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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary Reading

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Narrative Lectionary Readings for September 30, 2012:


Exodus 12:1-13; 13:1-8

optional text: Luke 22:14-20

What a difference a week makes: last week, the Israelites were saved from starvation because they had connections in Egypt, but this week, generations later, the Israelites are in trouble. Once again, we see a people enslaved and crying out for deliverance. Once again, we see a God who can make a way out of no way.

There are directions that must be followed, even as the people might not fully understand them. Blood on the doorposts? This deliverance may not be what the Israelites had in mind.

This text shows that deliverance doesn't always happen in the time frame that humans demand. God has a larger picture and a plan that we may not understand. But the Exodus story does promise us that deliverance will come.

Throughout the centuries, enslaved people have taken much comfort from the Exodus story. It's a vision that still speaks to us, this one of keeping our shoes on and our food ready to travel. It's a story that terrifies, with its tale of widespread death of children so that the ruler's heart can be softened.

Our deliverance will come, but the cost may horrify us.

We see echoes of this story throughout the Bible. The one that is most likely familiar to Christians is the Christ story itself. In some of the Easter stories, Jesus celebrates the Passover, the ritual that makes sure that the Israelites will remember what God has done for them.

We see echoes of the Passover story in Christ's story: the violence of the redemption, the swiftness, the fear, the blood, the ultimate salvation. We also see in both stories a people enslaved by a repressive empire: Egypt and Rome. The Romans hang Jesus on a cross, the capital punishment reserved by those who are a threat to the state.

We are at the mercy of many forces that seek to enslave us, and again and again, the Biblical stories remind us of how precarious life is. The regime that saves us in one story will enslave us in the next.

Again and again, our Bible stories tell us that God will set us free. As we will see, humans are often our own worst enemy, as we forget our ultimate liberator and try to do things our own way. Our Biblical texts, our religious holidays, our daily spiritual practices: all of these things remind us that God has a greater, more liberating plan than anything that we can dream.

But again and again, we're told that we must be ready, with shoes laced and eyes watching. God will swoop in where and how we least expect it. Even if we're chafing in our chains, we can trust that salvation isn't very far away.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

LISA MILLER
We will be saying farewell and godspeed to Lisa Miller this coming Sunday SEPT 30th after the 8AM and 11AM services as she moves to Ocala in the coming weeks. Join us during coffee hour for some cake and to add your thanks and blessings!

Monday, September 24, 2012

1st COMMUNION INSTRUCTION
for all ages!
10:30AM – noon SAT SEPT 29th led by Pastor Keith in preparation for 1st Communion Sunday SEPT 30th . If your child has not celebrated their 1st Communion (regardless of whether or not they are currently communing), they are encouraged to participate in this event. At least one adult, either parent or an adult involved in their faith formation must participate with them. RSVP requisted - please contact the Trinity Office or Pastor Keith 


 
 
FALL HAND CHIMES KICKOFF!
All are welcome! No Experience Neccessary!
under the direction of Piper spencer

Sunday, October 14, Rehearsal at noon
Sunday, October 21, Rehearsal at noon
    Reformation Service,11 AM, play Call to Worship

Sunday, November 11, Rehearsal at noon
Sunday, November 18, Rehearsal at noon
    Thanksgiving Eve Service, Nov 21, 7:30 PM, Play Call to Worship

Sunday, December 9, Rehearsal at noon
Sunday, December 16, short rehearsal at noon before Gingerbread
Sunday, December 23, short rehearsal at noon before caroling
    Christmas Eve Service, Dec 24, 7:30 PM, Play Call to Worship
SUNDAY'S SERMON
"Everything Happens for a Reasons and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves"
http://youtu.be/hFWDjnyZzYI

Sunday, September 23, 2012

WORSHIP TOGETHER SERVICE!
"House Upon A Rock" and "Jesus Stills A Storm"
















WORSHIP TOGETHER!Learning to trust God during our 10AM "Worship Together" service!

Friday, September 21, 2012

UPCOMING WORSHIP SERVICE
AND EVENTS SCHEDULE
CURRENT SUNDAY WORSHIP SCHEDULE
8AM Traditional Worship in the Sanctuary
10AM “Worship Together” - Intentionally inter-generational and participatory; a blend of Sunday school, Family faith f...
ormation, and worship. Meets in the hall.
11AM A blend of contemporary and traditional music and liturgy
*All services include weekly communion.

