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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, May 2, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18

Psalm: Psalm 148

Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6

Gospel: John 13:31-35

When I was a child, I wished that my family was part of a more rigorous religion. I wanted to go to Confession every week. I wanted to do more penance than just saying I was sorry. I thought it would be neat to be a kosher Jew, with lots of laws to keep. The Lutheran concept of grace didn't thrill me very much. It just seemed so easy.

In today's Gospel, we get our marching orders: "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." (verses 34-35). When I was a child, I would have rolled my eyes and asked for a harder assignment.

Now that I am older, I think that loving each other is plenty hard enough. As a grown up, I think that following dietary laws would be an easier command. I think of all the other things Jesus could have required of us, and some part of me wishes for one of those.

Why is it so hard to love each other? Why are we so unlike Thomas, so unable to thrust our hands into each other's wounds? We don't want to get involved. We don't know what to say. We don't know how to act. So, we take the easier route and lose ourselves in our busy routines. We get so frantic with our schedules that we don't have time for ourselves, much less each other, much less God.

But Jesus tells us firmly that we are to love each other. He doesn't tell us how, but he shows us. This Gospel lesson comes after the washing of the disciples' feet and a leisurely dinner.

If we don't know how to love each other, we might start by sharing meals together. We have to eat, no matter how fast-paced our lives. Why not take some time to slow down as we nourish ourselves? Why not take some time to nourish ourselves in other ways? By sharing meals, we open up the door to love.

We might engage in other behaviors that open our hearts to love. We might try not saying negative things about each other. It's so easy to gossip. It's so easy to make ourselves feel good by pointing out the faults of others. But why do that? Why not focus on the good of our fellow travelers with us on our journeys?

Refusing to bash others verbally could be our modern equivalent of foot washing. We could show our care not by lavishing attention on physical bodies, but by lavishing our attention on the good qualities of others.

We live in a culture that prefers to argue, to fight, to tear down. Focusing on the good qualities of others seems as intimate in our current climate as foot washing must have seemed in the time of Jesus.

Of course, to focus on those good qualities, we have to get to know each other well enough to know what those good qualities are. Back to the dinner table!

I've only focused on two ways of loving each other; the ways to love are infinite. Choose the one that calls to you and decide that this will be your ministry. Know that you will have to gently refocus your efforts time and time again, as you move along. Fortify your efforts by asking God to help you, so that you can glorify God, so that everyone will know the God you serve by the efforts you make to serve others.

Monday, April 26, 2010

OUR 50TH ANNIVERSARY
MOTHER-DAUGHTER BANQUET!


FRIDAY MAY 7th at 6:30pm  at Trinity's Charter Hall
Adults: $12 and children 3-11: $6.50
Elaine Fritz will have tickets at the early service and Earline LaCroix at the late service. Don’t forget… all women are daughters!
*CORRECTED*
PENTECOST WORSHIP
and CONFIRMATION
SUNDAY May 23rd

8AM Rite of Confirmation

10:45AM Rite of Confirmation




*Some of our confirmands will be confirmed at 8AM and some at 10:45AM.



Congratulations to our 2010 Confirmands!
Alex Craig Berger
Michelle D. Coleman
Kayla Jasmine Frey
Sarah Nicole Gearhart


When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…Acts 2:1-4a

Thursday, April 22, 2010

LABYRINTH PLANTING
RE-SCHEDULED

The Labyrinth planting of the wrap-around Sea Grape hedge is being rescheduled to a better weekend for the project - stay-tuned!
Gifts to cover the approx $470 cost are still needed and are still being accepted - please make them out to "Trinity Lutheran Church" with a note that they are for the "Prayer Labyrinth"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, April 25, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 9:36-43

Psalm: Psalm 23

Second Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

Gospel: John 10:22-30

This week's Gospel reading takes us back to the metaphor of the sheep. Those of us living post-agricultural lives probably don't know how stupid sheep are. The idea that we are sheep is not attractive.

