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...

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mercy Without Limits this Sunday at 9:30AM

Love of God and Neighbor is the core of Jesus' teaching.
And the love of God is best lived through our selfless love of our neighbor.
And Jesus teaches that our true neighbor is the one needing mercy.
PLEASE come on out this Sunday April 2nd at 9:30AM to Trinity Lutheran's Charter Hall as Mercy Without Limits
http://www.mercywithoutlimits.org/ will share their story.
They have had some of their folks travelling America by motorcycle bringing the story of their ministry on behalf of Syrian orphans since last summer.
Remember Syria?
It is still there and full of suffering despite the news at capacity with other topics right now.

So blessed that this Sunday at 9:30AM in Trinity's Charter Hall that one of those riders, Ahmed, will share their story and the plight of Syrian orphans with us. Thanks Joelle Colville-Hanson for bringing this to our attention.
All Welcome! And I made home-made bread to share so you know that this is important.
Blessings Ever
Pastor Keith

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Justice Sunday 2017

Our church will be celebrating Justice Sunday this week, as we get ready for our 2017 Nehemiah action and another year of working with BOLD Justice, working with county leaders to make our world more just.

 Every year, when we have our Nehemiah action with BOLD Justice, I think about the book of Nehemiah, and the other prophets, books that are less familiar to me than much of the Bible.  Many of those Old Testament prophets focus on the idea of justice.

Justice is different from charity.  Charity often fixes an immediate problem:  think of a food bank, for example, where a family gets several bags of food to tide them over.  Justice looks at the larger picture and ponders why we need food banks at all--where are the jobs that would allow people to earn enough to buy their own food?

Even if we aren't successful at creating change, God still calls on us to work for justice. 

Not to contribute to charity, although God mandates that too. But to work for justice.

In a book I cannot recommend highly enough, The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg explains the difference this way: "Charity means helping the victims. Justice asks, 'Why are there so many victims?' and then seeks to change the causes of victimization, that is, the way the system is structured. Justice is not about Caesar increasing his charitable giving or Pilate increasing his tithe. Justice is about social transformation. Taking the political vision of the Bible seriously means the practice of social transformation" (page 201).

He offers this comfort: "The world's need for systemic transformation is great, but it is important not to become passive or discouraged ('without heart') because the need is so great. None of us is called to be knowledgeable about all of it or capable of doing something about all of it " (page 204).

We are lucky to be part of a church that works for both justice and charity.  We are stronger in a group than we are alone.  Together we can help create a world where everyone has what they need.

We have been successful on many levels.  It's time to celebrate that success--and to continue the work.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Verb Choices in the Beatitudes

This Sunday, we return to our study of the Beatitude with this portion:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled."

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Several weeks ago, we talked about what kind of righteousness--personal righteousness or societal righteousness.  But I can't stop thinking about the verbs, especially in the context of our current political time.

What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness?  What type of yearning is Jesus discussing here?

Many of us might say we hunger and thirst in this way.  Don't we post our outrage on Facebook as various groups look to be in danger of losing human rights?  Some of us have spent the last few months marching--some of us have spent decades marching.  Maybe we've taken a vow to communicate more regularly with our legislators.

I'm thinking that the key to understanding these verbs, this hungering and thirsting, has to do with our intention.  Notice that we are blessed not if we rage and rail for justice.  Jesus does not say "Blessed are those who are angry about injustice."

Of course our anger may be what moves us to the deeper emotion, the hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  Hungering and thirsting speaks of a yearning that lasts, that even as it is filled, it reoccurs. 

These verb choices suggest that we are never done with the task of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.   After all, even if we've eaten the most filling meal, we'll still be hungry 24 hours later.

In these times when many of us feel like we're fighting for rights that we thought had been secure, that thought is an odd comfort.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Women's Sunday at Trinity

March is the month designated to celebrate women's history; March 8 is International Women's Day.  We might ask ourselves why we still need to set time apart to pay attention to women.  Haven't we enacted laws so that women are equal and now we can just go on with our lives?

Sadly, no, that is not the case.  If we look at basic statistics, like how much women earn compared to men in the very same jobs, we see that the U.S. has still not achieved equality.  Although the Lutheran church has been ordaining women since the 70's, although we have a female bishop in the top position, our local churches are still likely to be led by white men.  If we look at violent crime rates, we discover that most violent crime rates have fallen--except for rape.  If we look at representation in local, state, and federal levels, we see that members of government are still mostly white and male.

And that's in a first world country.  The picture for women in developing nations is bleak.

Most of us understand why a world where more women have access to equal resources would be a better world for all of us.  Many of us have spent years and decades working to make that world a reality.  Those of us who go to Trinity are lucky enough to have a church that supports the vision of equality that God offers to us as what the Kingdom of God looks like.

Not everyone has that experience.  And sadly, many people have experienced discrimination against women coming at them through their churches.

So, this Sunday at Trinity, we'll hear about women of the past who have kept the flames of faith alive.  We'll ask forgiveness for all the ways we've been agents of oppression.  We'll envision a better future for all.

It's what we do every Sunday, although this Sunday we'll use the lens of gender to help us have a clearer sight.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

What Type of Righteousness?

This Sunday, we continue with our study of the Beatitude with this portion:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled."

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Next week, I'll write more about those verbs, hungering and thirsting.

Why righteousness?  Why are we hungering and thirsting for this quality?  What does it mean?

One of the traditional ways to interpret the word righteousness is to talk about moral correctness, about doing what God has told us to do, about living the right way, about keeping the commandments.

Many of us have been harmed by that way of thinking, by being told what proper children should do, how good wives should behave, about what kind of desire is O.K. and what is not, about how we must constrain ourselves into the forms that have been deemed to be acceptable. 

But we have been reminded over and over again that Jesus does not come to judge us this way.  God may be sorrowful over our actions, but it's not because we're not following some ancient code.  It's because our actions are so harmful and not allowing us to live the kind of wonderful lives that God knows are possible for us.

What if righteousness is not about our individual lives?  A more modern interpretation might take a larger intrepretation--we are hungering and thirsting for a society that is more just, more merciful, more like God's kingdom than the empires that oppress us.

Walter Wink reminds us that even if we believe in free will, this belief doesn't mean that God can't act in the world. But God won't act if we don't ask or demand it: "This is a God who works with us and for us, to make and keep human life humane. And what God does depends on the intercessions of those who care enough to try to shape a future more humane than the present" (Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, page 301).

It's important to remember that there are many ways to work for justice, and one of the most important is to keep in our minds a vision of a better world, a place of peace and justice. Too many of us succumb to despair. We can't believe that change will come. Yet the history of the late twentieth century teaches us that social change may come in what appears to be a sudden instant, although observant people have been preparing for years or decades.

We are called to be part of that creative process.