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

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

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

Featured Post

Our Many Gendered God

This week at Trinity Lutheran, we'll be thinking about issues of gender and the ways we still need to transform our society.  I've b...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

We will be helping feed the hungry at First Lutheran Church by serving dinner this Wednesday, April 06th . Please drop off any unprepared donations in Monson-Mueller Hall by Sunday, April 3rd Kindly place all perishables in the gold refrigerator.

Thank you for your continued support!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thursday April 7th
ONE NIGHT A YEAR…we ask that the entire congregation come out along with their friends and family to stand BOLD for Justice. This year the Annual Nehemiah Action will take place on Thursday April 7th at 6:45PM at ST Clement Catholic Church in Wilton Manors (FT Lauderdale). Carpooling available, just let Janean or DPK know. Service hours available for youth (check you individual school’s policy). Last year Trinity brought over 40 people – this year join us as we make history in (1) Broward County fighting for reading intervention in our elementary schools for those children who are struggling (who without reading help run a significant risk of not graduating from high school) and (2) in the State of Florida for greater implementation of the Drug Court Model that prevents our young people from becoming hardened criminals and will save our State tens of millions of dollars each year. A FREE LUNCH and information meeting will be held at Trinity on SUN APR 3rd at 12:15PM sponsored by Trinity’s Justice Ministry Team. You can sign up for the ACTION and the information Lunch on your worship slip!

Sunday, April 10th

Immediately following late service
(12:00 pm - 2:00 pm )
While you’re waiting for your car,
why not grab a hot dog and soda?
All donations help support our youth at the
2012 ELCA Youth Gathering.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel
by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Readings for Sunday, April 3, 2011:

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm: Psalm 23

Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel: John 9:1-41

Occasionally, a student will ask me how I know that a symbol is really a symbol, and not just me overreacting to something in the text. I always reply that we know we're looking at a symbol when the author comes back to it again and again. Then an image is meant to take on more weight.

Today's Gospel would be a good illustration of this point. Again and again, we see blind people in this text, from the physically blind to the metaphorically blind. Again and again, the text returns to blindness. Clearly, we're meant to explore issues of our own blindness. It's not bad to do a spiritual inventory periodically. Where do we see evidence of God in our lives? Where are we blind to God's presence?

As I read the text for this week, I found myself getting to this point from a different angle. Look at how Jesus cures this blind man. He mixes dirt and spit (dirt and spit!) onto the man's eyes and instructs him to bathe. I'm not the first to be struck by the earthiness of this cure: the use of different elements (dirt, saliva, and water), the rootedness of the cure in the physical (Jesus doesn't cast a spell, for example, or call on angels), and the simplicity of it all.

It might make us think back to the Genesis story, of God forming the first humans out of dirt (Adam) and an extra rib (Eve). It might make us think of all the ways that God uses basic, earthbound elements in both creation and salvation.

Think of our sacraments, for example. There's baptism, the word bound with water. And the water doesn't come to us from some special source--it's not like we special-order it from the Holy Land. Well, perhaps some churches do, but that's a foolish use of money, if you ask me. It's not like those waters have special powers. The power comes from the word--and perhaps more importantly, from the words that the congregation offers. When we baptize someone, the whole congregation takes a vow to support that person--when you wonder why baptism is such a public event, and why some people are adamant that it not be separated from the service and the congregation, that's why. It's not a photo op. It's a sacrament.

Think about Holy Communion. I've been to many Holy Communions now. Some churches use wafers specially ordered from religious communities, but you don't have to do that. I've had Communion with pita bread, with challah, and once, with a pizza crust. I've had good wine, bad wine, and grape juice. Again, what's important is the symbol of the elements, mixed with the words. It's not just about memory--it's how God becomes present to us, through a mystery that we don't fully understand.

Sometimes, I think that Luther may have gone too far in a direction opposite of the Catholic church. I have Sacrament Envy. The longer that I am married, the more convinced I am that marriage is a sacrament. Through the love I experience from my husband, who loves me even though I am imperfect and often incapable of lasting reform--and forgives me, over and over, through these experiences, I get a glimpse of God's love. Of course, I could say the same thing about family members or close friends.

As we work our way through the Scriptures, think about how often God takes simple things and turns them into routes that can lead to salvation. The most stunning example, of course, is the story of the Incarnation. During weeks where I'm impatient with my own failing flesh, I'm even more astounded than usual that the Divine would take on this project.

And we, of course, can work similar magic. Open up your dinner table, and observe grace in action. Forgive freely, and watch redemption work. Pray for those who would do you wrong, and notice what happens. Get your fingers in the dirt and watch the flowers bloom later. Take some simple elements and envision them as sacramental, a symbolic route to God.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Will be held on Friday May 20th from 7PM to 8:30PM
Invitation Emails will be going out shortly. 
has transformed into a "Baccalaureate Service" during worship on Sunday May 15th at which we will honor and bless our high school and college grauates at this important moment in their life journey. Families with high school or college graduates are asked to contact the office, Pastor Keith or mark their worship slip.
Trinity Parking Lot
This Sunday April 3rd
8:30AM until 1 PM
Based upon your experiences this past week. We share a sampling of these in our weekly BLOG to encourage others in their walk with God; they are edited to maintain anonymity.

