Welcome to Volume 3 Number 27 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 me! There is more information on the project below or you can check out the blog http://sepdxlutherans.blogspot.com
There are a few phrases that get thrown around in Christian conversation that make me more than a little uncomfortable. One is "God helps those who help themselves." which isn't in the Bible, isn't very compassionate, and just not helpful. Another is "The Bible clearly say..."
I don't know about you but there are plenty of things that I have found in scripture that the Bible says, but not constantly. I have only found a few things that the Bible does say clearly and numerous other things that the Bible seems to be not so clear on.
Take violence for instance, Jesus seems to be pretty clearly against using violence for any means (Matthew 5:38-39, Matthew 26:52-54). However, there are places where God both commanding it (Genesis 6:13, Romans 13:4, Hebrew 10:30) and condemning it (Eph. 4:32, Titus 3:2). So the Bible clearly says that violence on one hand is permitted but on the other it isn't. So which is it? Can't say the Bible clearly says, but I usually err on the side of Jesus.
What about marriage is between one man and one woman? Without diving into the man and woman part, pillars of the faith in scripture all had multiple wives ( Gen. 4:19) and concubines (2 Sam 5:13). These weren't just passing figures in scripture but this was King David, who Jesus was a descendant of, this was Abraham, hardly a minor character. King Solomon had 700 wives himself (1 Kings 11:1-6) and God wasn't angry at the number of wives he had but that they were not Israelites. So what does the Bible clearly say about marriage between one man and one woman again?
The Bible seems to affirm stoning nonbelievers (Leviticus 24:22-23) and those that are faithful will get well from their sickness (James 5:13-16). I am pretty sure we don't practice either of those beliefs even though the Bible seems to affirm it.
For me, if the Bible clearly said something then over the whole course of Christianity we would have figured it out clearly and all could agree on it, however, this does not seem to be the case. The Bible says we should love God and love our neighbor as ourselves and we still seem to argue what that love looks like.
The Bible is this 66 book work that was written over thousand of years by multiple authors in multiple languages. In it we have people profession their experience of God, the deepest thoughts on the universe, from the very beginning to the very end. I am more comfortably with vastness of God and the messiness of the human experience rather than a God that can be entirely summed up in a 5 pound book on my desk.
Scripture is an attempt (and yes a rather good one) to put into words things that ultimately we don't have words for. How can we sum up God's creation of the world and cosmos, Christ's saving act on the cross, and the Holy Spirit's continued work in the world. We should approach these words with the same humility we approach the word with, that we are trying to figure out things that we will never fully grasp.
So how then can we use these stories of faith to explain God's continued work in the world, to recognize that we don't fully have things figured out and that time and time again God's words of grace and hope is where our faith is found.
Hope to see everyone tomorrow night at Shut Up and Eat, remember the new time of 6:30pm.
**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., Ben I., Bruce, 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- Thank you to everyone who came to our supper club last Sunday. Despite the heat it was a wonderful evening of fellowship and worship. We will be having another Supper Club soon.
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 our next gathering will be 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 7/24-28
Monday- on call if needed
Tuesday- Bible study at church then Pastors group in the afternoon
Wednesday- Around church or SE Portland.
Thursday- VBS debrief and then Around church or SE Portland
Friday- sermon writing, on call if needed.