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

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


Join Us For Worship!

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
We ask that all boxes be brought to Trinity by SUN NOV 13th when we will dedicate them at the altar. These links have more info on the project
http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ
http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/
This project fills empty shoe-boxes with school supplies, toys, personal items and a special book that tells about God‘s love. They are then delivered to a drop off center, where they will eventually be distributed to children around the world.
All monetary donations are tax deductible. Please make all checks payable to Samaritan’s Purse and placed in the offering plate labeled Operation Christmas Child.
If you have any questions - please contact Nadira Fauder - 954-483-3261or Nancy Berger @ 954-649-5205
How To Pack A Shoe Box


Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork to the right. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. Use the gift ideas provided on the bottom of this page.

 Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using our “Follow Your Box Donation” option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one combined donation.

IN MEMORIAM
Our thoughts and prayers are with Danny and Elizabeth Miranda and their family
on the passing of Danny's grandmother into the Church Triumphant

Mary E. Woodley
Born in Linwood, NJ on Jul. 16, 1910
... Departed on Oct. 27, 2011 and resided in Lake Placid, FL.

Visitation: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Service: Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011
10:30 am - 11:30 am

Cemetery: Hollywood Memorial Gardens

Woodley, Mary E., 101, of Lake Placid, passed away on Thursday, October 27, 2011. She is survived by her grandkids, Beverly David and her husband, Wayne and Danny Miranda and his wife, Elizabeth; son-in-law, Angelo Miranda; and great grandchildren, Nicole Davis, Jennifer Rodemick, and Samantha Notchie.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, from 7-9 PM, at the funeral home. Funeral Service will be Thursday, November 3, 2011, 10:30 AM, at Boyd-Panciera Family Funeral Care, University Drive Chapel. Interment will follow at Hollywood Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

THE GREAT MARTIN LUTHER QUIZ (answers tomorrow)
In honor of Reformation Day
(Remember to wear RED on Sunday!)
Question 1: When was Martin Luther born? 1483, 1460, 1506, 1501

Question 2: What was his father's profession or trade? Shoemaker, Lawyer, Miner, Doctor

Question 3: What field of study did Luther's father want him to enter? Medicine, Theology, Philosophy, Law

Question 4: In 1505, Luther suddenly decided to become a monk. A number of reasons for this decision are given by different scholars. Which of the following is NOT one of them?

A. He saw a vision of the virgin Mary

B. He was frightened by lightning and made a vow

C. He wanted to escape his brutal home and school life

D. His friend was killed in an assassination

Question 5: How many theses did Luther supposedly nail to the door of the Wittenberg Church?Answer: _________(Numeral)

Question 6: One of Luther's criticisms of the church was the sale of indulgences.
True/False

Question 7: How did the church respond to Luther's teachings?

A. He was excommunicated

B. His books were publicly burned

C. He was declared an outlaw

D. All of these


Question 8: Luther married Katharina von Bora in 1525. What was unusual about his bride?

A. She was a noblewoman marrying a commoner

B. She was a former nun

C. She was sixteen years older than Luther

D. She was divorced

Question 9: Luther's translation of the Bible into German (completed in 1534) was not the first one. Which of these was an earlier translation?

Wenceslas Bible, Einheitsuebersetzung Bible, Schlachter Bible, Elbersfelder Bible

Question 10: What were the terms of the Peace of Augsburg?

A. All people in a region voted on their preferred religion

B. Northern Germany became Protestant while southern Germany remained Catholic

C. The ruler had no say in his subjects' religious practices

D. The ruler of a region determined its religion
 TRINITY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2011!
Thanks Mrs Lacroix and Dany Vega and all who helped out in any way!!!!







Friday, October 28, 2011

THRIVENT BOARD ELECTIONS
SUNDAY will be our Annual VOTING for Thrivent's BROWARD BOARD LEADERS.
Please see SAM immediately following the late service in the front of the church.
This election is for Thrivent benefit and associate members only.

