Bob Smith (Financial Secretary).
VIA DE CRISTO EVENT
All are invited to attend the Florida Annual 'Grand Ultreya' (Celebration) for 2010, of the Florida Via de Cristo Movement, which will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School on Saturday February 27, 2010 beginning at 6:30 p.m.


The Via de Cristo movement is a movement of laypersons living and promoting the ideals of Jesus Christ in the community within and outside of the church. It has helped all who have become involved, to enjoy a closer and more-meaningful relationship with Jesus, and to reach out to, and perhaps most importantly, to enrich their communities through their service to/at their churches. And so we say, "All are welcomed to attend this very special Via de Cristo event!"

The Scripture will be Matthew 13:37: “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.”

At this event, we will have Good Food, of course, because it is a covered dish! Please also bring your own beverage. Great worship - lots of it. Awesome Fellowship!! - lots of it. A Special Keynote Speaker to share a testimony on service to the community. Small Group Reunion, and a Service with Communion. Please RSVP through your worship slip. For more information please contact Sandy Hawkins.
MORE DIRECTORY PHOTOS NEEDED
The Office has received many emails saying you are unable to go online and put in your bio... I have just tried and have both been unsuccessful and then successful. If you go to Yahoo... it won't work. You will see other churches listed. However, if you put in www.myfamilypage.olanmills.com it will work. It will ask for your Order number. This is a 10 digit number (no spaces).
Then you can go to Template A and type away!!!

If you haven't had your photo taken
Thanks to Harry Furey's generous offer to be our in home photographer... You have ONE LAST CHANCE to get your photos done!


when: SUN, FEB 14th before or after YOUR SERVICE.
PLEASE RSVP to the office so Harry won't be swamped. Give me a time frame so I can put some sort of order to this... as with the other photographer we will do 10 minutes for each photo shoot.

When Sunday School is going on (9:30-10:30am) we will have Harry take them in the back of the church. Otherwise, we'll do it in the Fellowship Hall.

Thank you for your co-operation in this matter. And remember, we really do want ALL OF YOU in our Anniversary Directory so please make an effort to be there. If you can't, please also email me.
Blessings and hugs,
Sam
Office Administrator
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, February 14, 2010:

First Reading: Exodus 34:29-35

Psalm: Psalm 99

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2

Gospel: Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]

All of the readings for this Sunday talk of transfigurations, and in addition, it's Valentine's Day, which celebrates transfiguration in a different way. How are you longing to be transfigured these days?

At work, I'm surrounded by people who are on various kinds of diets. They involve strange potions and sessions with guides and unusual foods prepared in unusual ways. All this, so my colleagues can be transfigured into a thinner version of themselves.

Many of us love Valentine's Day because we hope that love will transfigure us in similar ways. Someone will come along who can overlook our faults and will focus on the reasons that we are loveable. Many of us go through our lives in various states of self-loathing, and Valentine's Day holds out the promise that not everyone judges us as harshly as we judge ourselves.

That's the message of the Gospel, too, isn't it? God loves us, just as we are. And yet God has a much bigger vision at the same time--for the world and for us. God, too, has a transfiguring dream.

In Peter, we see the human tendency to hang on to those transfiguring moments: "Let's build booths! Let's stay here awhile!"

We see this tendency in our self-improvement attempts. We want to return to earlier times when we felt transfigured, when we felt that anything might be possible: a thinner self, a smarter self, a more attractive self. Sometimes we see this tendency play out in darker ways. We grow tired of our families who know us so well, so we are tempted to find love in the arms of someone new, someone who can make us feel transfigured again.

We can see this tendency in church too. We fall in love with a new church, and then as we grow more familiar with the church and its members, we want something more. We go church shopping for that church that can make us feel the thrill of transfiguration again.

Throughout the Scriptures, we see this tension between the mountain top and the flat land experience. We feel the thrill of meeting God, and then we have to figure out how to live our daily lives afterwards. Some of us will spend our lives in permanent quest mode, going from one mountain top to the next, looking for spiritual thrill. Some of us will try to convince ourselves that the mountain top experience wasn't real, that it didn't matter, that it wasn't as profound as we know that it was. Some of us will try to live our daily lives transfigured: at our best, people, convinced that we have some yoga regime or diet that they need to know about, will ask us for our secret.

Many of us approach Lent in that spirit of transfiguration. We give up something for Lent or we add something for Lent, hoping to feel that thrill of transfiguration. But once Lent is over, we shouldn't forget our Lenten disciplines. It's too easy to let our daily lives take over. It's too easy to forget the Gospel message of transfiguration and resurrection. God calls us to transfigured lives so that we can help in the repair of the world.

Friday, February 05, 2010

WALK WITH US TO BETTER HEALTH!
Would you like to join us for Thursday night walks around the lake at Broward College South Campus, right across from Trinity Thursday evneings from 7PM to 8PM?
If there is sufficient interest we will begin our spring walking program.
Please email the office or sign up on your worship slip or let Basi know as soon as possible.

Those wonderful folks at AARP remind us of the Numerous Benefits of Walking

If a daily fitness walk could be put in a pill, it would be one of the most popular prescriptions in the world. It has so many health benefits. Walking can reduce the risk of many diseases — from heart attack and stroke to hip fracture and glaucoma. These may sound like claims on a bottle of snake oil, but they're backed by major research. Walking requires no prescription, the risk of side effects is very low, and the benefits are numerous:

Managing your weight. Combined with healthy eating, physical activity is key to any plan for long-lasting weight control. Keeping your weight within healthy limits can lower your risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis.

