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The SE corner of Pines Blvd and 72nd Ave
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Advent Meditation on Joseph

The reading for Sunday, December 17, 2017: Matthew 1:18-25 This Sunday we read about an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. We've no...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, May 1, 2011:


First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 22-32

Psalm: Psalm 16

Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Gospel: John 20:19-31


Now we enter that interesting post-Easter time, when Jesus has returned, but he's not quite the same as he was before. He can make sudden appearances and come into rooms without opening the door. He vanishes the same way too.

But clearly, he's not gone over completely to the spirit world. This is not a ghost that people are seeing. Jesus still has wounds. And Jesus can still eat. In fact, that's one way that people realize they're in the presence of the Lord, one way that they recognize him (more on that when we get to the Road to Emmaus lesson).

These passages have fueled many a church argument about the kind of man Jesus was, both before his crucifixion and after. You may have had similar arguments with people over Easter week-end, arguments about the nature of the Resurrection. Did Jesus have a bodily resurrection? Or were grief-stricken disciples and followers suffering mass delusions?

Or maybe you haven't had these conversations. I found myself feeling increasingly lonely during Holy Week. At least during Advent, the whole world gets involved in Christmas madness. It's hard to keep a sacred Christmas, but at least people understand. During the past month, I've had lots of conversations to explain Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday to people. Lots of my colleagues seemed surprised that Easter was upon us. I realized what a secular society we've really become, as I slipped away to church again and again in the same week (I thought of monks, who worship several times a day, and wished for a similar community).

In the coming weeks, I plan to take comfort in the stories of Jesus' continuing presence in his followers' lives. Not even death keeps him away from the supper table. I like the fact that many of these appearances seem to have been subtle, especially since people didn't even recognize him at first, in many instances.

I must confess that I like the idea of a subtle appearance, because lately, I haven't been feeling the presence of God in an explosive way. I want to run through the Easter dawn yelling out that the Lord has risen. But most days, I just don't have the energy.

That's O.K. Jesus will wait for me on the beach (a different post-Easter Gospel in a different liturgical cycle) as I go about my daily work. Jesus will build the fire and cook me breakfast. Jesus will walk with me wherever I need to go and talk to me. I don't have to be lit with an Easter energy for Jesus to want to be with me.

These gospels give us an even more wonderful promise. I can be full of doubt, and Jesus will appear and let me touch his wounds, if that's what it takes. I can denounce Jesus, and if I ask for forgiveness, Jesus will grant it. I can fail to recognize Jesus in the garden, and unlike other humans, Jesus will stay with me as long as it takes until I get it. I give up on myself long before Jesus would. Happily, as with the best human relationships, Jesus' faith in me will see me through my dark times when I don't believe in myself and can't see that life can ever get better.

That's part of the Good News that Easter grants us. We're redeemed, and God's kingdom has already begun to break through the grave-dark night.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR A FENCE COMPANY NEEDED
Parsonage Fence might not last the season and we seeking quotes for its replacement.
Please contact Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Ron McCoy or Pastor Keith if you have a solid recommendation
for a reputable and reasonable choice with which you have had experience.
LAST CALL
FOR MOTHER-DAUGHTER BANQUET TICKETS! Absolute deadline is THIS SUNDAY MAY 1st.
Tickets may be purchased for Adults-$12. and children 3-10 -$6.
Banquet will be at Trinity on Friday May 6th at 6:30PM
Questions? Contact Earline, Lila or SAM

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, April 24, 2011:


First Reading: Acts 10:34-43

First Reading (Alt.): Jeremiah 31:1-6

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

Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4

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

Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10

Gospel (Alt.): John 20:1-18
Finally we move through Holy Week to Easter Sunday. At last, our Lenten pilgrimage draws to a close.

But perhaps you still linger back at Ash Wednesday. Perhaps you find the Good Friday texts more evocative than the Easter texts. It's interesting how our emotional lives aren't always in sync with the liturgical seasons or the Lectionary.

This year might be particularly tough with so many of us out of work, and those of us who remain employed in fear of losing our jobs. This year might be the year that the anniversary of a death of a loved one falls right smack on Easter day. This year might be the year that someone we love faces a tough medical diagnosis or recovery. The world offers so many impediments to our joy.

The stories we hear during Holy Week remind us of how to move from lives that have been reduced to ash back to lives full of resurrection. This year, the Maundy Thursday story speaks to me, perhaps because I've just reread Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith.

