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...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, March 1, 2015:

Matthew 18:21-35

The Gospel for today, at least the first part, is probably familiar to most of us. Peter is looking for the magic number of times that he must forgive--and you can tell he's annoyed, ready to cut off the person who has offended him, but he'll forgive seven times--and you know that he's probably already forgiven that person eight times. Jesus tells him he must forgive seventy times seven.

I remember in fifth grade Sunday school class where we studied this passage. We immediately got to work on the math. And if you were an obsessive child, like I had a tendency to be, you started keeping a list of how many times you had forgiven your sister.

I had unwittingly proven Jesus' point. Peter asks a stupid, juvenile question, and Jesus gives him an answer to let him know how petty he has been. By now, we should all know that Jesus didn't come to give us a new set of legalisms to follow.

Jesus then gives us a parable about the nature of forgiveness. Most of us will need more forgiveness throughout our lives than we really deserve. We are like indentured servants who can never hope to pay off our debt, but we're miraculously forgiven.

Most of us, happily, will never experience indentured servitude in the traditional sense. But in our past years of financial collapse, many of us have discovered a different kind of indebtedness. Many of us owe more on our houses than they will ever be worth again. Many of us owe more on our credit cards than we can ever repay, and we likely don’t even remember what we bought. Because of the lousy job situation throughout the country, many of us are chained to jobs that no longer satisfy. Think of how wonderful it would be if someone came in and relieved us of those debts. Think of forgiveness the same way.

Our task--and it sometimes seems more monumental than paying off a huge financial debt--is to extend that quality of forgiveness and mercy to others.

Who needs your forgiveness? Have you told those people that they're forgiven? Do they know it by your loving actions? To whom do you need to repent? What's keeping you from doing it?

And now, for the part that might be even harder for many of us—have you forgiven yourself? I've gotten fairly talented at forgiving my loved ones, but I'm still not good at forgiving myself. I'm still angry and annoyed when the struggles I thought were past me resurface. I'm still hard on myself for my shortcomings, even as I acknowledge that my shortcomings could be worse.

Fortunately, God has a higher opinion of me than I do of myself. God is willing to forgive me for my shortcomings--even as I fall short again and again.

Let us model ourselves after God's capacity for forgiveness. And if our capacity to forgive isn’t at 70 times 7 yet, let’s pray for an expanded ability to forgive. Let us also remember to pray for our enemies, both the personal ones and the political ones, the inner voices that berate us, the outer voices that shrilly defeat all peace initiatives, all the enemies who would undo us.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Funeral Information for George Hall

George Hall died last night quietly in his sleep at the Vitas Hospice unit at Memorial Pembroke Hospital after several weeks of illness and hospitalization. George's funeral service will take place TOMORROW SATURDAY FEBRUARY 21st at 2PM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines with coffee and cake to follow in Charter Hall. Earline LaCroix will be coordinating the after funeral food.  If you desire to lend a hand please contact her directly. Our prayers continue to be with Mickey and her family. Condolence cards may be send to Mickey Hall 217743 N. Heritage circle Pembroke Pines, FL 33029.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Funeral Information on Sharon (Kopras) Pihokken

The Funeral service and visitation for Sharon (Kopras) Pihokken is THIS SATURDAY February 14th at Trinity Lutheran church, 7150 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines FL 33024 (954) 989 1903

With a fellowship meal to follow in the hall

Those desiring to assist with the meal should contact Earline LaCroix

The Death of Sharon (Kopras) Pihokken

For the friends and community of Trinity Lutheran Church Pembroke Pines​, Sharon (Kopras) Pihokken entered the Kingdom early this morning at Memorial Pembroke Hospital after a brave battle with cancer. Our prayers are with her husband, Steve, and all of her friends and family. Thank you to Trinity's Care and Concern Team for their support, especially over the past month. Funeral arrangements will be shared as soon as they are available. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

By Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Transfiguration Sunday:

Matthew 17:1-9

I often approach Transfiguration Sunday by thinking about ways to transfigure myself. In just a few days, we enter the season of Lent, that season of ash and penitence. Lent gets us ready for the joy of Easter. Lent gives us the perfect opportunity for self-exploration, to analyze our behaviors and beliefs that keep us from being Resurrection People.

