Welcome to Volume 3 Number 26 of this E-Newsletter.
Grace, Mercy and Peace from our Risen Savior.
*Note from Andrew- This week continues our Summer series with St. Paul and St. Mark's, our writing each week are going to be from different leaders in SE. This week the word comes from Pastor Kelle! There is more information on the project below or you can check out the blog http://sepdxlutherans.blogspot.com
It is often assumed that since I am a pastor, I know scripture well.
Well. I know scripture. Parts of it I even know well. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Religion and a Master’s of Divinity degree from very established institutions. My long-term relationship to Sallie Mae should tell people how very educated and thus articulate I should be in quoting scripture to you. But I’m humble enough to say out loud that there are people much better at quoting chapter and verse than me. No matter how hard I try, that has never been the way that I approached God’s Word.
Scripture for me is the collection of ancestral stories of my people. It isn’t written chronologically, in fact the idea that it is “written down” at all is something that wasn’t even imagined when the stories were first told. Stemming from an oral tradition, they are the stories that tell us how we came to be, who we are and what our purpose is on this earth.
The idea of “truth” in scripture for me is interesting. We live in a world today where everything is fact checked and we have multiple sources that we can draw from to try and understand what really happened. And while we have some historical understanding with the context and the language behind our scripture, we can’t go to various news sources to see what
I understand scripture to have a definition of truth that is different than how we define what the word, “truth” is today. Truth, in a scriptural understanding, is not about our facts lining up on the who, what, when and where of how it happened exactly in real time. Truth in scripture is about the overall message of what is being intended from the story.
Take for instance the story of Noah’s ark. Did a man named Noah build an ark so great that two of each animal voluntarily boarded it to survive the flood that God set forth upon the? Uhm, probably not. It seems a little far-fetched. Is this story realistic? No. Is this story true? I think that depends upon how you look at it, and how you understand what truth is. Because the end of the story, when the flood is over and things are getting back to normal looks like this…
“God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations. I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is a sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’” (Genesis 9:12-17 NRSV)
And there is the truth I am looking for. I don’t care how many cubits this supposed boat was supposed to be. I’m not interested in the conversation of how two of each animal made it on to the ship. I don’t even care that Noah was supposed to be 600 years old and somehow, he and his three sons took to the task of repopulating the world. I get it.
The truth comes to me when I look up into the sky and I see the promised rainbow. The covenant of that rainbow, that same sign our ancestors saw as well, is what makes me realize what the “truth” is. Truth is the promise that God has given us to be with us, no matter what.
Early in my ordained ministry, I officiated a funeral for a beautiful baby boy named Noah. A baby that came too soon and rocked the world of his parents who were so eager to welcome their first born into the world. The sudden news of Noah’s lack of heartbeat while still in his mother’s womb that led to her birthing him and never getting the chance to hear him cry or
look at them with those amazing newborn eyes stays with me to this day. I remember as we stood at his graveside his parents just held each other, sobbing. It was as if one of them let go, both would just fall over.
I will always thank God for the support they found in each other and the courage they had to take one day at a time. Today I am grateful for their faith, and for the three children they welcomed into the world since Noah. I am grateful for their honesty and their willingness to be part of the spiritual community that I call home.
Whenever I see a rainbow, I think of Noah and his family. God does not promise us that life will be easy. But what is given to us in this covenant is the care and attention that is needed when the waters of life rise above our comfort level.
That is what my ancestors needed to hear. That is the story that had to be told for people to carry on. And that is the legacy that carried on in Noah’s family as they figured out what life is like when something you anticipated with all your heart and all your soul gets wiped away from you in a blink of an eye.
Cubit measurements and DNA aside, there was a message that needed to be taught and understood back then and especially today, and that is the scriptural truth that I hold on to instead of memorizing chapter and verse. Scripture lives in my heart as the stories of my people; past, present and future. And it is with these stories that I continue to remind people of a God that loves them no matter what and the promise from that same God to never abandon them – even when the waters rise in life.
**I am always interested in discussing issues and current events with anyone so please feel free to contact me for conversation.
Prayer Requests: Shirley P., Andrea, David, Daniel, Dorothy F, Noel, Christopher and Jill, Tom S., Terry, Rev. Maggie, Jane, Don, Rheasa (Re-A-Sa) and Caleb, for the family and friends of Terry, Patty and Berry, help us to remember and keep the promises we made to Oscar, Otto, Leah, Nichole, Sophia, Danielle, Grayson, Elijah in their baptism, St. Mark's Lutheran, St. Paul Lutheran, Puddletown School, 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.
