Connections August '21

August 31

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

John 14:27a

This week I am sharing devotions I’ve gathered from various sources. This is from WELCA.

I’ve shared insights from Professor Stortz before. She is an excellent speaker as well as inspiring writer.

REST IN PEACE - Marti Stortz

An old rancher, knowing the end was near, summoned the family to his bedside: “Do you all want to keep fighting or shall we try to get along?” The words the family later inscribed on his headstone reminded them of his wish for them: “Rest in peace.”

Peace is God’s deepest desire for us, and the Creator wove it into the fabric of creation. Throughout Scripture there are hints of the fullness of God’s intended shalom, a vivid peace that is not just a lack of war, but a deep participation in God’s justice. Shalom is peace that makes for justice, peace that reaches toward the right relationships God intended in creation.

Gracious God, you know our troubled hearts and warlike souls, yet you call us your own dear children and you embrace us in love. As we receive your embrace, let us receive a peace that empowers us to work for justice in your world. Amen.

This message was adapted from the “Making Peace and Being Peace” Bible study written by Martha E. Stortz that first appeared in the April 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today.

As we pray for peace in the world, may we be bearers of peace in our own lives.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

August 30

I lift up my eyes to the hills—

from where will my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

This week I will be sharing devotions that I have gathered the last couple of years from a number of sources.

As Rev. Al Rogness, former president of Luther Seminary said to me when I thanked him for devotions he had written and I had used,

“we all have to steal from somebody, you might as well steal from somebody good.”

Well, this is good…

Rev. Donna Schaper serves Judson Memorial Church, in New York, and she writes for the UCC Stillspeaking Daily Devotional.

Diving Deep Donna Schaper

God ….who watches over you neither slumbers nor sleeps."

Psalm 121:4

T.S. Eliot wrote that we are "Distracted from distraction by distraction." We daily lose whatever focus we had. We attend the small matters, not the larger ones. Missing cell phone? Lost keys again? We love the idea of a God who neither slumbers nor sleeps—and rarely slumber or sleep ourselves. It is God's job to tend eternity and ours to swim in it for our short term of consciousness. Why do God's job? Plus, your cell phone is in your purse and your keys are in your pocket.

Baptism comes to mind. Perhaps you were baptized by a sprinkle. But it represents the deep water. It was a physical reminder of a spiritual reality: you belong fundamentally to God.

Tutored by my own distractions, I have realized that it takes a whole, deep, not shallow, life to become a Christian. Knowing I am baptized means I was marked for Jesus. We may mark our precious child with water and then forget to keep hosing them down. Baptism is the ferocious search for a life-giving community in which to raise a child. It means knowing the child doesn't belong to us but to God. It means knowing we want the child so well-anchored that he or she can sprout wings. It means "dedicating" the baby, or yourself, to a Godly, spirited, Jesus-led life.

Hesitate or forget to remember your own baptism? …There is no better time to plant a tree than yesterday. The God who neither slumbers nor sleeps is still waiting to focus you. Dive deep into the waters and meaning of baptism. As you arise, you will be able to float there and focus there.

Prayer: Save us from the daily distractions, O God, for the deep waters of a baptized life. Amen.

August 29

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

I will be wearing a mask in worship today (when I am not leading worship and preaching) - I imagine that many of us will.

As we pray for peace in our world, we also pray for healing, and we offer a noisy offering today in order that we might be a part of God's healing work in the world. Peace be with you...

Today and next Sunday are the last two of our Summer Schedule.

Beginning September 12th we will go to our school year schedule with two services and Sunday School between services.

The Prayer of the Day for today:

O God our strength,

without you we are weak and wayward creatures.

Protect us from all dangers

that attack us from the outside,

and cleanse us from all evil

that arises from within ourselves,

that we may be preserved

through your Son, Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord.


