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LATEST CHURCH UPDATE: Services & Needs

Services – Virus – Needs *At this time we are not holding ministry gatherings at the church, please read here for the latest information. If you are from a community group please go to the “Who Meets Here” heading on the right of our home page for information for groups and leaders.

April 3, 2020

Here is this coming Sunday’s Worship Bulletin:

You may view our Worship Service on facebook, and listen to it on the radio @ KRBT 1340AM at 9:30am. Later in the day you may also find the link to the video on our website (the bulletin and video will be posted in the scrolling announcements of our home page. 

Worship Bulletin for Palm Sunday, April 5th, 2020
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
Messiah Lutheran Church

GATHERING                                                              

PRELUDE Kristen Weikum

WELCOME Pastor Erik Roth, Deacon Kari Olson

CALL TO WORSHIP  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION 
Christ Humbled Himself And Became Obedient To The Point Of Death—Even Death On A Cross.* Therefore God Also Highly Exalted Him And Gave Him The Name That Is Above Every Name. (Phil. 2:8-9)

PROCESSIONAL GOSPEL: Matthew 21:1-11

BLESSING OF THE PALMS

PROCESSIONAL HYMN  Hymnal # 344 


Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. 
Hosanna in the highest.

GREETING   The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  
And also with you.


KYRIE: Hymnal, page 120   Responsive singing is in bold.
In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 
Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord. Amen. 

PRAYER OF THE DAY:
Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

FIRST READING: Isaiah 50:4-9a
4The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher,
 that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
 Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear
  to listen as those who are taught.
5The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious,
  I did not turn backward.
6I gave my back to those who struck me,
  and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
 I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
7The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced;
 therefore I have set my face like flint,
  and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8he who vindicates me is near.
 Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together.
 Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.
9aIt is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?
  Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

PSALM 31:9-16
9Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
  my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly.
10For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.
11I am the scorn of all my enemies, a disgrace to my neighbors, a dismay to my acquaintances;
  when they see me in the street they avoid me.
12Like the dead I am forgotten, out of mind;I am as useless as a broken pot. 
13For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around;
  they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.
14But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord.I have said, “You are my God.
15My times are in your hand;
          rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
16Let your face shine upon your servant;save me in your steadfast love.” 

SECOND READING:
 Philippians 2:5-11
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God
  as something to be exploited,
7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
 And being found in human form,
8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name
  that is above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,
  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION                                                                                  
Let your steadfast love come to us, O Lord.
Save us as you promised; we will trust your word.
Save us as you promised; we will trust your word.

GOSPEL READING:  Matthew 26:14–27:66    Pastor Erik Roth, Deacon Kari Olson, Carolyn Flaschberger

HYMN OF THE DAY: Hymnal # 351

APOSTLES’ CREED
Hymnal, page 127

THE PRAYERS Each petition concludes with: Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Ending prayer: Into your hands, gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

PEACE   The Peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.

Offering InstrumentalKristen Weikum
LORD’S PRAYER:  Let us pray the Lord’s prayer together: follow along in your Hymnal, page # 134.Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

SENDING 
BLESSING
May the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen
SENDING HYMN: Were You There   Hymn # 353


SENDING Go in peace. Serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.  
 

POSTLUDE  Kristen Weikum

March 29, 2020

God day! Hope you were able to watch or listen in on our Sunday Worship this morning at 9:30am. We are broadcast live Sunday mornings on 1340AM KRBT, and can be viewed on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oslcmn/) as well. The facebook video is available to view anytime you desire, just scroll down to find the video and click the play button. We are also on cable channel 5, Wed. & Thurs. at 4pm, Mon. & Fri. at 10am, and Saturdays at 4:30pm.

If you are not signed up to receive our Weekly Witness email just call the church office with your email address and we will add you to the list – it is sent out two times a week, and the Thursday or Friday’s edition will include the Bulletin’s order of worship with readings and hymns for you to follow along on Sundays, or to read at your own leisure.

We hope these resources make you feel connected during this time of social distancing; we are a church family, and can still worship and pray together! Also, you are invited to call the church office during the week 9:30am-4pm, with a prayer request for yourself or others, and to request to talk with Pastor Erik. If we are not in the office at the time of your call, just leave a detailed message and we will call you back as soon as we can.

May the Lord Bless you and your family~

Below are a few devotional links we think you will find to be of comfort for your personal prayer time as well:

God Pause devotions https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/

Daily Grace https://www.womenoftheelca.org/blog/category/daily-grace

Daily Bible Reading plan https://www.elca.org/Faith/DailyBible

Augsburg Fortress devotional https://go.augsburgfortress.org/augsburg-fortress-weekly-devotional

March 24, 2020

Good afternoon ~ We trust you and your loved ones are doing well, and remember, you can contact us here at the church (218-741-6207) if you want prayer and to talk with Pastor Erik.

