Connections - June
“But about that day or hour no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son,
but only the Father. Beware, keep alert;
for you do not know when the time will come.”
I saw a reference to this time as Covid-tide. Like Christmas-tide or Easter-tide, this season might have many aspects to shape our understanding of how God is at work in the time.
Here is an inviting reflection on Christmas that was written as a devotion for the 6th Day of Christmas. Dr. Copenhaver offers quite a suggestion. The date of Christmas should be a surprise…https://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional_today_could_be_christmas_1
Sometimes I think that Christmas, properly celebrated, would not be a fixed date on the calendar. It would not happen on the same day every year. It would be more like a surprise party. It would arrive when we least expect it. After all, no one knew when the Messiah was going to arrive, and we never really know when the spirit of Christ will be made known. It might be on a special holiday circled on our calendars, or it might not.
Imagine waking up each morning and thinking, "Perhaps this is the day. Perhaps this is Christmas." Then, perhaps, we would know that the arrival of Christ is not something we plan or arrange. It is a gift. And you never know when it will be given.
So I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that it happened to fall on December 25. That is, I hope that the spirit of the living Christ was palpably present in every way on that day. But if not, do not despair. The presence of Christ may be made known to you today, perhaps in a surprising moment of grace, after the expectation-laden holiday has already passed, just when you least expect it. It could be today. This could be the day when the promise of Christmas is fulfilled. So, beware, keep alert… and be ready to party! -Martin B. Copenhaver is President of Andover Newton Theological School. His newest book is Room to Grow: Meditations on Trying to Live as a Christian.
“those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”
I have wondered about how we might consider this time of Covid-19 “a season” in our lives. A season of being careful, a season of not knowing what’s next, a season of concern. A season of waiting.
As we wait, and wonder, perhaps our traditions hold some resources for us to be able to shape the time, without fully understanding what all is going on.
This week I hope to share some reflections on the seasons of the Church year. Today I share two quotes from Bonhoeffer on Advent.
Peace to you.
A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes,
does various unessential things,
and is completely dependent
on the fact that the door of freedom
has to be opened from the outside,
is not a bad picture of Advent.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
The celebration of Advent is possible
only to those who are troubled in soul,
who know themselves to be poor and imperfect,
and who look forward to something greater to come.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Then Jesus said,
“Father, forgive them;
for know not what they do.”
Luke 23:34 RSV
This is a profound and moving prayer.
When I first read this, I had to set the book down, and simply sigh and wonder at this man’s words and his deep faith.
I found an article about the author of this prayer. Bishop Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti was the Anglican Bishop of Iran from 1960 until his retirement in 1990. He was the first ethnic Persian to become a bishop of Iran since the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century.
I trust that you, too, will be challenged and inspired by his words.
FATHER'S PRAYER UPON THE MURDER OF HIS SON
We remember not only our son but also his murderers;
Not because they killed him in the prime of his youth and made our hearts bleed and our tears flow,
Not because with this savage act they have brought further disgrace on the name of our country among the civilized nations of the world;
But because through their crime we now follow thy footsteps more closely in the way of sacrifice.
The terrible fire of this calamity burns up all selfishness and possessiveness in us;
Its flame reveals the depth of depravity and meanness and suspicion, the dimension of hatred and the measure of sinfulness in human nature;
It makes obvious as never before our need to trust in God's love as shown in the cross of Jesus and his resurrection;
Love which makes us free from hate towards our persecutors;
Love which brings patience, forbearance, courage, loyalty, humility, generosity, greatness of heart;
Love which more than ever deepens our trust in God's final victory and his eternal designs for the Church and for the world;
Love which teaches us how to prepare ourselves to face our own day of death.
Our son’s blood has multiplied the fruit of the Spirit in the soil of our souls;
So when his murderers stand before thee on the day of judgement
Remember the fruit of the spirit by which they have enriched our lives.
