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

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We have moved the service that was tentatively planned for this Friday July 13th to Friday, September 21st 7PM-8:30PM in commemoration of th...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Trinity's Christmas Eve Cantata (reprise) and Service of Healing
with Communion
SUNDAY JAN 6th our regular schedule returns at 8AM Service of Holy Communion in the Sanctuary, *10AM Worship Together blend of education, worship and family faith formation in the hall, and our 11AM service of Holy Communion in the Sanctuary.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Trinity Office Admnistrator SAM Newton and her husband Dan and Son Allan had house fire last night. No injuries but extensive damamge to upper floor. Dan lost all of his clothes which is most immediate need at the moment (unless you are an electrician who can check over house so they can have power restored.) Dan sizes: Shoes - 10; Pants 30-32, socks, sweatpants (med), shirt med.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Meditation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Narrative Lectionary readings for Sunday, December 23, 2012:

Luke 1:26-49

Optional Reading: Psalm 113 or 113:9

How interesting to get to the Sunday where the Narrative Lectionary finally begins to dovetail with both the Revised Common Lectionary and some of popular culture. Today in the Narrative Lectionary, we see and hear (again?) the promises of the angel Gabriel and Mary's response.

Many of us are already preparing for Christmas as we loop back to the beginning of the story. I read the Narrative Lectionary lessons the morning after I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. What a remarkable television show, with Linus reciting, in the language of the King James Bible, the true meaning of Christmas. Year after year we watch this unabashedly Christian Christmas special that airs into a popular culture that usually wouldn't endorse a pro-Christian stance. And then there's the larger message of Christmas that drenches the whole story: that love can redeem us all, from the scrawniest tree to the most ineffective person to the most suffocating/repressive/brutal kinds of culture, whether that culture be a group of elementary school kids or the empires of the world.

The Narrative Lectionary has been reminding us of God's collision with the brutal world. God always has a better vision for us than we can dream for ourselves. God always has a need for collaborators to help with the redemption of the world. God can use the most unlikely humans, the ones the world would cast away. And amazing things often happen when those human outcasts say yes to God.

The story of Mary and Elizabeth is a classic story of God's call and human response. Here's a story of two women, two women unlikely to conceive, one because she is unmarried, one because she is barren. The angel reminds us, "For with God nothing will be impossible."

That message leaps out to speak to us in our cynical age. We've grown used to tales of those in government or big business who take bribes or steal money. With each new scientific or technological advancement, we wonder how it will be abused or go terribly wrong. A nation or people that commits genocide no longer has the power to shock--after the 20th century, you'd have to kill a lot of people to make it into the record books of murderers. We're a culture drenched in irony and knowing smirks. What we seem to lack is hope.

The angel tells Mary not to be afraid, and that, too, is a message we need to hear. Don't dance with your dread. Don't keep company with your fears, your worst case scenarios. Dream big. Think of the world God promises: God will fill the hungry with good things. The one who is mighty does great things for the lowly.

Listen to Gabriel again. God has a use for each of us, if we can hear the message through our fears and doom and gloom. No one is too insignificant. If God can accomplish great things by means of a young woman, a barren woman, a variety of wandering preachers and prophets, just think what God might accomplish with all of our gifts and resources.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Final Reminder: Gingerbread-a-palooza
SUNDAY DEC 16th at 12:15PM.
Bring some icing and decorating stuff to share.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Reading

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 16, 2012:

Isaiah 61:1-11

optional text: Luke 4:16-21

Today we read the chapter of Isaiah that we'll find echoed throughout the story of Jesus and his ministry. In the optional reading for today, this passage appears as the text that Jesus reads as an adult when he first preaches. He says that the prophecy has been fulfilled. We also hear echoes of the text in the Magnificat that Mary sings when she and Elizabeth visit each other during their pregnancies.  We will be hearing this text from the first chapter of Luke this Sunday at Trinity Lutheran.

Unfortunately, the next two thousand years of history show that there's still plenty of work for the people of God to do. The redemption of the world has indeed begun, but in many ways, it's not complete. And much theology tells us that God needs our help.

This chapter of Isaiah tells us what the people of God should be doing. If God had a business plan, we could find it here. If God had a mission statement, we could use one of these verses.

The verbs should not be a surprise to the faithful: bring, proclaim, grant, give. The populations that concern God should be familiar too: the afflicted, the captives, the mourners.