What would a more modern metaphor be? That of the clueless student, who nonetheless can respond to a specific voice? That of a computer that is just a dumb box of electronics until the right programmer comes along?

We might also ponder the nature of the questioners in this passage. They say to Jesus, "If you're the Messiah, we wish that you would just say so."

This moment must be one of those that would drive Jesus to thoughts of taking up a really bad habit to deal with the pain of these people who just don't get it. Jesus must have considered just giving up on the whole salvation project since he was undergoing so much to save such clueless people. How many more ways did he have to say/demonstrate/show that he was the Messiah before people could understand?

Before we spend too much time congratulating ourselves for recognizing the voice of our shepherd, we might consider all the ways that Christ calls to us and we refuse to hear. Christ tells us to give away our wealth, and we rationalize: surely he didn't mean all of it. Jesus tells us to care for the sick, and we do a good job of that, some of us, as long as we liked the sick person back when that person was well. Jesus tells us to visit those in prison. I haven't done that--have you? In short, Jesus tells us to care for the poor and oppressed and to work for a more just society. How many of us do that?

Those of us living in Broward county have a chance to do that on Thursday night. BOLD Justice holds its annual Nehemiah action on Thursday night, where elected leaders meet with a huge crowd (last year we had over 2000) of believers who gather to remind leaders of their obligations to the poor and the oppressed. In the spirit of Old Testament prophets and our risen Lord, we call those elected officials to action.

My atheist friend said, "The elected leaders show up? Really?" So far, they have. There's power in numbers. My atheist friend was so impressed that she's coming with me to the action.

I went to the Nehemiah action last year and found it profoundly moving. It's good to be reminded that people from a wide variety of faiths have similar interests: most of the world's major religions have a social justice function. It's good to be reminded that one lone voice crying in the wilderness doesn't usually accomplish much. But thousands of voices, demanding justice, can bring about change.

Even if you can't come on Thursday, you probably have many opportunities to work for justice. Most of us don't because we lead lives that leave us tired. But often, a group that works for good in the world can energize us. Find a group that works to alleviate a social injustice that particularly pains you and join it. Write letters to your elected officials. Help build a Habitat house. At the very least, you can give food (real food, not just the castaways from your pantry) to a food bank. At the very least, you can clean out your closets and give your perfectly good clothes to the poor.

If you're in the South Florida region, join us at the Nehemiah action on Thursday, April 21, at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale (5555 North Federal Highway). Registration starts at 6:45, and the action starts at 7:30. Christ has called us to care for his sheep. This year we're demanding affordable housing and fair policing--what our Broward poor need more of. Only with thousands of voices demanding action will they get those things. Come be part of that voice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

FAMILY GAME NIGHT IS NEARLY HERE!
BUNCO night is this Friday, April 23!
Come prepared for fun, food and prizes.
Fellowship begins at 6:00.
Games begin at 7:00.
We hope to see you there!
FIRST COMMUNION CLASS
This Sunday April 25th at 9:30AM
Meet in Charter Hall
Questions? contact Pastor Keith
GOD SPA A WONDERFUL SUCCESS!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Memorial Service for
GINNY ESCH
will be TUESDAY APRIL 20th
at 11AM at TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
A meal will follow in Trinity's Charter Hall coordinated by Earline LaCroix.
Those desiring to assist with the meal are kindly asked to contact Earline as soon as possible.
Prayers and Sympathies
Our beloved sister in Christ, Ginny Esch, entered the Church Triumphant this afternoon. Funeral arrangements are TBD. Our prayers remain with Bill, he husband of 64 years and with her entire family.


"We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's."