Bishop Hassan Barnaba Dehqani-Tafti, (1920- 2008)The Oxford Book of Prayer, Oxford University Press, 1985. pg. 135-136
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. John 1:1
Bishop Hilary was a 4th century leader who worked tirelessly to advocate for a correct understanding of the Trinity. The arguments that shaped his life, (resulting in exile and more) might seem to us rather arcane. Yet, sound theology is important, for it shapes our understanding of who God is, and who we are in God’s sight.
As one who loves words, I like how this prayer invites us to ask God to help us to know the meaning of words. I suspect that we might see this as a way to understand that God’s love is spoken into our lives by the Word of the Gospel.
bestow upon us the meaning of words,
the light of understanding,
the nobility of diction
and the faith of the true nature.
And grant that what we believe
we may also speak.
St. Hilary, 315-367The Oxford Book of Prayer, Oxford University Press, 1985. pg. 118
And if you belong to Christ,
then you are Abraham’s offspring,
heirs according to the promise.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was Jesuit Catholic priest who in addition to theology, had degrees in paleontology and geology (a doctorate) as well as studying botany, chemistry, mathematics, and zoology and more. His legacy is in dispute, some considering him a man of great foresight, and others, a charlatan. Each view may be accurate in its own way, I suspect.
I often see quotes by Teilhard de Chardin that are challenging, hopeful and filled with inisght… Perhaps his most well known line is this: “"One day after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
This prayer is a different sort of prayer, inviting us to ask for God’s grace to fall on all the world.
I pray, O Master,
that the flames of hell
may not touch me nor any of those whom I love,
and even that they never touch anyone
(and I know, my God, that you will forgive me this bold prayer) . . .
Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, 1881-1955The Oxford Book of Prayer, Oxford University Press, 1985. pg. 113
He himself is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish economist and diplomat who served as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. We might all be grateful that our parents did not name us Dag, nor that they would hand on that last name. I would have been a 5th grader before learning to spell it! John F. Kennedy called Hammarskjöld "the greatest statesman of our century,” and he is considered by many, the finest UN Secretary General. The ELCA commemorates the life of Hammarskjöld as a “Renewer of Society” on the anniversary of his death, September 18.
A nighttime prayer that can be prayed anytime I am sure:
Night is drawing nigh -
For all that has been - Thanks!
For all that shall be- Yes!
Dag Hammarskjold 1905-1961The Oxford Book of Prayer, Oxford University Press, 1985. pg. 102
The Oxford Book of Prayer has many prayers from the Christian tradition, and many other prayers as well. For the rest of this week, I would like to share a prayer each day from this fine resource.
A Prayer from Evelyn Underhill, (1875-1941) who - wikipedia tells us - was one of the most widely read writers on Christian mysticism in the first half of the 20th century.
O Blessed Jesu Christ,
who didst bid all who carry heavy burdens to come to thee,
refresh us with thy presence and thy power.
Quiet our understandings and give ease to our hearts,
by bringing us close to things infinite and eternal.
Open to us the mind of God,
that in his light we may see light.
And crown thy choice of us to be thy servants,
by making us springs of strength and joy
to all whom we serve.
Evelyn UnderhillThe Oxford Book of Prayer, Oxford University Press, 1985. pg 122.
“Your love, O Lord, forever will I sing;
from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.”
The Sunday worship bulletin can be a good resource for reflections for the week that follows.
The Prayer of the Day for this coming Sunday is worth your consideration. Though we pray this prayer every 3 years, it speaks to our time right now.
O God, you direct our lives by your grace,
and your words of justice and mercy reshape the world.
Mold us into a people who welcome your word
and serve one another,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Today is World Refugee Day, which was established in 2001 by the United Nations. World Refugee Day is dedicated to the recognition of the challenges faced by refugees worldwide and to the incredible contributions they've made to their communities.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, has been dedicated to helping New Americans find refuge on our shores for more than 80 years. They’ve provided a worship service to celebrate this day. I put the link at the end of this reflection in case you might want to join…
The worship service begins with hymn #819 in the ELW; Come, All You People - Uyaimose
1 Come all you people, come and praise the Most High; (3X)
Come now and worship the Lord.