Here, in this chapter, in such inspiring language, once again we hear God's promise: repair of the ruins, new life out of devastation, recompense for wrongs done, and the kind of joys we associate with weddings.

This chapter of Isaiah provides such chapter and hope. For so many people, 2012 has been a difficult year. For so many people, every year is a difficult year. Isaiah tells us that to be human is to suffer. But Isaiah also gives us the promise that God is at work in the world. Isaiah reminds us that even when we can't see God moving amongst us, God is there, binding wounds, knitting brokenness back into new life, and planting seeds in the ruins.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

REMINDER! This Sunday - potluck and Gingerbread decorating!
Dish to share and bring some icing and stuff to share and decorate with  - we'll provide the gingerbread! (though if you want to bring some, that's cool).  ALSO - we will be collecting GENTLY used teenage clothes to give to the Lippman Youth Shelter that day. our special guests. Please join us!

Monday, December 10, 2012

TUES, DEC 11th at 7:00pm. Please bring at least two dozen cookies – one to share and one for our shut-ins.   We will have liturgical dancers and special Christmas music. The CONGREGATION IS WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE… don’t forget to bring family and neighbors!
Featuring our 10AM Worship Together Service

Friday, December 07, 2012

Meditiation on This Sunday's Narrative Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 9, 2012:

Joel 2:12-13, 28-29

optional reading: Luke 11:13

Pastor Keith will preach on Luke 1:  26-38, which dovetails nicely with these texts

Last night, my spouse and I had a special guest to our house for dinner. Our campus pastor, who has moved on to other tasks, was in town, and we were happy to host him. How amazing that after all these years, we're still in touch and happy to see each other.

We talked of all sorts of things, mainly church related. His current work has him travelling to various churches across various ELCA Synods, so he's seeing how people are living their faith in real time in various settings. It was fascinating.

We talked of the challenges for the church (both the ELCA and The Church in a wider context) as we move forward through this century. We talked of our various wearinesses.

I find the words of the prophet Joel particularly comforting this morning. Humans have a tendency to look back and to see a golden age which has passed. Most of us look back with blinders. We don't remember how life really was when we were living it.

The ancient texts are a helpful counterpoint here. We see Joel calling on the people to repent. We get a sense that actions above and beyond the usual repentance are in order: fasting, weeping, opening of hearts, and making offerings.

Sounds similar to our age, does it not?

The last part of the passage for this Sunday's lectionary gives the promise that God's spirit will be poured out on believers and wonderful events will ensue. We will be drenched with visions for a better life--and we can assume that God will give us what we need to be able to fulfill those visions.

As we move through the Advent season, we move closer to the Christmas holiday that celebrates the fulfillment of Joel's promise in a spectacular way: God incarnate in the manger. Luke 1:  26-38 takes us to the early days of that fulfillment:  Gabriel giving Mary a vision of miracles, fertility where only barrenness and emptiness should exist.  Mary says yes to God's alternate vision, and new life blooms.

That was long ago, of course.  But it's important to remember that the Holy Spirit still moves among us. It wasn't just a one time special event in Bethlehem. We're still blessed with visions and dreams--and if we have eyes to see, we can see that those visions, dreams, and prophesies lead us to glorious places and experiences.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

at Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines!

5:00PM A service of light! We begin outdoors in the Butterfly Garden, bringing the light into the darkness of the sanctuary, spend most of the service indoors through communion, t...
hen finish again in the garden with candles and the singing of Silent Night at sunset.

7:30PM A Cross+Generational Service for all! Hear the story of the birth of Jesus and participate in it! Beautiful music! Puppets! Communion! Silent Night with Candles!

11PM Our CANTATA SERVICE featuring music and narration with the Trinity Cantata Choir under the direction of Jacob Smitter. With Candles and Communion!

*Please Note: This year we have special battery operated candles for our littlest ones
We are collecting gently used teenage clothing now through SUNDAY DECEMBER 16th

Clothing may be dropped off in the office or in the narthex.


and also on Thursdays Dec 13th and 20th noon to 1PM
We will have soup and bread and dive into the four texts that we will be using this Advent in Worship. Join us in Charter Hall! All Welcome!
HAVE YOU MARKED SUNDAY DECEMBER 16th at 12:15PM on your calendar????
Open to all ages, all people - bring you children and your children's children, your friends and neighbors AND their children! Come out for a Christmas potluck lunch and the opportunity to decorate gingerbread men and share in some Christmas Fellowship! We ask that those attending please bring a tub or tube of icing to share as well as a decorating element like sprinkles or red hots and so forth.