Friday, April 16, 2010

GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!
The Community Blood Center of South Florida will have one of its bloodmobiles at Trinity Lutheran Church THIS Sunday April 18th from 7:30 AM until 1:30PM
GOD SPA
Let's keep the 12 Trinity women off at the Lutheran Outdoor Ministry of Florida's annual God SPA retreat in our thoughts and prayers this weekend. May their weekend be a time of peace, spiritual renewal and much joy!
PINES DAY PARADE!
CHAINSAW NEEDED
The ficus hedge at the parsonage was ravaged by the infamous citrus white fly a few years ago and was mostly dead and an eyesore. It is now kindling, but pastor needs a small chainsaw (preferably electric) to cut the stumps off at ground level. Anyone have one?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DO YOU HAVE A GRADUATE?
Are you a graduate?
Please let us know!
BLESSING OF GRADUATES
Sunday June 20th at Both Services as part of our
"DADS AND GRADS" SUNDAY



Women of Faith Event

Just wanted to remind you about the WOF event; the deadline for paying for your ticket is July 23, 2010.

I'm telling you it was Awesome, and I was changed in a way that I couldn’t even imagine, and that was my first time every attended. It’s non denominational and yes I was hooked! It's a weekend event and its happening at the Bank Atlantic center in Sunrise, FL, or some call it Fort Lauderdale FL., the schedule is as follows:

• 10/29 Friday 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

• 10/30 Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm


There is a cost involved and it’s $89.00 per person with a group leader that’s me, and it’s for both days and you get a box lunch for each day you attend and you get to meet and fellowship with at least 500 other women and mind you I'm not embellishing enough on how many women will be there. But anyway, if you can’t go to both days then it’s still the same price. You can pay for your tickets on-line just go to the website http://gps.womenoffaith.com/,
Trinity Women of Faith in Pembroke Pines and register.

If you need help registering or if you have any question please don't hesitate to contact me @ 954-495-1075.

Oh, the most important part is that there’s a lay-away plan …yup! You can make a partial payment and pay for your ticket every month until it’s paid for; but tickets are on a first come first serve basis. Isn’t that wonderful! There is a $40.00 non refundable fee as a down payment to hold your ticket, or you can pay in full. Its up to you, the minimum amount for the partial payment to hold all tickets is still the same and non refundable.

So, please act fast, I know you want to beat the deadline!

Your sister in Christ,
Denise Payne




Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, April 18, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]

Psalm: Psalm 30

Second Reading: Revelation 5:11-14

Gospel: John 21:1-19

Here we have another mystical encounter with the risen Christ. Notice that it's mystical and yet grounded in earthiness. Jesus makes a barbecue breakfast, and Simon Peter gets wet. It's mystical, yet rooted in second chances. It's mystical and yet a bit whimsical too. The men have fished all night and caught nothing. What does Jesus cook for breakfast? Fish.

This Gospel reading also has a lovely symmetry. It ends the ministry of Jesus in the way that it began, on the shore, with Jesus calling his disciples to mission. This Gospel story gives Peter a chance to redeem himself. He declares his love for Jesus three times, just the way he had previously denied Jesus three times.

The Gospel reading for Sunday reminds us of some of the essential messages Jesus gave us. We are to let down our nets, again and again, even when we have fished all night and caught nothing. Our rational brains would protest, "What's the point? We know there are no fish!" But Christ tells us to try again.

Even when we can't see the results, even when our nets are empty, there might be activity going on beneath the surfaces, in the deep depths of creation, where our senses can't perceive any action. We might need to repeat our actions, despite our being sure that it will be useless. We aren't allowed to give up. We aren't allowed to say, "Well, I tried. Nothing going on here. I'm going to return to the solitude of my room and not engage in the world anymore." No, we cast our nets again and again.

What do those nets represent? What do the fish represent? The answers will be different for each of us. For some of us, casting our nets might be our efforts at community building. For some of us, casting our nets might be our efforts to reach the unchurched. For some of us, we cast our nets into the depths of a creative process. We cast again and again, because we can't be sure of what we'll catch. Some days and years, we'll drag empty nets back to the shore. Some days and years, we'll catch more fish than we can handle.

The Gospel also reminds us that we're redeemable. I love the story of Jesus and Peter. Peter would have reason to expect that Jesus would be mad at him. But Jesus doesn't reject him. Jesus gives him an opportunity to affirm what he had denied in the past.

