October '22

October 1

The apostles said to the Lord,

"Increase our faith!"

Luke 17:5

Can it possibly be October first already?

Here is a prayer based on our scripture texts for tomorrow.

God of all the ages,

you have revealed your grace

in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

As we wait patiently on your mercies,

strengthen us to live in your justice,

that with open hearts we may hear

and accomplish your will,

through Christ, who lights the way to life everlasting. Amen.

Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission.

From the web site of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library - https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/prayers.php?id=282

17th Sunday after Pentecost

October 2

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00

The service will be posted online.

The Prayer of the Day:

Benevolent, merciful God:

When we are empty,

fill us.

When we are weak in faith,

strengthen us.

When we are cold in love,

warm us,

that with fervor

we may

love our neighbors


serve them

for the sake of your Son,

Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord.


October 3

The apostles said to the Lord,

“Increase our faith!”

Luke 17:5

Yesterday, we heard the story of the disciples asking Jesus to increase their faith. In many ways, Jesus’ answer is that their request is off base. He calls them to set aside any sort of score keeping, and simply live out their faith here and now…

I quoted this line from Australian New Testament professor, William Loader. (I might have edited it a bit)

“Jesus debunks the idea

that we deserve a bonus

for being decent, caring human beings.

He does not let us play that game.

We can’t claim:

‘you ought to love me, because look at how good I am!’

‘Look at what I have done!’

Jesus is probably deliberately offensive

in flooring aspirations to human worth

based on achievement.

It is annoying and frustrating,

and even seems mean.

It gives us no credit.”

Jesus' seemingly mean response bears a great gift. When we are done score keeping, we are free to live.

Blessings to you this week. Pastor Phil

October 4

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,

to which indeed you were called in the one body.

And be thankful.

Colossians 3:5

October 4th the Church recognizes Saint Francis of Assisi as a renewer of the Church. Francis of Assisi died 1226. Here is a note from a Church calendar…

“Born into the family of a wealthy merchant, Francis gave up his inheritance to serve poor people. He formed the Order of Friars Minor (called Franciscans), who took on poverty and the task of preaching "using words if necessary." Francis had a spirit of gratitude for all of God's creation.”

In his book “The Cross In Our Context” theologian Douglas John Hall suggests that St. Francis had concerns about the Church that were quite similar to those of Martin Luther. Luther, he contends, was more astute politically, and was thus more able to shape a reform of the Church. (That is probably a very mediocre summation, but my main point is that it is interesting that one can connect these two.)

Here is the Prayer of Saint Francis.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is discord, union;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much

seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying

that we are born to eternal life.


Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

October 5

O that my people would listen to me,

that Israel would walk in my ways!

Psalm 81:13

I liked this opening to a blog entry about preaching. I suspect that it applies for us all. It is written by Rev. Eric L. Miller, an Episcopal priest from Cincinnati, Ohio.

“Pausing” isn’t just a feature on Netflix or YouTube.

It’s a powerful tool for preaching and life.

A tool those in recovery have practiced for generations to maintain sobriety.

“Pausing” helped my grandfather in his recovery.

And this practical and sacred act helps me today in my life of recovery.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says,

“As we go through the day

we pause when agitated or doubtful,

and ask for the right thought or action” (page 87).

Pausing and asking for the right thought or action helps us take a step back, reflect, and choose how to respond rather than react to a person, place, or institution.

Pausing to ask God for direction helps us remember we aren’t in charge, but we are responsible for our behaviors and actions.

Pausing long enough helps us get a healthier perspective so that our response might be one of love and trust.

That gives me pause. Well, actually, it doesn’t. But I hear a call to consider ways we can live carefully - that is, full of care - and well. May you hear this call as well, and may you know that God will equip you to bear God’s love and peace in all you do.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 6

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed,

turned back, praising God with a loud voice.

He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him.

And he was a Samaritan.

Luke 17:15-16

Our Gospel story on Sunday is the wonderful story of the Healing of the Ten Lepers.

All ten are healed. One give thanks.

