Welcome to Volume 4 Number 16 of this E-Newsletter.
Grace, Mercy and Peace from our Risen Savior.
This is from the file of...I doubt I will have time to preach on it this Sunday but I found it very interesting and wanted to share. The 4th Sunday after Easter, every year is always Good Shepard Sunday. No matter what lectionary cycle we are on our Gospel reading will always have something to do with the Good Shepard. The other readings each week always have some type of connection with the Gospel, so you can guess what Psalm we have this week. Psalm 23, the Lord is my Shepard I shall not be in want...
This is one of the more well know pieces of scripture, we hear it at funerals, times of need and we recall it when we need words of strength and encouragement. The Psalm ends with "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long." It has always been one of those reassuring verses but when we look at the word follow me in the Hebrew there is a nuance, that gives this verse a different light.
The Hebrew word that we usually translate as follow, as in the verse in question, is radaph. Radaph though might be more appropriately translated as pursue, thus changing the text from "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me" to "surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me". I don't know about you but when I hear that something is pursuing me, it does not conjure up good feelings. It usually means that something is coming for you, stalking you that is not invited or welcomed. So what does it mean that goodness and mercy, positive things, are pursuing us?
This does not seem to be one of those prosperity gospel moments, the idea that if you just get right with God life will be easy. That is a tricky trap because even for those of us that are good Christians still have struggles in life, the innocent still suffer, there is still injustice in our communities and death is always knocking at the door. We even hear in the verses before the reminder that life even with the good shepherd at our side will not necessarily be easy, verse 5 is a very well know verse but it drives this home. "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me " The text doesn't say that we won't walk through the valley or that we get to skip to the other side, but that even though we walk through it God is with us and guiding us.
So what does it mean that goodness and mercy pursues us? For me it is a reminder that God's love, grace and mercy are there for not just me but for the entire world. I have found that the world usually has a different message for us, like the pursuit of the evil things that we fear, but if we flip our mindset and we remember that we are not being pursued by evil in the world but by God's grace, love, mercy and forgiveness then there is a freedom that is found and a comfort as well. We are chasing the things that the world will tell us gives us that freedom, money, jobs, status, but rather we set our mind on heavenly things and we are constantly reminded that we are made into new creations and loved.
**I am always interested in discussing issues and current events with anyone so please feel free to contact me for conversation.
Prayer Requests: The family and friends of Mary Kay East, Angelo, Nicolas, Shirley P., Debi, Andrea, David, Daniel, Dorothy F, Ellie and Noel, Christopher and Jill, Lee, Tom S., Rev. Maggie, Todd, Melanie, Jane, Don, Rheasa (Re-A-Sa) and Caleb, Patty and Berry, Jim, Barbara, Cookie, 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 all those lonely or forgotten in their time of need, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.
New Members- We are starting to work on another round of new member class, so if you have been a part of the community and would like to be become an official member please let Pastor Andrew know.
Church Photos- If anyone did not get their photo taken for the church please let Pastor Andrew know so we can get one scheduled for you.
Church Workday- It may not feel like it outside but Spring is upon us and that means it is time for a little spring cleaning around church. Join us April 28th for some clean up around the church. We will be mainly focusing on the exterior of the building but there will be interior projects to be done as well. We will get started around 9am and hopefully wrap up around 12.
Tell Me More?- Are there things you see or we do around church that you wonder why? Like what are the symbols about on Pastor Andrew's stoles, or do pieces of our liturgy come from scripture, if so where? We will be compiling a list of questions over the coming weeks that we can chat about and learn together.
5th Sunday In-Gathering- We will be collecting books for the Blast off For Books campaign over the coming weeks in support of the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston this summer. There is a set book list that you can find posted at church or attached to this email. Let the church office know if you have questions.
Rescheduled! What's Going On- We will continue our Wednesday gatherings at Shut Up and Eat (SE 39th and Gladstone) at 6:30pm. Keep your eyes peeled for new dates upcoming.
Portland Chamber Music Concert- We are happy to be hosting the wonderful Portland Chamber Music Ensemble on May 12th at 6pm. This is a free concert that allows you to get up close to the musicians, ask questions and engage with music in a new way. Be sure to join us!
Synod Assembly- The Oregon Synod is trying something new this year for Synod Assembly. In years past we have gathered at a retreat center somewhere for three days. This year we are going to be breaking the event into two smaller events. The first is a Regional Gathering, there are five days around the Synod for congregations to gathering with fellow congregations in their local area, ours is May 5th at West Linn Lutheran and everyone is welcome to coming. The second event is our one day business meeting on May 19th at Gethsemane Lutheran and we can send two representatives from the congregation. If you are interested in either event please let Pastor Andrew know.
Summer Preaching and Singing- With summer on the horizon it is time to start thinking about topics you are interested in hearing Pastor Andrew preach about this summer and your favorite hymns to sing. There will be a sign up sheet in the narthex for you to write down your suggestions.
Eco-Faith Recovery- We will be gathering in the coming weeks to chat about the next steps in deepening our connection and relationship with the world around us through Eco-Faith Recovery.
Sign-Up Now- Many of our members have been doing some of the Worship Assistant jobs for a long time now and we are looking to get new people into worship leadership. We have created a new sign up sheet in the back of the sanctuary for those wishing to participate. If you have any questions concerning the positions please contact Pastor Andrew or someone you have seen filling that role. There will be a time after church on a future Sunday where we will walk through the responsibilities of each position if you have questions.
Organ Fund- Are you enjoying the sound of the new Organ? we are accepting contributions to the Organ Fund to help with cost of this instrument. Please mark your donation "Organ Fund" so we can apply it to the proper account.
Holy Trinity Supper Club- Our next gathering will be be in April still at 5pm. We will be gathering for dinner then Holden Evening Prayer. Bring something to share 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.
Vigils at Immigration and Customs Enforcement- The Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice is hosting two events monthly to stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters at the Portland Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (4310 SW Macadam Ave.). On the 2nd Thursday of each month at 12 pm a group will gather for walking, prayer and meditation and on the last Thursday of each month at 10 am there will be a prayer vigil held. Pastor Andrew will be attending as many as his schedule allows if you would like to come along.
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- We have a few more sessions in our study, that we will be looking to complete in the next few weeks. Through conversation we have decided to try to re-incorporate a Sunday Bible Study in which we will finish the last three session. Stay tuned for more information.
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 4/23-27
*This is scheduled to change depending on Nari's adjustment to being home
Monday- around church or SE in the a.m.
Tuesday- around Church or SE PDX- text study at noon
Wednesday-Around Church or SE PDX
Thursday- around Church or SE PDX,
Friday- Sermon work-on call if needed