Grace, Mercy and Peace to you, Welcome to Volume 45 of this E-Newsletter.
I am still very much for a lost of words after the events that went down last Friday in Paris, the tragic loss of life in Beirut, Bagdad, the natural disasters in Japan and Mexico and just last night the bombing in Nigeria. I am saddened, angry, exhausted, scared, and mostly just sad. There are still a lot of things that I do not understand about the world, I feel that I have more questions than answers, and every time I think that I figured something out, I only end d up with more questions.
I am no expert in foreign policy, I don't have any profound answers, I do not consider myself to be a great theologian, I don't have any profound answers, but as with most I have thoughts on the events of the past week. This is not meant to end a conversation but to keep it going, it is not the end all be all either.
There are many aspects of our current political dialogue that don't seem to hold up with our calling as Christians and followers of Jesus. Lives matter, period. There has been a movement pushing for #blacklivesmatter and yes they do and it needs to be a focus of our community and our world, because the lives of the little, least and lost were what Jesus focused on. He said, Samaritan lives matter, Gentile lives, Jews lives, Childrens, lepers, woman not as some giant catch all but specifically and individually. There has been push back against the #blacklivesmatter saying instead that #alllivesmatter, but now in light of the events of last week, all of a sudden #syrialives or #refugeelives don't matter, which is going against everything we have been called to do.
After the terrible shootings across our country we hear the cry that we should not judge all gun owners by the actions of a few deranged gun owners. Then why are we vilifying all Muslims by the actions of a few deranged extremists? Jesus came not to take life but to give it, He came to bring new life, but yet we are siding with those weapons that take life rather than giving life to those trying to escape danger and violence in their homeland. How can we look favorably on things that end the lives of innocent people as something necessary but when given the opportunity to give life as Christ did we turn our back?
There is a piece of scripture that we seems to be forgetting in the whole conversation. That is Matthew 2:13-14, that is the part when Jesus and his parents flee as refugee to Egypt from their homeland. They did this because Herod was out to kill Jesus, and while searching for him, slaughtered hundreds on innocent lives. So we on a Sunday morning are worshiping a refugee, but after that hour of church we turn again towards vilifying, rejecting, spewing hate and distain towards refugees. Something about this does not seem right.
Finally, what is the call of discipleship, what is it that we are called to do. For me I find that calling in Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and goats. In this parable we hear of two types of people, ones that feed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave water to the thirsty, visited the sick and in prison and those that did not do those things. The ones that did are the ones that followed the call of Christ. Because we hear that "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40). There is no more obvious situations than the one we are currently faced with. If we are looking at women, children, men, families, the young, old and in-between and turing them away then we are doing exactly the opposite of our calling as Christians.
These aren't real questions, they aren't real answers, but there are the thoughts I have been having over the past few days. These are the things that have been weighing heavy on my heart. I pray for the world, I pray that we are awoken by the Holy Spirit, to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Prayer Requests: Dave F, Betty J, Shirley P., The family and friends of Lois T., Don T., Leah, Steven, Glen and Jill, Karen, Dorothy F, Pastor Janell, Rev. Maggie, Marie and Jake, Jane, Don, Noel, St. Mark's Lutheran, St. Paul Lutheran, Pastor Fred, Danielle, Grayson and all those preparing for baptism or recently baptized, 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.
*NEW *Join us on Saturday at 2pm for A Liturgy to the Glory of God in Memory of Lois Irene Tohlen. Last Tuesday Lois Tohlen died while in hospice, we give thanks to God for her life, her love and her time here with us. Her memorial service has been schedule for Saturday here at Holy Trinity at 2pm and all are welcome to attend, The liturgy will be lead by Rev. Dennis Andersen from St. James Lutheran. There will be a reception following at Don's house, that all are invited to.
*NEW *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 December with a one Sunday a month focus on Christian Education. Keep you eyes open for more information coming shortly.
*NEW *Coming soon is our new Discipleship calendar for 2016!
- Check those calendars because Holy Trinity is looking for a Sunday evening to head up to the Grotto for the Festival of Lights! We have been kicking around two dates, Dec. 6th or 13th. We would gather together for fellowship either at the church or elsewhere before heading to see the lights at the Grotto, so check you calendar, invite your friends and sign up in the fellowship room. We are also planning of decorating the church for Christmas this day. Sounds like we are leaning towards the 6th.
- 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.
- Believe it or not Christmas is right around the corner. The music department of Concordia University are preforming services of Lessons and Carols at St. Michael's Lutheran, right next to their campus on December 4th at 7pm, December 5th at 7pm and December 6th at 3pm. If you are looking to add a beautiful musical experience to your Advent season this is a wonderful option.
- 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.
-* This Month *5th Sunday ingathering of canned goods is right around the corner again. Our next ingathering will be, November 29th! This month we will be supporting a local food bank. So bring in those canned goods!
- 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 www.htlcpdx.com for more updates as well.
Pastor Andrew will be out of the office from 11/20-28
Blessings Pastor Andrew