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

Featured Post

Advent Meditation on Joseph

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Second Beatitude

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Gospel reading for Sunday, January 29, 2017:

Matthew 5:4

The text for this week is deceptively simple:  "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

We might assume that Jesus is talking about Heaven, a time when we will be reunited with our loved ones and find the ultimate comfort.  Or maybe we say that we're all comforted eventually, because time passes and we get used to our losses.

We forget, or never knew, how Christ's listeners would hear this text.  They did not have the benefit of modern psychology that instructs us in the best ways to mourn and how to emerge on the other side a healthier person.  Christ's listeners would have a very different idea of what happens when we die:  perhaps there would be a reunion with loved ones, but it would be in a very distant time after we've all laid in the cold earth a very long time.

The idea of a mourner being called out for blessing would be very odd indeed.  Mourners are those who have lost much--how can they be blessed? It's those who don't mourn who are blessed--right?

Those of us who have mourned deeply may also be baffled.  How can we be blessed when hollowed out with grief.  We may look at our pre-mourning time and feel like we've been exiled to a distant land.  We may look with envy on those who have never experienced mourning.  We may tell ourselves that those who mourn are cursed, not blessed.

This message is central to the teaching of Jesus.  Everything we thought we knew will be overturned. Christ has come to overturn the natural order of our societies, an order which doesn't work very well for many of us.

Most of us will not escape mourning--but the central message of Christianity is that death does not have the final answer.  We will not be exiled in the land of grief forever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Broken Spirits

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

This Sunday, we continue our study of last week's Gospel reading:

Matthew 5:  1-3

One of the things I learned last Sunday was how to more correctly interpret the idea of being poor in spirit.  The word "poor"--the exact word in Greek--doesn't mean poor the way that modern readers might assume.  In fact, last week I made this very mistake:  poor as lacking something, like money.

Last week, Pastor Keith told us that this particular word, "poor," evoked a bent-over poor.  We have seen this kind of poor in our own cities:  the homeless person begging at the intersection, so disabled from this life that standing up straight is not an option.

What does it mean to be that kind of emptied out spiritually?  The verse, after all, is "Blessed are the poor in spirit."  Some weeks, I know exactly what that kind of spirit must be.

I'm not talking about spirituality, the way that many might when reading that verse.  I'm thinking about my general human spirit, that spark that makes a person unique.

Some weeks, I feel like a dimly burning candle on a windy night.  The wind buffets my tiny flame, and it's in constant danger of going out for good.  What use am I to anyone?

This passage reminds us that there's room for us too, even when we're bent over with our broken spirits.  We don't have to be spiritual superstars.  Jesus includes us, even when we're spiritually impoverished.

And when we're hollowed out this way, maybe we'll have more room for Jesus.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Sermon on the Mount: Poor in Spirit

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The Gospel reading for Sunday, January 15, 2017:

Matthew 5:  1-3

This Sunday we begin our study of the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes.  Some have said that if you were choosing the most important passages of the Gospels, we'd do well to choose this text.  Some have called it a guidebook to the proper behavior of Christians.  Is this text an updating of the Ten Commandments or the replacing?  Or something else altogether?

As we read the Beatitudes in the coming weeks, ask yourself if Jesus speaks to you in this passage.  Which beatitude seems tailor-made for you?  Where might you be called to improve?

We should also try to listen to these passages with new ears.  If we've been going to church any length of time, we've heard these texts before, often many times.  How might we have come away with the wrong idea? 

Let's take Matthew 5:  3, where Jesus says that the poor in spirit are blessed.  What does it mean to be poor in spirit?  Let's list some possibilities that come to mind:

--hypocrite

--prone to depression

--a poverty of the pocketbook

--non-believer, someone who can't believe

--a person who is toxic to others

--someone who doesn't tell us how they really feel

--angry mindset

--gossiper

On and on I could go--what does Jesus really mean when he talks about people who are poor in spirit?  Many interpreters come to the idea that poor in spirit means someone who realizes how lacking they are in a spiritual outlook, and thus need God even more.  But as we sit and ponder all the possibilities, we see that this small passage could mean many things.