1. What discipline are you taking on for Lent?
Prayer Shawl Ministry
No sugar on anything
Trying to witness to strangers in my life
Reading the psalms more actively
Love my Neighbor (Care and Concerns)
Trusting God and trying to stress less (I am nt in charge).
Reading Scriptures more often
2. How has God blessed you in/through your discipline this past week?  
By reading the Bible
A mover stopped by church to drop something off for me and that inspired him to want to go to church.
Enjoyed reading some psalms over and over
Each week God has been so good to me!
To be able to minister to others who are sick, sad or lonesome; to hold a hand, listen and pray with them.
A friend prayed with me and for me and, of course, it all worked out.
Re-enforce the message of the Gospel and sharing it with our son
3. What obstacles do you face in holding to your Lenten discipline and may we pray for you for your Lenten journey?
Temptation by the devil and being stronger in the faith
Working two jobs.
Struggling in an unappreciative corporate climate
Making the time to carry on my Lenten Discipline.  
 How has Trinity helped to sustain you in your following of Christ in the world?
By attending Trinity, the closer I feel and get to God.
Encouragement and prayers!
The love, support, and consistency of non-judgment
Keeps the meaning of THE CHURCH in this church – serving and sharing

Saturday, March 26, 2011

People are talking about us.
You know us Christians.
They are not holding back. They say what is on their minds. They are blunt:
“Christians are so judgmental.”
 “You Christians, you are so judgmental,” they say.
That should give us pause.

Many years ago I assisted at a parish that was trying to rebuild its Sunday school. “Go see Mrs. B they told me. She used to run the Sunday school and she is the only one who can bring it back to what it once was.” So I found Mrs. B’s address in the old directory, put on my pastor collar and off I went.
Mrs. B had stopped attending the church before I had arrived, though she lived only a few blocks away from it. I stopped by one afternoon and introduced myself. After some chit chat about the weather, life and health, you know, the usual and safe things, I got down to it: “We are rebuilding the Sunday school,” I told her. “And I want you to run it.”  Her face was unreadable.

“I don’t even attend there anymore,” she said.
I was curious about that, so I asked her to tell me what had happened. She asked me if I wanted something to drink and after filling a tall glass with ice water, she began her story.
You see what Mrs. B used to do when she ran the Sunday school in that congregation was to collect and feed children. On her walk to church Sunday morning she would run into all of these neighborhood children and invite them to come to Sunday school and have breakfast. She bought a lot of the food and others donated some and the children of this poorer section of the city received a good breakfast and learned about God’s love for them in and through Christ Jesus (and I would add, through the faithful work of Mrs. B.

Let us recall the words of Jesus from this morning’s gospel reading:
But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.

Mrs. B walked those harvest fields every single day with her eyes wide open, taking it all in, and saw all of those hungry and unsupervised children and she got them off the streets. She got them off the streets and not only filled their stomachs with breakfast, but fed their souls with the good news. She kept her eyes open and she saw the potential for her faith to be active in love and then went to work.

Just like Jesus, what truly fed her faith was simply as Jesus puts it: to “do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.”  That is what she was doing on Sunday mornings collecting up all of those children: completing the work of the one who called her, saved her, and sent her out into the harvest field.
You and I might judge Mrs B. a saint to be honored and emulated – and for her passion for these children to be multiplied and repeated over and over again. But at her parish, you see, that is not exactly what happened. Some folks from the parish got wind of her ministry and began to feel uneasy. They began to see those children like stray cats – if you feed them, they might keep coming back and then you are responsible for them.  And they complained “Do we really want those children hanging around our children and our church?” And they grabbed the ears of those in authority, those who would listen, and breakfast was cancelled and the children stopped coming and Mrs. B., in anger and shame at what some in her congregation had done, left the church and the Sunday school fell apart.  And so there I was on Mrs B’s couch listening to her story and finding my own heart aching and shameful. Now I understood why that congregation’s Sunday school had collapsed. Not through neglect, but through failing to do the work of the one who had saved us, who had gathered us together and sent us out in mission.
What feeds our faith?
Is it doing “the will of the one who calls, gathers, saves and sends us out for the up-building of the Kingdom?

Doing that holy will of God may be understood broadly as fulfilling the two great commands of Jesus: To love and to make disciples.
That is “the Main Thing” in our lives as Christian people.  Problem is that all too often folks who bear the holy name of Jesus fail to keep the main thing, the main thing. Out in the harvest field – the one ripe and ready – the one in which Jesus invites as fellow harvesters for the up-building of the Kingdom – instead of delivery God’s word of promise in love, they bring a word of judgment and condemnation.  Trying to help someone grow in their walk with Jesus who does not even know Jesus by bringing words of judgment and condemnation, is let’s admit it, neither loving, nor faithful.  

Jesus sits down with this woman from Samaria – the Jews hated the people of Samaria – they didn’t have anything to do with them – these Samaritans didn’t know how to worship God in the right way – they had their own holy places, their own worship places and didn’t follow all of rules of the faith like the Jews did. But here is Jesus hanging out with this woman on a warm afternoon out in public where everyone could see them. Then we come to find out that this woman has been married five times and is now living with someone who is in fact not her husband. The shame of it! And we wait for Jesus’ mighty hammer of judgment to come down upon her with some guilty anticipation, but it does not come. We wait for Jesus to point out the error of her ways, but Jesus does not do this. He does not condemn her life or praise it – rather he keeps the main thing, the man thing. He is building a relationship so that she can hear the good news. He is building a relationship in love not judgment. He does this so that the walls of doubt might come down and faith might dwell richly in her heart. He does this so that she might become his disciple and enjoy the fullness of the Christian life in relationship with God through him. Jesus keeps the main thing, the main thing.
Out in the harvest field when we lead with judgment, rather than love as the foundation of our relationships with the people we find there, we deserve the scorn that we receive.
You Christians are so judgmental they say and they are correct, when we fail to lead with love.