We are also collecting gently used clothes for the youth shelter - clothes may be brought in any day up to DEC 16th and dropped off in the offcie or the box in the narthex!

Monday, December 03, 2012


Thank you so much for your generous food donations. We are extremely grateful and excited to report that beginning 2013, we will be adding evening hours. (Hours will be posted soon) Please note that the food pantry is intended to provide temporary food assistance and is entirely supported by donations. We are making every effort to provide every family similar food items and although we certainly accept & appreciate ALL donations; from time to time, we may place certain food items on our wish list. Currently, if you would like to make a donation from our wish list, we are asking for canned chicken and breakfast items, ie, cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars, etc. Lastly, please save any LARGE plastic bags you receive from retail stores and place in the Food Pantry shopping cart located in the Narthex. These bags are usually sturdy and a great way to distribute food. Please feel free to contact Dany Vega at (954) 907-1562 with any questions.

Thanks again for your support!    

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, December 2, 2012:

Daniel 6:6-27

optional reading: Luke 23:1-5

Today we get the story of Daniel in the lions' den; yes, it's the same Daniel as the friend of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown in the fiery furnace. Here we see another Biblical figure, like Joseph centuries earlier, a figure held captive by an alien empire, a figure with the power to interpret dreams.

We also see the story of a faithful man, like so many other Biblical stories. When the powerful leaders of the alien empire decree the religious practices of the Jews to be illegal, Daniel continues to pray several times a day. He's obvious about it. Like Jesus, he's on a collision course with the empire.

As with the Old Testament story of Esther, we see a king manipulated by those who surround him. He doesn't want to put Daniel in the lions' den, but the law is the law, and so, Daniel is walled up.

But God protects him because he is faithful. God finds Daniel blameless. Chastened, the king has the manipulative advisers walled up with the lions, where they are not so fortunate: the lions rip apart their limbs.

I can now hear my atheist friends snorting in scorn: "We're expected to believe that God swooped down and saved Daniel from hungry lions?"

Focusing on whether or not the story could actually happen isn't very useful here. As with the story of Jonah a few weeks ago, we lose the point of the story if we focus on whether or not a man could live in the stomach of a whale for 3 days or if a man could survive overnight when walled in a chamber with hungry lions or survive a fiery furnace.

We shouldn't focus on the literal truth, but that shouldn't prevent us from thinking about the other truths of these stories. Above all, again and again we see stories of God who can make a way out of no way. We see stories of a God who will not be stopped by events that hold humans back.

I see this story of Daniel as one that reminds us of the importance of our religious practices. But I also see it as a story about the problems of law and strict adherence to the law. Because of the interpretation of the law, the king had no choice but to condemn Daniel. The main focus of the story is that God rewards faithfulness, but an important undergirding of the story is the message that the law, with all its strictures, will not lead us to freedom.

Many of us may feel like Daniel, strangers in a strange land, an alien empire, full of practices that we don't fully understand. Many of us find ourselves in workplaces and other cultures where we don't find many other Christians, if we find any at all. We may find ourselves struggling to stay true to our Christian values in a world that doesn't reward us for that and may in fact actively punish us.

The stories in the book of Daniel are designed to comfort those of us who labor under an alien empire. These stories remind us that although the larger culture may not reward us, God watches and God is the one who is ultimately in charge.

We may not escape from all of our lions' dens, but we can be sure that God will reward our faithfulness.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thursdays November 29th, Dec 6th, 13th, 20th noon to 1PM
We will have soup and bread and dive into the four texts that we will be using this Advent in Worship. Join us in Charter Hall! All Welcome!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, November 25, 2012:

Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-23, 27-28; then 31:31-34

optional reading: Luke 22:19-20

In today's reading, we see that not every prophet enjoys the easy acceptance that Jonah did. You may remember that a few weeks ago, Jonah goes to Ninevah expecting to be rejected, as prophets so often are. But much to Jonah's dismay, the people of Ninevah not only accept his word, but go all out to show repentance--even the livestock fast!

Jeremiah doesn't have the same success. He delivers God's message to the king, but the king burns the scroll to show his complete disregard for God's message. In the parts of this book that we don't read, Jeremiah continues to try to deliver God's message, but no one pays any attention.