The nine do not lose their healing, but the one who gives thanks receives a deep blessing from Jesus.

I think often of a line in a meditation on gratitude written by Pastor Al Rogness. He speaks of how gratitude itself is a gift, and then he shares part of a verse which is titled something like ‘Athiest’s Lament’:

The writer says something to the effect that he can steel himself against death, with no need for God. But, when he encounters deep beauty in the world, [here’s the quote] “it’s a terrible thing, not to have anyone to thank.”

May your day be touched by gratitude.

Peace to you, Pastor Phil

October 7

"Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

Luke 17:19

Sunday we have the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. It is a wonderful tale. Then are healed, only one returns to give thanks. We can criticize the nine who did not return, of course, but we might also find ourselves granting them a bit of grace. Their healing was such an extraordinary gift, that they must have rushed home to reunite with loved ones.

The one who returned, however, has an extra blessing. Jesus tells him that his faith has made him well. Or perhaps, we might translate the word “whole.” Or even, “saved.”

Eugene Peterson, in his paraphrase, The Message; translates it: "your faith has healed and saved you”.

Martin Luther, was once asked to describe the nature of true worship. His answer: the tenth leper turning back.”

May your day be filled with gratitude, Pastor Phil

October 8

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed,

turned back, praising God with a loud voice.

He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him.

Luke 17:15-16a

I love the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. If you think about it, one of ten returning to give thanks, that sounds fairly accurate.

I too often receive gifts without giving thanks. At times probably only one of ten…

May you look to see your blessings, and may you be blessed to give thanks.

Peace, Pastor Phil

A Prayer for worship tomorrow

To us sinners, cleansed and forgiven,

give a spirit of constant praise and thanksgiving.

Let faith be our salvation

and service of others our gift of thanks,

as we follow your Son toward the cross and new life.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God forever and ever.


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

18th Sunday after Pentecost

October 9

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00 The service is posted online

The Prayer of the Day

Almighty and most merciful God,

your bountiful goodness fills all creation.

Keep us safe from all that may hurt us,

that, whole and well in body and spirit,

we may with grateful hearts

accomplish all that you would have us do,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


October 10

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed,

turned back, praising God with a loud voice.

He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him.

Luke 17:15-16a

I’m still working with our Gospel story from yesterday. Years ago I was struck by this passage from a commentary on this story.

I want to share it with you, without added comment…

“Are we self-made individuals beholden to no one,

or are we blessed daily in ways we seldom perceive,

cannot repay

and for which we often fail to be grateful?

Here is a barometer of spiritual health:

although gratitude is not synonymous with faith,

neither response to God can be separated from the other.

…For those who have become aware of God’s grace,

all of life is infused with a sense of gratitude,

and each encounter becomes an opportunity

to see and to respond

in the spirit of the grateful leper.”

Alan Culpepper

in The New Interpreters Bible

Volume IX, pg. 328

Blessings in the week to come, Pastor Phil

October 11

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed,

turned back, praising God with a loud voice.

He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him.

Luke 17:15-16a

One last reflection on gratitude, this is from Thomas Merton, who, wikipedia will tell you,“was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist and scholar of comparative religion.”

That’s a lot. And it seems to me he was quite remarkable at a number of those callings.

“To be grateful

is to recognize the Love of God

in everything He has given us—

and He has given us everything.

Every breath we draw is a gift of His love,

every moment of existence is a grace,

for it brings with it immense graces from Him.

Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted,

is never unresponsive,

is constantly awakening to new wonder

and to praise of the goodness of God.

For the grateful person knows that God is good,

not by hearsay but by experience.

And that is what makes all the difference."

Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude

God Bless, Pastor Phil

October 12

Then Jesus told them a parable

about their need to pray always

and not to lose heart

Luke 18:1

On Sunday we will hear the Parable of the Persistent Widow.

I am very interested in this curious story.

In my reading, I liked this commentary by Debie Thomas, (I spelled that correctly!) a minister at her Episcopal Church in Palo Alto and a writer. In a brief bio, she says: “I write for various magazines about scripture, faith, and contemporary Christian life…”

Here is the paragraph I wanted to share with you…

What happens when we pray? What is prayer for?