She observes, as many theologians have, that the teachings of Jesus revolve around the things we do, not the things we believe. The Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed came much later in Christianity. Long before we had creeds, we had Jesus saying, "Do this. Now do this. Now do this." We are to feed the hungry, care for the sick, protect the widows and orphans. Taylor comments on the Last Supper: "With all the conceptual truths in the universe at his disposal, he did not give something to think about together when he was gone. Instead, he gave them concrete things to do--specific ways of being together in their bodies--that would go on teaching them what they needed to know when he was no longer around to teach them himself" (43). We have "embodied sacraments of bread, wine, water, and feet" (44).

I have an atheist friend who says she envies me my belief. I argue that my beliefs come because of my practice, and that she could enter into spiritual practices, and she would be a different person in a year. She proclaims not to believe me, but she also refuses to try my experiment. Marcus Borg, in The Heart of Christianity, says "We become what we do" (192). Holy Week reminds us of what we are called to do.

We are called to break bread together, to drink wine together. We are called to invite the outcast to supper with us. We are called to care for each other's bodies--not to sexualize them or mock them or brutalize them, but to wash them tenderly. Thus fortified, we are called to announce that the Kingdom of God is breaking out among us in the world in which we live, and we are called to demand justice for the oppressed.

Of course, Holy Week reminds us of the risk. Jesus was crucified--that was a capital punishment reserved for those who were considered a threat to the state, people who would foment rebellion, for example. The world does not often respond kindly to the call for social justice.

But Easter promises us that our efforts will not be in vain. N. T. Wright's book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, is a great Easter text (I've underlined something on almost every page), and Wright says forcefully, " . . . what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff" (208). We may not understand how God will transform the world. We may not be able to believe that bleakness will be defeated. But Easter shows us God's promise that death is not the final answer.

Spring reminds us that nature commits to resurrection. Easter reminds us of God's promise of resurrection. Now is the time for us to rekindle our resurrection selves.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meditation on This Week's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott



The readings for Sunday, April 17, 2011:

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16

Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

Gospel: Matthew 26:14--27:66

Gospel (Alt.): Matthew 27:11-54


Those of you who have been going to church for awhile may have noticed that Palm Sunday sometimes stretches for a longer time than Easter Sunday. There's so much we cover these days. We start with the Palm Sunday story--some churches actually have their congregants start out seated, then they rise and march around the church, either inside or outside, and then they sit down again. And then, when they get to the readings, they hear the whole story of the Passion. We get Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday all in one Sunday. It's almost a relief to show up on Easter and only have to deal with one part of the story.

I know that churches stay with this approach because it's so hard to get people to return to church on weeknights. Part of me thinks that it wouldn't hurt us to hear the Crucifixion story a few more times throughout the year than we currently do. Many of us lose sight of what God suffers for us, and the Crucifixion story makes it very clear. The Crucifixion story should also serve as a warning for us--it may be our fate, if we live our Christian call to the fullest (the history of civilizations shows that governments are very threatened by people who actually want to live their faith all the time--and threatened governments tend to crush the things which make them feel threatened).

Part of me, of course, is sad that people can't make the effort to get to church more often, especially during our highest Holy days. Part of me longs to be part of a more Orthodox tradition, a faith stream that demands more of me. The Eastern Orthodox worshiper observes Lent in a way that most of us never will, with more and longer church services and fasting and other strictures.

Let me also admit that most years, I've had to work during the evenings of Holy Week, so I've been one of those people who couldn't make it back in the evenings. I've made an effort to find services elsewhere, but it's not always easy. Most churches have curtailed their Holy Week offerings precisely because of dwindling attendance.

Part of me gets surly during Palm Sunday service, too, because it's long and familiar and I start to feel like I've heard it before--which makes it interesting when pastors or readers lose their place in the reading, and suddenly, we're in new territory--I've even been to a service where the Pastor read the Good Friday lesson in place of the Palm Sunday section, so we got to hear the Crucifixion story twice. Part of me is surly because I haven't done a very good job with my Lenten disciplines this year. It started off so well: I made a prayer shawl, and I did some meditating with the camera. But now, I'm lucky to get a chance to read my special Henri Nouwen meditation each morning.

But instead of feeling like a failure as Lent ends, instead of feeling grumpy because the lessons are familiar, maybe we should take advantage of these long Passion Sunday readings. Maybe we should meditate on the journey of Jesus and the metaphor of our own journey.

Palm Sunday, which is now called Passion Sunday, reminds us of life's journey. No one gets to live the triumphal entry into Jerusalem day in and day out. If we're lucky, there will be those high water mark periods; we'll be hailed as heroes and people will appreciate our work. All the transportation and dinner details will work out like we want them to. Our friends will be by our side.

Yet the Passion story reminds us that those same appreciative people can turn on us just as quickly. The cheering crowd today can be the one calling for our blood next week. If we're lucky, we'll have friends who stand by us, but we're also likely to suffer all kinds of betrayals (from our friends, from our governments, from any number of societal institutions, and ultimately from our bodies, our all too fragile flesh).