Let love for God and neighbor guide our every moment, every word, every action, taking upon ourselves the very manner of Christ, so that we too, may with gracious and generous hearts do the will of the one who calls us, and gathers us and saves us and sends us out into the harvest. Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We are making preparations for Easter Morning Services (April 24th)
6:30AM Easter Sunrise – need greeters, readers, communion assistant
8AM Easter Service – need greeters, readers, acolytes, ushers, assisting minister, and soloists
11AM service - We are looking for some of our younger folks folks who desire to speak as part of our special Easter Morning Family Service or sing with the Young Persons Choir or some solo singing work during the service. (You do not need to just choose one – please indicate all that you or your young person is interested in)
We also need acolytes, families to greet, and an assisting minister.
The communion assistants are being put together separately.
Please let me know in the next few days and I will forward the info to Janean Baumal for the Choir and to Barbara Gilson for the solo work or assign you a speaking part myself.
Please remember to invite your friends for the Easter Morning Easter Egg Hunt and Young Persons Activities – begins at 9:30AM Easter Morning!
Ever in Christ

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, March 27, 2011:

First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7

Psalm: Psalm 95

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11

Gospel: John 4:5-42

If you didn't read much of the Bible, you might assume that Samaritans are good people; after all, wasn't the only person who stopped to help the traveler who was assaulted and left for dead, wasn't that person a Samaritan?

Yes, and that's part of the point of the story that many of us miss. Church officials didn't stop to help. The only person who did stop to help was one of the lowest people in the social stratosphere.

Actually, today's Gospel introduces us to one lower, a Samaritan woman. We know that she has low status because she's a Samaritan and because she's coming to the well later in the day. It would have been the custom to come early in the morning to socialize, and the fact that she doesn't come then speaks volumes. She's a woman in a patriarchal society and part of a group (Samaritans) who have almost no social status. It would only be worse if she was a prostitute or a slave.

Yet, Jesus has a long conversation with her, the longest that he has with anyone recorded in the New Testament. Here, again this week, Jesus is in Mystic mode. She asks questions, and he gives her complex answers.

But unlike Nicodemus, she grasps his meaning immediately. And she believes. She goes back to her city and spreads the good news. And her fellow citizens believe her and follow her back to follow Jesus. Notice how she has gone from isolation to community.

Jesus preaches to them and seems to include them, complete outsiders, in his vision of the Kingdom. Hence the good news: Jesus came for us all.

Years ago, I listened to NPR commemorate the 40th anniversary of Mr. Rodgers and the neighborhood that he created for so many children on PBS television. They played a clip of him speaking to the grown ups who had grown up watching him. He reminded us of what he had told us when we were children: "I like you just the way you are."

I felt tears well up from a deep, inside place. How seldom we hear that, either as children or as grown ups! How often are we exhorted to improve ourselves this way or that way. How relentlessly we quest for perfection.

In this Gospel, we hear a similar voice to Mr. Rodgers, the voice of Christ who will spend time with people who are completely outcast. We are never too lost for God. We don't have to improve ourselves to win salvation. God doesn't tell us that we'll win love if we just lose ten pounds or pray more often or work one more night in the soup kitchen or give away ten more dollars a week to worthy charities.

Jesus doesn't send the Samaritan woman back to town until he's made a connection with her. He doesn't say, "Hey, if you're at a well at noon, you must be a real slut, if the women won't even let you come to the well with them in the morning. Mend your slutty ways, and maybe I'll let you be part of my vision for the Kingdom."

No, he spends time with her and that's how he wins her over. He knows that humans can't change themselves in the hopes of some kind of redemption; we can’t even lose 10 pounds in time for our class reunion, much less make the substantial changes that will take us into a healthier older age. However, Jesus knows the path to true change; he knows that humans are more likely to change if they feel like God loves them and wants to be with them just the way they are. Jesus comes to say, “You’ve lived in the land of self-loathing long enough. Sit with me and talk about what matters.” That treatment might be enough to motivate us to behave like we are the light of the world.

Monday, March 21, 2011

This  Sunday, March 27th, following the 10:45AM service

Based upon your experiences this past week. We share a sampling of these in our weekly BLOG to encourage others in their walk with God; they are edited to maintain anonymity.

1. What discipline are you taking on for Lent?
More organization
Walking at Night
Walking in faith
Looming prayer shawls.
I am trying to praise others, instead of criticizing them
Reading the psalms more actively
Reading my daily Lent Devotion
Prayer Shawl Making
Love Your Neighbor (Care and Concern Team)
Daily bible Reading
No soda
Not spending on myself
More prayer, praying for others

2. How has God blessed you in/through your discipline this past week?  
I made 2 prayer shawls this week and brought them to church.
Improved relationships.
By allowing me time to spend with Him reflecting and praying
By allowing me time to spend with my grand daughter
Keeping me focused.
Flatter belly
More money to spend for bills and sharing

3. What obstacles do you face in holding to your Lenten discipline and may we pray for you for your Lenten journey?
Breaking old cycles/habits and remembering to be grateful instead.
Consistency with reading my Lenten Devotion
I am always feeling like I don’t have enough time.
Being selfish

 How has Trinity helped to sustain you in your following of Christ in the world?
Being a proud member of a fantastic, loving, Christ-serving church.
By inspiring me to seek a Lenten discipline
Just knowing that they are available if I need them.
I am pleased that out of state friends ask if I can send a prayer shawl to people they know who are in crisis.  
I enjoy coming to Trinity for occasional special services - the people, the staff, and the pastor are great!
Sunday, April 10th  
immediately following late service

While you’re waiting for your car,

why not come inside for a hot dog and soda? 