2 Come all you people, come and praise the Savior; (3X)
Come now and worship the Lord.
3 Come all you people, come and praise the Spirit; (3X)
Come now and worship the Lord.
Come all you people, our song implores. All. You. People. Thanks be to God that we have been united with Christ; and in this uniting, we have been made to see, that all people are our family, and God has gifted us with the call give care and help to those in need.
here is the link to the World Refugee Day worship service
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
I often like to joke about my Norwegian heritage. I suspect that such things can be a great deal of fun. They can also be something else. They can include some, while leaving others on the outside looking in.
Many of us are just recently learning about Juneteenth as a celebration of emancipation for those who suffered under slavery. Such a commemoration could be considered - like a Norwegian joke - only for some, while leaving others out. Juneteenth could also be a place of celebration for all of us. It could be celebration; accompanied by repentance and a call to live up to our ideals. Much like worship!
A blessed Juneteenth to you, to us. May we be sent forth to live into justice and love for all.
I saw this prayer posted by the ELCA today:
On Juneteenth, we pray for the end of racism, racial inequalities and hatred in our nation,
for an end to all forms of slavery and human trafficking in the world.
Living God’s grace and forgiveness,
may we confess and confront our own prejudices and fears,
serving as catalysts for change, reconciliation and healing.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
In the service for Confirmation, the Affirmation of Baptism - the confirmand makes this Affirmation:
“You have made public profession of your faith. Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism:
to live among God’s faithful people,
to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
to serve all people, following the example of Jesus,
and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?”
The Confirmand responds: I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.
As part of the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, voting members adopted a resolution designating June 17th as a commemoration of the martyrdom of the Emanuel 9—the nine people shot and killed on June 17, 2015, during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
A service of remembrance was prepared and here is the Prayer of the Day for remembrance of the Emmanuel 9:
Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image. Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression. Help us, like those of generations before us who resisted the evil of slavery and human bondage in any form and any manner of oppression. Help us to use our freedoms to bring justice among people and nations everywhere, to the glory of your Holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May we be creative and faithful in striving for justice and peace in all the earth.
We hear from Romans 6 this coming Sunday.
Paul proclaims that in your baptism into Christ, you have been united with Christ’s death and resurrection.
Romans 6 is part of the funeral liturgy. When we bid farewell to those we love, we lean on the promises that God has made in uniting us with Jesus through the water and the word.
There is something mystical in this union. A mystical unity that we don’t talk about very much.
What might it mean that your life has been incorporated into the life of Jesus?
As we face life’s many challenges, as we rejoice in life’s gifts, as we deal with those whom God has placed in our lives, how might those aspects of your life be enriched, knowing that you do so WITH Christ?
May Christ, who accompanies you in all things, bear love to you and through you, to all you meet!
[when asked] “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
I sometimes set aside a devotion from the WELCA daily devotional, “Daily Grace.” This, by Terry L. Bowes, who member of First Lutheran Church, Longmont, Colorado, I thought was excellent:
Often we think of repentance as traveling down a road and then making a conscious turn in another direction, sometimes a simple turn to the right or the left, sometimes a complete 180-degree turn in the opposite direction.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if repentance was that simple? Instead, repentance more closely resembles a tornado. As repentant people, we weave our way on an unpredictable path, twisting and turning to look back at the behaviors and attitudes that lure us even when we know that we must turn away from them.
Repentance is usually not a singular event. Like a tornado, we repeat our sin, then turn away from it only to return again. The good news in the gospel of Jesus Christ is that repentance, like a tornado, brings with it transformation and restoration.
This message is adapted from “Pardoned, Me?” written by Terry L. Bowes in the March 1998 issue of Lutheran Woman Today magazine.
“Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Romans 5 is one of our readings tomorrow.