14th Sunday after Pentecost worship will be posted online here

A blessed Sunday to you, Pastor Phil

August 28

But now thus says the LORD,

he who created you, O Jacob,

he who formed you, O Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

Isaiah 43:1

One more “sermon illustration” sort of story. From another sermon by Dr. Thomas Long. This from a sermon on Isaiah 43…

A well-known theologian once confessed that he was plagued many nights by a terrible dream. He dreamed that he was traveling in some distant city, and he ran into someone with whom he had gone to high school. In the bad dream, the person would say, "Henri, Henri, haven't seen you in years. What have you done with your life?" This question always felt like judgment. He'd done some good things in his life, but there had also been some troubles and struggles. And when the old schoolmate in the dream would say, "What have you done with your life?" he wouldn't know what to say, how to account for his life.

Then one night he had another dream. He dreamed that he died and went to heaven. He was waiting outside the throne room of God, waiting to stand before almighty God, and he shivered with fear. He just knew that God would be surrounded with fire and smoke and would speak with a deep voice saying, "Henri, Henri, what have you done with your life?"

But, then, in the dream, when the door to God's throne room opened, the room was filled with light. From the room he could hear God speaking to him in a gentle voice saying, "Henri, it's good to see you. I hear you had a rough trip, but I'd love to see your slides."

So, "Fear not," says the Lord, "I know you. I have called you by name. You are mine.”

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

August 27

The water that I will give

will become in them a spring of water

gushing up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” …The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” …Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” …Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” John 4:7, 9-10,13-14

Thomas Long, a Presbyterian professor and preacher. In a sermon on the story of Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink, and then offering himself as living water for the life of the world (John 4), he tells a story of Kathleen.

As a child, Kathleen had longed to be a missionary, serving somewhere exotic overseas. Her life took a different course. She got married, had children… In need of more income, she got a nursing degree, and became a public health nurse.

In Asbury Park, New Jersey, a city in terrible decline, there was a hotel that had numerous elderly people, living in squalor. The owners of the hotel would not let public health nurses in the building, because they didn’t want people to see the conditions the people endured. The corrupt local government went along with them.

Every time Kathleen went by this hotel on the bus, she couldn’t help but think of the need that was experienced there…

Rev. Long says she could hear Jesus saying: “I am thirsty…”

So, she went to that hotel and hired herself out as a chambermaid. And everyday she went from room to room, changing linens, cleaning bathrooms, taking blood pressures, helping with medications and speaking a word of encouragement.

Where we would see only despair, she saw Jesus saying, “would you give me a drink…”

And there, in Asbury Park, day by day, reaching out to God’s children, from Kathleen’s faithful serving in Jesus’ name, flowed streams of mercy.

Blessings to you this weekend, may you too join in faithful service. I hope to see you Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Pastor Phil

August 26

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,

a holy nation, God’s own people,

in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts

of him who called you out of darkness

into his marvelous light.

I Peter 2:9

I am sharing sermon illustration stories this week. Here’s a wonderful story for you to consider…

The Rev. Martha Sterne, (an Episcopal priest and author in Atlanta, GA), wrote a wonderful sermon on James 1. She reflects on verses 22-25.

“Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror and then on going away immediately forget what they are like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act -- they will be blessed in their doing.” James 1:22-25

Rev. Sterne suggests that hair dressers look in the mirror with us, and often, that is a holy task.

She shared this great story…

I have always had difficult hair. I want to be grateful for the hair God has given me so I'll just use the word difficult… Due to having difficult hair, I really notice the fortitude and kindness of people that cut hair. Of course, they're the people who look into mirrors with us through thick and thin so, you know, that's a good group of people.

…I went to Grady, who every time I walked in the door of the beauty parlor always screamed in mock horror, "Emergency, emergency!"

But this time I walk in and I'm not in the mood for kidding around. I have been doing--often very naively and poorly--a jobs ministry in an Atlanta public housing neighborhood. And I have seen more than comfortable, middle-class people want to see or know how to understand about the grind and the pain in the prison of generations of poverty.