Jesus also gives Peter a mission, and this mission is our mission: "Feed my sheep." There are plenty of sheep that need feeding and tending. We have our work cut out for us.

But this Gospel also shows us the way that it can all be done: we must work together, and we must take time to nourish ourselves. The men work together all night, and in the end, Jesus makes them a meal. Think about how much of Jesus' mission involved a meal. Jesus didn't just tend to the souls of those around him. He fed them, with real food. In doing so, he fed their souls and renewed his own ability to keep healing the world.

We must do the same. We must heal the world. And in doing so, we must continue to practice self-care. A burnt out husk of a person can't prepare a barbecue breakfast.

Now, as we walk through Eastertide, think about the redemption of the world and the good news of Jesus, that the redemption of creation is breaking through right here, right now. Think about the part you want to play. Think about practices that will help keep you healthy enough to partner with God in this exciting endeavor.

If you're so burnt out that you can't think of anything, start with breakfast. Make sure you're getting enough healthy food to eat throughout the day. And next week, invite someone else to eat with you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

FAMILY GAME NIGHT

coming this
FRIDAY, APRIL 23
Lots of fun and plenty of laughs

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
FELLOWSHIP AND TREATS BEGINNING AT 6 PM
FOLLOWED BY “BUNCO” GAMES AT 7 PM
PRE SALE - $4 PER PERSON OR $12 PER FAMILY
For tickets this Sunday see Faith Lombardo or Ferdi. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
One person will win a $50 Publix gift certificate. One entry per person, no purchase required. Drawing will be held during game night and winner must be 18 years or older.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
THURSDAY MAY 6th 7:30AM to 9AM


"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand... " Come join us at the Signature Grand for the 12th Annual Prayer Breakfast in observance of the National Day  Of Prayer on May 6th. Speakers and prayer leaders include Dr. Bob Barnes, Tom Truex, Pastor Pete Tokar, Pastor Keith Spencer, Pastor Darrell Stuehrenberg, Jim Kleinrichert, and others.

For Tickets please see Jacob Smitter. Cost is $16 a person.
TRINITY AND PEMBROKE PINES
CELEBRATE 50 YEARS
AS A CITY
AND A CONGREGATION!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Countdown To Justice Has Begun!
Thursday, April 22nd is just 12 days away and we would love to have you join us at this year's BOLD Justice Nehemiah Action. It is one night a year that you can make your presence influence justice in our community. It's an easy way to show those in need in our community that you care. And it's an important way to make your voice heard by our elected officials.
This year's issues are Crime & Police/Community Relations and Affordable Rental Housing. At the action, we will be looking for some of the major police departments in Broward County to address the fact that people are afraid to report crime and that there is no way to prove biased-based policing does not occur. We will also be looking for the county and several of the major cities to work together to find local money to address the lack of affordable rental housing for lower income households.

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. - 1 Peter 2:21

A cross is something we take up when we choose to follow in the steps of Jesus. The cross happens when we, like Christ, seek help for the poor, aid the defenseless, and demand justice for the oppressed. This is an opportunity for you to do just that...stand up for justice as we are called to do.

BOLD Justice Nehemiah Action
Thursday, April 22
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (5555 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale)
Registration begins at 6:45pm
Action begins at 7:30pm
Carpooling is available
All are welcome!
Please see Janean, Verel, Piper, Denise or Lisa Montalchi for more information.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

DON'T YOU LOVE A PARADE!
Trinity Lutheran and Living Faith Lutheran are marching together in the Pines Day 50th Anniversary Parade this Saturday April 10th. Meet at the City Furniture Parking Lot at Hiatus across Pines Blvd from the Home Depot at 8AM. Parade begins at 10AM. When you arive you will be directed to designated parking (by Homegoods) It is a short route to Pines Center down Pines Blvd. We have a few classic cars for those who need to ride. After the parade both congregations will be hosting a booth with Davey and Goliath in costume available for photos and autographs. Still looking for a few volunteers to "suit up" as Davey and Goliath - let Pastor Keith know via email or phone.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

This week's meditation comes a bit early; tomorrow I'm on the road to Lutheridge, for a creativity retreat, and my computer access is likely to be limited.