SAM would also like to thank the congregation for the past four years in which you have elected her to
serve on the Thrivent Board. Our own Richie Cannezzaro has been nominated to replace SAM and will be on Sunday's thrivent Ballot.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CRAFT AND BAKE SALE
sponsored by the Trinity Women (WELCA)
 
Saturday, November 19th - 9am to 2pm

Baked goods needed for the bake sale - if you can help please drop off in Charter Hall , Friday, Nov.18th

we will be setting up from 9am till 1pm.

Lunch will be available - Hot dogs and Chili - YUM!
++++++
Also - the women will be hosting the Church Women United Community Day on Saturday, November 5th. Registration and light breakfast at 9:30am, Program at 10am. till 11:30am. All Welcome!
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Reformation Day Readings for Sunday, October 30, 2011:

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm: Psalm 46

Second Reading: Romans 3:19-28

Gospel: John 8:31-36

The Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 30, 2011:

First Reading: Micah 3:5-12

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Joshua 3:7-17

Psalm: Psalm 43

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13


Maybe it’s because I know several pastors who plan to stay with the Lectionary readings this Reformation Sunday. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working on an article on ecumenism for The Lutheran. Maybe it’s because I read this interesting blog post over at Living Lutheran.

In that post, Clint Schnekloth argues that celebrating Reformation Sunday is spiritually dangerous: “If we celebrated an entire year, 52 Sundays, with each Sunday celebrating a development in the history of the Christian faith, with the Reformation situated within that larger context, it might work. As it stands, Reformation Sunday is the only Sunday of the entire church year that commemorates a moment in the history of Christianity rather than a moment in the narrative of Scripture itself. It is elevated and idealized precisely because it is so unique. This needs to stop.”

I hadn’t ever framed Reformation Sunday in that way before. I had always loved the celebration of Martin Luther’s accomplishment and the singing of those stout, classic German hymns. I loved the idea of nailing ideas to a door. Of course, I couldn’t tell you what those 95 theses said beyond some of the most famous ones.

Of course, many church folks couldn’t even tell you one of those theses. If you ask them to explain the Protestant Reformation, in terms of protest or reform, many Christians can’t. And when it comes to more ancient Church events, many of us are even more woefully ignorant. If we reshaped the calendar to include more Church history, we could address that: Councils of Carthage Sunday, anyone?

The creators of the Lectionary, however, must have realized the folly of a church year that celebrates Church history. Our worship should keep us focused on God, and less on human actions. And so many of those events out of Church history, important as they were, set into motion some unfortunate side events too. For example, as I’ve read more about the events that happened in the centuries following the Reformation, I was rather aghast at what Luther set into motion. I still approved of his wanting to reform corrupt practices out of the Church. But the amount of lives slaughtered because of different religious beliefs, religious beliefs which don’t seem worth discussion much less murder, still staggers me.

These days we might argue for the inclusion of Reformation Day as a high Holy day because so few people feel passionately about their religious beliefs. Maybe we hope that Reformation Day will reignite that flame of Protestantism, at least, the Protestantism that doesn’t make us uncomfortable.

The Lectionary readings give us a cautionary tale about religious groups who get too puffed up with self-righteousness. Jesus reminds us that outsiders will judge us more by our actions than by our spiritual creeds.

So, as we sing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” let’s think about our heritage. But let’s also think about our future. Most importantly, let’s think about our present: are our lives a testament to a God who lives and moves among us? How can we be the light of Christ in a world that needs light so desperately?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

REFORMATION SUNDAY WORSHIP!
8AM and 10:45AM This Sunday, October 30th!
New members received!
BUTTERFLY GARDEN
WORK DAY
This Saturday OCT 29th at 9AM
Please join us as we prepare our gardens for All Saints Sunday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1,000 MESSAGE POSTED!
Trinity's BLOG is now three years old.
How time flies!
Still the place (along with our Facebook Page and Webpage) for the goings on and happenings in and around Trinity and its ministries!
SUNDAY OCT 23rd SERMON
IS NOW POSTED
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o16NIMuPvdw

Friday, October 21, 2011

PUMPKIN SALES CONTINUE!
THIS SATUDAY THE PATCH WILL ALSO HOST A BAKE SALE AND LUNCH - STOP ON BY AND SAY HELLO AND ENJOY!
HEALING SERVICE AND HEALTHY COFFEE HOUR
This Sunday, OCT 23rd following the 10:45AM Service.
PLEASE JOIN US!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OCTOBER 16th's sermon audio is now posted on the BLOG and also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qZnNs7rrqg
 
WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN GOD WORKING THIS WEEK?