I think the day I went to see Grady I had found out that a lovely very young woman that I'd helped to find a little crummy job had been leaving her five-year-old at home alone because she couldn't find child care and she didn't want to disappoint me.

Can you imagine how I felt about that?

Well, I don't talk about that to Grady, but I say, "Grady, I either need a totally new haircut or a totally new me and right now I don't care which."

And without saying a word, he cut off every hair of my head--almost like shaving someone who is entering monastic orders. He did that with my back to the mirror, and I was thinking, "Oh, my Lord, what is he doing?"

And then he swung the chair around. And I saw me. And he said, "Martha, you don't need a new you. You need to be you, and God knows that'll be enough."

And you know what? He was right.

The hair grew back and I grew up.

Later she makes this observation:

“You know, the church could do worse than be an "inner beauty" shop--a place where love is shared and truth is told and the beauty of becoming is the work of the community. For plain old mirrors are incredibly unreliable witnesses and companions…”

Whenever you look in a mirror, may you see someone who is beloved by God, called and sent to bear love and life, hope and forgiveness to all.

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

August 25

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Kevin Kling shares great insight into life from the perspective of disabilities he’s dealt with, and I want to share a story from him.

Here is how he is introduced in this interview which I listened to some ten years ago, and re-visited this week:

“He was born with one disabled arm, and then a midlife motorcycle accident paralyzed the other. But then again, being so-called “able-bodied,” Kevin Kling points out, is always only a temporary condition.”

As a preface to the story, I want to share some of what Kevin says about the word “disability” earlier in this interview:

“Well, that’s a really a long topic that starts with “dis-”. …when you read Dante, …he goes to Dis, it’s the underworld. I think there’s quite a connection between the underworld and having a disability, because - well, as Dante puts it, Dis is the underworld. It is the place of shadow and reflection, where you round off the rough edges of torment and desire: you go to this world of Dis. And it’s the prefix for “disability,” which doesn’t mean “un-ability,” it means “able through the world of shadow and reflection.” And so it’s just another way of doing things.

But it is through that way, and it is literally having a foot in two worlds… especially after my motorcycle accident…”

Well, here’s the sermon illustration story - perhaps you’ve encountered it. I had. Yet it spoke quite powerfully to me when told by this one who has “another way of doing things.”

“Back in the days when pots and pans could talk, which indeed they still do, there lived a man. And in order to have water, every day he had to walk down the hill and fill two pots and walk them home. One day, it was discovered one of the pots had a crack, and as time went on, the crack widened.

Finally, the pot turned to the man and said, ‘You know, every day you take me to the river, and by the time you get home, half of the water’s leaked out. Please replace me with a better pot.’

And the man said, ‘You don’t understand. As you spill, you water the wildflowers by the side of the path.’

And sure enough, on the side of the path where the cracked pot was carried, beautiful flowers grew, while other side was barren.

‘I think I’ll keep you,’ said the man.”

In conversation with the interviewer, Kevin reflected on the story a little with this comment:

“I think that — well, the story says it, but I think it is looking at — especially living on the fringe and, again, being recognized for what we bring, not for what we aren’t. And it is that world of the “dis-” of disability. “

I believe God chooses to work through you, as you are, with whatever you bear to life. Perhaps the cracks bear blessings to the world…

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

August 24

Cast all your anxiety on him,

because he cares for you.

I Peter 5:7

Here’s another story that comes from the realm of sermon illustrations. It is about Desmond Tutu from the midst of the struggles the people of South Africa had moving beyond apartheid.

The South African government canceled a political rally against apartheid, and in response, Desmond Tutu, then a bishop in the Church, led a worship service in St. George’s Cathedral.

The walls were lined with soldiers and riot police carrying guns and bayonets, ready to close it down. Bishop Tutu began to speak of the evils of the apartheid system - how the rulers and authorities that propped it up were doomed to fall.

He pointed a finger at the police who were there to record his words: "You may be powerful -- very powerful -- but you are not God. God cannot be mocked. You have already lost."