I can only speak from experience,

but I know that when I persist in prayer—

really persist, with a full heart, over a long period of time—

something happens to me.

My sense of who I am, to whom I belong,

what really matters in this life, and why—

these things mature and solidify.

My heart grows stronger.

It becomes less fragile and flighty.

Once in a while, it even soars.

And sometimes—here’s the surprise—

these good things happen

even when I don’t receive the answer I’m praying for.


She, of course, is not praising unanswered prayer. She is not saying prayer is easy, in fact, she says it can be hard work. Yet, she also affirms that our prayer is not in vain, for God is faithful.

May your prayers be persistent and may God bless you today.

Pastor Phil

October 13

Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me."

So he said to him, "What is your name?"

And he said, "Jacob."

Then the man said,

"You shall no longer be called Jacob,

but Israel,

for you have striven with God and with humans,

and have prevailed."

Genesis 32:28

For our Wednesday noon class, we are looking at some of the more difficult - maybe even upsetting passages from the Bible.

In the same spirit of Jacob wrestling a blessing from his night visitor, I like the notion that we might at times be called to wrestle with Bible texts - seeking a blessing.

We hear from Genesis 32 on Sunday…

The name Israel means: “The one who strives with God” - or - “God strives.” The people of Israel understand, in their very name, that as the Chosen People, their lives are a long striving with God.

I wonder.

I wish that our neighbors - those who might be interested in walking in God’s grace, but never really consider Church - I wish they knew that what we have to offer, is not answers to life’s most difficult questions, but fellow travelers in the striving.

I like the insight a friend has given me, that in sending us Jesus Christ, God gives - not answers - but an answerer…

Pax, Pastor Phil

October 14

Then Jesus told them a parable

about their need to pray always

and not to lose heart

Luke 18:1

As I mentioned the other day, the Parable of the Persistent Widow is our Gospel text on Sunday. Luke tells us that Jesus told his parable because of our need to not lose heart.

I wonder about how we might plumb the depths of that call.

It seems that losing heart might be a constant temptation for the people of God.

We have high expectations, and our hope is for God’s love to rule over all. This means that disappointment is often near at hand, for this goal remains always a “future hope.”

Do not lose heart.

An interesting call.

Perhaps persistence in prayer may help us to learn that God is faithful, and our hope is sure, for it is grounded in the one who gave himself for us all.

May your day, your weekend, be touched by perseverance and hope.

Pastor Phil

October 15

Then Jesus told them a parable

about their need to pray always

and not to lose heart

Luke 18:1

We will hear the Parable of the Persistent Widow tomorrow.

I just ran across a prayer on social media, it was mostly in good humor, and it made me think.

The prayer:


give us the Anglican’s simplicity in prayer,

the Lutheran’s fascination with grace,

the Puritan’s hunger for holiness,

the Presbyterian’s knack for precision,

the Pentecostal’s passion for the Spirit,

the Baptist’s penchant for preaching,

and the Quaker’s desire for peace.


I liked the comments that followed this post. Someone said: "I would throw in the Catholic's feeling for immanence and the Orthodox love of history and tradition.”

Then the conversation got quite humorous. Someone mentioned the Methodists and potlucks. One pointed out that in some areas of the country it would be the Lutheran potlucks, or perhaps the Lenten Fish-Fry at a Catholic Church, and on and on.

It was all kind of delightful.

What I like in this - really quite incomplete - and not exactly accurate - prayer, is a looking to other traditions to see what gifts they have to offer to the Church. I’ve heard teachers suggest that we Lutherans are a part of the Church Universal, and like members of a choir, we have our note to sing, while others have theirs.

I think that can be a life-giving way to consider our divisions.

Of course, there is much more. There is sadness at a fair measure of it. There are faults we each bear, and some faults that might be more prevalent in one tradition than another, I know that.

I guess part of what I like about this prayer, is that it is a reminder that we all belong to God through the work of Jesus Christ, and so we all belong to each other.