1- my husband has beenso patient, helpful and has "filled in" doing extra things while I've felt bad. PLT for my Christ-like husband

2- in hearing the testimony of someone on how God brought her out of death, addiction, and back to faith

3- all the time, everywhere

4- First Christian Church, bible study

5- teachers being kind and helpful to students

WHERE DID GOD USE SOMEONE ELSE TO BLESS YOU THIS WEEK?

1- my granddaughter said "I'm so glad to see you, Grammie"

2- a new acquaintance said "I'm so blessed that you came into my life"

3- I asked a neighbor to join me SAT morning to pray for our neighborhood and our nation and she was a delightful prayer partner

4- Chapel at Calvary Chapel night of worshp

5- friend came to my house

WHERE DID GOD USE YOU TO BLESS SOMEONE ELSE THIS WEEK?

1- my son

2- my neighbor agreed to meet every SAT for prayers

3- Hollywood Beach meeting at Cleveland House

4- walk with a neighbor in the park

HOW HAS TRINITY HELPED TO SUSTAIN YOU IN YOUR FOLLOWING OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD?

1- The prayers, messages online and phone calls from fello church members have blessed me and helped me and mother

2- Bible study at Trinity Lutheran

3- Bible study
WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN GOD WORKING THIS WEEK?

1. He protected us during a situation that could have become dangereous

2. in a beautiful sunrise and sunset

3. in imperfect people and systems; in word and in song

4. God is blessing me and my family getting a new house to live. It's God's house for us.

5. the beautiful moon


WHERE DID GOD USE SOMEONE ELSE TO BLESS YOU THIS WEEK?

1. neighbor offered ride on a stressful morning

2. sold a home

3. receiving good news

4. by being there to listen and help

5. Pastor Johnson (SC) came to help my family with a little emergency at home while I was traveling to Florida

6. a neighbor I do not know walking by said "blessings to you"


WHERE DID GOD USE YOU TO BLESS SOMEONE ELSE THIS WEEK?

1. I rescued a puppy

2. sharing God's word

3. by being there to listen and help

4. my friend who is now unemployed


HOW HAS TRINITY HELPED TO SUSTAIN YOU IN YOUR FOLLOWING OF CHRIST IN THE WORLD?

1. hearing God's word

2. by reminding me to keep my heart and mind in Christ Jesus

3. my faith. it is growing more and more in my heart. I'm blessed. The Lord brought me here to this congregation.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, October 23, 2011:

First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Psalm: Psalm 1

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46

The Gospel this week finds Jesus being tested again with trick questions. This week a lawyer demands that Jesus tell which commandment is greatest. And Jesus sums up the whole Bible by saying that the most important thing we are required to do is to love God completely, and secondly, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Of course, this presupposes that we're good at loving ourselves, and we live in an age where this is increasingly not the case. We don't take time to exercise or eat the right foods, and most of us are sleep deprived. We're depressed about the way our lives are progressing, and instead of changing our lives, we self-medicate in a variety of ways or use other destructive methods of forgetting our sorrows. We wish we had more time for our friends and families, but we take on extra work to buy them more stuff--or worse, we take on extra work so that we can keep the job we have and worry desperately about losing.

How would your life change if you really did put God first? If God's priorities became your priorities? You'd take better care of yourself so that you could do the work and play that God requires.