So, if you're feeling like an utter failure, take heart. And if you've had a meaningful Lent, then you've got a good base on which to build.

Soon we enter the long season of post-Pentecost. It's a long time until Advent, when the Church traditionally turns again to the idea of marking a season (either by special disciplines or special observances). But that doesn't mean that we can't work on our own.

A year from now, when you look back at your journey from Easter to Easter, what do you hope you will see? What path can you follow now that will lead to the changes that you seek?

Perhaps these questions make you tired. Start small. A Trappist monk once suggested that we'd all be better if we prayed the Lord's Prayer once a day and read one chapter from the Bible once a day, we'd see amazing changes.

That seems doable. I can turn away from all the worldly distractions for as long as it takes to read a Bible chapter. It takes less than a minute to pray the Lord's Prayer.

And this Sunday, while we're hearing the story of Jesus' journey, I'll think about the other possibilities of paths I could follow to transform my life so that it's more like Christ's. Maybe if I'm contemplating this question, I'll hear the story in new ways.

Monday, April 11, 2011


REFLECTING ON OUR LENTEN FAITH JOURNEY
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?
Praying/Reflecting More
No Sugar
Making the church grounds look better

2. How has God blessed you in/through your discipline this past week?  
He has reminded me how he is the head of my life
By being more spiritual in my faith to God
Gave me the ability to do those things

3. What obstacles do you face in holding to your Lenten discipline and may we pray for you for your Lenten journey?
Staying consistent
That the devil might tempt my faith.
To stay healthy

 How has Trinity helped to sustain you in your following of Christ in the world?
It has reminded me that they are there as a listening post if I need it!
By doing God’s work and praying from my heart and through the Holy Spirit.
Friends and teachings at Trinity
By providing opportunities to help in the community that we would otherwise not be participating in.
THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED "KICK OFF" OUR FUND RAISING EFFORTS TO SUPPORT THE TEENS AT OUR NEXT ELCA YOUTH GATHERING IN 2012.

WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO, BUT THROUGH YOUR CONTINUED GRACIOUS GENEROSITY, EVERY ELIGIBLE YOUTH WILL BE ABLE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND.

A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MARTY POTTER AND THE VEGA FAMILY FOR THEIR DEDICATION OF BRINGING THIS ALL TOGETHER AND MAKING IT HAPPEN!!!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

MAJESTY: AN EASTER CANTATA
***A REMINDER***

This year our special Easter Cantata “Majesty” will take place BETWEEN Easter Worship services, not during. The cantata will commence at 10AM and run for approximately 35 minutes. There will be special greeters to quietly allow entrance for those who may be running late (through the main entrance doors only)

General seating for the 11AM worship service will not begin until after the conclusion of the Cantata (approximately 10:40AM)

CAR WASH

Sunday, April 10th
Immediately following both the 8AM and 10:45AM Services!


Lunch will also be available from 12-2PM for a modest cost.
Proceeds to benefit our youth for their plans to attend the

2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering
LAST SUNDAY FOR OUR WELCA HOMEMADE EASTER EGG ORDERS IS SUNDAY APRIL 10th!



 Chocolate     Vanilla       P. Butter      Coconut     Fruit/Nut
50 Cents Each!
Orders maybe placed by filling out your worship slip or contacting the church office
Any additional Questions please contact Earline LaCroix

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

HOLY WEEK SERVICES
Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines, invites the entire community to its annual Holy Week services.

On April 21st, Maundy Thursday, Trinity will have services at noon and 7:30 PM. Each service will include Holy Communion and the ritual of foot/hand washing. The more traditional noon service will also include special prayers, Scripture readings, hymns and a concluding dramatic reading. The 7:30 PM service has at its heart a dramatic re-telling of the events of Holy Week and especially Maundy Thursday through reading, action and song led by Trinity’s older youth and will conclude with the stripping of the altar.

On April 22nd, Good Friday, Trinity will hold the traditional service of Tenebrae (readings and shadows) in which the Passion Gospel from Saint John will be read in eight parts with a candle extinguished after each reading. The service also includes traditional hymns and concludes with the entrance of the Cross and a time of prayer and adoration before it.

Also on Good Friday, from noon to 3PM, a self-paced and self-guided Stations of the Cross will be available at Trinity’s Outdoor Prayer Labyrinth, located in the rear field behind the church building. A greeter will be present during these three hours to offer the Station readings and prayers as a small booklet and answer any questions about the event.

EASTER SERVICES


Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines, invites the entire community to its annual EASTER SERVICES AND EVENTS.

On Easter Sunday April 24th, Trinity will host three services, an Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Breakfast, and Choral Cantata.