Then, in a moment of unbearable tension, the bishop seemed to soften. Coming out from behind the pulpit, he flashed his radiant smile and began to bounce up and down with glee.

"Therefore, since you have already lost,” he continued, “we are inviting you to join the winning side."

The crowd roared, the police melted away and the people began to dance.

I wonder if this might be a fitting response for us. When doubts and worries threaten to do us in, we can invite them to step aside, and to join the winning side.

Pace to you, Pastor Phil

August 23

For I am convinced that …nothing in all creation,

will be able to separate us from the love of God

in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38,39

Walter Wangerin, author and Lutheran Pastor, died August 5th. He might be best known for his books “Ragman” and “The Book of the Dun Cow.” He was a truly gifted story teller and speaker. I still remember first hearing him speak some 40 years ago.

Here is one of his better known tales, shrunk down to what I might call “sermon-illustration size.”

I hope you appreciate it:

Walter Wangerin, Jr., wrote a wonderful story called “Matthew, Seven, Eight, and Nine” about how he tried to stop his son Matthew from stealing comic books. It is fairly involved, and it seems that Matthew was pretty adept at stealing, and this problem went on for quite some time.

He tried various uses of the law over several years and continued to fail.

He writes: "I even took him to the police station and reported his actions to a detective who I thought scared the pants off him, but nothing worked!”

Finally, he resorted to something he rarely used: a spanking. Spanking was such a rare event, that even that became rather involved…

When he finished with the spanking, he was so upset that he left the room and wept.

After pulling himself back together, he went in to Matthew and hugged him.

A number of years later, Matthew and his mother were doing some general reminiscing, and Matthew happened to bring up the time when he kept stealing comic books.

“And you know why I finally stopped?” he asked.

“Sure,” his mom said, “because Dad finally spanked you.”

“No!” replied Matthew, “No, because Dad cried.”

Wangerin concludes with these words: “Hereafter, let every accuser of my son reckon with the mercy of God, and fall into a heap, and fail. For love accomplished what the law could not, through tears more powerful than Sinai” (The Manger Is Empty, Walter Wangerin, Jr., pp. 116–132).

May the loving presence of Christ be with you today. Pastor Phil

August 22

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Today we hear again from the 6th chapter of John, as Jesus offers himself for the world.

In our Psalm today we hear this poignant line:

The Lord is near to the broken hearted

and saves the crushed in spirit.

The prayer of the day today:

Holy God,

your word feeds your people with life that is eternal.

Direct our choices and preserve us in your truths,

that, renouncing what is false and evil

we may live in you,

through your son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


May you know that the Lord is near to you, Pastor Phil

August 21

Simon Peter answered [Jesus],

“Lord, to whom can we go?

You have the words of eternal life.”

John 6:68

Tomorrow we conclude 5 Sundays with the Gospel reading coming from the 6th chapter of John. Jesus offers himself for the world, yet he does this in ways that sound offensive, and drive some away. Jesus asks the twelve; "do you also wish to go away?”

It is in response to this question, and in the face of Jesus’ challenging words, that Peter speaks his profound and hopeful reply: “Lord, to whom can we go?"

This prayer, written for worship, speaks to this conversation:

God our Savior,

in Christ, your eternal Word,

you have revealed the full depths of your love for us.

Guide this holy assembly of your people

by the light of your Holy Spirit,

so that no word of mere human wisdom

may ever cause us to turn away from your Holy One.

We ask this through Christ,

with whom you have raised us up in baptism,

the Lord who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.


From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year B, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.

August 20

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Romans 12:15

As I mentioned yesterday, we are praying for you each week.

We belong to one another, and while we certainly want to be praying for each other in the midst of trials and tribulations, we also are wise to rejoice together as well.

I am praying for you, and it means so much to me when people tell me that they are pray8ng for me and my family. Thank you!

Please pray for our community of Trinity Lutheran Church, Trinity is a great gift to the lives of so many, and we ask for God’s guidance and pray that God will make us faithful in our calling.