All donations help support our Trinity Youth to attend the
2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans!  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The funeral service for Emma Nichols who entered the Kingdom Triumphant on Friday the 18th of March will be held at Trinity Lutheran on Wednesday March 23rd at 11AM with a light lunch to follow in the hall. The lunch will be corrdinated by Earline LaCroix.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


ONE NIGHT A YEAR…we ask that the entire congregation come out along with their friends and family to stand BOLD for Justice. This year the Annual Nehemiah Action will take place on Thursday April 7th at 6:45PM at ST Clement Catholic Church in Wilton Manors (FT Lauderdale). Carpooling available, just let Janean or DPK know.  Service hours available for youth (check you individual school’s policy). Last year Trinity brought over 40 people – this year join us as we make history in (1) Broward County fighting for reading intervention in our elementary schools for those children who are struggling (who without reading help run a significant risk of not graduating from high school) and (2) in the State of Florida for greater implementation of the Drug Court Model that prevents our young people from becoming hardened criminals and will save our State tens of millions of dollars each year. A FREE LUNCH and information meeting will be held at Trinity on SUN APR 3rd at 12:15PM sponsored by Trinity’s Justice Ministry Team. You can sign up for the ACTION and the information Lunch on your worship slip!

Based upon your experiences this past week. We share a sampling of these in our weekly BLOG to encourage others in their walk with God; they are edited to maintain anonymity.

1. What discipline are you taking on for Lent?
Reading of the Bible more
Reading the Psalms
More Reflecting and prayer
Making Prayer Shawls
Reading the Bible Daily
More prayer time and Bible Time
Spiritual journaling with a camera
Knitting Prayer shawls
Praying more often
2. How has God blessed you in/through your discipline this past week?  
Just reminding me that he is in control
Focused with prayers while knitting had gotten me back knitting and reading the bible daily
By receiving a blessing by the leader at the last team meeting – humbling!

3. What obstacles do you face in holding to your Lenten discipline and may we pray for you for your Lenten journey?
Staying consistent
Just having a “stick to it” discipline
Staying focused during this journey

 How has Trinity helped to sustain you in your following of Christ in the world?
In a meaningful Ash Wednesday Service
Just by letting me know they care is very important.
Giving Us daily Bible readings
Being a part of Trinity’s family
By holding me up and spreading the Good News.
Just by offering support means a lot.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, March 20, 2011:

First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a

Psalm: Psalm 121

Second Reading: Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

Gospel: John 3:1-17

It's always interesting to come across a familiar verse in context. John 3:16 is one of those verses that many people can quote. And yet, we're at the end of centuries of disagreement about what it means. Does it mean that Jesus had to be crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, as many Christians will tell you? Does it mean that Jesus came to show us a different way of life, thus saving us, as many people uncomfortable with a sacrificial Jesus would have us believe? Does it mean that Jesus is the only way to the Divine? What about people who will never hear about Jesus? Will they go to Hell when they die?

John is the most mystical of the Gospels, and not surprisingly, Jesus acts as a mystic in this episode with Nicodemus. He's studying the Torah at night (first century Jews would recognize night as the time for serious study of the Torah). He asks Jesus serious questions, as a scholar would, and Jesus seems to give him nonsense answers about being born again.

Read what Jesus says again, and imagine how frustrating it must have been for Nicodemus. It's frustrating for me, and I come from a tradition that would be happy to explain it to me. I can talk about the ideas of Martin Luther with the best of them, the small and large Catechisms, and yet, Jesus seems to be offering mystical babble here.

These are the passages that I hate discussing with the confused and the non-believers. I'm a poet and an English major, so I don't have as much trouble getting my head around sacraments as more literal-minded folks do--but explaining it? That's a different matter.

Maybe we don't have to explain. I take part in all sorts of mysteries that I can't explain. I don't understand internal combustion engines, but I drive my car anyway, and I have faith that it will work. I can't explain how electricity is generated or how it powers all the things that make my life easy, but that doesn't stop me from turning on the lights when it's dark.

Advent and Lent are two times of the liturgical year when I am most conscious that I'm participating in a mystery--and therefore, I can't explain everything, especially not to the satisfaction of non-believers. I can't even explain it to me. As Jesus says, "The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."

I have faith in being born again, although I might define that differently than my fundamentalist friends. Each day is like a new opportunity, a new birth, a new chance to re-align myself towards God. Each day, God wants to come be with me, and each day, I get to decide whether or not that will happen. Even if I go through a period of not living as mindfully as I'd like, I can start again, whenever I choose. And these liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent remind us of the need to turn and return to God.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Register today and join our Trinity Lutheran Church Team on March 19th!

If you're the kind of person who's not going to sit on the sidelines when there's a chance to change the future, then you're the person we need.

When you register for the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk®, you're joining a nationwide community of thousands of people who are standing up and participating in the fight against this devastating disease. Your journey to end Alzheimer's starts here – and it's so easy.

Memory Walk is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, Memory Walk has raised more than $260 million for the cause.

All Memory Walk donations benefit the Alzheimer's Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

If the process below doesn’t work for you, call Ron at 954-423-9215 for help with registration!

Steps to register online for the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk on Sat., March 19, at Hollywood North Beach Park (east end of Sheridan St.):

1. Go to www.memorywalks.com.
2. Click on Broward 2011 Memory Walk.
3. Click on Sign Up.
4. Read Waiver/Agreement and click on “I agree.”
5. Click on “Join a Team.”
6. Find “Trinity Lutheran Church” in the team list, and click on “Join Team.”
7. Complete registration form.
8. Get confirmation, click on continue, and arrive at your own personal Memory Walk headquarters, then follow further instructions to help in raising funds for the cause.
MARCH 13th 2011 SERMON

Service in Commemoration of those whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer’s and Other Memory Disorders.

