Connections April '22

April 1

“…God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:17

On Sunday we will proclaim these wonderful lines from Psalm 126

May those who sow in tears

reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy…

It is powerful how the scriptures often speak to our weeping.

While God may seem most absent in our times of trial, it is then that God abides with you most determinedly.

The Psalmist proclaims that God will not leave us in our days of weeping. We may often sow in tears, yet the promise of God is that there will be a harvest of joy.

As we enter into the month of April, I find myself looking with growing anticipation towards our Easter celebrations. The power of the resurrection speaks from the mouth of the empty tomb of God’s redeeming work. Of the God who will wipe every tear from your eyes, and promises hope and life to all.

May we listen for that word always, and when we have the chance to speak it, let us proclaim with boldness and joy.

Peace, Pastor Phil

April 2

When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

John 11:43-44

Tomorrow we hear the story of Mary (the sister of Martha, and her brother was Lazarus) anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume.

The Gospel of John is filled with rich imagery, with many, many layers of meaning.

Judas is offended, because it was costly perfume, and he suggested the money could have been spent on the poor.

(I think of a suggestion by Mark Allan Powell, that one should not criticize someone for doing a good thing, with the criticism that they should have done a different good thing. That seems sound advice.)

The Gospel of John tells us:

“The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

I think of the line from the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy: “Let my prayer rise up, like incense before thee…” (Psalm 141)

As the fragrance rises, Mary makes this offering which offers up a prayer to God. Not only that, Jesus is going to offer his own self for the salvation of the world…

Yes, a gift to the poor would have been an excellent good thing. Yet, Mary, and then Jesus, offer up a gift for all - not only the poor, but the lost and the lame, the strong and the weak. You and me.

Blessings to you, I hope to see you in worship tomorrow.

Pastor Phil

April 3

5th Sunday in Lent

I hope to see you in worship today. The service will be posted online

The Prayer of the Day:

Creator God,

you prepare a new way in the wilderness,

and your grace waters our desert.

Open our hearts to be transformed

by the new thing you are doing,

that our lives may proclaim

the extravagance of your love

given to all

through your Son, Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and forever. Amen.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

April 4

Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,

for in you I put my trust.

Teach me the way I should go,

for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8

In our house we have this prayer by our kitchen sink.

I first encountered it when David and I were in Ecuador with my dad eight years ago. His wife Solveig shared it with us. I wish I knew where she got it, I can't remember if I asked them where…

I like how this moves us to ask for God’s blessing so that we might be a blessing to others.

Morning Prayer

God of Light.

Spirit of Compassion.

You open up the morning skies again before me

You breathe in me the breath of life.

Be my guide in this new day

Be present with me and in me.

Heal me

Lift me

Stir me

Gift me

Let me be a blessing and a sign of you

to all I meet, let me find your blessing

and your sign in each one of them. Amen

Blessings to you today. Pastor Phil

April 5

“Do not be astonished that I said to you,

‘You must be born from above.’

The wind blows where it chooses,

and you hear the sound of it,

but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.

So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:7-8

Sure is windy!

I’ve been told that compared to the rest of Wyoming, Sheridan isn’t that windy.

To that, I must say.


And then, it is best if I just leave it at that…

I have to say, I think the windiest wind I have ever known, has been here in Sheridan.

Jesus says that like the wind, we do not see the Spirit of God, and we do not know where it is going…

Now, with the scientific method, we have a pretty good idea where the wind comes from, and where it is going. So much so, that we knew days ago, that it was going to be very windy last night and into today…

Yet this knowledge does not negate the wisdom that Jesus offers in John chapter 3. In fact, our scientific insight can make us arrogant. Since we DO know about the wind’s origin and all - (Or at least it is possible for us to know) - we begin to think we know everything that is worth knowing. We might think we could teach Jesus a thing or two about weather.

Now that may be true, but Jesus has lots to teach us about the Spirit, and the call of God.

Born of the Spirit, we have been given a calling to love and serve the world. This insight is not knowledge in a scientific sense, but knowledge of faith. We know that we belong to God, and we live our lives in response to this wondrous gift.

May the Spirit blow life and light your way.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

April 6

Let us consider how to provoke one another

to love and good deeds,

not neglecting to meet together,

as is the habit of some,

but encouraging one another,

and all the more

as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:23-24

Looking ahead to Holy Week, (which begins Palm Sunday) I think about how we will have worship services on Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. Sounds like a full and meaningful week!