SEPTEMBER
25 – And every Tuesday - Tuesday morning Bible Study and Crafts (see note)
27 - And Each Thursday - YOGA (each Thursday morning – see note)
29 – 1st Communion Instruction
30 - Healing Service/1st Communion/Healthy Coffee Hour

OCTOBER
5 – Bible Study with Pastor Keith at Crispers
6 - Blessing of the Animals 4PM
13 – Pumpkin Patch Off-load at noon
13-31 Pumpkin Patch
27 – Rummage Sale
28 – New Members Received – woohoo!

RUMMAGE SALE
IS NOW A REGULAR TRINITY RUMMAGE SALE
WHEN: SATURDAY OCTOBER 27th
WHEN CAN I DROP OFF RUMMAGE: BEGINNING SUNDAY OCTOBER 7th
(Only in the designated area in the left side of Charter Hall.
No Mattresses)
CAN I HELP? Sign up list for donations for the lunch, for baked goods and for helpers for the set up and sale coming soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, September 23, 2012:


Genesis 37:3-8, 26-34; 50:15-21

Optional Text: Luke 6:35


This week's narrative lectionary gives us the story of Joseph: the beloved youngest son, one of those Biblical tales of sibling rivalry that make us shake our heads in wonder.

Researchers tell us that sibling violence is the most common kind of domestic violence. The news is full of tales of children abused by their elders, but for all sorts of reasons, it's much more common for siblings to attack each other.

Even if we get along well with our siblings, we've likely been on either side of this kind of paralyzing jealousy that we see in the early story of Joseph. Perhaps it's that coworker who always seems to get the glory, while everyone else wonders what the boss sees in that person. Maybe we're the ones with visions and solutions, and we wonder why it's so hard to be taken seriously.

We see Joseph sold into slavery and taken far away from home. In many ways, this story seems modern. We may naively think that we're past the time of slavery, but experts tell us that more people live in slavery today than ever before; think of migrant workers and sex trade workers and those who labor in the third world so that those of us in the first world have cheap goods to buy.

These lives are full of desperation, and often an early death, and Joseph's brothers sell him. It's that desire for wealth that keeps his brothers from killing him.

In the story of Joseph, as in so many Biblical stories, we see that God can bring salvation out of the most horrific circumstances. Because Joseph goes to Egypt, his family later has a place of refuge. Joseph's ability to interpret dreams serves him well, and he saves not only his family, but entire populations.

We should also keep in mind that Joseph's journey isn't all happiness. He's got the hard labor of a slave's life. He's imprisoned by various people throughout his life. But he perseveres, and so, he is in a place where God can use him for the greatest good.

It's still a valuable lesson today when so many of us might feel our futures ever more constrained with each passing day. We may feel ourselves far away from anything that feels like home. This story assures us that God can take the most ugly situations and wring the good out of it.

We may find ourselves in all kinds of slavery: perhaps addiction, perhaps debt, perhaps bad relationships, there are so many things that enslave us. Again and again, God intervenes and brings salvation.

We also see that forgiveness is often possible where we might have thought it couldn't happen. Joseph's brothers ask to be forgiven, and Joseph, having travelled through all sorts of humanizing experiences, offers them the peace that comes with forgiveness and reconciliation.

We, too, can have that peace of reconciliation, that welcome homecoming, that salvation that comes out of the most unlikely circumstances. Our Bible stories give us that promise again and again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SUNDAY SERMON
"The Perseverance of Uncountable Stars"

Sunday September 16, 2012 Sermon is now up at the top of the BLOG and on youtube to listen and share
http://youtu.be/zOK3zWzoquE

Thursday, September 13, 2012

HOLY CROSS DAY 2012
 
Tomorrow, Holy Cross Day, Marks the 12th anniversary of my ordination. I have a lifetime of memories built up over these past 12 years during which I have had and continue to have the priviledge of serving Trinity Lutheran in Pembroke Pines, FL.

 Thank you for your willingness to be patient and flexible, creative and welcoming, takers of risk and people of the God's word and above all a people whom embody the hope and grace that God gifts to us in and through Christ Jesus.

A Prayer at Ordination
Eternal God, through your Son, Jesus Christ,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon Keith Andrew
and fill him with the gifts of grace for the ministry of word and sacrament. Bless his proclamation of your word and administration of your sacraments, so that your church may be gathered for praise and strengthened for service. Make him a faithful pastor, patient teacher, and wise counselor. Grant that in all things he may serve without reproach, that your people may be renewed and your name be glorified in the church; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!