At 6:30 AM, Trinity begins the day as the sun rises with its Candlelight Outdoor Holy Communion Service which will be located this year on the lawn in front of its main hall east of the sanctuary within its extensive Butterfly Gardens.


Folding chairs will be provided, but folks are free to bring with them blankets or beach chairs as they wish.




A pancake breakfast will be available for a nominal cost per person from 7:30 AM until 10 AM within the hall served and prepared by Trinity’s Men’s Group and other volunteers




At 8 AM, the services move inside for Trinity’s traditional Easter Morning Holy Communion Service.




At 9:30 AM, children and their families are invited to participate in Trinity’s Easter Egg Hunt and Easter activities. Those participating should meet right in front of the main hall (“Charter Hall”) located east of the sanctuary where instructions will be given.




At 10 AM, as children activities continue, Trinity’s Cantata Choir under the direction of Jacob Smitter will perform its 2011 Easter Cantata “Majesty.” This free performance will take place in the sanctuary and run approximately 35 minutes.




At 11 AM Trinity’s Easter Holy Communion Family Service will commence within the sanctuary. With special readings, interactive dialogues, songs, hymns and more, this service is tailored to meet the needs of all ages and will conclude with the traditional mass singing of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Special soloists, Trinity’s Young Person’s Chorus and Hand Chimes will also be providing music for this memorable service.

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The readings for Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Psalm: Psalm 130

Second Reading: Romans 8:6-11

Gospel: John 11:1-45


What a strange picture of Jesus in this Gospel. Remember the Jesus of several miracles ago? The one who instructed people to go and tell no one?

Here we see a Jesus who seems overly aware of the impact of his actions. It's as if we're seeing a man who is aware of his legacy and how he'll be seen--a man who is trying to control the story. And of course, we see foreshadowing in this story, foreshadowing of the death and resurrection of Christ, which we'll be celebrating in two weeks.

Notice that Jesus waits until Lazarus is good and dead before he appears to comfort the sisters and perform a miracle. It's as if he wants no dispute about the miracle. Unlike the past few miracles when he raised people who had only been dead for a few hours, here he waits 4 days. There's no doubt about what he's done once he's raised Lazarus from the dead. We can't easily imagine that Lazarus has been faking his death for 4 days. Even if Lazarus wanted to help Jesus fake a miracle and put on a good show, it's hard to imagine that he'd willingly submit to being sealed in a tomb for 4 days.

As we watch the world around us gear up for Easter, we'll see a certain number of Jesus detractors. We'll see people who want to explain away the resurrection. The liturgical calendar gives us this story of Lazarus to return us to one of the main themes of our religion--we believe in (and are called to practice) resurrection.

And why is the idea of resurrection so hard in our fallen world? Do we not know enough people who have turned their lives around? Think of all the people who have risen again out of the ashes of drug addiction, madness, or domestic turmoil. Why are we so hesitant to believe in miracles?

Although writing about a different miracle, Wendell Berry has said expressed my idea more eloquently than I can today. In his essay, "Christianity and the Survival of Creation," he says, "Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine--which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes" (this wonderful essay appears in his wonderful book Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community).

The world has far too many cynics. Christians are called to be different. Choose your favorite metaphor: we're to be leaven in the loaf, the light of the world, the city on a hill, the salt (or other seasoning) that provides flavor, the seed that pushes against the dirt. Each day, practice hope. Each day, practice resurrection.

Monday, April 04, 2011


REFLECTING ON OUR
LENTEN FAITH JOURNEY
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?
Praise more and criticize less
More organization, focus, structure in my professional life!
Reading the psalms more actively.
Reading my Lent book and finishing my prayer shawl
No sugar
Intercessory Prayer
2. How has God blessed you in/through your discipline this past week?  
Improved relationships
God has opened my eyes to a possible career move and focus.  
I have learned to praise God more by reading the Psalms
Helping me get through my days and reminding me to read or work on my shawl.
At the rehabilitation center
Focusing more on the power (healing) of the Holy Spirit.
3. What obstacles do you face in holding to your Lenten discipline and may we pray for you for your Lenten journey?
Breaking bad habits and replacing them with good habits.
My disciplines fell apart completely this week – too much travelling – but I will get back on track this week!
Making time to read and exercise. Yes.
That I can finish at least two shawls before the end of Lent.
Actually I would prefer to wake up 30 minutes earlier to devote a full hour in prayer and study.
 How has Trinity helped to sustain you in your following of Christ in the world?
The Bible video series in Adult Sunday school has helped me learn more about the Lutheran perspective.
Just by feeling my faith and the spirit of my beloved family in heaven
My faith in GodListening and applying the Word.