Controlling your blood pressure. Physical activity strengthens the heart so it can pump more blood with less effort and with less pressure on the arteries. Staying fit is just as effective as some medications in keeping down blood pressure levels.

Decreasing your risk of heart attack. Exercise such as brisk walking for three hours a week — or just half an hour a day — is associated with a 30% to 40% lower risk of heart disease in women. (Based on the 20-year Nurses' Health Study of 72,000 female nurses.)

Boosting "good" cholesterol – the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Physical activity helps reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) in the blood, which can cause plaque buildup along the artery walls — a major cause of heart attacks.

Lowering your risk of stroke. Regular, moderate exercise equivalent to brisk walking for an hour a day, five days a week, can cut the risk of stroke in half, according to a Harvard study of more than 11,000 men.

Reducing your risk of breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. The Nurses' Health Study also links regular activity to risk reductions for both these diseases. In another study, people at high risk of diabetes cut their risk in half by combining consistent exercise like walking with lower fat intake and a 5% to 7% weight loss.

Avoiding your need for gallstone surgery. Regular walking or other physical activity lowers the risk of needing gallstone surgery by 20% to 31%, found a Harvard study of more than 60,000 women ages 40 to 65.

Protecting against hip fracture. Consistent activity diminishes the risk of hip fracture, concludes a study of more than 30,000 men and women ages 20 to 93.

The list goes on and on. Many other studies indicate a daily brisk walk also can help:
•Prevent depression, colon cancer, constipation, osteoporosis, and impotence
Lengthen lifespan
•Lower stress levels
•Relieve arthritis and back pain
•Strengthen muscles, bones, and joints
•Improve sleep
•Elevate overall mood and sense of well-being.

During your walks, you should be able to maintain a conversation. If you're breathing too lightly, increase your pace. If you can't catch your breath, slow it down.
Walk around the local area after lunch or dedicate 15 minutes to walking up and down stairs. Climbing is an excellent way to strengthen your heart.
At night, trade a half hour of TV for a brisk stroll around the block. Take a friend with you for company or get the whole family involved.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, February 7, 2010:

First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8 [9-13]

Psalm: Psalm 138

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Gospel: Luke 5:1-11

Today's Gospel is one we must have heard a gabillion times, if we've been going to church for any amount of time at all. As the Gospel becomes familiar, perhaps the rich symbolic language loses some of its power. The symbol of the fisherman is one we find across church cultures; the mission of fishing for people, too, is one that most faiths hold in common.

Let's look at the Gospel again, to see what we might have missed. In these times of longer work days for those of us still lucky enough to have a job, I'm struck by the fact that Jesus comes to call Simon Peter and his friends and family during their work time. Christ, too, is on the job. The familiarity of this Gospel makes me forget that first verse, that Jesus is preaching when he slips into the boats. I wonder what the crowds who came to hear the word of God made of that?

The men in the boats have been fishing all night. They've caught nothing, even though they've worked hard, and I'm sure we're familiar with this scenario. To the men's credit, when Jesus tells them to cast down their nets again, they do.

I'm sure that many sermons will focus on what happens next, but let's take a minute to think about the implications of the empty nets. We like to assume that if we're doing Christ's work, our nets will be full. Yet many of us will struggle in situations where our nets are empty, again and again and again. Yet we must remain alert, always ready to cast those nets again. We're not allowed to give up. We're not allowed to say, "Well, I've done my best, so I'm going to fold up my nets and go home and sit on my couch for the rest of my life."

No, we must let down our nets AGAIN.

Look at what happens next: "And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boats to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink" (Luke 5: 6-7).

Consider the fishing in the light of the metaphor that we've been hearing for so many years. If we are to be fishers of people, what kind of fishing are we doing? Consider that verb: they enclose the fish. It's a much less harsh image than the view of fishing that so many of us have, a trick lure, a savage hook. Greek scholars have noted that the word used is the same one used in the Old Testament for saving people from danger. Ann Svennungsen comments on this verb and our evangelical mission: "The calling is not to hook people and drag them in. It is rather to cast the net of God's love all around--open to all the world--and then wait with patience for the Spirit's work and to see if any are caught by God's vision and grace."
In this world of megachurches with their megabudgets, it is not easy to wait. It is not easy to put down our nets again into the exact same waters. But Jesus calls us to do exactly that.

Jesus also calls us to do even more. Look at the last verse. The men leave everything behind. As a teenager, I thought about how compelling Jesus must have been, to inspire that level of confidence. As a teenager, I would look around my church, and not see much evidence of that Jesus remaining.

Jesus calls us to leave our old lives behind. Jesus calls us to walk away from our lives of steady paychecks and families and to risk everything so that we can have lives of fuller joy. Are we to interpret this story metaphorically?

As a teenager, I saw people confessing to be Christian, but not acting very Christian once they left the Sunday service. I was surrounded by teenagers who went to Young Life meetings and then spent the rest of their time sneering at the rest of us. They believed deeply enough to burn their record albums, but not deeply enough to risk reaching out to the unpopular kids.

Jesus enfolds us in love, so that we can enfold others in that same love. If we truly commit to Christ as our behavioral model, we will soon be living lives we wouldn't have recognized in our previous incarnation: we will give away more of our possessions, we will reach out to humans who are lower on the prestige chain, we will champion the destitute, we will forsake the behaviors that undercut love (gossip, criticism, meanness of all kinds).

Cast down your nets. Cast them down again and again and again until you are a different kind of fish and a different kind of fisherperson.