Trinity Lutheran, Pembroke Pines MIDWEEK UPDATE
Fall Ministries and Worship are in FULL SWING!

Nearly all of the College Cookie Care Packages  have been delivered – thanks so much for those who contributed!
This Sunday at 8AM and 11AM we will hear from Genesis 15:1-6 about God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah and their own struggle to trust in that promise. A shout-out to the Trinity Worship Choir for leading us in the “Lord Have Mercy” liturgy at 11AM which we will continue to use throughout the fall.

The 10AM Worship Together service will experience two stories from MATTHEW 7:24-25 and MARK 4:35-41 that connect with the theme from Psalm 56:3 that goes like this:
            When I am afraid, I put my trust in you
            You will keep them in perfect peace
Whose minds are stayed upon you
            When I am afraid, I put my trust in you

Some Quick Notes on the goings on:


1st COMMUNION INSTRUCTION for all ages!
10:30AM – noon SAT SEPT 29th led by Pastor Keith in preparation for 1st Communion Sunday SEPT 30th . If your child has not celebrated their 1st Communion (regardless of whether or not they are currently communing), they are encouraged to participate in this event. At least one adult, either parent or an adult involved in their faith formation must participate with them. RSVP requited on your worship slip. Any questions, please see Pastor Keith or post here.

 
Are you interested in attending a WEEKDAY LUNCHTIME BIBLE STUDY TO BEGIN IN MID-OCT  Led by Pastor Keith? Sign up on your worship slip or post here.  If there is interest, we will move forward joyfully!   
 

TUESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY AND CRAFTS
Each Tues morning there will be Bible Study at 8:30am led by Earline Lacroix.  Everyone is invited (men, too!)  Coffee and Breakfast treats will be available.
 

BIBLE STUDY AT CRISPERS
     1st FRI of every month 7PM. Next Study is FRI OCT 5th  – at Crispers in the Target Plaza on the corner of University and Stirling Road. Food from the menu available for those who desire to eat. No Biblical knowledge required. Friends encouraged! With Pastor Keith.

 YOGA in the sanctuary Thursdays from 9:30-11:00am with Trinity’s Diane Jansen. Bring a towel/mat, comfy clothes, water. All welcome!

 RUMMAGE SALE
IS NOW A REGULAR TRINITY RUMMAGE SALE
WHEN: SATURDAY OCTOBER 27th 
WHEN CAN I DROP OFF RUMMAGE: BEGINNING SUNDAY OCTOBER 7th
(Only in the designated area in the left side of Charter Hall.
No Mattresses)
CAN I HELP? Sign up list for donations for the lunch, for baked goods and  for helpers for the set up and sale coming soon.

 PUMPKIN PATCH RETURNS TO TRINITY!!!
Pumpkin off-load is Saturday, Oct. 13th @ 12:30. Lunch will be provided. Many hands needed - plus if you know a youth who needs service hours for school this is an excellent opportunity! The patch will run from Oct. 13th through Oct. 31st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with morning, afternoon and early evening shifts available. All monies go to support our Youth and Christian Education programs. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - PLEASE SIGN UP ON THE SIGN UP LIST DURING WORSHIP OR CONTACT KATHY VELEZ OR NANCY BERGER

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary Reading

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, September 16, 2012:


Genesis 15:1-6

Optional reading: Luke 3:8


Today's reading shows God making extravagant promises that human brains cannot quite comprehend. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last. I've always thought that one of my favorite Biblical themes is the extravagant Divine promise fulfilled in ways that humans never would have dreamed otherwise.

God promises that Abraham's descendants will be as many as the stars. But Abraham has yet to have any children at all; how will this promise be granted?

In the chapters that follow, we will see Abraham and Sarah (when they're still called Abram and Sarai) try to make the promise happen on their timetable. Abraham fathers a child with a slave, Hagar,and Sarah's jealousy leads to the expulsion of the slave woman and baby from the household.

And still, it isn't clear how God will fulfill this promise. God continues to come back to this covenant, promising that Abraham will be father to a great nation, even as Abraham and Sarah become ever older, ever more barren in all sorts of ways.

And then, the miracle: Abraham and Sarah conceive.

And we see the abundance that God offers. Abraham does have a huge collection of descendants. Abraham also fathers metaphorical nations. Abraham becomes the father of not just one great nation of faith, but three: Islam (through Hagar's child Ishmael), Judaism, and Christianity.