2 KINGS 2: 1-12
I knocked hesitatingly on the door to Pete’s room, there at the end of the hall, last door on the right; I there in my clergy collar shirt and the ill-fitting jacket that had been handed down to me by my father, dress codes and all. It was my half of the hallway in the 69 bed medical unit of a large Methodist retirement complex in central Pennsylvania, where as a seminary student I was serving as a chaplain trainee that summer. Folks ended up in the medical unit for a number of reasons – but a lot of them were recovering from medical procedures or had suffered strokes or were in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“Come in,” the voice, hoarse with age and hard working years called out as soon as my hand touched the door. I found Pete sitting in a chair, but quickly he rose to greet me. I began talking, asking questions, inquiring about his health and general nervous chit chat, but Pete wasn’t interested in talking. Gently, he lifted my sleeve, measuring the length of the jacket, tugging it to its full length towards the end of my hand. His eyes said, “Too long.” Next, he squared my shoulders and pulled at the corners of the jacket. “Too wide,” now his head shaking back and forth in disappointment. “A bad fit,” he said. “Leave it with me and I will fix it.”

A quick scan of his room revealed a carefully made bed with a handmade quilt, the kind made of colorful crocheted squares, on top. A small dresser, a night stand, framed photos, the room simple and neat. I had no idea how he intended to tailor an old Sears Arnold Palmer brand jacket, a size too big for my 32 year old frame.

A bad fit,” he said. “Leave it with me and I will fix it.” Then as an afterthought, “Whoever did this, they know nothing. Nothing. You should have come to me.”

It was the farewell tour of a sort for Elijah with his prophet heir-apparent, Elisha, in tow. At every town they approached, Elijah would gently suggest that Elisha stay put while he would go forward. But Elisha could not let Elijah go. Couldn’t bear the thought of the bonds of friendship and mentorship being severed. So Elisha followed Elijah to Bethel, to Jericho and finally to Jordan. And in each town, a whole company of prophets would go out and meet them, reminding Elisha that that day, his master would be taken from him. As if he needed anyone, especially some fifty-odd people, to remind him of his private fear. And as they entered Bethel and Jericho and Jordan Elisha must have wondered, had to have wondered: “Would this town be our last time together? Would this town separate us and leave only the memories of what was?”

A few weeks later I found myself once again knocking hesitantly on the door to Pete’s room, just down the hall from another early Alzheimer patient, a minister, who thought that it was 1945 and almost the day of his wedding. Pastor Day was quite excited, about to marry his childhood sweetheart, and begin his ministerial career. He was so glad that I could attend the wedding. I excused myself and moved on down the hall, my mind reeling, I found the door to Pete’s room open, his wife having come for a visit.

I poked my head in and saw them sitting close, at peace, smiling. The old Italian tailor and his bride of nearly 60 years. The moment was too sacred for me to interrupt, so I apologized and said something about stopping by later and hurried away, me wearing a different jacket, hoping that this one fit a bit better for his liking.

The time had nearly arrived for Elijah. We read: “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you." Elisha said, "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit." Elisha wanted the greatest gift to be passed on. To be able to remember and put into practice in his own life all that was in Elijah’s life, to receive the fullness of Elijah’s legacy and honor him by embodying that legacy in his own life. "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit," he asks. Figured, we imagine, that a single share wouldn’t be enough, so much greater was his master, than he, Elisha, would need more just to get by.

Pastor Day’s daughter called: she was coming to visit. The summer heat had given way to a beautiful day and Pastor Day and I met her outside. She wanted to wheel him around a bit and spend some time with him; to walk and talk and remember. It didn’t occur to me until much later what it must be like for her, never knowing if the next visit would be the one in which he could no longer recall her name or remember who she was. It didn’t occur to me until much later if during each visit – at the moment that she stepped out of the car - if she heard the sound of voices in her head declaring: “Today he will be taken from you.” And then I wondered about Pete, if his wife thought the safe thing. If she worried that the next visit would be the one in which the old tailor would have forgotten her, thought her a nurse or just another kind soul come for a visit. If the next visit he would forget to take in the fit of her clothes, measure them with his eyes, and offer to adjust them so that they fit just right.

More than memory, more than love, more than life itself, something else binds us together against the forces that seek to tear us from one another: time and distance, Alzheimer’s and dementia, even death itself. That priceless treasure is God’s promise for us in and through Christ Jesus, our Savior. Through God’s gift of grace in Christ, we know that nothing separates us from the love of God. Likewise: we know, trust and believe with our whole hearts that nothing can separate us from one another, bound together as we are in Christ. As memory fades and years add upon years until death comes, we are still bound together in Christ who will never forget who we are and whose we are. Through Christ we live in the promise that the day shall come when all that diminishes us will come to an end; when all that leaves us broken and fearful and sad shall come to an end; when the burden of forgetting and the burden of caring for those who forget will fade until it diminishes into nothingness to be replaced by peace of the heavenly garden, the joy of the heavenly banquet, the waters where Christ bids us recline in peace and rest our weary souls and we find ourselves restored once more. We are bound to one another, even as we are bound to Christ and nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Whatever we may in time forget; whoever our loved ones may in time forget; let used cling with fierce determination and fearless hope that in Christ we will never be forgotten. The promise in which were marked and sealed in our baptisms never fades, never fails, always is remembered. Thanks be to God!
Elder Helpline 954-745-9779
Elder Helpline TDD 954-745-5689
Alzheimer's Association 24-Hour Hotline 1-800-272-3900
Meyerhoff Senior Center, Hollywood 954-966-9805
Southwest Focal Point Senior Center, Pembroke Pines 954-450-6888
Aging & Disability Resource Center 954-745-9567