I hope to see you tomorrow, so you can join the song with us.

Peace, Pastor Phil

19th Sunday after Pentecost

October 16

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00 The service is posted online

The Prayer of the Day

O Lord God, tireless guardian of your people,

you are always ready to hear our cries.

Teach us to rely day and night on your care.

Inspire us to seek your enduring justice for all this suffering world,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


October 17

Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me."

So he said to him, "What is your name?"

And he said, "Jacob."

Then the man said,

"You shall no longer be called Jacob,

but Israel,

for you have striven with God and with humans,

and have prevailed."

Genesis 32:28

In Sunday’s sermon, I touched on the story of Jacob receiving the name Israel, which means, “The one who strives with God.”

For the people of the promise, for the Jewish people, this story names them all as ones who strive with God.

I think of this excerpt from a sermon that I gathered years ago, and have referenced a number of times…

In an age of self-referent individualism,

it's not often that we get a chance

to enter the evocative amplitude of a communal sensibility,

that time-confounding solidarity

our biblical ancestors presupposed.

A friend of mine who teaches world cultures

in junior high recently did.

His class was studying ways in which personal,

familial and communal memories

create identity and belonging.

In one exercise,

he asked students to share their earliest recollection.

The answers came as you might expect

my dog, riding a pony, my mom, the cottage at the lake.

But then it was the Jewish kid's turn.

Without pausing, Mark Shapiro said,


Angels descending sucked air from the room.

Had 12 other kids not been yelling, "Abraham who?,"

the teacher would have cast himself in terror to the floor.

As it was, he hardly breathed.

Who knew little Mark was part of a people?

from a sermon by Mary Luti, long time seminary educator and pastor. Christian Century, Oct 7, 1998.

As you venture through this week, may your wrestling with God find you blessed by God’s love, and sent to serve.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 18

Then Jesus told them a parable

about their need to pray always

and not to lose heart

Luke 18:1

I continue to reflect on this introduction Luke gives to this parable in Luke 18:1. That Jesus might desire for us to not lose heart speaks eloquently to the fact that we often face daunting challenges in life, and this has always been so…

Among the quotes I have set aside over the years is this one by Meister Eckhart. He was a German Mystic who lived some 200 years before Martin Luther. Scholars tell us that Martin Luther was influenced by his teachings.

Truly it is in the darkness that one finds the light,

so when we are in sorrow,

then this light is nearest of all to us.

Jesus desires that we not lose heart. He invites us to pray, and bids us to have faith. Then he goes to the cross, to show the measure of his love for the world. God raises Jesus from the grave, showing forth the life giving power of God's grace and forgiveness and the measure of hope Jesus bears for the world.

May your sorrows be touched by the nearness of God, who loves you and abides with you.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 19

He [Jesus] also told this parable

to some who trusted in themselves

that they were righteous

and regarded others with contempt:

Luke 18:9

Like last week, our Gospel this coming Sunday has a parable with Luke’s introduction providing a key for how to listen to the parable.

“He also told this parable to some

who trusted in themselves that they were righteous

and regarded others with contempt:

"Two men went up to the temple to pray,

one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector…”

I just saw an interesting comment by Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber.

She posted on Instagram, under her (I don’t know act to call it) Instagram handle “Sarcasticlutheran”:

Maybe the opposite of religious fundamentalism

isn’t strident atheism, or liberalism.

Maybe the opposite of fundamentalism is. . .


She went on to say; “I love being right… like chocolate. But what I am trying to do these days is hold my deepest convictions with like 20% less arrogance.”

I like her conclusion… “Wish me luck.”

I suspect that when we truly get it right - that is, our walk with God through Jesus Christ - we do so with a humility that undergirds our faith with kindness and generosity.

I am quite intrigued by Luke, understanding Jesus’ parable to be, not about appropriate prayer, but to be about the error of holding others in contempt.