The Stewardship quote in tomorrow’s bulletin is: “Stewardship is not a matter of giving a little more, it is a way of life.” Belonging to God through Jesus Christ is a way of life. A way of peace, and, washed in the peace of God, it is also a way of struggle. May we take on the struggles God asks of us, so that we might bear the love of God to all whom we can.
Here is the entire Romans reading for tomorrow.
Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
“Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
Perhaps you are also on all sorts of email lists that you can’t quite remember signing up to receive. I just got an invitation to a seminar that is “about building on what we’ve learned these last few months.”
I have a feeling that while we’ve learned some things the last few months, we have a lot more learning to do.
The Psalmist recommends meditating on God’s law day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
I sometimes think that one of our greatest shortcomings is a lack of patience. Don’t get this wrong, I know that I am one of the great practitioners of this fault.
Let me suggest that there are all sorts of possible learnings at hand for us, and humble waiting and meditating and considering of the steadfast love of the Lord might serve better than attending a Zoom conference that claims to have all the answers 3 months into this unique event.
The prophet Isaiah has this word for us…
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15
Today is our daughter’s birthday. And so, not only do we celebrate her birthday, we remember and rejoice at the gift that she is to our family.
Our children came to us through adoption. (We met both our children the day after they were born.) I have a suspicion that adoptive parents know more clearly that a child is truly a gift from heaven.
The indescribable gift of 2 Corinthians 9:15 speaks of God’s “surpassing grace”. A gift that comes to us through Jesus giving his life for us.
In adoption, there is a parallel. Our children’s birth mothers made a decision and chose us to be parents to our kids. We are grateful to God, and to them as well, for gifts given that enrich us always, while also knowing that the gift came at a great cost.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “…it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” I have a feeling this is wonderfully true.
In the midst of all that we encounter, may you also find places of deep gratitude, and in knowing gratitude, may you also find yourself to be quite rich.
Wednesday, June 10
“When he saw the crowds,
he had compassion for them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.”
At the beginning of our Gospel reading for this coming Sunday, we hear of Jesus’ compassion. This compassion is the love which God has for us and for all the world.
This compassion moves us as well.
From here, Jesus calls the 12 disciples and sends them out to bring his healing to others.
Reflecting on this story, one preacher speaks of how the calling is difficult, and the disciples aren’t entirely up to the task. He suggests that this is a sign of grace.
“The ordinary, ill equipped people” Jesus chooses to serve include the one who denied him, and the one who betrayed him. The preacher concludes: “Jesus chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”
Those extraordinary things, flow from God’s compassion.
I think of a VBS song little kids sang years and years ago, “I’m just an ordinary kid with an extra-ordinary God.”
May you take note that our extraordinary God has sent you out to bear God’s never ending compassion for all the world.
I want to again share our Sunday Worship Schedule
9:00 a.m. - Worship in the sanctuary
10:00 a.m. - Worship outside - weather permitting
On Wednesday evenings, we will have 7:00 worship - outside weather permitting.
Knowing that many of you cannot be with us here,
we will continue providing worship on the Church website
Tuesday, June 9
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”
I thought of a great idea for my devotion today. Not good. GREAT!
Now I can’t begin to remember what it was. It’s gone.
I’m not kidding, it was a wonderful idea. You were going to read it and be so inspired, so moved, so glad you had taken the time for today’s Trinity Connections… And now, we have been let down by my memory, and we are all the poorer for it.
If I were to step back a bit, I could see that it wasn’t that good. And it would not have moved you that much. And we’re all ok. And then I could recall that what matters most, is that God is ever faithful, and together we can proclaim God’s goodness and serve with gladness.
And, maybe a simple reminder is all we need right now.
At the end of this covid-19 journey, indeed, throughout it all, God will be faithful, and we will always be held in God’s good care.
Blessings to you.
We will proclaim Psalm 100 in worship this coming Sunday.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Monday, June 8
“…O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides..”.
It was so very nice to gather here for worship yesterday - at the same time - many of you - no, most of you, could not be there, and we missed you deeply.
But - all things considered - it was good.
