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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...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Special Congregational Meeting

SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING MAY 14th 
For the specific purpose of voting on Trinity council’s recommendation to grant an easement to 7100 pines plaza INC and Sky sunshine daycare for the establishment of a playground
Trinity was approached last summer with a request for an easement for a daycare moving in next door to build a required playground on our property so that they could be licensed and operate.
Council spent the last 9 months negotiating with the daycare and the shopping center to ensure the final agreement was satisfactory to all parties. Throughout this process, Tom Gearhart, Al and Shirley Gearhart’s son and a lawyer, guided us and reviewed every draft. We have also been in touch with both our insurance company and our current loan holder to ensure that the agreement is satisfactory in their eyes.
The daycare will have its own insurance and hold liability. They will be inspected, reviewed, and licensed by the City of Pembroke Pines. They are responsible for maintaining the area.
The area in question is the Trinity property south of the current fenced in area behind Charter Hall extending approximately 85 feet to the south and no further west then the current fence that surrounds the large ficus behind Charter. For those who remember the Prayer Labyrinth, it covers essentially the same area.
We are granting an easement for the expressed  purpose of allowing the construction of the playground. Trinity will continue to own the land and is contractually permitted to use the playground when it is not in use by the pre-school. The easement is on a four-ear renewable contract  with an escape clause should Trinity decide to sell that portion of the land sometime in the future.
For the easement Trinity will be permitted to use the playground (designed for pre-school age children for a Monday through Friday pre school) and received $250 a month compensation that increases $50 a month each year of the agreement is in force.  The playground will be fenced in for security. There is no cost to Trinity for allowing the easement or maintaining it.

If you have any questions prior to the meeting please direct them to either Council President Eileen Soler or Pastor Keith

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walking the Emmaus Road

The reading for Sunday, April 30, 2017:


Gospel: Luke 24:13-35


Today we read of the sojourners on their way to Emmaus. This story gives us an important window into the lives we are to have as Christians, particularly when it comes to the sharing of a meal, and our basic obligations when it comes to hospitality.

That hospitality is the often overlooked side of the Emmaus story. The travelers have walked seven miles together.  For those of you who are wondering, that might take the modern walker, walking at a fast clip, a bit over two hours; in Biblical times, with unpaved roads with poorly shod feet, I'm estimating it would take half a day. When they get back to their house, they don't say to Jesus, "Well, good luck on your journey."

No--they invite him inside. What remarkable hospitality. They share what they have. They don't say, "Well, I can't let you see my house in its current state--let's go out to dinner." No, they notice that the day is nearly done, and they invite a stranger in to stay the night.  They don't direct the stranger to the nearest inn.

Those of you who have read your Bible will recognize a motif. God often appears as a stranger, and good things come to those who invite a stranger in. For those of you who protest that modern life is so much more dangerous than in Biblical times, and so it was safer for people like Abraham and the Emmaus couple to invite the stranger to stay, I'd have to disagree.

Without that hospitality, those strangers never would have known their fellow traveler. We are called to model the same behavior.

One thing we can do in our individual lives is to adopt a Eucharistic mindset. Never has this been more vital. Most people have ceased cooking for themselves, and many Americans are eating at least one meal a day while they drive.

Rebel against this trait. Look for ways to make meals special. Cook for yourself. Invite your friends and loved ones to dinner. Occasionally, invite a stranger. Each week, go to a different bakery and buy yourself some wonderful bread. Open a bottle of wine and savor a glass.

Bread and wine are relatively cheap and available. When I was a teenager living in Knoxville, Tennessee, my father went to D.C. on business, and brought back sourdough bread. I thought I had never tasted anything so wonderful, and marveled at a city where you could just buy such a creation from a bakery.

Well now, most of us do. Even in small towns, it's possible to get good bread. And it's easy to make it for yourself, if you want to restore even more sanity to your schedule. And while you make that bread, you can marvel at the miracle of yeast, and think again about Jesus' call for us to be the leaven (the yeast) in the loaf.

Jesus calls us to a Eucharistic life, which requires a major readjustment of our mindset around the issues of food, drink, time, and hospitality. Consider the Capitalist/Consumerist model that our culture offers us, and the invitation from Jesus looks even more attractive.