The Readings for Sunday, April 11, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 5:27-32

Psalm: Psalm 118:14-29

Psalm (Alt.): Psalm 150

Second Reading: Revelation 1:4-8

Gospel: John 20:19-31

I think of these post-Easter, pre-Ascension stories as second chance stories (or tenth or thirtieth or forty-seventh chances, depending on how you're counting). Notice that Jesus appears to them and offers peace. He doesn't show up to castigate the disciples for how they behaved badly during his hours of need. He doesn't say to Peter, "See, I told you that you would betray me." He doesn't say, "You big bunch of cowards, running away from the Romans." He breathes on them to give them the Holy Spirit (and if you read the Bible from the beginning, you'll be noticing a theme here; God breathes creation into existence, and much of the power of God is described throughout Scripture in terms of breath and/or wind).

Jesus offers forgiveness and peace again and again. Thomas has come under fire through the centuries for his doubt--but really, who can blame him? Even some of our more prominent theologians today (like Marcus Borg) seem to doubt the physical resurrection of Jesus. Our rational brains just can't wrap themselves around a mystery of this magnitude.

Thomas, too, gets second chances. Just because he wasn't in the locked room when Jesus appeared, that doesn't mean he's doomed to doubt forever. He gets to touch the wounds of Jesus.

Notice how physical these descriptions are: Jesus breathes on them, and death hasn't healed his mortal wounds. He's recognizable. And he seems to carry on with his life's work, at least for a little bit more time: the last verses of today's Gospel refer to many more signs, but the writer John won't burden us with them all. We get a select few to help us believe.

And then Jesus is gone. But we've been left with a mission. We're to spread the good news. We are not to remain in our locked rooms, keeping company only with each other as we eat the last of the bunny cake. We're to go out and be the light of the world. We are entrusted with the mission of helping to create the Kingdom where peace reigns, where death doesn't have the last word, where everyone has enough to keep their bodies alive and their souls fed. Evaluate your daily life with that vision of your call always before you. See what you can do to move towards that vision. Each day, every day.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

EASTER SUNDAY
April 4, 2010


6:30AM Sunrise with Candle Lighting and Holy Communion at the Butterfly Garden

8AM Easter Morning Service with Holy Communion

10:45AM Cantata Service of Holy Communion

EASTER BREAKFAST 7:30AM to 10AM


SUNDAY SCHOOL
9:30AM EASTER MORNING Butterfly Garden Activities followed by the Children’s Easter Egg Hunt
FUNERAL SERVICE FOR
Helen Baxter
MONDAY APRIL 5th
Viewing at noon at Trinity
Service at 1PM at Trinity with Interment at Hollywood Memorial Gardens , Taft Street, to follow.
Refreshments and a time to celebrate Helen's life and offer condolences to the family will follow the interment and will take place at Trinity's Fellowship Hall. SAM will be coordinating.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

PASSING OF HELEN BAXTER
Our thoughts and prayers are with Earline, Lila, Ellen and all of Helen Baxter's large and wonderful family as she entered the Kingdom of Heaven this evening. Funeral arrangements are pending. Information to follow
MAUNDY THURSDAY (April 1, 2010)

NOON: Maundy Thursday Holy Communion Service
With Foot/Hand Washing

7:30PM: Dramatic Youth Presentation
with Holy Communion, Foot/Hand Washing, Anointing, and the Stripping of the Altar.