Our worship leaders will be called upon to serve in so many ways, and I want to say "THANK YOU" ahead of time (as well as for all the time you have put into preparation and planning) to BASICS and to Nancy Hilstad and our Choir as well!!

I believe worship helps to shape our faith, which shapes our lives. I hope you will consider being at worship when you can for these services of Holy Week. Next week we will mark Jesus’ path to the cross, give thanks for this life-giving gift, and rejoice together in the joy and wonder of the resurrection.

I like this comment that Dr. Rolf Jacobson (Old Testament professor at Luther Seminary) shared about the 3rd Commandment; God’s command to remember the sabbath…

“Sabbath worship is something that God does for us,

not something that we do for God.

God regularized the intrusion of the Sabbath

in order to have a regular worship time in which to work on us.”

– Rolf Jacobson

I give thanks for the many ways God works on us. May our worship in these next days help to shape a people buoyed by the hope of the resurrection, and empowered to bear God’s creative and redeeming love to all the world.

Peace, Pastor Phil

April 7

Then he took a loaf of bread,

and when he had given thanks,

he broke it and gave it to them, saying,

“This is my body, which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

I invite you to gather with us at Trinity this coming Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m. for our Spring Clean Up. We are planning a lunch at noon.

I hope you can be there to help spruce up the church, as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter and share a bit of time together.

We might well want to prepare for Holy Week in other ways.

How might this season of Lent have prepared us to mark these important events in the life of Jesus?

How might your understanding of God’s great love for you this Easter be connected to all that you have encountered during this pandemic?

How might your resurrection hope be rekindled and renewed?

Jesus gave us Holy Communion as a remembrance - and he gave it as a gift of forgiveness and grace.

The services in the week to come - Palm Sunday - Maundy Thursday - Good Friday - Easter - I wonder about how walking through these events helps us to remember, and how they make that remembering more than simply an exercise of the mind, but something we experience with our entire selves.

May our remembering in the days to come enrich our faith, and propel us to serve.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

April 8

What has come into being in him was life,

and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness did not overcome it.

John 1:3b-5

The Minnesota Twins - the baseball team I cheer for - begin their season today. One of the things I have enjoyed about following a particular team, is that they have a story - a timeline - a progression. Unfortunately, that progression seems too often to be from bad to worse, from hopeful, to hopeless.

The Church year has a progression of its own, a path we travel year after year, a path that intersects in our lives in countless ways.

Next week, we again follow the progress from the triumphal Palm Sunday, to “the night in which he was betrayed”, to the cross, through Holy Saturday, and arriving at the joy of Easter morning.

The progression of the story of Jesus goes from astonishing (a child in a manger) to times of triumph, conflict, healing, teaching, rejoicing, contending, feasting together, betrayal, sham trial, crucifixion, lostness, and unequaled light.

May our Holy Week and Easter worship shape us for a lifetime of resurrection hope.

Blessings, Pastor Phil

April 9

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

“May they prosper who love you.

Peace be within your walls,

and security within your towers.”

For the sake of my relatives and friends

I will say, “Peace be within you.”

For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,

I will seek your good.

Psalm 122:6-9

This is from the ELW Prayer Book for the Armed Services

A prayer for

Those who suffer from war

Merciful God,

you grieve amid the pain, fear,

and suffering of your children.

Look with compassion

on all who endure

the miseries of war.

Be mindful, too,

of those who

day and night

face peril in defense of our nation.

Guide them in their duties

as they seek justice

for those subjected to tyranny

and liberty for those who are oppressed.

Eternal Protector of the helpless,

hear the cry of the distressed

and grant speedy deliverance

in a new day of peace and concord.


Peace to you and to our world in desperate need of peace,

Pastor Phil


April 10

As he was now approaching the path down from

the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples

began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice

for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king

who comes in the name of the Lord!

Peace in heaven,

and glory in the highest heaven!”

Luke 19

A blessed Palm Sunday to you!

Today in worship - online here - the liturgy carries the day. Yes, there is a sermon, yet it is the Palms and the story that are central today.

Hearing again of the great day of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, we join with the throngs there, praising God as Jesus triumphantly rides into the city, announcing that he is the Messiah.