Friday, March 11, 2011

See the letter through the below link that explains the devastating effects of pending legislation in Tallahassee concerning our immigrant population.
From Deuteronomy:
For the LORD your God is God of gods and LORD of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe...and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the earthquake and Tsunami  that struck Japan this day

Excerpts from Psalm 46

God is 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.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


MARCH 20th join us for a wonderful Celtic Service at 8AM and 10:45AM
At 12:15PM there will be HOMEMADE Shepherd’s Pie (by the church’s famous cooks), salads and fruit (by the Healthy Team) and desserts! Tickets go on sale this Sunday, March 13th. All this for $6 adults and $3 children ages 3-10!
Wear your green and join in the fun!
Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, March 13, 2011:

First Reading: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

Psalm: Psalm 32

Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19

Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

This week's Gospel tells us the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. Notice that Jesus is human in his temptations: he is tempted by the ideas of fame, power, and immortality.

In her book, Things Seen and Unseen, Nora Gallagher points out that Jesus will indeed accomplish these things that Satan asks him to do. Jesus will reverse these days in the desert: he will multiply bread, he will hurl himself from the cliff of his crucifixion and be caught by angels, he will be worshipped, but by humbling himself in service (page 85).

Of course, we, too are tempted. We are tempted as a church. We want to be powerful. Many of us look back to a time when the church in America was a social force, when everyone went, and not just once a week. We want to be important. We want to be the megachurch, not the small church.

Just as Jesus went to the desert as a spiritual quest, the church, too, needs a time of discernment to discover the kind of church we want to become. And we, as individual humans, need to spend some time in the wilderness as we wrestle temptations.

Gallagher says that we face the same kinds of temptations that Jesus did: “Magical powers, helplessness, rescue, fame and power—they beckon me every day of my life. Just around the corner lies happiness; a new lover will provide lasting bliss; if I had what she has then I would be . . . They are the fantasies, the illusions, that suck out my vitality, that keep me from discovering my own rich reality. To come to terms with illusion is one of the great jobs of our lives: to discern what is fantasy and what is reality, what is dead and what is alive, what is narcotic and what is food” (page 84).

We may want to tell ourselves that Jesus could resist temptations because of his Divine side. But I would posit that Jesus' special powers of resistance were less about his supernatural side, and more about his spiritual discipline. He's in the wilderness, making a retreat to pray, when he’s tempted. He resists. Throughout the life of Jesus, we see him hard at work honing his powers through his spiritual practices.

Here's the good news. These practices are available to you, as well. Great disciples are not born, they are created. How? We turn ourselves into great disciples the same way that a doughy person transforms himself or herself into a great athlete, the same way that a creative person becomes a great artist. We show up, day after day, logging the training miles, working on our art. And soon enough, we wake up to find out that we've transformed ourselves into a person with new powers.

The season of Lent begins, that season of penitence and discipline. Now is the time to attend to your spiritual life. What practices will you adopt to become a great spiritual athlete? You’ve got a wide variety to choose from. You could give something up: gossip, worry, sugar, alcohol, excessive Internet time, caffeine, chocolate, speeding, more money to your tithe. You could add something: additional Bible reading, more devotional time, prayer, a creative practice. Spend some time in discernment. What one practice could you choose that would bring you closer to God by the time that we get to Easter?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Blow the trumpet in Zion; Sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.

And so we have
Gathered here tonight,
The young and the old, the married and single
Children, young people, those aging and aged, twilight-yeared and nearing the sunset of their lives. The whole and the broken,
People of many languages and origins
Of many different stages on their journey of faith, believers, probably some doubters, too.

This is not a night of celebration, but we will be gathered into celebration.
This is not a night of joy but we will surrender to it certainly.
This is not a night of gladness but we will discover our hearts lifted to it.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; Sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.

And so we have and here we are –
Ready to rend our hearts before our God, to hearken to the invitation in humble acknowledgement and receive the mark of our own limitation, of our own finiteness: we are dust and to dust we shall return.
Let the ashes humble us -
See the magnificent cities, buildings scraping the skies, housing millions and art collections and universities, commerce and symphonies; the awesome machines that make and create , perform surgery and win on Jeopardy; the unraveled genome whispering tantalizing possibilities of who we are and might someday be; the atom split into parts of parts of parts, smashed into the boundaries of knowledge. See our view beyond solar system and galaxy into the dark corners of the edge of light.

But let the ashes humble us – the badge of humility, a sign of our own mortality.
We are dust and to dust we shall return.
And we can do nothing.

We who partake in the global financial markets and the 24/7 economy; who can download ten thousand songs into an ipod smaller than a month old bar of soap or Skype a person and video chat whether they be next door or ten time zones away all at the touch of a button.

We are dust and to dust we shall return.
And we can do nothing.

All the probiotics in the world, drink our selves silly with sippable yogurt infused with such things, eschew red meat and all meat and gouge ourselves on whole grains and root vegetables and drink Pomegranate juice and sip our red wine for our hearts.

Run, walk, treadmill, spin, yoga and jumping ourselves and find some blessing of fitness and a fuller life today and tomorrow, but still in the march of time we still become food for worms, ash and dust.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; Sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.

And so we have
Gathered here tonight,
An assembly.
Will we accept the invitation to rend our hearts, lay them bear, in humility
Before our God?
Asking for forgiveness?
Asking for forgiveness
Knowing that we have fallen so far short of all that God hopes and intends for us to be?
And that somehow that truth on our knees before our God allows us to gather more fully in the shadow of the cross and behold the one who has gone before us
In our likeness, in full humility giving himself up for us.
To behold more fully the one who did not become ash for all finality, who did not become dust for all eternity, in rising on that third and sanctified day, in power and promise breaking the cycle of death for you, for me, for the world,
Jesus our Savior and Redeemer.