So, before the day gets later, go and buy some bread. Think about the many ways that bread (and other grains) sustain most of us throughout the world. Drink some wine and think about the miracle of fermentation; ponder the reality that in many parts of the world, people drink fermented beverages because the water supply is tainted, but fermentation provides some protection.

You are the leaven in the loaf, the yeast that turns grape juice into the miracle of wine--how can you make that manifest in the world today?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Meditation on Doubting Thomas

The Gospel for Sunday, April 23, 2017:

John 20:19-31


I love the post-Easter encounters with Jesus. It's as if the Gospel writers knew that we'd need to be reminded of the amazing thing that has happened. It's no wonder that Thomas said he wouldn't believe until he'd touched the wounds.

Jesus was dead. He wasn't just passed out or in a deep sleep or let off the cross early. He died and rose again.

Notice that here, as elsewhere, Jesus knows what humans need and meets them on that level. He doesn't get huffy. He doesn't say, "Well, if Thomas isn't glad to see me back from the dead, then I'm not going to talk to him. I'll just hang out with people who believe." No, he lets Thomas put his hands inside of his side wound, if that's what it takes.

He forgives the doubt. He forgives the disciples who ran away. He doesn't show up to berate the disciples for hiding in a dark room when they've got work to do. He forgives all the human ways we can't rise to the vision that God has for our behavior, for our blessed lives.

Notice in these post Easter lessons how Jesus roots his actions in the physicality of life. He cooks people breakfast when they've been off fishing. He breaks bread and blesses wine. He presents his very wounded body. For those of us modern Gnostics who want to deny that Jesus was as human as the rest of us, these lessons seem specially placed to help us work against that belief. Jesus was NOT just a mystical creature with a human form that he could put on and take off, like a special set of clothes.

Perhaps that should be a lesson to the rest of us as well. When we feel despairing, we should look for ways to root ourselves in our physical lives; maybe we should try baking bread or cooking a meal. Maybe when we're almost sick with missing the ones that live far away, maybe instead of moping, we should write a letter to our loved ones, telling them how much we love them. Maybe we should plant some herbs or flowers, get our hands in the dirt, remember our roots in the world that deserves our love and attention.

Perhaps this approach would make a good way to minister to others. Instead of some sort of theoretical approach to evangelism, we should look minister to our neighbors’ physical needs; then we can think about their spiritual lives. We should ask people to dinner instead of asking, “If you died tonight, would you go to Heaven?” We should describe the great potluck dinner that awaits them at church, instead of the Heavenly feast that we have to wait so long to experience.

God came to this world to become physically involved--we are called to do the same.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Maundy Thursday

So tomorrow is Maundy Thursday.
Maundy comes from the latin "mandatum" for new commandment. As in Jesus saying "I give you an new commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus isn't taking about a feeling or emotion. He is talking about an action. Love embodied in us and through us. When Jesus talks about love of neighbor, he tells a story of such love in action, not for a friend, but for a complete stranger. On the side of the road. Beaten and bloodied.

When Jesus shows us love it is Jesus breaking religious taboos to relieve suffering far and wide; it is washing Judas' feet with those 30 pieces of silver newly weighing heavy in Judas pocket; It is Jesus asking God to forgive those who are putting him to death. It is reaching out to everyone high and low, rich and poor, religious insiders and outcasts. An on and on.

Love God and Neighbor Jesus said. Love one another Jesus said.

So tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, Trinity Lutheran has two services.
(1) At noon in the sanctuary we will embrace the traditional Maundy Thursday Liturgy, its readings, prayers, communion, washing of feet, and the stripping of the altar.
(2) At 7:30PM in the hall we gather with our brothers and sisters from the Bride of Christ Congregation who worship each Sunday afternoon in our facilities and the people of the Darul Uloom Institute, our local mosque, to share about Christianity's and Islam's understanding of love of neighbor and to participate in some small group dialogue and creative artistic expression of the love we share. And prayer. And dessert.

Y'all are welcome to join us in any or all of these Maundy Thursday opportunities.
:-)

Easter Meditation

Finally we move through Holy Week to Easter Sunday. At last, our Lenten pilgrimage draws to a close.