This Sunday we were able to bring the service to you via radio broadcast on 1340 KRBT and also on facebook with Livestream. We will continue to offer our Sunday Worship Service to you with our radio broadcast, facebook and as usual, on public cable channel #5. Keep in mind, the television broadcast for the current Sunday doesn’t start until the following Wednesday evening or Thursday…

Pastor will also be offering a Devotional at 12 noon tomorrow (this was our original time for the Bible Study ~ it will be a devotional instead). Please join us on facebook at noon tomorrow and let us know how you are doing.

Two things that also may help you to worship at home ~ if you are not already signed up to receive our Weekly Witness Newsletter Email, call or email the church (office@oslcmn.com) and give us permission to add you to the list to receive it; we will send it out twice a week to keep you updated. The second tool you can use for worship at home is a Hymnal. Stop by the church during the day, Monday – Thursday, and sign out a Hymnal in the narthex at the main doors. A Hymnal will not only help you follow along during the service, you can read or sing Hymns for your own personal devotional or study time, and also read the Psalms, which start after page # 338.

We hope these resources help you in your personal worship as well as to join fellow congregants on Sunday mornings and throughout the week. We are going through this together ~ you are never alone. God Bless you~

OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPERIENCE OUR SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE:

Facebook at “Our Savior’s Lutheran Church – Virginia, MN ELCA” live Sunday mornings at 9:30AM, and as re-post anytime you hop on to facebook

KRBT 1340 AM Radio, live Sunday Mornings at 9:30am

Public Cable Channel # 5 – Sun. & Thurs. at 4pm, Mon. & Fri. at 10am, Sat. at 4:30pm. *The latest Sunday’s viewing will start the following Thursday.

Weekly Witness Email Newsletter: The format for the service in a full-bulletin-form will be sent in this newsletter at the end of each week.

March 19, 2020

Greetings and blessings to everyone~ Praying you are all staying healthy! This Sunday’s scripture readings will be: 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41.

Starting next Wednesday, March 25th at 1pm, Pastor will facilitate the OSLC Bible Study on facebook, livestreaming. You are invited to watch; there will be opportunities to comment with each other during the study! Monday’s at 1pm (March 23) he will announce the scripture references and topic of study. Join us and stay connected!

We wish to provide many opportunities to worship together. You are invited to stop by the church and sign-up to grab a hymnal in our narthex for you & your family to follow along with Sunday’s Worship on 1340 AM @ 9:30am. The hymnals are on a cart just as you enter the church for your convenience, and the church doors will be open Mondays – Thursdays 9:30am – 4pm, call about Friday hours as we can schedule a time to make sure we are here for you. You can watch the last week’s service on Public Channel 5: Sun & Thurs @ 4pm, Mon & Fri @ 10am, Sat. @ 4:30pm. We will continue to televise Worship on this channel.

If you need to talk with Pastor personally, call him or the church office at 218-741-6207. You can also set up a video chat with him-he will give you the link to do so. Sometimes we just need to speak with someone personally, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Psalm 23:3 “You restore my soul, O Lord…” God Bless your day💝

March 18, 2020

Psalm 91:15 “When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.”

Church is not closed! We are only suspending corporate worship at this time. Please worship with us on the radio; it is a live broadcast at 9:30am Sundays on KRBT 1340AM, and during the TV broadcast times we have reserved (Cable channel 5 Sun. & Thurs. 4pm, Mon. & Fri. 10am, Sat. 4:30pm.)

The church is open during the week for the sake of the community. We are suspending gatherings at this time, but we are still committed to serving our neighbors. The sanctuary is open for personal prayer, and our staff is available for faith needs. If you would like to speak with Pastor Erik please feel free to call (218-741-6207) and we can set up a time for you to meet personally or online via video chat (we are utilizing an online program that will be easy for you to access).

This is a significant time for all people, especially church. There are many people in our community who are in desperate need. The church is called to hear and respond to those needs.  We need you to participate!  We are asking for specific items to be donated: non-perishable food, such as canned fruit & vegetables, boxed meals, cereal, infant formula and food, diapers, and fever medicine. We are especially asking for gift cards and cash that will only be used to address hunger needs. Food can be brought directly by you to the Little Pantry outside, or left on the bench outside the church’s main doors, or in the entryway of the church.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Isaiah 41:9b  “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; 10 do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

In light of the threat of coronaviras we have suspended worship for at least next Sunday March 22nd.  As usual, we will be providing a worship service on the radio 1340 AM at 9:30 and we will continue to be church together for the sake of the world. The Church itself is still open. Thank you for your patience, your faithfulness and your prayers.

We will be taking some different approaches to pastoral care in the coming week. Pastor Erik will not be making hospital or care center visits to protect one another from the spread of viruses. We will be making phone calls, sending emails and writing notes checking in with the home bound and hospitalized. We ask that you reach out to us also, we are available to you in this time which can feel lonely, isolating and frightening. If you are in need of supplies, child care or other things, please call the church and we will work together for everyone’s health and well-being.