I am going to try to stop myself today, if (or perhaps when) I regard anyone else with contempt. I invite you to do the same…

Blessings to you, Pastor Phil

October 20

He [Jesus] also told this parable

to some who trusted in themselves

that they were righteous

and regarded others with contempt:

Luke 18:9

I like this quote from Eugene Peterson…

"Jesus was not what today is called a good communicator,

the kind of person whom advertising firms hire to write copy.

This is because, as it turns out,

Jesus is primarily interested

not in communication but rather in communion.

His chief concern

is not that we get a new piece of information

but that we become new people.

And to do that, he needs to get us involved—

asking questions, wondering who we are and where we stand,

curious and intrigued, on tiptoe, ready to take risks.”

Eugene Peterson - On Living Well, anthology of pastoral writings

When Jesus tells a parable to steer us away from regarding others with contempt, in part, he is seeking what is best for us, as well as what is best for human community. Thanks be to God… Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

October 21

He [Jesus] also told this parable

to some who trusted in themselves

that they were righteous

and regarded others with contempt:

Luke 18:9

This line by Brennan Manning, author of the book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, is a compelling proclamation of grace…

God loves you unconditionally,

as you are and not as you should be,

because nobody is as they should be.

Brennan Manning

I like that comment, almost an aside, but in many ways central to his message; “because nobody is as they should be.” When we realize the truth that Brennan is proclaiming here, we set aside contempt, and there is only room for love.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 22

“…all who exalt themselves will be humbled,

but all who humble themselves

will be exalted."

Luke 18:14b

Here is a thought provoking prayer grounded in our texts for tomorrow. It can be found on a lectionary based web site provided as a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library…

God of faithful surprises,

throughout the ages

you have made known your love and power

in unexpected ways and places.

May we daily perceive

the joy and wonder of your abiding presence

and offer our lives in gratitude

for our redemption.


Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress.


Peace, Pastor Phil

20th Sunday after Pentecost

October 23

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00 The service is posted online.

The Prayer of the Day

Holy God, our righteous judge,

daily your mercy surprises us

with everlasting forgiveness.

Strengthen our hope in you,

and grant that all the peoples of the earth

may find their glory in you,

through Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord.


October 24

all who exalt themselves will be humbled,

but all who humble themselves

will be exalted."

Luke 18:14b

On Saturday I posted a prayer from a web site provided by the Vanderbilt Divinity Library. The site provides the lessons for each Sunday, as well as pages devoted to lectionary related art, prayers and hymns.

I liked this opening for Intercessory prayers for the Prayers of the Church:

Friends in Christ,

God invites us to hold the needs

of our sisters and brothers

as dear to us as our own needs.

Loving our neighbors as ourselves,

we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions

on behalf of the church and the world.

I like that way of speaking about our prayers for those around us. That we might hold the needs of others “as dear to us as our own needs.”

One might suggest that this gives word, not just our prayers, but to the way Jesus calls us to live our entire lives.

Peace to you this day, Pastor Phil

October 25

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

Worship the LORD with gladness;

come into his presence with singing.

Psalm 100:1-2

I had a Political Science professor in college who said that you have to worry about anyone who wants to be President. (I suspect that the same might be true of pastors!)

Among my great friends (whom you would therefore have to worry about) is Pastor Doug Vold. When he was pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Helena, Montana, he wrote this wonderful reflection on singing in church. I set it aside then, and it has come to mind lately. I want to share it with you today.

There is a dog that lives next door to the church, in the house that is the old parsonage. He spends quite a bit of time in the yard next to the parking lot. The reason I mention this is because this particular dog has a penchant for singing. Every time the church chimes play a song this dog howls along.

He doesn't sing along with the bells that toll the hour. But when the song plays at noon and at 5:00 pm this dog never fails to join in. From my office window I can see him. When the music starts he cocks his head slightly to one side and lets fly. He sings for a bit and then goes back to his business. Once in a while he will join in again later in the song.

I appreciate this dog's enthusiasm for singing. It brightens up my day. I have heard much better singing. But not from a dog. It also makes me wonder about something. Do ordinary people sing very much? Do people who are not in choirs ever sing? Do people really sing in the shower but no place else? Do people who do not consider themselves singers ever sing anyway?