The stories we hear during Holy Week remind us of how to move from lives that have been reduced to ash back to lives full of resurrection. This year, the Maundy Thursday story speaks to me, perhaps because I've been reading theology that talks about the practices of Christianity.

 In An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, Barbara Brown Taylor observes, as many theologians have, that the teachings of Jesus revolve around the things we do, not the things we believe. The Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed came much later in Christianity. Long before we had creeds, we had Jesus saying, "Do this. Now do this. Now do this." We are to feed the hungry, care for the sick, protect the widows and orphans. Taylor comments on the Last Supper: "With all the conceptual truths in the universe at his disposal, he did not give something to think about together when he was gone. Instead, he gave them concrete things to do--specific ways of being together in their bodies--that would go on teaching them what they needed to know when he was no longer around to teach them himself" (43). We have "embodied sacraments of bread, wine, water, and feet" (44).

I have an atheist friend who says she envies me my belief. I argue that my beliefs come because of my practice, and that she could enter into spiritual practices, and she would be a different person in a year. She proclaims not to believe me, but she also refuses to try my experiment. Marcus Borg, in The Heart of Christianity, says "We become what we do" (192). Holy Week reminds us of what we are called to do.

We are called to break bread together, to drink wine together. We are called to invite the outcast to supper with us. We are called to care for each other's bodies--not to sexualize them or mock them or brutalize them, but to wash them tenderly. Thus fortified, we are called to announce that the Kingdom of God is breaking out among us in the world in which we live, and we are called to demand justice for the oppressed.

Of course, Holy Week reminds us of the risk. Jesus was crucified--that was a capital punishment reserved for those who were considered a threat to the state, people who would foment rebellion, for example. The world does not often respond kindly to the call for social justice.

But Easter promises us that our efforts will not be in vain. N. T. Wright's book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, is a great Easter text, and Wright says forcefully, " . . . what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff" (208). We may not understand how God will transform the world. We may not be able to believe that bleakness will be defeated. But Easter shows us God's promise that death is not the final answer.

Spring reminds us that nature commits to resurrection. Easter reminds us of God's promise of resurrection. Now is the time for us to rekindle our resurrection selves.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A Meditation for Palm Sunday and Holy Week



Those of you who have been going to church for awhile may have noticed that Palm Sunday sometimes stretches for a longer time than Easter Sunday. There's so much we cover these days. We start with the Palm Sunday story--some churches actually have their congregants start out seated, then they rise and march around the church, either inside or outside, and then they sit down again. And then, when they get to the readings, they hear the whole story of the Passion. We get Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday all in one Sunday. It's almost a relief to show up on Easter and only have to deal with one part of the story.

Easter is the part of the story upon which our Christian faith is rooted.  It's the place where most of us like to fix our focus.  But Holy Week reminds us of essential truths too.

Palm Sunday, which is now called Passion Sunday, reminds us of life's journey. No one gets to live the triumphal entry into Jerusalem day in and day out. If we're lucky, there will be those high water mark periods; we'll be hailed as heroes and people will appreciate our work. All the transportation and dinner details will work out like we want them to. Our friends will be by our side.

Yet the Passion story reminds us that those same appreciative people can turn on us just as quickly. The cheering crowd today can be the one calling for our blood next week. If we're lucky, we'll have friends who stand by us, but we're also likely to suffer all kinds of betrayals:  from our friends, from our governments, from any number of societal institutions, and ultimately from our bodies, our all too fragile flesh.

What do we do with this knowledge?

The corridor between Palm Sunday and Easter instructs us in what to do.  We can watch out for each other.  We can find like-minded humans and stay together in solidarity.  We can make meals and take time to eat together. 

We can go even deeper into our care for each other, and on Maundy Thursday, we get a glimpse of that kind of care.  Some churches will read the Maundy Thursday text of the woman anointing Christ's feet with oil.  Some churches will read the Maundy Thursday text that shows Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.

Good Friday reminds us that we can do all these things, and still we may have to stand by helplessly as those whom we love are ravaged.  Or we may find that we are ravaged.

The Palm Sunday/Passion Week trajectory reminds us that we worship a God who has experienced this truth of the human condition first hand.

But we also worship a God who has been working through time and outside of time to transform this human condition.  We don't always see it, but Easter assures us that the process is in place and that resurrection will break through, even in the most unlikely circumstances.