We had 15 at worship at the first service - and 25 (counting BASICS) gathered in the parking lot at the 2nd.
Among the many things I would share with you - the Trinity Council will meet tomorrow evening. We are considering changing the schedule to worship at 9 and 10. Once that decision is made - we will inform you and update the website.
Worship outside was very nice. It reminded some of us of Church Camp worship. It is a bit more difficult to preach with all the distractions - especially since I felt a raindrop or two as I spoke. I was afraid we were going to have to add an Affirmation of Baptism service! The rain didn’t materialize, yet I abbreviated my sermon a bit. The one surprise for me was that no one complained about that. Ha!
As we proclaimed the Communion liturgy yesterday, I was struck by the petition… “For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.”
Without a roof over my head, I wondered if I should change the words. What would I say? “For this beautiful landscape, for these mountains and hills, the trees and the sun and the grass, and, and, and…” ??
That made me think about this petition anew. “For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise...” The “holy house” is surely much, much more than any building. Perhaps not the building at all.
This “holy house” is us. “This holy house” the congregation, “and all who offer” each individual in the house.
This household of faith, gathered out there on the parking lot, dwarfed by the wonder of creation, a small group in a corner of a parking lot. This holy house, God’s people, gathered by the Spirit, fed with God’s love, sent forth by Jesus to be God’s agents of love in the world. This holy house, you and me, wandering through our lives, knowing God’s presence and care in all that comes our way, sensing God’s sending in all our opportunities to share love with this world in need…
Yesterday, worship was a Trinity Sunday to remember.
Blessings to you Pastor Phil
A Trinity Sunday Prayer: Holy God, source of all goodness, you gave your Son for the life of the world and sent your Spirit that your love might abide within us. Teach us how to love each other this day, that we may have life, and have it abundantly, with you, in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saturday, June 6
“…Lo, I am with you always,
to the close of the age.”.
The first time I heard Barbara Brown Taylor preach, she preached on this text, and her opening prayer ended: “For if you are with us, nothing else matters. And if you are not with us, then nothing else matters.”
Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, and we hear this promise of Jesus to always be in our midst.
Often, we need to be reminded of this great truth.
As we gather for worship tomorrow, the presence of God will be mixed with the absence of many whom we love. This is how so very much of life is - it is mixed.
Know this. Jesus’ words ring out over all your life, from the moment that water washed over you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God has made a commitment to be with you, and God has been, and always will be faithful to that promise.
Can I get an “amen”?
Friday, June 5
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.…
I am at a loss for what to write this morning; but, of course, that wont’t stop me from writing- or talking…
I just saw a nice reflection on how we strive to predict the future, but are never really any good at that. The author, David Zahl, then made this thought provoking statement.
“…the opacity of the future is not necessarily a bad thing. Surprise may be a vehicle of disaster, but it can also be a vehicle of grace. Most of the best things in my own life were gifted, not engineered.”
Real, true and valued gifts surprise. They come to us.
As we wander through this “interesting” time (I’m striving to avoid the word “unprecedented” - ha!) what gifts might God have in store for us?
Might separation help us to grow together?
Might racial tension help us to confess sin - and heal division?
Might conflict and strife lead to peace and love?
Might sickness and disease lead to greater health care provided for all?
David Zahl again: “The Christian faith deals in promises, not predictions.”
Luther said that baptism is something to which we return each day, so that we might be “drowned through daily repentance; and …day after day a new self should arise to live with God in righteousness and purity forever.”
Let us return to the promise of Christ, and look with eager anticipation, for the surprises God has in store for us.
Peace to you.
Thursday, June 4
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit…
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…
Joel 2:28-29, 32a
This past Sunday was Pentecost - a day of remembering God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to God’s people in Christ.
In my sermon, I touched on a wonderful insight. (I’m not certain who I stole this from, but it made me think.) A preacher said that, rather than seeing the gift of the Spirit as something we acquire (so that we can be better), perhaps the Spirit is a gift God gives, so God can accomplish God’s purposes in this world.
That is powerful.