A blessed weekend to you, Pastor Phil

August 19

When I remember you in my prayers,

I always thank my God

because I hear of your love for all the saints

and your faith toward the Lord Jesus

Philemon 4-5

A member of the Trinity Council is praying for you each week. I have asked each Council member to pray for certain members of Trinity, and I am joining them in prayer for you.

One casualty of the pandemic has been gathering together each week. As we lean into the new school year, I am praying that we will step back into more regular worship attendance. When you are at worship with us, the community is enriched, our singing is fuller, our prayers are joined together, and we are given opportunities to connect and care for one another.

I hope to see you in worship soon.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

This is from Lutheran Disaster Response: - to donate, click here

A devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwest Haiti on Aug. 14. Over 1,400 people were killed, and that number is expected to increase as search-and-rescue efforts continue. Blocked roads are delaying the delivery of vital supplies to hospitals, which are overwhelmed with more than 6,900 injured people. At least 26,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, but the full extent of damage is still unknown. Haiti is also suffering through a political crisis and was hit by Tropical Storm Grace on Monday night, which caused severe flooding in communities already damaged by the earthquake.

For over two decades, the ELCA has maintained a presence in southern Haiti through support for agricultural and sustainable development work. To continue our engagement with those communities, Lutheran Disaster Response is collaborating with partner organizations in the communities to meet relief needs, including food, water, medical supplies and temporary shelter. In the future, other areas of support will include psychosocial care, water and sanitation, and creating sustainable livelihoods through agriculture and livestock. We also stand with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Haiti as it assesses damage and impacts on churches and church life.

Your gifts will support earthquake survivors. Gifts to "Haiti Crisis" will be used in full (100%) to assist those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

We also ask that you pray with us:

God of tempest and tide, our world is full of dazzling beauty and brutal destruction. Protect us and all your creatures from hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and fires. Restore what has been lost and journey with the victims, survivors and their families as they recover. Protect and guide first responders, O Lord. Give them caution and concern for one another, so that they may continue to save lives, ease pain, and mend the torn fabric of lives. Amen

August 18

This is the day that the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Hebrews 118:24

August seems to be a month of many anniversaries.

Blessings and congratulations to those marking wedding anniversaries in August!

For my household, August holds quite a few dates which are significant in our journey. We recall birthdays, wedding anniversaries, sad losses and more. This past Sunday was my parents anniversary, my sister's birthday was yesterday, Laura's sister and her brother in law marek their anniversary later this month, I was ordained in August.

In a conversation with colleagues yesterday, I mentioned that I was ordained August 2nd, 1987. Pastor Heimbuck responded that was the day his wife was born. (That doesn't make me old!)

For some time now, I have said "every day is a gift, some days that is more apparent than others."

The days of tragic loss, the days of sad remembrance, those days will seem like something other than a gift. Indeed, the giftedness of those days is anything but apparent.

Yet we know the words of the Psalmist: "Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30) That morning may take a long time coming, but as Jesus promised: "I will not leave you desolate." (John 14:18) The day will come, and we will once again rejoice and be glad.

A blessed day to you, Pastor Phil

August 17

May the LORD give strength to his people!

May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Psalm 29:11

The news today bears the sad reports of war.

As I consider our devotions today, I think about how the stories we read at Christmas and at Easter speak the promise of God’s peace.

“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,

who are one of the little clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to rule in Israel…

…and he shall be the one of peace.” Micah 5:2, 5

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace, good will among men” Luke 2:14

In the Easter story we hear the risen Christ speak this promise as a gift of the resurrection:

“Jesus himself stood among them and said to them,

‘Peace be with you.’” Luke 24:36

Let us pray for all who suffer the terrors of violence, and let us serve Jesus Christ our Lord as bearers of God’s peace to this world that desperately longs for this gift.

God’s peace to you, Pastor Phil

August 16

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,

and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:1

I learned yesterday that Bill Horne, Vice President of the ELCA died on Saturday at the age of 72. He was just about to retire.