As we head into the season of Advent, it's good to remember that plenty of people have no interest in hearing God's message. We'll decorate for Christmas, we'll enjoy time off, and maybe we'll even spout platitudes about the true meaning of Christmas. But many of us are happy to stay gathered in the glow of the manger at Bethlehem. We turn away from the cruelty of the cross.

Again and again, the prophets deliver the message that Jeremiah delivers: we are people with God's imprint on our hearts. God wants to live in intimate connection with us. God will go to great lengths, including taking on human form and suffering crucifixion, to make that connection.

Why do we turn away? Why do we burn the scrolls that bear that message of God's great love?

The answers will be different for each human. We know that even the most devout believers have moments where they, too, burn the scrolls that bring God's message.

The prophets remind us that God doesn't want the destruction that humans seem to seek out so eagerly. God wants what is best for us. But we often don't want what's best for us.

As we head into the frenzy that is the Christmas season for so many of us, let us take a few minutes to think about how we will keep focused on Advent, not Christmas. So many prophets tell us to prepare our hearts. How can we best do that?

So many prophets implore us to stay alert so that we not miss the coming of God, which will happen in ways we don't expect. How can we keep watch in these days of so many distractions?

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Special Music"
November 18, 2012
O Master Let Me Walk With Thee

With Sharmin Dipnarine on vocals, Carl Berkey-Abbott on violin, and Piper Spencer on bass.
Trinity has alot to be thankful for... SUN, NOV 18th we presented Certificates of Appreciation to 17 sisters and brothers who have given a little of their time every eight weeks to save the lives of others. These sisters and brothers have donated a total of OVER 25 gallons of blood at Trinity.

8AM: Steve Hocke - 4 gallons (but I heard he has donated for YEARS!)

Ann Diamond - 1 gallon

11AM: Stephen Bailey - 1 gallon

Carl Carey - 1 gallon

Dottie Cerrone - 1 gallon

Bill Gearhart - 1 gallon

Patsy Gearhart - 2 gallons

Zory Graciana - 2 gallons

Jim Hawkins - 1 gallon

Poul Munk-Madison - 1 gallon

Sam Newto - 3 gallons

Denise Payne - 1 gallon

Mark Perkins - 1 gallon

Pastor Keith - 2 gallons

Piper Spencer - 1 gallon

Reed Talbert - 1 gallon

Mark Zehnal - 1 gallon

We are asked to please bring food for the FOOD PANTRY to the Thanksgiving Eve service
    tuna fish    vienna sausage    canned chicken
    mashed potato in a pouch     saltine crackers

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thank you to those who graciously made monetary donations towards the purchase of food items for families in need. Trinity, in partnership with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, has made it possible for us to once again make many baskets for Thanksgiving!
Our 10AM Worship Together Service tacked the question of Forgiveness today!
See what they did and why our cross+generational service is THE PLACE for families (and singles and couples) to engage the faith in creative and meaningful ways!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

The Narrative Lectionary readings for Sunday, November 18, 2012:

Isaiah 6:1-8

optional reading: Luke 5:8-10

In the past few months, you may have accumulated quite a list of people who speak with unclean lips, people who need an application of burning coal. But truth be told, we could all use a cleansing.

I spent much of last Advent last year muted. I came back from Thanksgiving with one of the more severe colds that I've had in the past decade. I lost my voice, regained it, and lost it again. I had a case of conjunctivitis (pink eye), which along with the cold, limited my social life.

When I did make it to the office, I limited my speech, since I really couldn't talk easily anyway. I tried to determine whether conversations were worth the pain that I'd feel from the effort. Along the way, I realized how much of my conversations aren't essential at all. What keeps me in the pit of gossip and speculation, when I'd really like to be connecting on a deeper level?

It's a lesson easily forgotten when one's voice returns. It's so effortless to talk about politics, about work issues that won't be important in a year or even a month. It's so hard to talk about the issues that really affect people.

How handy it would be to have an angel swoop in with a tong holding a burning coal to remind us to keep our conversations on track. Instead of crosses and other religious symbols around our necks, maybe we should wear a chunk of coal.

Or maybe we should accept that we need a certain amount of inessential talk to warm up our tongues. Maybe we should look for ways to steer the talk in which we engage towards something more meaningful. When colleagues rant about health care costs, we can ask about health issues that plague them. When we talk about office politics, we can steer the conversation to people's hopes about the future of the company or about alternate career paths.