Looking at Joel 2, I want to ask, what dreams might old men - (and I suspect women as well) - who have had God’s Spirit poured out upon them, dream?
And why might the old be those whom God has designated to dream?
I think often of a sermon I heard by Bishop Michael Curry, now Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He contrasted God’s dream for our youth, with the nightmare experienced in inner city Baltimore where he had served.
As we see our country responding to sad injustice, as we see peaceful protests interrupted by those who would work violence and destruction instead of peace and progress, it is easy to despair.
Yet God has called the old to dream and the young to cast visions.
We who are older have seen chaos and violence before. We know how terrible it can be, yet we know it will end. And, we who have been gifted by the Spirit, know that in the end, love wins.
And so let us dream God’s dream of love and justice and peace and unity. Let us envision God’s vision of forgiveness and grace and generosity and flourishing. And let us not lose hope, a hope grounded in the promise of the one who stepped forth from the grave, announced God’s peace, and breathed the Spirit into the Church (that’s us!).
As those who have been Spirit-breathed into the world, we have been empowered by the resurrection, to spread God’s dream wherever we go.
Wednesday, June 3
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Yes, on Sunday we will gather at Trinity for worship!
While I am so very glad about this, the word “ambivalence” comes to mind. Ambivalence, the dictionary tells me; is “the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.”
While we rejoice that we can gather for worship, the fact is that so many of you cannot be there, that I suspect the day will be as sad as it is joyful.
I have seen articles saying this coming Sunday should be a great celebration for Trinity. I suspect the the party will not be all that we hope it could be.
We will gather. It will be good. But we have also learned that there are many ways to participate in worship - that joining online, you can connect, and be a part of Trinity.
Together we have come a long ways in seeking to maintain our connections, and I have a suspicion that we will continue with online worship - and perhaps Trinity Connections - long past the end of this covid-19 situation.
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” I was even more glad, when we were all safely able to do so. And so, while there is some rejoicing, there is also more waiting. Waiting for that day when we leave this virus behind.
Hmmmm. It strikes me, that this is a bit like another waiting that we do. Waiting patiently for God to call us all together in God’s perfect presence.
Tuesday, June 2
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the Spirit of God
was hovering over the face of the waters…
Genesis 1:1, 2b ESV
Our first reading this coming Sunday, Trinity Sunday, is the creation story from Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created…"
Laura’s sister pointed us to a nice reflection by a preacher who turned to this text for comfort in the face of the sad violence and racism we are facing in our country. He referred to a translation of Genesis that says before God spoke light into being, the Spirit of God was “hovering” over the chaos of the water.
What a comforting image this can be for us. That God is hovering over the chaos. That God is not absent when things seem to be going totally off the rails.
At times, when Laura is caring for a patient that needs time to heal, those moments when there is nothing else she can do, she says that dog or cat needs “hover therapy.”
I smile every time I hear that.
In our Gospel reading on Sunday, we will hear Jesus’ amazing promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
When all seems lost, when the whole world seems broken, remember the promise of the presence of God. “I am with you always.”
When chaos seems to rule, remember that our God, the God of the Cross, is one who is there in the midst of the brokenness, hovering over all creation, sending the Spirit to bring healing, forgiveness and life.
In the face of all that is going on, it might make sense to despair. In the light of the God who has created and redeemed us, we know that God is working God’s own “hover therapy.”
Monday, June 1
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”
We are just finishing a week away, celebrating graduation with Susie and David. I need to thank Deb for emailing and posting Trinity Connections.
We have been mostly off the grid, so, I have not been following the news. My understanding is that issues of race and justice have come to the fore in the past week.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pronounced a special blessing:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
As we grieve over sad conflicts, and yearn for a more just society, let us pray for all children of God, and support all who serve to bring peace and healing to our land.
Please pray for the Trinity Council as we prepare to host worship on Sunday. We will be meeting Tuesday evening (via internet)and will post information in the June Newsletter, on the Trinity website: www.trinitylutheransheridan.org.