What's Going On- Over the summer What's Going On is going to have a new look. We are combining with St. Mark's and St. Paul Lutheran for monthly discussions. After our Faith, Sexism and Justice work there was a desire to gather together to continue conversation around our shared faith. So each month during the summer will gather to talk about different topics, June will be salvation, July will be Scripture and August will be Society. Each week our e-newsletter will be written by a different voice here in SE Portland. Join us at Shut Up and Eat (SE 39th and Gladstone) for our next gathering will be July 26th from 6:30-8pm.
Summer Hymns and Preaching- Last summer we experimented with a total request hymn sing and it will be back again this summer. We posted a sheet of paper outside of the sanctuary where people wrote down their favorite hymns and we sang them throughout the summer, so start thinking of your favorite hymns. Also this Summer Pastor Andrew would love input on preaching topics, so there will also be a sheet where you could put down topics, pieces of scripture, or anything else you would like to have preached about this summer.
This Sunday Holy Trinity Supper Club July 16th- Join us on July 16th for an potluck dinner and Holden evening prayer. We will plan on gathering around a meal at 5pm, so bring something to share and come hungry. Once the meal is done we will transition to worship using Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer. All are welcome and come hungry.
Children's Clothing Closet- The 4th Saturday of each month the Bethlehem Children's Clothing Closet is open at St. Mark's Lutheran Church from 12-2pm. Please pass the word along, there is also always a need for donations and volunteers. Contact Pastor Andrew if you have any questions.
New Holy Lands Trip- Pastor Curtis Zieske, currently the interim pastor at Our Savior's in Seaside, is organizing a trip to the Holy Lands this fall and is inviting members of Oregon Synod congregations to come along. The trip is from October 31st till November 13th. Pastor Andrew has more information if you are interested.
13th Viewing and Discussion- Holy Trinity will be hosting a viewing and discussion on the documentary 13th on Aug. 6th at 6:30pm. The Oscar-nominated documentary explores the historical, social and economic link between slavery and the modern-day prison system. There will be a discussion afterwards of the film. Join us in community for this powerful film.
Clothes Needed- Clothes for the summer months, especially shoes are needed for people who are part of the Re-entry program at the Clark County Jail. You can help show Gods merciful love to hurting people who are being released from jail often to the streets to be homeless. Be part of a success story. Your donation will give a person warmth, safety, hope, and dignity as they try and rebuild their lives. Donations can be brought to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Let's help people start their journey with a gift from the Lord.
Bible Study on Matthew- Our Gospel readings this year comes from the Gospel of Matthew, so why not take a deeper dive into the book. Join us Tuesday mornings at 10 here at Holy Trinity for a study on Matthews Gospel. We will join together in prayer, conversation, scripture and fellowship during our time together. This will be an 8 session course, which you can attend as you are able meeting every other Tuesday starting on July 18th, then following on August 1st, 22, Sept. 5, 19, Oct. 3rd, 17, 31.
Photography Open House- Local artist Taran Nadler is going to be having his first exhibit of his photography here at Holy Trinity this August. The artist explains the project like this "The exhibit will showcase the work that first triggered my obsession with photography: the process of slowing down and re-learning to see the basic beauty in the world around us." Be sure to join us for the open house August. 25th from 5-8pm.
Camp Lutherwood Harvest Festival- October 1st will be Camp Lutherwoods Harvest Festival. It will be an afternoon of fellowship, fun, food and fundraising. Contact the church office for more details.
If you would like a printed version of our weekend newsletter they can be found on the bulletin board by the bathrooms at church.
There are some Lutheran community organizers looking to get to know SE Portland and do some work around concerns in the community. If you are interested in the future of our corner of Portland and want to chat with them they would love to hear about your passions and desires for Portland. Let Andrew know if you are interested in chatting with them.
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.
Holy Trinity's Little Library- Thanks to Keith our Little Library is now complete and up on the fence! It is located on Ogden Street right off of 39th. So if you need a book or have a few to donate swing on by.
-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
Join us for 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
Pastor Andrew's schedule for 7/17-21
Monday- on call if needed
Tuesday- Bible study in the morning and Pastors group in the afternoon
Wednesday- Around church or SE Portland
Thursday- Around church or SE Portland
Friday- sermon writing, on call if needed.