Are we called to do this? Are we called to consider the quality of our conversations? It's hard to imagine an Old Testament prophet demanding that we listen deeply to each other. We think of God calling us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and set the captives free.

How many of us feel held captive in an increasingly noisy world where we feel we can't be heard? We may as well be in prison when we consider the difficulty in scheduling a meal together. We leave messages on answering machines and text snippets to each other, but how rare it is to talk to each other.

God calls us to many tasks, and one of them is to be fully present. We see an example of this in the call story of Isaiah, who asks God to send him before he even knows what the task will be. It's an unusual call story. We're far more familiar with the Jonahs of the world who run away and have to be held captive in the stomach of a fish before he'll do what God needs him to do. We may feel sympathy for the Moses figures who tell God why God has chosen the wrong person.

When God calls to you, can you hear? What will your response be? Will you run away?

Or will you volunteer eagerly, no matter the task?

And if God calls you to leave your hurtful speech behind, could you silence that speech? Could you turn your tongue to proclaiming good news, instead of grim news?

Advent approaches. Maybe the gift of leaving hateful talk behind is what we all need. Try it as your Advent discipline.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 11, 2012:

Jonah 1:1-17; 3:1-10 (4:1-11)

Optional Reading: Luke 18:3

If we've ever felt ineffective in our ministry and witness--and who hasn't?--the book of Jonah is the book for us. The book of Jonah, while comic in many ways, has a serious message.

God can take the work of any of us and use it for the good. And even if we're the flailing, trying to escape God type of person, God can work with that too.

Jonah is a reluctant prophet, at best. He refuses to do the task that God gives him and almost brings destruction to those around him. But notice how the men on the boat are converted by his actions. Even as he's trying to avoid his mission, he provides a witness.

Why is he so reluctant? Fear for his life? Perhaps. But modern readers have likely lost sight of the fact that Jonah is sent to one of the most brutal regimes the ancient world has known. Jonah may feel that they don't deserve to hear God's message of repentance. Why would God, the God of Israel, reach out to the Assyrians?

Jonah doesn't preach his message in the great poetry of the other prophets. His message is short. Even after spending his time-out in the stomach of a great fish, he's still lukewarm about his task. And again, despite Jonah's efforts, the people repent.

We might expect Jonah to be happy. Again, Jonah pouts. And if we read to the end of the book, we see a God who explains, but we don't know how Jonah responds.

Popular imagination tells the tale that because of his time in the fish, Jonah changes his mind and commits, but throughout the book, we see that Jonah does not. Jonah roots for destruction.

On the other hand, we see a portrait of God who is committed to grace, who worries about the most brutal and depraved, who worries even about the cows.

The book of Jonah is full of important reminders for us. I wonder about the symbolic message of the great fish. We think of time-outs as a discipline option for misbehaving children, and it does function that way here too. But it also gives Jonah time to think and consider. Even if it doesn't convert Jonah permanently, it gives him a safe space where he can quit running.

We see Jonah being forgiven again and again. God has a vision for Jonah, and even though Jonah tries everything to escape or undermine that vision, God welcomes Jonah after each repentance.

Once again, we see a message of grace and redemption, no matter how bad life has become, no matter how bad we have become. God extends multiple chances to dictators, to wayward prophets, to cattle--and to us.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


Thanks to the many people who supported this year’s pumpkin patch, from unloading the 1st shipment, covering shifts, making crafts, and clearing out the remaining pumpkins...WE COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU! Together, we raised over $3,000 to help support Christian education at Trinity. A very special thanks to those who supported the patch almost daily: Patricia Brown, Michael Constabile, Forrest Fritz, Jose Gonzalez, Lisa Montalchi, Jean Myers, Eileen Soler and Ray Williams.
Friends and Family,
Once again I am raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a participant in their Light The Night Walk and I'm asking you to help by making a contribution. Each donation helps accelerate cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma and brings hope to the patients and families who are on the front lines of the battle against these diseases. No amount is too small and EVERY donation makes a difference. I know times are
tough again this year, but your support would mean a great deal to many people.
My goal this year is $500. I know that with your help I can reach it. I
walk in memory of my best friend, Jami, who is my hero. Her courage and
determination inspire me every day. And not a day goes by that I don't miss her friendship. I also walk in memory of my dear friend, Teri Marriage-Kuespert who lost her courageous battle with Sarcoma. She walked on our team for many years and it's not the same without her smile and support. I also walk in honor of all my friends and family members who have battled or are battling cancers of many kinds. I walk so that they may walk beside me, whether in body or spirit and know that they are not alone. The walk is in four days, but it's not too late to join us. If you'd like to walk too, just drop me a line. It's easy and fun and you'll be making a difference in the lives of so many wonderful people. Please use the link in this email to donate online quickly and securely. You will receive a confirmation by email of your donation and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation.
This year I'm also doing something a little bit different. If you aren't able to make a monetary donation but are looking for great holiday gift ideas, you can place an order through this specific thirty-one website and the profit that the consultant, Jill, makes will be donated to my walk. It's a perfect way to support the walk and shop for beautiful gifts at the same time!