And how would your life change if you responded with love, not just once a day, but throughout the day? And not just to people with whom you've made an investment, but with complete strangers? Or with people you don't really like, but you're forced to live with (like your co-workers, your child's school, your neighbors)

In this year of multiple natural disasters, I'm struck by how kind and loving we can be when facing such disasters. What would it take to show that care and commitment all the time? You might protest that you'd just be too exhausted, too depleted to do all that love and caring--and remember, that love should translate into action, and who has that kind of time?

But God requires it--and when we replenish the world with our love, we find ourselves replenished. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand--if you're willing to do the work (which might often feel like play) to make it possible on earth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

THE NEXT BUTTERFLY GARDEN WORK DAY AT TRINITY IS SATURDAY OCTOBER 29th at 9AM. PLEASE JOIN US!
NEW MEMBERS
Trinity invites those who have been worshipping to consider if they would like to formalize their relationship by becoming either a member or an associate member Sunday October 30th at either the 8AM or 10:45AM service.

Members typically make Trinity their main worshipping and serving home while Associate Members typically have their main worshipping and serving home elsewhere, but desire to acknowledge their relationship with Trinity's faith community in this way. We say "typically" because everyone is different and we realize that titles like "Member" and "Associate Members" work for some people and not others. No one "must" become a member - but this opportunity is presented for those who desire to affirm their relationship as part of the Trinity faith community in this way.

If you would like to become a Member or an Associate Member on Sunday October 30th please check the box on your worship slip or contact SAM in the office by email trinity7150@bellsouth.net or by phone (954) 989-1903

All council members (our elected governing body) must be members.

Monthly Healing Service in Commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this Sunday October 23rd at 8AM and 10:45AM. Pink ribbons and balloons, information on warning signs and treatment options, a special table for people to place photos of loved ones whose lives have been impacted by Breast Cancer and to sign our prayer request book and faith sharing by Eileen Soler on how breast cancer has impacted her faith. All Welcome!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Young Persons Choir Meets at this SUNDAY October 16th at 10:15AM in Charter Hall with Janean Baumal - All Welcome! We will be singing on All Saints Sunday with Maya McCoy accompanying on the piano.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


BAKE SALE AND COOKOUT
 
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22 - 10 AM - 2 PM, We will be having a bake sale and cookout during the pumpkin patch.   Please plan to stop by, have some lunch and get to know each other a little better.  While you're there you might even find a treat or two.  
 