Here again, we see one of the great messages of the Bible: God can make a way out of dead ends. God can make all sorts of wondrous events happen, even events that should be out of the realm of possibility.

And once again, we see God choosing unlikely methods. If humans had been in charge of founding a great nation, humans would choose someone young and strong, someone with many years to devote to having children, someone with a wide variety of talents. Humans wouldn't have chosen an elderly couple who had spent their most fruitful years fleeing famine and hardship.

Again and again, God sees possibility where humans see none. Again and again, God makes outrageous promises, and again and again, God fulfills them.

It's hard to trust in God's plan, especially when God takes us in surprising directions. It's good to remember that God has a long history of fulfilling extravagant promises, that God is generous in ways that humans can scarcely fathom.

Friday, September 07, 2012

PUMPKIN PATCH RETURNS TO TRINITY!!!

Pumpkin off-load is Saturday, Oct. 13th @ 12:30. Lunch will be provided. Many hands needed - plus if you know a youth who needs service hours for school this is an excellent opportunity! The patch will run from Oct. 13th through Oct. 31st from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with morning, afternoon and early evening shifts available. All monies go to support our Youth and Christian Education programs. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - PLEASE SIGN UP ON THE SIGN UP LIST DURING WORSHIP OR CONTACT KATHY VELEZ OR NANCY BERGER 
1st COMMUNION INSTRUCTION for all ages!
10:30AM – noon SAT SEPT 29th led by Pastor Keith in preparation for 1st Communion Sunday SEPT 30th . If your child has not celebrated their 1st Communion (regardless of whether or not they are currently communing), they are encouraged to participate in this event. At least one adult, either parent or an adult involved in their faith formation must participate with them. RSVP required on your worship slip or call the office. Any questions, please see Pastor Keith.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

WORSHIP TOGETHER!

Our our 10AM "Worship Together" service this Sunday at 10AM in Charter Hall we will be dividing into two groups, throwing on some costumes, and being given the opportunity to tell in their own words the two short stories from Luke 18 and John 8.
TRINITY MIDWEEK UPDATE
September 5, 2012

Blessings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

With the summer behind us and schools everywhere now in session, this coming Sunday we will celebrate our “Back to Church” Sunday with wonderful...
worship, a time of fellowship with a good old fashioned church potluck, and a time of service in collecting and boxing up cookies for our college students. I hope that you can be a part of it!

Our worship opportunities have grown and diversified and so remember what begins this Sunday, September 9th:
THE 8AM SERVICE
We will go back to using the traditional Holy Communion Setting One from the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW). It will be printed out in the bulletin in its entirety for ease of use.

THE 10AM "WORSHIP TOGETHER" SERVICE
This service debuted this past summer. It is for families, youth, singles, adults, grandparents, well, everybody. It is not, however, like the worship that most people have grown up with and we do not apologize for that. We have worked with the experts at Faith Inkubators to design a new service that is a blend of Holy Communion Worship (highly interactive, creative and participatory), Family Faith Formation (equipping families for building up and passing on the faith), and Sundays school (teaching the core stories of the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, and so on). This service uses both large group and small group formats, lots of singing, sharing, prayer, drama, art, opening up the Bible, American Sign Language and more! It also takes full advantage of the new video and sound system in Charter Hall.

This service replaces traditional Sunday school for those below 6th grade. Confirmation with Mrs. LaCroix (6th-8th grade) begins on September 9th at 9AM and our High School and Young Adult Class (HS+ Class) is ongoing in the Youth area of Charter Hall also at 9AM. An adult class is planned begin during the 9AM hour later on this fall.

THE 11AM SERVICE
We will be using the Lord Have Mercy Liturgy that provides a joyous and very singable worship that is simultaneously traditional, yet has a folksy contemporary feel to it. The Trinity Worship choir led by Jacob Smitter, our organist, Barbara Gilson, and our worship instrumentalists will all help lead us in this beautiful service. Remember, we will be adjusting our Communion Practice at the 11AM service on all Sundays except Healing Sundays and some special high-attendance Festival Sundays (Christmas Eve and Easter, for example). We will be returning to communing at the front altar rail (but not the side rails). Those for whom the steps may be problematic may opt to be communed at their pews by just alerting an usher.