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support. I really appreciate your generosity! You can learn more about my efforts and make a donation by visiting the following Web site:

Thank you,

Janean Baumal
Dear Friends at Trinity Lutheran,

Trust me, I know that with work and other responsibilities, Superstorm Sandy, the Election season, and our own personal lives, it has been a little hard to focus on anything else lately! That's why this is coming to your attention later than it should be. But I’d like you to take a moment to think about one person you know or knew personally who has had Alzheimer’s.

That person—and every person with Alzheimer’s—is why I am reminding you that this Saturday is the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The opening ceremony starts at 8:15 a.m. and the walk at 9 a.m. this Sat., Nov. 10, at Hollywood North Beach Park at the east end of Sheridan St., in Hollywood, FL.

Please join other folks from Trinity as we show our support this year as part of the Meyerhoff Senior Center Team. So far only a few people are signed up for the team—and we’ve raised very little money! So please go online today and support the cause by joining the Meyerhoff Senior Center team to walk (or to “virtual walk” if you can't be with us in person) or to make a contribution.

Hopefully, the link below will allow you to join us or donate. If you have any trouble, email or call me at 954-790-3106.

It would be great to see as many of you as possible out there on Saturday! It’s usually a very nice event—and a good time for a walk on the Hollywood Broadwalk with others determined to end Alzheimer’s!

Join us,

Ron McCoy

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, November 4, 2012:

1 Kings 17:1-16 (or 17:1-24)

optional reading: Luke 4:24-26

The reading for this week seems fitting after a week of very strange weather. We see that bizarre weather is nothing new to us. People in today's reading are dealing with extreme weather too.

As a good prophet would do, Elijah trusts God, and God provides through unusual vectors. Ravens deliver bread and meat, and this plan goes well until Elijah's stream dries up.

God's next plan must have seemed even more impossible. God tells Elijah to go to a more distant town and to rely on the hospitality of a widow. To modern ears, this idea might not seem strange, but throughout the Bible, widows are living on the narrowest of margins, the most dispossessed even in the best of times. Indeed, she's planning to eat the last of her food and die.

But the widow shares what she has and receives abundance. The meal and oil do not run out. The widow, so recently prepared to eat a last meal and die with her son, finds herself fed. And if you read the rest of the chapter, you discover that because of the widow's hospitality, Elijah is there to save her son when he dies of illness.

Once again, we see God providing a way when it looks like none can be found. And once again, we see God operating in ways that we might not expect. In this passage, God relies on outcasts to deliver sustenance: ravens, a widow, and Elijah himself.

Again, here, we see the value of hospitality. The widow could have refused to take Elijah in. But by sharing the little that they had, they find that they have more than they did when they started.

We also see another example of faith rewarded. Elijah obeys God; he doesn't try to control God. He doesn't say, "Ick. I'm not eating food that's been in a raven's beak." He doesn't decide to leave the poorest of the poor (the widow) alone and demand food from a wealthier patron. He holds fast to God's vision.

And in the end of the chapter, we see Elijah demanding more from God. Elijah pleads with God to save the son, and God does it.

Many a theologian will tell us that if we belive in a free-will world, that God cannot intervene in human lives unless we ask. This will not be the last time that we will see Biblical people demanding that God act in a more just way. And the good news of this story is that this cry for justice is rewarded with new life. Unlike other ancient religions, no one has to be struck down for daring to call on God to act justly.

We, too, live in a land that needs more justice. We, too, see that we inhabit a wrecked planet with increasingly unreliable weather. But the Old Testament passage promises us that God will sustain us.