GOOD FRIDAY (April 2, 2010)
Noon to 3PM: Self-Guided Stations of the Cross at the Prayer Labyrinth
Noon and 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
At the Butterfly Garden

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 Butterfly Garden Celebration

FAMILY GAME NIGHT
FRIDAY, APRIL 23

Lots of fun and plenty of laughs

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY
FELLOWSHIP AND TREATS BEGINNING AT 6 PM
FOLLOWED BY “BUNCO” GAMES AT 7 PM
PRE SALE - $4 PER PERSON OR $12 PER FAMILY
For tickets see Elaine Fritz, Kathy Furey, Ferdi Hutchinson or Lisa Miller

One lucky person will win a $50 Publix gift certificate. One entry per person, no purchase required. Drawing will be held during game night and winner must be 18 years or older.
Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010:

First Reading: Acts 10:34-43

First Reading (Alt.): Isaiah 65:17-25

Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

Second Reading (Alt.): Acts 10:34-43

Gospel: Luke 24:1-12

Gospel (Alt.): John 20:1-18

I've talked to many people who seem a bit amazed at how fast this season of Lent has zoomed by us. I've talked to several people who don't feel ready for Easter at all. Are we ever ready for Easter?

Some years feel more difficult than others. In the past year, we've lost some pastors who were vital parts of our Florida-Bahamas Synod, and I suspect our Synod isn't alone. And that mortality seems to echo the mortality of our larger church, as many of us have spent the past year wrestling with the actions of our larger ELCA. And in recent weeks, we've seen explosions in the Catholic church, as more allegations of sexual abuse and cover up come to light. It cannot bring us glee, if we're thinking people, to see these struggles, which may leave the larger Church broken and bleeding.

If we're lucky enough to have been spared from natural disaster ourselves, we've likely looked on in horror as other parts of our world have suffered horribly. If we're thinking people at all, we have to realize how precarious is our existence on the surface of our planet, that surface which looks stable, but we know that forces are rumbling underneath.

Every Holy Week brings us knowledge of fellow parishioners who struggle with disease or impending death. Every non-Holy Week probably does too, but during Holy Week, as we hear about the Passion of Jesus, our mortal struggles take on a poignancy that might not be there otherwise, if we didn't have that backdrop of readings and hymns in our heads.

Maybe you say to yourself that you're still in that Ash Wednesday space. Maybe you ask, "How can we celebrate Easter with the taste of ashes still in our mouths?"

Hear that Easter message again. Know that God is working to redeem creation in ways that we can't always see and don't often understand. But we get glimpses of it.

The earth commits to resurrection this time of year. Green sprouts shoot out from hard earth everywhere. Each spring, we are reminded of the cyclical nature of the world, which can bring us hope in the times in which we suffer. This, too, shall pass.

The social justice goals of past generations have come to fruition. We may be seeing ravaged populations today, but in a decade or two, we may see healing. Imagine going back to 1987 and telling everyone you saw that the Wall would soon come down, that the Soviet Union would soon be no more, and the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons would soon be reduced. No one would believe you. And yet we know it happened. We can pray for a similar outcome in the Congo.

We know that sometimes our bodies can produce miracles. We convince the cancer not to kill us this year. Damaged wombs can bring forth children. We abuse our physical selves with too much exercise or too much drink or too much smoke, but to our surprise, our bodies can heal.

But maybe we see those examples of resurrection as random and capricious. We taste the ash in our mouths. If we've heard the Easter story (and the Holy Week stories) again and again, we tend to forget the miraculous nature of them. Maybe we're tempted to downplay them even. Maybe we're beaten down and tired (tired of praying that the insurance company gets its act together before the next hurricane season starts, tired of praying for health and people getting sicker, tired of praying for peace in the world which never seems to come), too beaten down and tired to believe in miracles anymore.

Resist that pull towards despair, which some have called the deadliest sin, even worse than pride. We have seen miracles with our own eyes: Nelson Mandela walks out of jail to claim his place as president, for example; peace in Northern Ireland; peace in some parts of Eastern Europe. We're often too shy or scared to run out of our gardens to tell everyone else what we've seen, what we know.

But we must remember we are a Resurrection People. Commit yourself to new life. Rinse the ashes out of your mouth with the Eucharist bread and wine. Celebrate the miracles.