________________________

As a reminder:
• Tuesday morning 8:30AM Bible Study 9:30AM crafts with Earline LaCroix begins September 11th
• Wednesday evenings at 6PM there is “Prayer and Praise” with Earline LaCroix
• Second Tuesday of the Month Ladies Bible Study at 7:30PM begins September 11th
• First Fridays of the Month 7PM Bible Study with Pastor Keith at Crispers (the corner of University and Stirling Road) begins Friday September 7th.
• Yoga with Diane Jansen Thursdays in the sanctuary (enter through side door)
9:30-11AM beginning September 13th. Please RSVP with SAM in the office.

Trinity is a busy, active and joyous place and we hope that you have had a blessed summer and we look forward to seeing you!

Ever in Christ,
Pastor Keith

Meditation on This Sunday's Narrative Lectionary

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott


The Narrative Lectionary Readings for Sept. 9, 2012:


Genesis 2:4b-7, 15-17; 3:1-8

Optional: Luke 11:4


This creation story is not my favorite. I much prefer the first creation story that Genesis gives us.

Two creation stories? Two ways to begin? You were not aware that Genesis contains at least 2 variations of the same story?

The earlier version shows God as a creator making things and declaring them "Good" and "Very good." The Narrative Lectionary will give us this creation story in later years.

The creation story for this Sunday gives us the more familiar story: God creates a human out of dust and puts him in the garden of Eden with strict instructions not to eat of one particular tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The rest of the story is familiar even to people who rarely go to church or temple.The snake convinces the woman to eat the fruit, she convinces the man, and they're aware of their nakedness and feel shame. It's a story that has left us with centuries of interpretation.

Many Bible scholars think that the second creation story was written during the time of the Babylonian exile (587 B.C.E.), and it's interesting to compare this Judeo-Christian creation story to the much more violent creation story of the Babylonians, where many gods battle, and the heavens and the earth are formed out of the desecrated body of the defeated goddess Tiamat. In the Genesis story, we see a kinder God, with humans who are given freedom and choices.

One of the central questions that I've often gotten about this creation story revolves around free will. Why would God put this object, this tree of the knowledge of good and evil, into the Garden of Eden in the first place? If we believe in an omniscient God, the question becomes thornier: if God knows that the humans will eat the fruit, why set them up?

The simple answer: God wants humans, not pets. The Scriptures show us time and time again that God wants relationship with us, but God wants it to be a non-coercive relationship. God has created a universe based on free will, with humans (and perhaps animals and perhaps even quantum particles) making a variety of choices, some of them disastrous. It's the best answer that I can give to that eternal question: "Why does God allow such bad stuff to happen?"

Again and again in these Biblical narratives, we'll see humans making trust-breaking decisions. We'll see both humans and God wrestling with how to handle these disappointments. We'll see humans deciding to look out for themselves, or deciding that they know better than God, or deciding that they'd like to be God, and we'll see the consequences of those actions.

It makes sense to begin with such a story as we have for today. We may find it tempting, as the ancients did, to impose strict moral lessons onto the story. One of the reasons that this passage makes me queasy is that it's been one of the primary texts used as a justification for the oppression of women. All of our sinful consequences get laid at the feet of this first woman who ate the fruit and convinced the man to do the same.

We've got the signature text for the doctrine of original sin. And that doctrine has been used in so many destructive ways.

Later Biblical scholars have argued that the Bible is primarily about God, not about us. When we turn this text into a set of orders to follow, we've lost our way.

In the coming weeks, we'll see an interesting assortment of people, many of whom we wouldn't choose, if we were putting together a dream team of people who will fulfill God's covenant. For me, that's one of the most important lessons of the Bible: God can use us where we are, even with all the ways we are imperfect.

In fact, we could make the argument that God uses those very imperfections to get us all closer to a redeemed creation, a reformed Garden, a world that's closer to finished draft than the rough draft of a world that we see in the creation stories in Genesis.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

FIRST FRIDAY BIBLESTUDY  AT CRISPERS
This Friday we will be our First "First Friday" and we will just dive right in Sunday's text - NARRATIVE LECTIONARY WEEK ONE Genesis 2:4b-7, 15-17; 3:1-8. Bring a Bible or we will have extras to pass around. Together we will discover that alot that we remember about this part of the creation story isn't really how the Bible rememebers it. Should make for some good discussion!

What are "First Fridays?"
Meal. Conversation. Faith. Life.
Beginning Friday September 7th at Crispers in Davie (The Target Shopping Center at Stirling and University)
Led by Pastor Keith of Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines.
Those who want to eat can eat (Crispers has simple and inexpensive food http://crispersonline.com/archives/menu_categories/crispers-menu. Those who want to just come can come and be a part of our time together. We'll spend time wrestling with God and talking about life. We'll dive into Scripture. A safe place for real questions and an honest faith. All welcome - and so are your friends!
TRINITY BUTTERFLY GARDEN
Looking for some help in the Trinity butterfly garden this week or next. Day/time is flexible - just need to know when you would like to work so we can have the plants, mulch and tools available

Monday, September 03, 2012

COOKIES NEEDED THIS SUNDAY!