Following the Blessing and the Sending Song, we then sit down, and hear the reading of the full Passion story from Luke.

I love how this reading - (in some ways, it is as if its proclaimed after the Palm Sunday service has concluded) - immerses us in the story that will shape our worship in the days to come.

May God be with us all in these days of remembrance, in these days of somber reflection and in these days of joyful anticipation of the greatest gift of all!

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

The Blessing of the Palms

Let us pray.

We praise you, O God,

for redeeming the world through our Savior Jesus Christ.

Today he entered the holy city in triumph

and was proclaimed messiah and king

by those who spread garments

and branches along his way.

Bless these branches and those who carry them.

Grant us grace to follow our Lord in the way of the cross,

so that, joined to his death and resurrection,

we enter into life with you;

through the same Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


April 11

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.

John 12:1-2

During Holy Week, I will mostly center our Connections around the texts assigned for each day, and I will include the Prayer of the Day…

Our Gospel lesson for today is John 12:1-11.

The story of the raising of Lazarus holds so very many elements for a preacher, for a poet, for all who believe. In the deep irony of the story of Jesus, the raising of his friend Lazarus leads to the authorities wanting to put Jesus to death.

Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus shows forth his humanity and his love, and reminds us of the fact that - for all of us - death is a terrible enemy.

Ann Weems was a Presbyterian elder, author and poet. She experienced a terrible loss in her life, and wrote some helpful works for other people in grief. This is from her book ”Psalms of Lament”:

Jesus wept.

And in his weeping,

He joined himself forever

To those who mourn.

He stands now throughout all time,

This Jesus weeping,

With his arms about the weeping ones:

“Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.”

He stands with the mourners,

For his name is God-with-us. Jesus wept.

Psalms of Lament, Ann Weems, Westminster John Knox Press, 1995

All the events of Holy Week flow from Jesus, standing at the tomb of Lazarus, weeping. Each of the events we mark this week rise up from Jesus calling Lazarus out of the tomb, and Jesus’ determination to be God-with-us. This week, we remember and celebrate God reaching out, to comfort all who mourn, to heal all who are broken.

No wonder we set aside this entire week for worship and praise.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

The Prayer of the day

O God, your Son chose the path that led to pain before joy and to the cross before glory. Plant his cross in our hearts, so that in its power and love we may come at last to joy and glory, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

April 12

Tuesday in Holy Week

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus. Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

John 12:20-22

I’ve shared a number times, the line by a professor at Luther Seminary. He would say that the song, ‘Jesus Loves Me’, didn’t quite have it right. “It is not ‘for the Bible tells me so.’” he would say. “No, Jesus loves me this I know, for my mommy told me so…”

We learn of the love of God in Jesus, in relationships. We hear from family, at Sunday School, in worship, and in so many ways. We meet Jesus in the community of faith, and we can encounter the Lord in our daily lives wherever we go.

The Greeks went to Philip, and Philip went to Andrew, then Andrew and Philip spoke to Jesus.

The life of faith is all about relationship.

A relationship of love.

A relationship of love with God, with the community of faith, and with this world God loves so much. (John 3:16)

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

Prayer of the Day

Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you. Grant that our love may not grow cold in your service, and that we may not fail or deny you in the time of trial, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

April 13

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared,

"Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.

John 13:21

Our Gospel Reading today is from John 13:21-32

Jesus tells the disciples that one of them will betray him, and while it is in Matthew that the disciples ask “Surely not I, Lord?” - here in John, the disciples seem not to be terribly surprised that one of them could be capable of such treachery.

I wonder if being betrayed by a friend, one of his disciples, isn’t the most heart rending part of this terrible week for Jesus.

No wonder he was troubled in spirit.

Jesus truly ventured to “the Valley of the Shadow” on Holy Week.

Surely it was, in part, his betrayal and abandonment by his friends that gave birth to the cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

While we might well relegate Judas to eternal punishment, while we might be sure that there can be no grace for Judas, I wonder if Jesus’ words from the cross apply to Judas as well. “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Surely our own betrayals, our own failings, our own times of hurting those we love have the same word of grace spoken to our sin.

May we live in that forgiveness, and setting aside guilt and shame, may we be set free to bear this amazing grace to all our relationships.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, your Son our Savior suffered at human hands and endured the shame of the cross. Grant that we may walk in the way of his cross and find it the way of life and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Maundy Thursday

April 14

So if I, your Lord and Teacher,

have washed your feet,

you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

By this everyone will know

that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another.”

