Pentecost B-6, Lectionary 13, ‘18
Trinity Lutheran Congregation
I always like a two-for-one deal. BOGO as it is known in some places – buy one get one. But you can’t go into the store and ask for the second one – for free – without getting the first one first. You have to get them both.
That is what we have in today’s gospel reading from Mark. A two-for-one-deal. Mark does that a lot. And when he does he is always trying to make a point.
In today’s reading Mark describes Jesus healing two daughter of Israel. In the verses just before these Jesus had performed an exorcism on a non-Jewish person. Here Jesus returns to the other side, the Jewish side of things and heals two daughters of Israel.
Not only is it a two-for-one deal, it’s like a sandwich. Mark begins with Jairus coming to Jesus and asking him to heal his daughter. The lesson then moves into the healing of the woman with the flow of blood for twelve years. It all comes to a close with Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter, whom many agree just happens to be around twelve years old. Like any good sandwich you can’t have one without the other. Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and cheese. Or an Oreo sandwich cookie – crunchy chocolate cookie with creamy filling inside.
In response to the children at our border being separated from their parents, on Sunday, June 24, 2018 several Twin Cities worshipping communities, including Trinity, prayed this prayer in solidarity with the children and families.
Once a year Trinity and its local partner congregations, Nokomis Heights Lutheran and St. Peder's Lutheran, join in worship together. This year we will worship on Sunday, June 24 at 9:30am at St. Peder's, located at 4600 E 42nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55406. Our service will be followed by refreshments of fruit and pastries. We hope to see you there!
Pentecost B – 4, Lectionary 11, ‘18
Trinity Lutheran Congregation
Caroline Lewis wrote about today’s Gospel reading – “The earth produces on its own.” Thank God, literally, she says.
At this time of the year I tend to believe that. The earth produces on its own. Around here, at least we just have to look around. Green everywhere. Flowers blossoming. Vegetable gardens growing. My uncle used to say that on hot days like today the corn was growing so fast you hear it. I think I heard it once.
Yes, thank God for creating a world where the earth produces on its own.
Of course, after the thanking comes the trusting and that is not always so easy. I might trust that things will grow, but not always in the places or in the way I want them to grow. The volunteer elm tree that snuck in next to the fence, all of a sudden three feet tall. The raspberry bushes that keep showing up in the middle of the yard and garden. Not to mention the things we have decided are weeds because we did not put them where they are.
On the other side, we don’t trust the grass, the tomatoes, the flowers to grow without help. Fertilizer, mulch, weed killer are applied. As thankful as we are, we mess with the things that produce on their own.
Third Sunday after Pentecost
Mark 3: 20-35
Earlier this week I told a friend that I was preaching this week and really struggling with a text. To which they responded, “Scripture, or text message?” Which is a clue that I don’t have very “churchy” friends. But it did strike me that if the gospel Mark were composed today, it might read more accurately like a stream of tweets. Mark, the roughest gospel, a kind of live-action report, was clearly composed orally long before it was written down. I can imagine sitting around the campfire with a storyteller, as they build suspense:
Jesus family has heard he’s possessed and is on their way to restrain him… Meanwhile Jesus, surrounded by so many people that they barely fit in the house, denounces the rumors about him… And by the time his family gets there, he’s so worked up that he denies that he’s even related to them. Who are my mother and my brothers? he says.
This is not the compassionate shepherd we like to think about, certainly not the baby in a manger. Jesus is saucy, rude—a little nasty. Why is he so angry?
It is hard to know where to begin after spending two weeks in Santiago, Chile, and seeing first hand the incredible work that EPES (Popular Education in Health) has accomplished over the last 36 years. We are one of the supporting congregations of EPES and Karen Anderson who founded EPES 36 year ago with two Chilean women. Karen invited me to come to Chile and give healing touch sessions to her hard working staff as a way to care for them. She also asked that I give classes to health promoters and staff so they could learn healing self care techniques and also learn some simple techniques to provide healing for others in the community. I had to leave my comfort zone to embark on this journey and I am so glad that I did. My head is full of information and my heart is full with all of the welcome, love, trust, sharing of stories, and affirmation and support that I received.
A few weeks ago, as an after-homework activity, the Safe Place kids planted seeds in small plastic pots. We sat in a circle and the students took turns filling their pots with soil. Everyone got to decide whether to plant peppers, tomatoes, or basil. Each of the kids made quarter inch holes in their soil, gently sprinkled in a few seeds of their choice, and covered them up. The kids labeled their plants with popsicle sticks. Some wrote encouraging messages. My favorite was, “Go plant! You could do it!” Some wrote warnings like, “Taslima’s plant. DO NOT TOUCH.”
Pentecost B, ‘18
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Trinity Lutheran Congregation
Today is Pentecost. The red in our midst is a reminder to us of the tongues of fire on everyone’s heads in the Pentecost story in Acts we often read on this day. Red is the color representing the Holy Spirit at work . Today we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit
Today’s reading from John is sadly lacking in drama, really. It is part of a three-chapter sermon that Jesus is sharing with his followers. He has been talking about his leaving. Even though this moment has been coming for some time, his disciples have been stunned into silence by this. In their shock and grief they simply don’t know what to think or say.
These heart-felt words from Jesus are partly words of comfort. The tensions were rising and it was becoming clearer every day that Jesus’ time was getting shorter. The authorities weren’t going to tolerate his teaching and challenging of the system much longer. Jesus was explaining that he had to leave, so that the Spirit would come so that they could continue following Jesus and teaching the way of Jesus. . They are also words of hope.
Seventh Sunday of Easter
Gospel: John 17: 6-19
Imagine with me. It is the night of the Last Supper with Jesus, and we his disciples have just heard a lengthy sermon from him, talking about the most important commandment to love one another; about himself as a vine and we as branches; about abiding in God’s love. It seems like Jesus is nearing the end of what he has to say, but suddenly, his expression changes and he looks up to the ceiling—no, to the heavens—and we realize he is not speaking to us anymore, but to his Father.
“All mine are yours, and yours are mine,” he says. Like walking in on someone’s private conversation, we have been given a window into the relationship of God to Godself; the holy dance of Spirit, and parent, and child.
I do not know from personal experience what the intimacy between a father and son is like, but I do know the intimacy between a mother and a daughter. It is a blessing I don’t take lightly, in part because I came to understand it through the loss of another mother in my family—Ruth, my mother’s sister.
I may have a learning to share. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that I have a ‘wondering’ to share and think more about.
This past Friday we had an Urban Hub meeting. The Urban Hub (Augsburg, CAIR-MN, Bethany, ICSA/Dar Al-Hijrah and Trinity) has been meeting for almost 2 years and has been regularly serving Coffee and Tea outside Cedar-Riverside mosques after Friday Juma prayers. This simple yet very meaningful activity was, in part, in response to the Muslim travel ban put in place in January 2017.
Friday was the first time that Darul Quba joined us. We have done the Coffee and Tea there twice, but this was the first time that anyone from there agreed to come. I think they might become a part of our group. We did some planning for the next Coffee and Tea and other activities we are considering getting involved in as a group in the neighborhood. We talked about a couple of opportunities for Iftars during Ramadan and maybe doing something during the Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg this coming Fall.