In a congregation I once served was a man who had no talent for singing. But he had great enthusiasm for it. During worship he sang out with a booming voice that was loud enough for the whole congregation to hear. He didn't have the notes right, he sang in a low monotone that only sometimes blended with the song. But he sang with gusto. He knew he wasn't very good, but he also knew that being good at singing was not the point. He believed that the hymns and liturgy were to be sung by everyone, regardless of talent or aptitude. Singing was the point.

I was surprised, at first, by his boldness and lack of embarrassment, but I came to appreciate it. He is, in fact, the inspiration for my saying about singing in worship that "It's not how good you are but how loud you are that counts.” I think he made it possible for others, too, to sing out.

Giving voice to praise is somehow not the same as listening to others sing it. It's not the same as following along, reading the words while the congregation sings. I know there are lots of folks who do that. I don't blame them. They have their reasons. I only wish that it could work for them to cock their heads slightly to one, side and let fly. The results might be inspiring. - Pastor Doug Vold, St. Johns Lutheran Church, Helena, Montana

I hope you find yourself singing out some time today! Blessings, Pastor Phil

October 26

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

We’re in the news!

Well, it was the Montana Synod email, but it is nice to share good things with one another, and I shared about your generosity with the chair of the Montana Synod Hunger Task Force - Pastor Melissa Johnson of Livingston. She put together a note for the Montana Synod weekly Announcements.

Here it is…

World Hunger Appeal at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheridan, WY

On the last Sunday of each month, Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheridan, WY takes a noisy offering to support the work of ELCA World Hunger. As of the end of August, the congregation has given $3,494.74 in 2022!!

Pastor Phil Wold shared that over the past 15 or 16 years the congregation has been doing the noisy offering each month. This has become part of the ritual and culture of the congregation to support ELCA World Hunger in this way. Even as it has become part of the tradition for this congregation, the members continue to learn more about the work ELCA World Hunger does and more deeply support it.

The week before, Trinity is reminded to bring money for the noisy offering (Trinity likes to say that both noisy and quiet money are welcome!) When it comes time for the offering, kids go around the sanctuary with coffee cans and persistently encourage worshipers to give their coins or paper donations.

The worship service on the last Sunday of the month at Trinity also includes a liturgy of prayers for healing. During their worship service they pray to God for the healing of the world and then through their action of giving in the noisy offering they seek to be part of the healing. Pastor Phil shared that this is one way this congregation connects their worship and prayers to the needs of the world in answering Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep.”

Fed by God’s grace, may we all be blessed to be a blessing,

Pastor Phil

October 27

Jesus came to Galilee,

proclaiming the good news of God, and saying,

“The time is fulfilled,

and the kingdom of God has come near;

repent, and believe in the good news.”

Mark 1:14b-15

Sunday is Reformation Day. We celebrate the gift of the Gospel, and the call to continual renewal in our lives. It is also a day to celebrate Confirmation with 2 of our young women. I hope you will be here to join with them at the 8:30 service as they make their Affirmation of Baptism…

I liked an insight by theologian, Dr. Steven Paulson, who was a theology professor at Luther Seminary when he wrote the book; “Luther for Armchair Theologians.” There he says that we “never advance beyond baptism.” (pg. 22)

That is to say; you belong to God, because God has washed over you with the water and the word. That is the beginning, middle and end of the story. Nothing needs to be added to that wonderful gift.

When our Confirmands gather with us on Sunday, we affirm what has already been done. We affirm God’s loving claim on them, and invite them to walk all their days in this abiding promise.

I invite you to join with our youth in the invitation spoken at the Confirmation service:

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 is invited to respond:

I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.

May God help and guide us all, and may our Reformation Day celebrations be a renewing gift for your walk with Christ.

Blessings to you today, Pastor Phil

October 28

“God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble”

Pslam 46:1

This weekend we celebrate Reformation Sunday. We will also have Confirmation for two of our youth at the 8:30 service. (Please keep our LOGOS youth in your prayers!)

Of course, we will have to sing Martin Luther’s hymn; A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. It is pretty much Lutheran’s “theme song.”