Let the ashes humble us – the badge of humility, a sign of our own mortality.
We are dust and to dust we shall return.
And we can do nothing.
But there is one who can do something, who had done something, who broke the power of sin and death. Who humbled himself and in his own willful submission to God saved us all.
There is one, signed in the ashes, in the cross, in the dust. Behold the mark we leave with this evening, but we will we bear that mark within our hearts where it dwells more deeply, affixed and permanent calling us, especially these 40 days, to lives of turning to Jesus, of turning to Jesus, of turning to Jesus in repentance, humility, and more an everlasting hope, and enduring promise and a future that cannot be taken away – affixed in our very souls. Will we leave this night with that mark, the deeper mark, the one that cannot be seen, yet will be seen in every word, every action, every relationship, ever waking hour of our lives?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


“Reflecting on Our Faith” is a sampled collection of reflections left and written by worshippers at Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines, on their Sunday morning worship slips based upon their experiences during the previous week. We share a sampling of these in our weekly BLOG and elsewhere to encourage others in their walk with God; however, names and other information referenced in the reflections are abbreviated or deleted altogether in order to maintain anonymity.

Where have you seen God
working this week?
Feeding of the Homeless with my family
My cousin has been a beautiful hostess and witness of God’s love.
I’ve seen God working in my family
At my home.
In an acquaintance’s healing when it was doubtful.

In healing and coping with bad news
God blessed a friend in raising money for van repairs
In a caregiver support group.
We missed being in the big accident on I-95 by a minute

Where Did God use someone else to bless you this week (whether they knew it or not)?
God provided for my mom to visit, just when I needed her most
Here in Hollywood.
God used my family to bless me this week
At 1st Christian Church in FT Lauderdale
Two co-workers stepped up to help with a major project.
“B” made special dinners
Through the ministry of Trinity’s Care and Concern Team

Where did God use you to bless someone else this week?
By sharing words of wisdom from God with friends
At Bible Study
I lent a friend some money for their rent – so that he wouldn’t be penalized for paying late.
Helped a colleague finish her task before her Sabbath began.
I used my talents to help a new friend.
Made dinner for a friend.
In my job.

By offering my prayers to others that need it.
Presence of the Holy Spirit during worship.
In a wholesome BUNCO social gathering.
By being the kind of church we believe Christ wants – a giving church
By giving me a multitude of ways to reflect on Christ and to reflect Christ in the world.

Monday, March 07, 2011

APRIL 22nd 2011
email Pastor Keith
drpk@earthlink.net if interested
Good Friday Noon

Greeter and Assisting Minister 

(read and extinguish the tenebrae Candles)


Good Friday 7:30PM
Assisting Minister ONE
Assisting Minister TWO
Usher Coordinator

(Read and extinguish a Tenebrae candle)
Do not forget to set your clocks ahead this Saturday night one hour before you go to sleep!
Here's a Lenten Discipline: Read the Bible Daily!
The ELCA has a daily Bible reading posted each day here:

Or just go to our BLOG where the daily Bible reading may be found along with the link to the ELCA page

Friday, March 04, 2011

SERMON for Sunday March 6th
Matthew 17:1-9
Transfiguration of Our Lord Sunday

When I was a teen a visitor came to our youth group meeting one night. The visitor came to sell us on the idea of going to Pinecrest, a Lutheran camp held each summer at Camp Beisler in the mountains of New Jersey. The idea of going to church camp didn’t appeal to most of the group, actually to none of the group at first. Not a single one. At 16, our lives were busy with much more important and interesting things than spending a week doing churchy stuff, even in the mountains.

Then the guest told us that were three girls for every guy and I know that you would all be surprised to hear that after he said that, that he had some eager takers. It’s a wonder that they didn’t put that statistic in the brochure.

And so a few months later, while my friends hit the beach, I was off to the mountains, a bit naive about church camp, but with a very open mind.

Truly, the camp was in the mountains and they were breathtaking. And there in the mountains I experienced a different kind of mountain top experience than I was expecting. Yes, there were three girls to every guy. And yes we square danced with them and sat with them around the fire and probably fell in love every night. But believe it or not, this teen encountered Jesus there in a way that I had never before. Surrounded by a hundred other teens singing and shouting and weeping praises, sitting in small group Bible study among adults who cared more about our faith formation than it seemed like anything else in the world; there on the mountain walking alone and experiencing the presence of God in the early morning song of birds and the breaking dawn; discussing matters of faith well into the night with new and already dear friends - it was powerful, prayerful, holy. We wanted to capture that moment, to freeze our life right there, to preserve that joy so that it would hold us forever in its embrace. We never wanted to leave the mountain.

Perhaps you have had an experience like that – an experience where Jesus broke into your life and touched your heart and your spirit so deeply and so passionately that you prayed that the very moment would never end.

Such moments can happen at any stage of our life, in any place and at any time.

One moment our life is as it always has been and the next moment we find ourselves swept away to the top of the mountain. And we believe, sometimes, that that is what our faith is supposed to be – a moment of dazzling mountaintop faith frozen in time forever.

Jesus took James and John and Peter up the mountain, all the way to the top. And there Jesus was transfigured, changed before their eyes. And they saw Jesus like no one else on earth had seen him. His clothes were whiter than white, bathed in a pure and brilliant light. And Elijah and Moses were there too!