I was blessed to serve on the ELCA Church Council with Bill.

He was a part of the Florida Bahamas Synod, and his vocational call was to serve the city of Clearwater Florida as City Manager.

Bill Horne was a quite remarkable person, and I suspect most all of the 33 members of the Church Council considered him a friend. (There is quite an article about him in the Tampa Bay paper -

I was thrilled when he was elected Vice President at the Churchwide Assembly 5 years ago, and delighted to see him when he was the Churchwide representative at the Montana Synod Assembly a few years later.

I have shared a number of times this nice line: "Every person who belongs to Christ, belongs to every person who belongs to Christ." I wanted you to know about this friend of mine, to whom we all belonged, and ask that you join me in giving thanks for his service to our Church, and pray for comfort and peace for those who knew and loved him.

May all who mourn look with hope toward the day that when all tears will be wiped away, when the words of the prophet Isaiah will be fulfilled:

"[the LORD of hosts] will destroy on this mountain

the shroud that is cast over all peoples,

the sheet that is spread over all nations;

he will swallow up death forever." Isaiah 25:7, 8

A blessed day to you, Pastor Phil

August 15

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Today we hear again from the 6th chapter of John, as Jesus offers himself for the world.

Here is a post communion prayer inspired by John 6:

O God, our life, our strength, our food,

we give you thanks for sustaining us

with the body and blood of your Son.

By your Holy Spirit,

enliven us to be his body in the world,

that more and more

we will give you praise and serve your earth

and its many peoples,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


August 14

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.

And 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 10:23-25

In the Small Catechism, Luther suggests that a primary activity of the Holy Spirit is calling and gathering us together.

Tomorrow the Spirit will gather us at 9:00 to worship God, and to once again hear the great promise of the Gospel.

In Jesus Christ, God has worked God’s love and grace for you, and united with Christ, God sends you out to bear God’s creative and redeeming love to the world. This is a great gift to celebrate, and an abiding promise to recall and remember.

I want to say this in an encouraging way (not to add guilt when or if you are not there, rather to invite you to seek to be with us…) I hope to see you in worship tomorrow.

A blessed weekend to you, Pastor Phil

August 13

So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God,

and God abides in them.

I John 4:16

"Those who abide in love, abide in God..."

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a living in God's presence each and every moment of one's life. Everything is transformed by God's redeeming love. We do not simply decide to include God in their lives, God steps in, takes hold, abides in us, and we abide in God.

Everything is transformed by this life giving "occupation" of the Holy Spirit. As Martin Luther says of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Small Catechism: The Spirit "calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth…”

Called and gathered, may your dwelling in God’s love be a gift that propels you to loving service in all you do.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

August 12

Jesus said to them,

“I am the bread of life.”

John 6:35

We had an excellent Council meeting Tuesday night, and I want to share a few things with you.

First, some thank you’s:

Thank you for your generosity throughout this intriguing last year and a half. Trinity is on very sound financial footing, even with this pandemic.

Thank you to Mary Barnes for stepping in to help in the Church office during this time of transition.

Here is a key item for Trinity in the days ahead: We need someone to fill the important “call” of serving as our next Church Secretary. If you know of someone who might be fitting, please have that person talk to me or to Kathi Swank. Or maybe tell me, and I could make a contact.

We are also in need of someone to serve in our Nursery as we get to the fall season.

There are many other items but this is good for now.

Here is the Prayer of the Day for this coming Sunday.

I like how our prayers often move from receiving the gift, to generosity towards others. We are. blessed to be a blessing.

Ever-loving God,

your Son gives himself

as living bread

for the life of the world.

Fill us with such a knowledge

of his presence

that we may be

strengthened and sustained

by his risen life

to serve you continually,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


August 11

I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

John 6:51

The Rev. Dr. Alyce McKenzie is a professor and Methodist preacher who offers weekly reflections on the Gospel text for Sunday. Considering Jesus’ words in John chapter 6, she recalls the children’s song:

Into my heart, into my heart.

Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

Come in today, come in to stay

Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

She says: "Every now and then I still sing the words and tune to that Sunday School song, "Into My Heart." They are good lyrics for adults as well as children. We do need to invite Jesus into our hearts, to invite his light to illumine our darkness."

The word “abide” is a favorite of the Gospel of John. In our NRSV translation, it occurs 11 times in John, and none in the other 3 Gospels… On Sunday we hear Jesus proclaim: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” (6:56)

Take note, you abide in Jesus. We might wonder what it means to abide in Jesus. What does it mean to belong so completely to this one who gave himself for you?

The answer might well take a lifetime to live out...

May your abiding give life to you each day, and may the blessings overflow into the lives of all around you.

Peace, Pastor Phil

August 10

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

All people may take refuge

in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 26:7

This prayer, inspired by Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of John, fixes our eyes on the gifts God pours our for us in Jesus Christ. With our eyes on Jesus, we ask that God might work in us, to bear Jesus' generosity and self-giving to others.

Let us join in the prayer that we, like Jesus, might be bread for the world.

Peace, Pastor Phil

Holy Wisdom, God of abundant life,

you call us to the banquet of your love.

We find you in the gifts you give;

we know you in the ones with whom we share this holy food,

and in the bread of this table, your son, Jesus Christ.

Grant that we may be bread for others,

as he is bread for us. Amen.

From the web site of Vanderbilt Divinity Library

August 9

Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life.

John 6:47-48

I like this prayer inspired by Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of John. Let us join in prayer for Jesus to be our everything.

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil



went on


Bread, you say?

Coming down from heaven?

Well, we know his mother and father.

They live just down the




forget knowing.

It’s all about believing.


that I love you.

That I give my life for you,

not to just get you across the desert,

but because I want you

to be a part of me


And I want you to take me with you

and let me transform the

world through


Jesus, we do try to believe.

Be our food and drink!

Be our


Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use. posted on The Sunday Website at Saint Louis University.

August 8

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Today we hear from the 6th chapter of John, as Jesus proclaims that he is the Bread of Life, and he will raise us up on the last day...

The Prayer of the Day for today:

Gracious God,

your blessed Son came down from heaven

to be the true bread that gives life to the world.

Give us this bread always,

that he may live in us and we in him,

and that, strengthened by this food,

we may live as his body in the world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


A blessed Sunday to you. Pastor Phil

August 7

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

John 1:1

The Thanksgiving for the Word prayer from the Service of the Word addresses the”God of justice and love” and continues: “we give thanks to you that you illumine our way through life with the words of your Son.”

“In the beginning was the Word” is how the Gospel of John begins the story of Jesus and his saving work in the world.

In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther, reflecting on the third commandment - “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” - focuses, not on the day, but on the Word. He sees the Sabbath remembrance as much more than a day, it is a call to listen to, and believe, God’s Word of promise and grace.

Of course, tomorrow is a day for us to do that in our faith community, and I hope to join you tomorrow in listening for God’s word of love.

Blessings, Pastor Phil

O God of justice and love, we give thanks to you

that you illumine our way through life with the words of your Son.

Give us the light we need, awaken us to the needs of others,

and at the end bring all the world to your feast;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

August 6

For the word of the LORD is upright,

and all his work is done in faithfulness.

He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalm 33:4-5

The Thanksgiving for the Word prayer from the Service of the Word begins “O God of justice and love.” Justice and love go together in God’s reign in the world.

I like the insight from a light hearted, yet very serious book “Crazy Talk” - the subtitle is “A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms.”

The definition of “Anger of God” begins: “The puzzling - to human beings - concept that God loves our neighbors so much, that God gets angry at us when we do (or don’t do) things and cause them to suffer.” (pg 8)

The definition of Justice includes this line: “Justice is the ordering of cosset that is demanded by God and in which all life can thrive.” (pg 102)

The love and justice of God is gift for all people, and it is a guide and a prod to us to bear God’s love to our entire community.