Many of us will embrace our desire for transformation by giving something up.  Often it's something we should have given up anyway.  Some of us will adopt a Lenten discipline that adds something to our days.

Some of us are too tired to even come up with a transfiguring plan.  Maybe we envy the Peters of the world, with their shaggy enthusiasm.  Maybe we wish that Jesus would call us the Rock upon which he will build his church, even as Christ has to correct Peter again and again.

Maybe we are feeling like sand, the former rock of faith abraded away by the difficulties of life.  We know that a house built on sand will wash away with a big storm or with the daily movement of the waves.

But take heart:  concrete mixed with sand will be stronger.  And where do those of us who are sand find concrete?  Often we don't even have to look.  Often our family and friends are in their concrete phase when we're in our sand phase.  We strengthen each other, even when we're unaware that we're doing it.  But how much stronger we could be if we were more intentional.

Jesus knew the value of community. He knew the human tendency to rush towards transfiguration.  We yearn to be different, but so often, we shun the hard work involved.  We might embrace transformation before we stop to consider the cost.  But if we are surrounded by community, the work transforms into something more festive.  If we stay on top of the mountain after the light fades, we may come to feel stranded.

Jesus reminds us again and again that the true work comes not from telling people what we’ve seen, but by letting what we’ve seen change the way that we live. Our true calling is not to be carnival barker, but to get on with the work of repair and building of the communities in which we find ourselves.  

We can be the rock, the concrete, the sand.  Christ's vision is big enough to transfigure us all.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Gospel for Sunday, February 8, 2015:

Matthew 16:  13-28

This Gospel shows us a picture of Jesus who knows that he's on a path to crucifixion. With clear sight and clear mission, Jesus warns his disciples of what's ahead.

Peter has a typical reaction: "That will never happen."

I've always had a fondness for St. Peter. I've always had a fondness for all the disciples, really. Such flawed people. So much like us all. 

Think back to those early disciples, travelling the countryside with a mystifying man named Jesus. They must have had trouble figuring out exactly what was happening, much as we all do when we're in the midst of our life experiences. And yet, they are able to confess their belief and to commit to this new life path. For most, it will cost them their lives.

We'll have all kinds of crosses to bear, Jesus warns us, and we'll lose our lives in all kinds of ways. But we'll get wonderful rewards.

It's important to stress that Jesus isn't just talking about Heaven, or whatever your vision is of what happens when you die. If Jesus spoke directly, Jesus might say, "You're thinking too small. Did I give you an imagination so that you let it wither and waste away? Dream big, dream big."

I'm rereading N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. He's got interesting things to say about our ideas of life after death, but he's quick to stress that Jesus doesn't just announce a Kingdom in some Heaven that's somewhere else. On the contrary--the appearance of Jesus means that God's plan for redeeming creation has begun. And we're called to help. Wright says, ". . . you must follow in the way of the cross, and if you want to benefit from Jesus' saving death, you must become part of his kingdom project." (204-205). He points out, "But God ordered his world in such a way that his own work within [our] world takes place not least through one of his creatures, in particular, namely, the human beings who reflect his image" (207). And for those of us who feel inadequate to the task, Wright (and before him, Jesus) reminds us of all the talents that we have at our disposal: "God gloriously honors all kinds of ways of announcing the good news" (226).

For many of us, the most difficult part of Jesus' mission that he gives us will be the willingness to believe that the arc of history bends towards justice, as Martin Luther King reminded us. The arc of history also bends towards beauty and wisdom and love and mercy. Some of us are so beaten down that we forget. Some of us would have no problem being crucified for our faith, but it's much harder to believe in God's vision of a redeemed world and to work to make that happen. But scripture and thousands of years of theology makes it clear, as Wright says, "We are called to live within the world where these things are possible and to agents of such things insofar as they lie in our calling and sphere" (248).

We'll lose our current lives of bitterness, fear, hopelessness, and rage. But we'll find a better one as we become agents of the Kingdom.

In next week's meditation, I'll think about Peter as a rock, Peter as a set of keys.  What metaphor describes your Kingdom work?  Are you a rock?  Are you sand?  Are you an upright tree or one that bends?