John 13:14 & 35

The assigned text for today is from John 13, the intriguing story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. The term Maundy Thursday comes from the word “mandate” - that is, the new commandment Jesus gives to his disciples, “love one another.”

I once heard a speaker who liked to say that “Christians are ones who ‘do feet.’”

Holy Communion and the New Commandment are deeply linked. You are given the gift of Christ’s own presence, forgiveness and grace. Now, bearing such great gifts, you are sent to join with Jesus in ‘doing feet.’

Maundy Thursday.

A new command.

A new life.

Forgiveness. Grace. Service.

Blessings to you in your service, Pastor Phil

Prayer of the Day

Holy God,

source of all love on the night of his betrayal,

Jesus gave us a new commandment,

to love one another as he loves us.

Write this commandment in our hearts,

and give us the will to serve others

as he was the servant of all,

your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


Good Friday

April 15

When Jesus had received the wine, he said,

"It is finished."

Then he bowed his head

and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30

When we gather for worship at noon today at First Christian Church, we will reflect on the words of Jesus; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 - I hope you will consider attending this meaningful service...

Tonight, at our 7:00 service, the liturgy will include a reading of the Passion story, with hymns and some traditional and moving prayers. Tonight, we do not seek to understand, we seek to - once again - enter into the story.

What Jesus accomplishes in his self giving love and sacrifice, is he shows you the depths of God’s love for you, so that: (to quote John 20:31) “So that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and through believing, have life in his name.”

A blessed Good Friday to you - it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

Pastor Phil

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God,

look with loving mercy on your family,

for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed,

to be given over to the hands of sinners,

and to suffer death on the cross;

who now lives and reigns

with you

and the Holy Spirit,

one God,

forever and forever.


Holy Saturday

April 16

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb

John 20:1

The stage is now set for Easter, isn’t it? But we are not there yet.

Holy Saturday strikes me as a day where we might be wise to stop our hustle and bustle for a good long while, and consider. Consider and reflect on what it means that Christ lay in the tomb, having died as he did.

In Jesus Christ, God has suffered death itself.

Here, hope lies dead and buried.

Here hope will rise again.

But not yet.

This is the between time, and much of our lives are like that.

Between hope and despair.

Between promise and uncertainty.

Yes, it might be wise to meditate on this sad reality, take note of how Jesus knows our sorrows, and seek comfort there.

Then, raise your head, we know the Good News, hope will triumph!

Prayer of the Day

O God, you are the creator of the world,

the liberator of your people, and the wisdom of the earth.

By the resurrection of your Son free us from our fears,

restore us in your image, and ignite us with your light,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen

Easter Festival Day

April 17

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?

He is not here, but has risen.”

Luke 24:5

A blessed Easter to you!

I hope to se you at worships at 8:30 and 11:00 - I hope you consider joining us at the Easter breakfast ,which will be served between services.

I love the opening proclamation of the Easter Vigil service. I want to share it with you here as our Easter devotion...

It is part of a very ancient liturgy, and it is called the Easter Proclamation:

Rejoice, now, all heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!

Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ is risen!

Celebrate the divine mysteries with exultation;

and for so great a victory, sound the trumpet of salvation.

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,

radiant in the brightness of your king!

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever.

Rejoice, O holy church! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you!

Let this place resound with joy,

echoing the mighty song of all God’s people.

Easter Monday

April 18

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

Luke 24:31

What a wonderful Easter celebration yesterday, thank you to all our musicians and to our LOGOS youth and parents who helped make it such a wonderful day! The service is posted here on the web site.

It is Easter Monday. There is an early Orthodox tradition; the priests would gather together on this day to tell jokes and stories. I found this on the web:

“This was a time of celebrating the big joke that God pulled on Satan. It is known as Bright Monday, Emmaus Day... in various countries. Wherever it is celebrated, by whatever name; it is characterized by joking around, singing, dancing, and merry-making.”

This sounds a little like our marking April Fools Day…

Well, we are called to be fools for Christ, aren’t we? (I Corinthians 4:10)

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

This is the greatest reason there is for “merry-making.”