If you are interested in donating any baked goods, please contact Jean Myers at
(954) 962-5376 or see the sign up sheet located in the Narthex.  
SERMON DRAFT ON
Matthew 22:15-22 October 16, 2011
Let me ask a question:
Should we ever talk about government and politics in church?
Think carefully before you answer.
Should we ever talk about government and politics in church?
OK, now, if we are willing to answer “no” , not “maybe,” but a resounding “NO”consider this: If we believe that church is no place for talking about the government and politics then the first thing that we need to do, the very first thing is to stop reading the Bible in church. We better lock them up and throw away the key. That’s right. No more Old Testament with its prophets calling for justice and calling governments to account. No more New Testament with is subversive Gospel in which the powers of the day are challenged time and time again. The first shall be last says Jesus and the last shall be first. The first are so often those with power and privilege, those in authority who exploit those who do not have power, who do not have a voice. Those outcast and marginalized people, Jesus says, those poor and powerless, God hears their cries and so should those in power with the ability to act on their behalf. If we do not want a discussion of government and politics in church then we must put a muzzle on God’s Word right now. Eviscerate its prophetic power. Extinguish its cry for justice for the poor and the outcast and the marginalized.
I remember nearly eight years ago when as the first shots of the war in Iraq were being fired, I read Bishop Hanson's letter on the subject of the war, as each church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American, was asked to do, and I received an anonymous note in the offering basket informing me that there is a separation of church and state in this country. Either they did not like what the Bishop had to say in his call for patience and continued dialogue or plain just did not know what separation of church and state meant and continues to mean.
 Pastor, it said, there is a separation of church and state in this country.
If the tone of the note was to be believed then we as Christians gathered for worship do not have the right to speak of things "political" in the house of God. We should mind our own business, whatever that is, but according to the tone of the note, it does not include any comment on politics and the decisions and actions of our politicians.
 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's, right?
Not quite.
Separation of church and state does not muzzle churches from talking about politics, rather it keeps the government from telling us what we can preach and teach in God’s church. It gives us permission to speak our minds, to be a public witness, to advocate for issues. We have the constitutional right to address public policy concerns and may support legislation pending in Congress or the state legislatures, or call for its defeat. We may endorse or oppose ballot referenda. There is only one thing that we and every other tax exempt institution in America cannot do: and that is to endorse or oppose a candidate for public office. That is something that we simply cannot do. The Red Cross can’t. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts can’t: no tax exempt institution can. And that is our only restriction. It has nothing to do with being a church per se. It has to do with being a tax-exempt institution.
 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's
Caesar and God are not equals in this equation, are they?
 Even if we ignore the great irony, the sarcasm that Jesus may have intended here (after all the Pharisees were trying to trap him so as to discredit him), if we even dare to take the passage on some sort of face value, what we learn, perhaps, is that we should pay our taxes.
Render unto to Caesar what is Caesar's.And to God what is God's.
Render unto to Caesar what is Caesar's. And to God what is God's.
And what might that be?
What exactly is God’s? If we are going to render unto God that which is God’s we might well want to be clear on that score, shouldn’t we? We want to render unto God our prayers, our praise, our worship certainly. But is that all? Does the rest of who we are, of our life here on earth belong to the Caesars of the world, or the IRS or even ourselves? 
Let’s turn to Scripture: Genesis might be a good place to start, Chapter One.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
That rather covers everything, doesn’t it? God created everything. 
Or we could turn to the 24th Psalm:
1The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.

And when scripture says all, it means all.
Everything is the Lord’s. All that we have is God’s gracious and merciful gift. Who makes everything? Calls everything into being? Breathes into living things the divine breath? Shapes humankind as a potter would clay? Caesar?
Just kidding.
GOD does.
 Everything is the Lord’s. And what we have is God’s gracious and merciful gift entrusted to us for us to steward. No asterisks. No exceptions. No cooperation. It is all gift.
Gifts to people as individuals and to nations. Gifts entrusted to them.
And when nations and their governments fail to heed God’s call for justice, to care for those most vulnerable, most marginalized, most at risk; when governments fail to steward the abundance that God has gifted to them, entrusted to them, then we must heed God’s call to speak. Separation of church and state keeps the state from muzzling churches or dictating what they teach and preach. Amen for that!
Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's reminds us that in the society in which we live God has called authorities and governments into being to provide order; there are obligations, such as taxes, for the greater good of that society. However, when we render unto God what is God's we are staking the claim that God is the giver and creator of all. We are staking the claim that our God reigns. That our God is sovereign. That our God is God of all that was, is and will be. For us, there is no separation, no wall, and no barrier, there is no place where God does not rule and call to account and there is no place where God's justice should not reign.
When we see with our own eyes or hear with our own ears the desperate cries of injustice through intention or neglect by those entrusted with authority such as governments, then we are called to speak and to act. To speak God’s word of expectation and warning and to act as our faith calls us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us.
 Render unto to Caesar what is Caesar's. And to God what is God's.
And everything is God’s. So may we live accordingly and faithfully in these days and every day. Amen!


PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
Gotta love that good old 3 year lectionary of Sundays readings. This Sunday the text is Matthew 22:15-22 "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." So I'll be talking about what is God's (hint: everything) and how separation of church and state doesn't mean what most people think it means. God through the prophets and then through his Son challenged the powers that be, calling them to understand and practice justice as God does. Separation of church and state in the USA means that the government cannot tell us what to say (or what not to say) from the pulpit including criticizing policies and laws that are unjust.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BOLD JUSTICE UPDATE
BOLD JUSTICE UPDATE
Issue Work Follow-up
Education – Reading in Elementary
• 28 schools in Broward County have less than 55% of their kids reading at grade level
• At the 2011 Nehemiah Action, BOLD Justice asked 2 school board members and then Superintendent Jim Notter to support using a research based curriculum that has successfully increased reading scores around the country
• Broward County Schools has hired a new Superintendent.  His name is Robert Runcie
• BOLD Justice leaders are planning to schedule a meeting with him shortly after he starts
• Further update will be provided at the Community Problems Assembly on Oct 27th

Community Problems Assembly!!!
• Purpose: Provide updates on current issues, vote to select new community problem for research and action, elect a new executive committee
• Who should attend?:  All Justice Ministry Network Members
• When: Thursday, October 27th, 2011;  Registration 7:00pm, Call to Order 7:30pm
• Where: St. Stephen Catholic Church (2000 S State Road 7, Miramar, FL 33023)
• Plan to attend and work to bring justice to Broward County
MONTHLY BREAD BAKING CLASSES TO COMMENCE! This Wednesday October 12th
5:45PM - 6:30PM a Simple meal will be provided - come share, catch up with friends and eat!
6:30PM - 7:15PM Pastor Keith will review bread baking basics and demonstrate how to make oatmeal wheat bread (the same recipe that is used to make our weekly communion bread) as well as a simple 5 grain bread.
7:15PM  - 7:45PM  Group Lectio Divina - optional; for those who desire to spend some time in the ancient Christian practice of the contemplative reading of Scripture and depart in the peace of God's word.
BUTTERFLY GARDEN
If anyone wants to help out in the Trinity Butterfly Garden this week through the weekend please let me know ASAP - time/date is flexible. I am putting in time when I can because we purchased plants for Saturday's garden day that got washed out and we need to get them into ground.
Thanks and Blessings!
Pastor Keith

Sunday, October 09, 2011

OCT 9th SERMON UPLOADED
See the top of the BLOG or view all sermons at pastorkeith2011 on www.youtube.com

Saturday, October 08, 2011

SERMON
SUNDAY OCTOBER 2nd                                           Matthew 22:1–14
Sunday night dinners at Grandmas  hold a special place in my memory of growing up.  The delightful smells in the kitchen, the table in the dining room with the fancy chairs and dinnerware, the real butter, the lazy Susan in the middle that we could spin around and check out the spices if we were very careful.  And we knew, we kids, that we needed to be on good behavior at grandma’s. Maybe not our very best behavior, you know, the kind reserved for visits to your parent’s friends who had lots of breakable things  or that one aunt whose home could pass a white glove test and who kept all of the children’s toys in the kitchen where the linoleum made for easier clean up. At Grandma’s we had to be on very good behavior. So squirting the lamp’s light bulbs with a squirt gun filled with cold water to watch them explode was definitely out (learned that one the hard way). Saying “please” and “thank you” and travelling the stairs and hallways at a walking rather than a running pace and cleaning up the messes that we made were definitely in as was washing our hands and not fighting with one another. Over the years we learned a lot about living into the expectations that Grandma had for us when we were in her house.

Our lives tend to be filled with places like grandma’s house – places that come with expectations, sometimes the same as other places, sometimes unique, don’t they? Where were you before you came to worship this morning? At your home? Do you have expectations for those in your home? I would imagine that many of you do. Perhaps you were at a friend’s home our out to breakfast. Wherever you were –  I imagine that there were explicit or implied expectations. Expectations are the reality of our lives and we choose to either live into those expectations and embody the behaviors that they point to or we choose not to and accept what consequences may come our way.

Now, in Christ Jesus the Kingdom of God has broken into the world. And this living into this Kingdom of which we are now a part is our reality:

Let me say that again: In Christ Jesus the Kingdom of God has broken into the world. And this living into this Kingdom of which we are now a part is our reality.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

And in Colossians we read:
He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin

In Christ Jesus the Kingdom of God has broken into the world. And this living into this Kingdom of which we are now a part is our reality.
Consistent with this truth about our new lives together in Christ our gospel today has three great surprises for us.