For those of us assuming that the Sermon on the Mount isn't about us, perhaps Jesus begins with this calling of the poor in spirit blessed, because who amongst us can't relate?  We've all had moments when we're impoverished that way.  Jesus calls us blessed, which may not be what we'd expect.

For those of us who see the Bible as a guidebook for moral behavior, we might see ourselves challenged to approach the text in a new way.  For those who see moral behavior as our ticket to Heaven, we might also be challenged to think differently.

Christ came to announce that God's plan for redeeming the world had begun. That plan involves our pre-death world, which is not just a place where we wait around until it's our turn to go to Heaven. No, this world is the one that God wants to redeem. Christ comes to invite us to be part of the redemptive plan.

The Sermon on the Mount might be the essential teachings of Jesus, distilled into several pages.  In this early part of the text, we see an inclusive message.  We may not be spiritually gifted, but we are blessed too.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Sunday Jan 8th

So Trinity Lutheran is back on regular schedule on Sunday - 830am and 11am in the sanctuary and 945am cross+generational worship in the hall.
We are re-affirming baptismal promises in worship and celebrating all the celebrating things like birthdays, anniversaries, sobrieties - you name it - for the Months of December and January during coffee hour.
The weather is supposed to be cool for south Florida in the morning - but our AC is on vacation at the moment - so a happy coincidence!
Blessings and see ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Meditation on the Baptism of Jesus

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for Sunday, January 8, 2017:

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17

This week's Gospel finds Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, a ministry that shows what a difference to world history a year or two can make. Notice that Jesus begins with baptism.  I love the fact that the Revised Common Lectionary returns us to the baptism of Jesus to start every year.  What a difference from the secular ways we start the year.  In today's Gospel, instead of harsh resolutions, we get the words of God: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

We tend to see Jesus as special. We can't imagine God saying the same thing about us. But in fact, from everything we can tell, God does feel that way about us. God takes on human form in its most vulnerable, as a little baby.  How much more of a demonstration of love do we need?

For those of us who are big believers in affirmations, we should print out those words and paste them on our bathroom mirrors. What does it mean, if we believe God is well pleased with us?

Many of us dwell in the land of self-loathing this time of year. Maybe we've spent too much money on our Christmas festivities. Maybe we've eaten too much in that time between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Maybe we've already broken our New Year's resolutions. We look in our mirrors and see multiple reasons to hate ourselves.

We look in the mirror and see ourselves as we imagine that the world sees us. The world looks at us and feeds us criticism: too fat, too plain, too wrinkled, too odd, too tall, too short. A diet of that commentary quickly leaves us malnourished. The world looks at us and judges us in terms of all the things we haven't accomplished yet: no child or children who don't measure up, lack of business success, a house that's too small or in the wrong neighborhood, no publication credits, no worthy creative products, the wrong kind of degree or no degree at all. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of the world means we compare ourselves to others and hold ourselves to impossible standards.

No one wins this game.

Try a different practice for a week or two or 52. Look in the mirror and see yourself not as the world sees you. Look in the mirror and know that God loves you. God chose you. God delights in you.

Our spiritual forebears might have worried that this kind of practice would lead to too much pride. But frankly, our culture has changed. In a world where more people are seeking help for the diseases of depression and anxiety disorders than ever before in human history, and many of the rest of us are trying to self-medicate, perhaps we shouldn't worry too much about big-headedness.

God chose you. God delights in you. God loves you.

No matter how much you improve yourself, God will still love you. No matter how many times you lose sight of your goals and move further away from the best self that you could be, God will still love you. Of course God sees your full potential and probably hopes that you'll move in that direction. But even if you don't, God will love you anyway. No matter how miserably you've failed, God will always welcome you.

We've lived in the land of self-loathing long enough. Why cripple ourselves with this kind of thinking? There's work to be done, and the world cannot afford for you to waste time feeling bad for all the ways you've failed. Every day, remember your baptism (perhaps as you bathe, as Martin Luther recommended) and the larger meaning of your baptism.

God loves you.  Love yourself as deeply as God loves you.