One of my favorite cartoonists is Wiley, and he drew a great Easter cartoon years ago that I set aside. I am a bit surprised to see it is from 1995 which is.... a lot of years ago. (Can I be that old?)

If you can take the time to look at the link, I think you might see why I like it so very much. - click here

May the next weeks of Easter be a time for you to note the ways the risen Jesus is right here with you wherever you may be, and may you find plenty of opportunities for laughter in the knowledge of God's great love for you and for all the world.

Blessings to you today, and remember the Easter Good News that gives life to all we do, and all we are!

A blessed Easter to you!

Pastor Phil

Remember that Easter lasts until Pentecost Sunday, June 5th this year.

Happy Easter!

The Prayer of the Day

Almighty God,

you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection.

Give us also the joys of life in your service,

and bring us at last to the full joy of life eternal,

through Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit,

one God,

now and forever.


April 19

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

For the next few days this first week of Easter, I would like to offer a simple quote to inspire some resurrection reflection. Today a line from Sue Monk Kidd, an author best known for her novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings.

God tends to confound, astonish and flabbergast.

A Bethlehem stable,

a Roman cross,

an empty garden tomb.

We might as well reconcile ourselves to the fact

that God's truth often turns up

in ways we don't expect.

- Sue Monk Kidd

April 20

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

For this first week of Easter, we are taking time for resurrection reflection. Today a line from Frederick Buechner, author and Presbyterian minister.

"The bible speaks of resurrection.

It is entirely unnatural.

We do not go on living beyond the grave because that’s how we’re made.

Rather, we go to our graves as dead as a doornail

and are given our lives back again by God (i.e., resurrected)

just as we were given them by God in the first place,

because that is the way God is made."

Frederick Buechner

April 21

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Today I want to share a line I heard in a lecture by one of my preaching professors Arndt Halvorson. This speaks to the fact that the preacher is not called to share information, but to call us to encounter the rise Lord, to receive God’s gift of forgiveness, and to be sent to bear this gift to the world…

The Gospel is always an event.

Arndt Halvorson in a lecture

April 22

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For this Earth Day, I share this line from Martin Luther - I am not certain it is an exact quote, but I believe that it is pretty close to something that he wrote, perhaps in a commentary on Genesis…

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection,

not in books alone,

but in every leaf in springtime."

- Martin Luther

April 23

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Today I invite you to consider this line from J R R Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. Along with C.S. Lewis, Tolkien was a part of a group called the Inklings. I think that in part, these were thinkers and writers who wanted to note how stories can be important in the shaping of people’s lives.

I suspect that in some ways, Holy Week and Easter are important, because more than simply recalling the story of Jesus, we enter into it with our lives, so that we might recall, remember and enter again into the life of Jesus with our entire selves… Tolkien’s simple line speaks to this possibility.

"Man is a storytelling animal.

Therefore God has given him a story to live."

J.R.R. Tolkien

2nd Sunday of Easter

April 24

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00

The service will be posted online here.

Today we will hear the story of the two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus on the evening of the first Easter. . .

The Prayer of the Day

O God,

your Son makes himself known

to all his disciples

in the breaking of bread.

Open the eyes of our faith,

that we may see him

in his redeeming work,

who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


April 25

Let the floods clap their hands;

let the hills sing together for joy

Psalm 98:8

I really like the Offering Prayer in yesterday's service, and I thought I would invite you to turn to these words to reflect upon today...

Everlasting God,

the whole universe sings a new song of praise:

the rivers clap their hands,

the hills ring out for joy.

As you have raised us to new life in Christ,

give us voices ready to cry out for justice

and proclaim resurrection joy

wherever your Spirit leads us.

In Jesus' name we boldly pray.


Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

April 26

Cast all your anxiety on him,

because he cares for you.

I Peter 5:7

Tomorrow LOGOS youth will gather at Trinity beginning at 5:30, please keep our children in your prayers. The Noon Pastor’s Class will be looking at Isaiah chapter 55 tomorrow, consider joining us.

Please keep Jerry Baker in your prayers, his cancer treatment has caused him to become quite dehydrated, and now he is in the ICU and has been diagnosed with pneumonia…

Among the many blessings we know here in Sheridan, I am grateful for the excellent care that is provided for our neighbors and friends at Memorial Hospital.

Here is a favorite prayer from our hymnal - this prayer became very dear to my dad over the years, and it has to me as well.

Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

Lord God,

you have called your servants to ventures

of which we cannot see the ending,

by paths as yet untrodden,

through perils unknown.

Give us faith to go out with good courage,

not knowing where we go,

but only that your hand is leading us

and your love supporting us;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


April 27

When they had finished breakfast,

Jesus said to Simon Peter,

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

He said to him,

“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him,

“Feed my lambs.”

John 21:15

This coming Sunday, we hear from the last chapter of the Gospel of John. It is almost an added resurrection appearance, after all is said and done in chapter 20… Like so many of the Easter appearances, there is a time when the disciples do not recognize him, and then, he is revealed to them.

I shared this a couple years ago as an Easter season Connections. It is challenging and interesting. I invite you to visit with the authors as they invite us to learn to see the resurrection working in our world…

Seeing things as they actually are usually takes time.

How else are we to explain the fact that no one

— no one! —

noticed the resurrected Jesus at first sight?

Seeing the resurrection

requires a second look,

another glance.

It takes a while

for our eyes to adjust

to the light

of the resurrection,

and then all of life looks radically different…

Seeing God’s “new thing”

is about seeing an old thing in a new way

through a new lens.

Such is the miracle of Gospel sight —

to see what has always been there

in such a radically new way that it becomes a new thing.

This is always a work of grace,

and we can only handle so much of it at once. -

by Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke, Geography of Grace, Doing Theology from Below. Quoted by Inward/Outward: a project of the Church of the Saviour…

April 28

When they had finished breakfast,

Jesus said to Simon Peter,

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

He said to him,

“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him,

“Feed my lambs.”

John 21:15

As I mentioned yesterday, on Sunday, we will hear from the last chapter of the Gospel of John. Feeding the hungry is a core calling for God’s people in Christ. Our Noisy Offering helps us to be one of the leading congregations in our Synod in giving to ELCA World Hunger.

The risen Lord gave this command to Peter, and to all who follow: “Feed my sheep” and we have many opportunities to join in God's love for the world by feeding the hungry.

Tonight, the VOA will have their Empty Bowl Soup Supper fund raiser. A note I received from VOA says:

“We are going to have some great soups, live music, and family-friendly fun - it will be an exciting evening!”

I hope to see you there tonight, as we gather together to help provide care for our neighbors.

April 29

Jesus came and stood among them and said,

“Peace be with you.”

John 20:19b

Since the terrible news of Russia invading Ukraine, I have been reflecting on the message of the risen Jesus. In many of the Easter appearances to the disciples, Jesus message begins with that simple word: “Peace.”

These people knew too well the terror of an oppressive occupying army. They were painfully aware of the sadness of injustice and violence.

Peace is a gift that is easy to take for granted when all is well; yet when violence rears its ugly head, we quickly recall that the gift of peace is among the most important for our lives.

We pray for an end to the Russian invasion. We pray for an end to all war, and for peace in all parts of the world. We seek to be a part of God’s healing work of care for refugees of war, and violence, and we yearn for peace in our own lives as well.

A blessed Easter to you, may this season of peace bear life and hope to you.

Peace! Pastor Phil

April 30

Jesus came and stood among them and said,

“Peace be with you.”

John 20:19b

I just listened to an interesting conversation about the resurrection stories we listen to during the Easter season. One scholar suggested that there seems to be a turn in the Gospel stories - (in the Gospel of John especially) - that after the resurrection, the message of Jesus becomes much more about forgiveness.

They pondered some of the reasons why this may be...

I would like to suggest that this turn is caused by the experience of the Disciples.

These men had experienced the deep disappointment of their own failing when Jesus was arrested and crucified. Though they had pledged their undying support, none of them had gone with him to the bitter end.

Each one, in their own way had denied him, abandoned him, betrayed him.


The risen Lord appeared to THEM, and announced God's peace to them. In this concrete and personal way, Jesus had acted out an amazing measure of forgiveness for each one of them. Here in this place of devastating failure, when they had no right to expect anything other than recrimination, Jesus had brought reconciliation and restoration.

I think that is why they tell the story the way they do.

I wonder how we might understand our walk with Christ if we understood forgiveness to be - primarily - first and foremost - restored relationship.

I believe that is a message, and an abiding gift, that can transform the world.

A blessed Easter to you! (Remember, Easter lasts until June 5!)

Pastor Phil