1.    We are part of the household of God.

2.    That others are also part of the household of God and that the presence of those others will challenge us in our understanding the fullness of God’s amazing grace and our understanding of how God sees people versus how we see people.

3.    Finally, that being a part of the household of God comes with expectations.

First year students at our seminaries are typically assigned to local parishes to shadow the pastor and earn about parish life. The parish that I was assigned to had been around for over a century and the town in which it was situated was beginning to grow as farmers sold their fields for new housing developments for people trying to escape the hustle and bustle of Baltimore.  One of the first things that I noticed about this parish was the number of children  in Sunday school, which was held primarily in the huge basement rooms under the main sanctuary. The preschool class, Kindergarten Cass and 1st Grade class had about 100 kids among them. What a sight every Sunday morning to see the kids gathered around an old piano as one of the teachers plunked out an old children’s hymn and to hear all of those voices singing together!  However, week after week I would go upstairs after Sunday school to assist with worship and could count the number of children in worship using only six fingers. Over one hundred  kids in Sunday school under the age of seven and only six of any age at worship. I needed to know why – so I asked the parents. And they me honestly that they felt that the children were not welcome at worship. That the attitudes of the people found there sent a clear message – the kids should be not seen upstairs in the sanctuary and definitely not heard.

 Another church, this one less than 100 miles from the other, responded to the need of its city to house a woman’s shelter in its vast basement that at the time stored lots of old junk – for some reasons churches just hate to throw out anything –  and I mean anything.   Well, it seemed simple enough – clean out the basement and let the city build and manage a shelter for woman who had not other pace to go – the basement of their sanctuary becoming a sanctuary for the battered and abused and homeless women and their children who had no other place to turn except the streets. The congregation was included as part of the conversation and a small group in the congregation raised alarm. What if, some said, those people wandered up the stairs from the basement that led to the back of our sanctuary during worship? Did we really want those people among us? Meaning what if they, God forbid, got out of the basement and came upstairs where, you now, we regular people  were trying to worship God?  


A third story  - this one courtesy of author Philip Yancey who writes about the church where he grew up at which a group from Alcoholic Anonymous met in the basement. There in the basement one could hear the singing from the worship, the beautiful music, and he remembers asking them if they ever had been upstairs for worship. And they said you, know, we are not supposed to go upstairs. We haven’t been invited.

In our gospel  people have been invited to a wedding banquet of a king and the host sends out a reminder as a courtesy. And the bearers of that reminder are mocked and mistreated and killed. The King wipes out those rude people, burning their cities to the ground and sends his servants  out into the streets to invite anyone and everyone that they meet to come to the banquet. And the servants do so – inviting the good and the bad – everyone.  And one of them comes to the banquet without a wedding robe on and he is punished severely. 

 In Christ Jesus the Kingdom of God has broken into the world. And this living into this Kingdom of which we are now a part is our reality.
This inappropriately dressed individual puts a jarring and some might say confusing end  to this parable of Jesus and purposely does so in order to invite us to some self-reflection  - to examine ourselves. Not what we are wearing, our clothes, our shoes, our jewelry, such things are not central to our relationship with God, but rather how we wear our new reality. Are we faithful in seeking to live into God’s expectations? Are we being faith, for example, into building up our congregation into a more deep and abiding reflection of God’s Kingdom?

 I know in my life I have experienced congregations that have struggled with this – making children not seen and heard as if they were second class citizens in God’s Kingdom. Places that have made people feel unwelcome because of what they wore, their economic status, their life choices  or their perceived sins or the color of their skin – you name it.  Instead of building up their congregations into a more deep and abiding reflection of God’s Kingdom they were much more concerned with maintain the status quo or worse, not offending anyone – worried more about the comfort of some rather than the Kingdom that God declared breaking into this world in and through Christ Jesus.
Our gospel today has three great surprises for us.