Much more awesome than Old Timer’s Day at the ballpark, let me tell you! The experience was so wondrous, so awe-inspiring that Peter could only ramble on about wanting to build shelters for them. Maybe, if he built dwellings they would stay! Wouldn't that be cool Peter and James and John could just stay there on the mountaintop with Jesus shining brighter than the brightest thing on earth and Moses and Elijah telling their stories of the good old days! It was the stuff of dreams, but they weren’t dreaming. I bet they pinched each other a dozen times, don’t you? “Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming - there’s Elijah and Moses” “No, you pinch me – I think I’M dreaming – Jesus is shining brighter than the sun, itself!” And so on.

And before Peter can gather even a few twigs to put his master plan for preserving his mountaintop joy forever, God speaks from a cloud: "This is my Son, my beloved, and with him I am well-pleased."

And somewhere in the back of our minds – an alarm goes off – “Hey, we’ve heard those words before! God said those words at Jesus’ Baptism!” And then we just can’t help ourselves – it is like the Fourth of July in our minds – Fireworks! - connections just start to form - We began to understand who Jesus is and who we are: we, the baptized, who rise with Christ to new life. We began to consider that we, too, are the beloved of God. That we, too, are dear to God's heart. Now at the end of Epiphany, with Lent just a few days away, God speaks again: "This is my Son, my beloved, and with him I am well-please. Listen to him!" And we, my friends, are all ears.

And the first thing that we hear is the sound of the disciples faces hitting the turf, they doing what everyone seems to do in the presence of God, they fall to their faces and tremble.

When they finally lift up their eyes, Moses and Elijah are gone and things seem to be returning to normal. Peter, his hands we imagine still clutching a few precious sticks, lets them drop slowly to the ground. It is time to head down the mountain.

The last day of Lutheran camp there we were around the flag pole – arm in arm, singing one last song together, tears pouring down our cheeks, and wondering if we could even live down below the mountain having been bathed in the powerful mountain top presence of God for six straight days.

It sure seems that Peter loved the mountaintop, too.
But Peter and James and John were led by Jesus down the mountain to the valley road which will end on another hill much less scenic. If we listen to Jesus, as God’s voice from the cloud commands us to, then we will follow Jesus. To listen is to follow and Jesus is heading to a garbage dump on a hillside outside of Jerusalem. A place called Golgotha.

Are you ready to climb another hill? Are you ready to stay with Jesus, sitting in the shadow of the cross, again with two guests at Jesus' side? Instead of Moses and Elijah, we will have two criminals in our midst. Can you and I look upon the cross and the man hanging there on our behalf? What will we see reflected as we gaze upon the dying eyes of Jesus? Do we shout like the others walking by – “Comedown from the cross if you are the Son of God!” Not to mock, but so Jesus can lead us back to another mountain, to another time and place where all was perfect and beautiful and we were at peace in our faith.

On which mountain do we want to dwell?
It is not a rhetorical question.
Peter, James, John, they wanted that mountain of Transfiguration. Wanted it bad. Moses and Elijah and the brilliant shining light of the heavens upon Jesus’ face.
What does it say to us – what does it say about the nature of the Christian faith – our faith - that Jesus points them and us to another mountain top where the shadow of the cross is already lengthening?

We step off from this Sunday into our journey of Lent, God’s gift for us to consider the question of the two mountains and why when all is said and done, neither is our final home.
On Sunday March 13, at 8AM and 10:45AM, Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines, invites the entire community to its third annual service in commemoration of those whose lives are touched by Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. It will be a service of reflection and remembering, singing and prayer, and include a blessing for those participating in this year's Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk®. An exhibition in photos and words: "Isolation Unveiled: Refocusing Alzheimer's and Care Giving" on loan from the Meyerhoff Senior Center, Hollywood, Florida, will be displayed.

People are encouraged to bring in photos of their loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer's disease or memory loss for a special display for the service.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, as many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s roughly the population of Minnesota and greater than the populations of 25 other states. Approximately 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's in their lifetime and every 71 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in this country. The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year.

The Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk® is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research and it calls on people of all ages to take action in the fight.
Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines invites the entire community to its second annual Celtic Worship Service in commemoration of St Patrick’s Day to be held on Sunday March 20th at 8AM and 10:45AM. This service features elements of worship developed by the Wild Goose Worship Group and its friends from the Iona Community in Scotland as well as Celtic-based tunes for a number of hymns and other traditional Celtic worship elements. A Shepherd’s Pie lunch follows the 11:45AM worship service for a modest cost.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

SUNDAY MARCH 6th from 9:30AM until 10:30AM
Come out and munch on some of Pastor Keith's fresh made beignets while seeing what opportunities are available to take on a Lenten Discipline  - a commitment for the season of Lent to help you grow deeper in your relationship with God.

You see, when I was growing up everyone used to say that they were giving up desserts for Lent
But, more often than not there was no reflection on how God was a part of that discipline. How one's faith could grow deeper through the intentional sacrifice of desserts. It was just something folks figured they should do. 

A Lenten discipline should have three parts to it (I know, how Trinitarian!)
(1) It should involve an action (like praying daily, or reading Scripture or faith journaling or taking a walk with God
(2) It should involve Reflection. Where does God meet me in this action? What is God through this action inviting me to do? How am I through this action drawing more deeply into God's love? And so forth.
(3)  God (of course).
(And if you like four legged stools instead of three you can always add  prayer as a separate thing)

Lent begins ASH WED. So why not join us this Sunday, March 6th, from 9:30AM to 10:30AM and see if any of our ideas stir your thoughts towards taking on a Lenten discipline.

Me? I'll be meeting God in the garden these 40 days of Lent. Look for my reflections in the new and revamped "Reflecting on Our Faith" portion of our worship slip where you, too, can share some insights of your Lenten journey.

Free fun for the all ages!!!