Grace, Mercy and Peace to you, Welcome to Volume 48 of this E-Newsletter.
I can still remember, quite clearly Christmas Eve services with my late grandfather Fritz (my mother's side). I have mentioned him in sermons before because he was one of the most faithful and faith filled people that I have known. I can still remember sitting with him on Christmas eve, as the candles were lit around the church. We were all standing and singing Silent Night, and he was singing in German. I never heard him speak German around the house, so I am not sure if he knew more or not, but he knew the first verse of Silent Night and sang it proudly.
For the longest time this is what I knew Christmas to be, a darkened Church, singing to praise the birth of this new baby born. It was, in retrospect, a pretty glossy clean version of the Christmas story. I am still to this day working to understand the subversive nature of this birth. The birth of a child to an unwed couple, to a teen girl, an unplanned birth, in a place where there was no rooms but a animal stall, to an occupied people that were waiting for deliverance on a grand stage, but their Savior was being born in a manger. This birth did not bring any stability to the world but rather turned things upside down.
If we think that we celebrate to continue with the status quo then we have missed the point somewhere, if we think that Christ came to keep things the same then we are missing the point. If we can see the connection between this Christ child coming into an occupied place, to a refugee family, that had no place to stay at night then we are missing the point of this Savior.
Every once in awhile an image come and stops me dead in my tracks. Over the past 24 hours I have been seeing an image on my Facebook feed. It is a cartoon of a young couple, seeking a place to stay, flipping through the yellow pages, standing outside the corner store, with a hotel in the background with no vacancy sign.
There is religious imagery throughout this cartoon, but the message is the strongest. This is a modernization of the Christmas story. If Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay this Christmas this is one of the many forms they would be taking in our world today. This good news is coming into the world for exactly the type of people that make us uncomfortable, because the good new is supposed to make us uncomfortable. This gospel message is not one of peace and safety but one that is turning the way things were on their head, preaching a message counter to the ways of the world, and pulls us in directions that we would not go on our own.
This holiday season we are called to slow down, to see the state of the world around us, to dive into scripture and to see who we are preparing for, are we getting ready for this young, homeless, unwed couple with a kid or are we prepping for the safe savior of our own mind that is being pitched to us by ad agencies?
If you would like to read more about the portland artist that did this work you can find it here http://www.everettpatterson.com/?p=1835.
Prayer Requests: Betty J, Shirley P., Don T., Leah, Steven, Glen and Jill, Karen, Dorothy F, Pastor Janell, Rev. Maggie, Pastor Fred, Sherry S., The Friends and Family of Marty H., The Friends and Family of James R., Marlyn K., Clark, Jade, Jane, Don, St. Mark's Lutheran,St. Paul Lutheran, Danielle, Grayson, Elijah we pray for students and teachers everywhere, help us to remain troubled by everything that is troubling in the world, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.
- Don't call it a comeback...ok call it a comeback because it is coming back! Sunday School that is. With the help of Theresa Davis we will be reigniting our Sunday School Program here at Holy Trinity. We will be beginning in January with a one Sunday a month focus on Christian Education. Our Church in Action Children's Program will be integrated with our Sunday Worship. So plan on joining us January 10th and every second Sunday (unless otherwise stated).
*Call Vote *There is a special congregational meeting schedule for December 27th after the service. There will be two things on the docket for that Sunday, the first being a vote to Call Andrew Rickel as Pastor of Holy Trinity and second to vote on the compensation package the Holy Trinity has prepared. All members are encourage to attend this monumental day.
*Bring a Friend Sunday/Church Brunch *Sunday the 20th of December two big things are going on here at church. First of all it is our bring a friend Sunday so grab a friend for church that day. Also we will be having a brunch afterwards so plan on signing up and bringing a dish.
*New *The HTLC Winter Coat Drive is upon us. Throughout the month of January we will be collecting gently used coats for those in need this winter. Bring in those coats for collection and we will bring them to a clothing closet each week so they can get directly into the hands of those in need.
- Coming soon is our new Discipleship calendar for 2016!
*Mark Your Calendars *Christmas is right around the corner so make sure to have Christmas Eve Worship written on your calendar for 10pm so you can be sure to be with us.
*New *Worry Eaters! The Davis family are organizing donations for Children's Hospitals in Portland this year. They are purchasing Worry Eaters http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VZ36NNY/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00CJ23MPM&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=19FW07J635G0KRK8YVKD for kids in the hospital. They are stuffed animals that are therapeutic for the fears and worries of kids in the hospital. They plan on taking them over in a few weeks so if you would like to support the this outreach purchase them soon and bring them into church.
- If you are like me and do searching for things on the internet do I have a thing for you. I have gotten Holy Trinity set up with Goodsearch.com. It is an online search engine that is powered by yahoo and everytime you use it search engine it donates to a charity of your choice, in our situation that is Holy Trinity. So set that browser to good search and select Holy Trinity and get searching.
- Available this week are our Table Top Talk materials. These are designed to be taken home for dinner conversation. Most of what we learn about faith occurs at home, that is the place where we see faith in action and we hear the conversations that help to continue our growth as disciples. These materials are meant to be conversation starters over dinner, in the car or around the table. They will be available each week at church and also on the recourses tab of our website.
- We have been invited on the second Friday of every month to join for worship with the saints at Our Lady of Sorrows Church here in Woodstock. At 7pm on those Fridays they gather for a Taize Service. Taize is an ecumenical community in France that has developed a method of prayer that combines music, prayer and silence. It is a beautiful service and something that cannot be related in words but needs to be experienced. If you are looking for a new worship opportunity you should check it out.
- If you are feeling the need to travel in 2016 the Oregon Synod of the ELCA is sponsoring a trip to the Holy Land. The trip will be in May and all are welcome to go on the trip. If you are interested contact Pastor Andrew for more details.
- If you are feeling the itch to travel but the Holy Lands is not your cup of tea, maybe you are interested in cruising with other Lutherans to Alaska. My dear friend Ben Fredericks (member of my internship congregation Resurrection Lutheran) is organizing a cruise for Lutheran Congregations in May of 2016. The trip will be from May 14th to the 21st and will be a wonderful opportunity to see the sights and sounds of the Pacific NW and enjoy great fellowship with other Lutherans. Contact the church office for more info.
- Summer maybe ending but this is a great time of the year to start getting more active and enjoy the beautiful weather we are having. So join Pastor Andrew on Wednesday to walk around the neighborhood. We will be meeting at 2:30 at the church and set off for a stroll around the neighborhood.
- Holy Trinity's Little Library- Thanks to Keith our Little Library is now complete. In the coming weeks we will be preparing it to be hung on the fence outside for the community. However, it is currently empty, so help us fill it but leaving a recommendation of books to fill it with. We are looking for books that have had an impact on your faith life. So what book(s) have impacted your faith?
-There are many ways to connect and engage with Holy Trinity Lutheran.
Find us on Facebook: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Portland
Spread the word on Yelp http://www.yelp.com/biz/holy-trinity-lutheran-church-portland
Join us for daily devotions on Instagram: HTLCPDX
Follow us on Twitter @HTLCPDX
If you are interested in my occasional musing on my blog you can find it here http://spoileralertimnotagoodwriter.blogspot.com
Keep an eye on our webpage http://www.htlcpdx.com for more updates as well.
Pastor Andrew's schedule for 12/21-25
Monday- on call if needed
Tuesday- Around the church in the morning and afternoon. Preaching group at noon.
Wednesday- Around the church
Thursday- Christmas Eve, on-call before Worship at 10pm
Friday- On call if needed, sermon prep
Blessings Pastor Andrew