1.    We are part of the household of God.

2.    That others are also part of the household of God and that the presence of those others will challenge us in our understanding the fullness of God’s amazing grace and our understanding of how God sees people versus how we see people.

3.    Finally, that being a part of the household of God comes with expectations.


One of the worst things a congregation can do is to presume that they are wearing the proper wedding garment – this parable challenges us to reflect and humbles us to consider who isn’t here and why.

Who haven’t we invited to be with us and why?

Who have we set up barriers against or discouragements to being among us and why?

 May God look at us and see the diversity among us and say “Good work” -  but if my Son you see a vision of my Kingdom keep asking, keep inviting, keep build, keep loving, keep forgiving, keep striving, so that your community of faith might look like my household into which I have invited you. AMEN!








Wednesday, October 05, 2011

JOIN US FOR
BUTTERFLY GARDEN WORKDAY
Saturday October 8th at 9AM
at the Trinity Butterfly Garden
ACOLYTE ROBES
Due to a generous gift by Samantha Foley in memory of her mother our acolytes will soon be wearing new robes!
ALL ACOLYTES:Please see Faith Lombardo after the 1st Service or Kathy Velez before or after the second service to be measured.
Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, October 9, 2011:

First Reading: Isaiah 25:1-9

First Reading (Semi-cont.): Exodus 32:1-14

Psalm: Psalm 23

Psalm (Semi-cont.): Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23

Second Reading: Philippians 4:1-9

Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

Today's Gospel sounds impossibly harsh. The kingdom of heaven is compared to this story of a king who can't get people to come to the wedding feast? Well, those of us who lure people away from their manic work lives (for church, for a dinner party, to go to a movie--for anything, really) may be able to relate to that part of the story. But is God really like the King who murders people who won't come to the party and burns their city? Is God really like the king who punishes a guest who comes in the wrong clothes? And such a punishment!

Some churchgoers, no doubt, will hear a sermon this Sunday that revolves around judgment and punishment. My opinion is that God rarely has to punish us, because our poor choices provide punishment enough.

So, let's look at this parable from a different angle: what's keeping us from accepting the invitation to the wedding feast? If the wedding feast is the kingdom of God, what keeps us away?

Obviously, as we devote more and more of our time to work, we have less time for the things that matter, like family, God, our friends. Many of us don't have time to eat; some of us can’t even slip away to go to the bathroom! Jesus is quite clear on this issue: we must prioritize. What good will it do us to work ourselves this way, to devote ourselves to earthly things, like work and earning money?

Or maybe we reject God's invitation because we feel inadequate. We'll accept at a later time, when we've improved ourselves. But that's the good news of God's grace that we find throughout the Gospels. We don't have to wait. God loves us in all of our imperfections.

Maybe we reject God's invitation because we haven't found the right community yet. Several years ago, one of my best friends in England finally decided that she couldn't remain an Anglican. She yearned to join a Quaker community, but hated the thought of losing her Anglican friends. Finally, she made the switch, and found to her great surprise, that her Anglican friends supported her, and her children adapted happily to the new community.

Perhaps we should see ourselves in the wedding guest that didn't have the right garment. What clothes do we need to invest in to make ourselves better wedding guests?

Maybe we need to clothe ourselves in the garments of love and acceptance. Think of what attitudes you need to wrap around yourself, and work to shed the ones that do not serve you.

Maybe we need to clothe ourselves in some regular spiritual practices. We have thousands of years of history that suggest some techniques that work: regular prayer, regular spiritual reading, cultivating a spirit of gratitude, taking a day of rest, singing the Psalms to calm our nerves, and the list could last several pages.

Life is short, and Christ returns to this message again and again. We think we will have time to get to the things that will be important. We'll do it later, when the kids are older, or when we don't have to work so long and hard.

But God calls us to focus on the important things now. The apocalyptic tone of the recent readings may seem overly dramatic, but apocalypse dramas remind us that everything that is precious can be gone in an instant--and so the time to focus on what we hold dear is now.

Sunday, October 02, 2011