Luther based this on Psalm 46. There is deep promise in knowing that we can turn to God for comfort and protection.“God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble…”

With the plague and political ferment and religious turmoil, the people of Luther’s day dearly yearned to take refuge in the Lord. The promise of refuge sounds deeply important today as well. I suspect it always has. Perhaps this is part of why we love this hymn so.

I like to suggest that the Reformation was, in many ways, a reforming of our vision of who God is. God is not a terrifying judge, but a loving refuge. Yes, judgment is part of God’s saving activity, yet it is judgment spurred by God’s love for us and our neighbor, and God intends by this judgment to move us to repentance and forgiveness, and a home in God’s loving arms.

May you find loving refuge in God this weekend.

Peace, Pastor Phil

October 29

“God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble”

Pslam 46:1

Pastor Thomas Weitzel wrote this Litany of Commitment to God's Word for a Reformation Sunday liturgy. I have used it in a number of ways since I first encountered it. We use it at the 11:00 service tomorrow. I wanted to share it with you today, and invite you to join me in this Commitment to Gods’ Word…


The Lord God in his goodness has seen fit to call us together as the Church of Jesus Christ in this place. In our history of being God's people of Trinity Lutheran Church, God has given us his word of creation, redemption and blessing. He has given us his word of healing, forgiveness and grace. He has given us his word of guidance and mission, and sent his Holy Spirit to empower us for that mission. And when we have strayed from his word, God has called us to return to him that we might continue to be blessed by his grace and favor. We are nothing without our God and his word of hope and promise.

Therefore, people of God, on this day I invite you to commit yourselves and your whole lives to God's holy word and to his loving purpose for you and for us as Trinity Lutheran Church, so that our lives may be enriched and the work of our hands blessed and prospered.

Litany of Commitment to God's Word - Prayers for Forgiveness and Healing.

Let us pray. Almighty God, by your holy word, all that we know has come into existence: our universe, our world, our lives, our loved ones, and all that we have and hold so dear. By your holy word, you sent forth your Son to bring us salvation through the cross of death and resurrection. By your holy word, you have called us together to be a Church of love and service in the world. By your holy word, we know that we live in grace and hope. Keep us ever close to your word, that it might be written upon our hearts.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

Help us to grow in faith and love toward you, so that we might always live in trust and hope.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

Center us in routines that keep us close to you, O Lord. Center us in weekly worship.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

Center us in daily prayer.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

Center us in knowledge of holy scripture.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

Center us in the mission of the church.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

Center us in lives of thankful giving and loving for all the blessings which you have bestowed upon us.

We commit our lives to your word, O God.

By your word, O Lord, guide our lives, forgive our sins, inspire our thoughts, shape our attitudes, lighten our darkness, grant us healing, give us eternal hope, and fill our hearts with joy, assuring us of your constant presence, until you bring us at last into the glories of your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Confirmation - Affirmation of Baptism

October 30

Worship today at 8:30 and 11:00. Affirmation of Baptism for two or our youth at the 8:30 service. The service is posted online.

The Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, gracious Lord,

we thank you that your Holy Spirit

renews the church in every age.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people.

Keep them steadfast in your word,

protect and comfort them in times of trial,

defend them against all enemies of the gospel,

and bestow on the church your saving peace,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


October 31

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

The World Series began on Friday, and I thought I need to include a baseball quote for us today. I first read this Yogi Berra quote a few years ago, and shared it in Connections… I don’t remember ever seeing that he said this on any previous lists of Yogi quotes I’ve read before - (I’ve read quite a few!) - but it is a fun one:

“Love is the most important thing in the world,

but baseball is pretty good, too.”

Yesterday was Reformation Sunday, and while we might often get caught up in the drama of Luther nailing a protest document to a door, and the history is fascinating, and the characters of the Reformation interesting - - - - the central point of the Reformation, was and is the love of God.

May the love of God continue to re-shape and reform you every day!

Happy Halloween! Pastor Phil

Also - Tomorrow is All Saints Day!