Peace to you this coming weekend, Pastor Phil

O God of justice and love, we give thanks to you

that you illumine our way through life with the words of your Son.

Give us the light we need, awaken us to the needs of others,

and at the end bring all the world to your feast;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

August 5

Jesus [said] “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

I am grateful someone was able to give Juanita a ride!

"Give us the light we need"

This petition can remind me that I suffer a lack in my life.

There is light I need. Light that I cannot generate on my own.

This light must be given as a gift from God's own hand.

Each week we gather for illumination - insight that gives a vision of God's love and speaks clearly God's call and God's sending.

O God of justice and love,

we give thanks to you

that you illumine our way

through life with the words of your Son.

Give us the light we need,

awaken us to the needs of others,

and at the end bring all the world to your feast;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honor and glory forever.


The next line shapes our receiving of the gift - "awaken us to the needs of others..."

God's gifts are given, so that we might share from God's bounty.

Part of the illumination we seek is to be called out of a preoccupation with ourselves and to note the needs of our neighbors.

Once again, I pray that we might all yearn for the light we need.

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

August 4

Jesus [said] “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Yesterday I shared the Thanksgiving for the Word prayer from the Service of the Word in the ELW, our hymnal, (pg 220) and invited us to consider the poetry of this prayer this week.

Here, again, is the prayer:

O God of justice and love,

we give thanks to you

that you illumine our way

through life with the words of your Son.

Give us the light we need,

awaken us to the needs of others,

and at the end bring all the world to your feast;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honor and glory forever.


“Give us the light we need”

That is the sort of petition that can bear so very much meaning. I feel that I know what it means to say: “give us the light we need” - while at the same time - I would often have a hard time describing it…

Might that “need” change at times?

Might that light help free you from something that binds?

Might that light bear to you a call to serve others?

Might it dispel a darkness you cannot face alone?

Might the need be one faced, not by me alone, but by our entire community?

As I pray for illumination so that I might live in God’s love, perhaps we pray for light so that our community might live the forgiveness and love that Jesus pours out for us and the entire world.

The more time I spend reflecting on this prayer, the more it grows on me. I pray that we might all yearn for the light we need, and be awakened to the Gospel life God has in store for Trinity and for you.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

August 3

Jesus [said] “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Someone shared with me the other day that she loves this line in the liturgy: “Give us the light we need…”

This is from the prayer that leads us to the Lord’s Prayer as we conclude the Service of the Word in the ELW, our hymnal. (pg 220)

I like when people point out what catches their heart and soul, because then I take note as well.

“Give us the light we need” is a wonderful line. In fact, the entire prayer holds space for contemplation and reflection.

The next few days, let us live with this prayer, and explore some of where these words lead us in our worship.

Here is the entire prayer:

O God of justice and love,

we give thanks to you

that you illumine our way

through life with the words of your Son.

Give us the light we need,

awaken us to the needs of others,

and at the end bring all the world to your feast;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honor and glory forever.


Blessings to you this 3rd day of August.

Pastor Phil

August 2

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life.

Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,

and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

John 6:35

This month we are spending time in the 6th chapter of the Gospel of John. There Jesus proclaims that he is the bread of life.

As we contemplate this gift, we give thanks that Trinity will be serving Lunch Together this week. Thank you to all who have worked together tor provide these meals to our neighbors.

Here is a prayer shaped by next Sunday’s readings:

Bread of life,

you taught us to put away bitterness and anger,

and with tenderhearted kindness

to share the fruit of our labor with the needy.

Strengthen us by your grace,

that in communion with you,

we may forgive one another

and live in love as Christ loved us. Amen.

from the Vanderbilt Divinity School library, at:

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

August 1

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Prayer of the Day for today is:

O God, eternal goodness, immeasurable love,

you place your gifts before us;

we eat and are satisfied.

Fill us and this world in all its need

with the life that comes only from you,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.