Trinity Lutheran will be boxing up cookies for college student care packages on Sunday. We have 20+ students to take care of - so lots of cookies needed to fill those boxes - who can bring some???
There's a potluck at the same time - so you'll get to eat while you box : )

TRINITY IN A WORD
Word Picture made from most recent one-word descriptions of Trinity shared by worshippers

Sunday, September 02, 2012



SERMON AUDIO
QUICK TO LISTEN/SLOW TO TALK/SLOW TO ANGER
a sermon


This morning's sermon audio may now be found on youtube at

Saturday, September 01, 2012


A Sermon on James 1:17–27
September 2, 2012

 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;  for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.  Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

 Quick to listen, slow to speak.

 And when we do speak, do we speak with words born from a heart claimed by one word, one true, living and forgiving word, Jesus; Jesus, who teaches us how to speak not from impulse or impatience or anger or self justification, but from love.

When we speak, do we speak from a heart saturated with the love that is Christ Jesus?

Do we?

 That we can sin and do sin does not justify what comes out of our mouths even though we might want it to or expect it to.

That we can sin and do sin does not justify what comes out of our mouths and cannot become our go to excuse even though we might want it to or expect it to.

Oh, well, that’s just me being me, we might say.

That’s just who I am, we might say.

 But that is not who we are, cannot be who we truly are.

In our baptism God, in and through Christ Jesus, has claimed us, forgiven us and sanctified us. Set us apart. Welcomed us into the very household of God.

 Do we dare toss aside our true selves with such casualness?

We follow up our unkind speech, our angry speech or impulsive and careless words with:

Oh, well, that’s just me being me.
That’s just who I am.

But it is not who we are and who we are called to be in Christ Jesus, is it?

We need to let go of the notion that the worst of ourselves gets to define who we are. Rather as James puts it we need to:  welcome with meekness the implanted word. Meekness is one of the key cornerstones of the Christian life. Meekness. Humbleness. Humility. Allowing God the room to rule in our life. To give up the notion that we know better than God what is better for us, the God whose very breath is the air we breathe, who formed us from the dust of the earth, who knew us before we were shaped in our mother’s womb. Meekness is a way of life that acknowledges that God knows better than we do about what is better for us. That we are willing to seek the heart of God at all times. In all things.

 In meekness we ask for God to saturate our hearts with the love of Christ and give us the wisdom and humility to, as the writer of Ephesians puts it:

…be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 Jesus says over and over again that that we are to live in love: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' And  'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

 The writer of James puts some flesh on that for us telling us that our love of God and neighbor means that we need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.

For the writers of James faith is not some intellectual idea, or mere mystery, it is embodied. It lives, it breathes, it acts, it dwells in and through our interaction with the rest of creation.


But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves, James says.

Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers.

 If people were thoughtlessly and harmfully speaking out in anger in James’ day – if this was so prominent an issue as they were forming the early Christian faith communities – if the continuation of such careless and angry speech risked, we could imagine, ripping apart the earliest Christian communities at their seams, then where do we sit today?

Today where we can “reply to all” with the touch of a button and leave ourselves unable to take it back. Where we read into email and instant messages and text and chat emotions that may or may not be there. Today, one imagine, even without our technology we are no different than any generation in ,jumping to conclusions, assuming all too often the worst of people, never having the humility to in true relationship sit down and share our concerns. We hide. We hurt. We insulate ourselves.

 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves, James says.

 In Luther’s Small Catechism, a book meant to help families teach and explain the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, the sacraments and other such things says this about the 8th commandment which is “ You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

 Defend others? Speak well of them? Explain everything they do in the kindest possible way?

Well, that won’t get people laughing with us.
That won’t make us popular.
That’s not as fun.
We might even say that’s just not me. 
That’s just not who I am.

But there again, we are just deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
When we speak, we are called to speak from a heart saturated with the love that is Christ Jesus.
When we act, we are called to act from a heart saturated with the love that is Christ Jesus.

For God is honored not by our mere hearing of God’s word, but by our humble obedience. God  is honored not by our hearing of the word, but in our doing.  

AMEN.