This is a difficult time for all, but it is also an opportunity for our congregation to connect and care for one another. Please reach out to those who you would sit by or visit with on a Sunday morning. Let’s be church together in this time social distancing.

God’s Peace~ Pastor Erik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DATE CHANGE for Clothing Sale!

Join us Friday, May 8th, and Saturday, May 9th, (INSTEAD OF MAY 1ST & 2ND) for our Spring Clothing Sale. Friday the sale will open at 8:30am and run until 4:30pm, and Saturday it will run from 8:30am until noon or so.

If you are in need of parting of clothes after your spring cleaning, you may bring them here to the church Fellowship Hall (the large room with tables to the left as you enter our main doors). The Church is normally open 9am to 4pm Monday – Thursday. If we are gone, you can leave a labeled bag/box of clothing/jackets/purses/shoes and we will donate it for the community sale. We appreciate it! All funds from the sale go to local ministries like Salvation Army for food, Quad Cities Food Shelf, and Bill’s House. None of the proceeds are “for-profit.”

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

Happy February everyone,

On January 26, we read psalm 27 in worship. It is one of my favorite psalms. Simple, beautiful, uplifting. I have often gained comfort and courage by reading verse 1 and letting the psalmist’s word dwell in my mind.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Whenever we have scripture that invokes words and images of light and dark I remind myself that in psalmist’s time, and most of human history, people have had two types of light in their daily lives- the sun and the lamp (oil, not electricity lamps) . The sun is so powerful that it can’t be stared at. It gives light, warmth, and enables plants to grow. The sun is certainly a gift from God. In Genesis 1:3 God said, “Let there be light” and it was so. 1 John 1:5 wonderfully tells us, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

 In the psalmist’s time, people had small oil filled lamps that they would occasionally light at night. Several examples of these lamps have been discovered by archeologists and can be seen in museums today. I have a replica of the most common lamp on a shelf in my office. It is small and can fit in the palm of your hand. It is filled with oil and has a 2-3 inch wick coming out. I’ve lit my replica lamp a few times in order to see how it works. It works well, but with just a single small wick it casts just enough light for someone to see a few feet in the darkness. I am reminded as well of the words from Psalm 119, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.” 

Reflecting upon light, lamps and psalms I feel the wisdom of these words teaches us that we do indeed receive God’s light in our lives and God’s light illuminates our path by our feet, but it doesn’t show us every detail of the path ahead or which direction it is going to go in the next mile or the next year. These thoughts can be applied to our individual lives, or our congregation, or even to the wide universal church. In essence, we learn that we live as people who honor the past, try to discern the future, but ultimately are called to live fully in the present as God’s hands and feet in this beautiful yet broken world.

So, as we prepare for Lent at the end of February, (metaphorically or literally if you like) light your lamps and let your light shine as a beacon of hope to others.

Your co-worker in Christ, Pastor Erik

Sign up for our email newsletter!

We send out the Weekly Witness twice a week with announcements, prayers, Pastor’s devotional and also the Worship bulletin. If you are not receiving it, just email the church at office@oslcmn.com or call us at 218-741-6207 and let us know your email address!

There will be links in it to our website, and also to the Worship videos on our facebook page. Some people are still not aware they can watch the videos (Wednesday afternoon devotional and Sunday Worship Service) so… if you know people who do not use facebook, tell them to sign up for the newsletter or to go to the website. There will also be resources for Lent/Palm Sunday/Easter Bible Studies from ELCA “Daily Faith Practices” this week. Sharing the Word and God’s love during this time is a blessing to many ~ help us be the light!

Here are a few additional resources we think you will find comforting during this time of social distancing:

God Pause devotions https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/

Daily Grace https://www.womenoftheelca.org/blog/category/daily-grace

Daily Bible Reading plan https://www.elca.org/Faith/DailyBible

Augsburg Fortress devotional https://go.augsburgfortress.org/augsburg-fortress-weekly-devotional

*PLEASE SEE THE SCROLLING BANNER ON OUR HOME PAGE AND POST TITLED “CHURCH UPDATE” FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.

Reformation Sunday Oct. 27

REFORMATION SUNDAY:

Shared OMG services will be held @ Gethsemane

  • 8:30am (Reformation Service)
  • 10:30am (Confirmation Service).
  • NO worship service will be held at OSL or Messiah Lutheran Church next Sunday, Oct. 27th!
  • There will be a joined choir at the 8:30 service, you are invited to practice at GELC Wednesdays at 6:oopm for the service.                                

Bishop Tom Atkin will preside both services.

Ecclesiastes 5:18

Ecclesiastes 5:18

This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot.

Wow, it is August! How did that happen? Is it just me or does it seem like the summer has flown by? Last May I wrote a list of all the things I want to do, places to see and house projects to complete during the summer… I still have a long way to go on my list. In reality, I haven’t achieved much on my list because this summer has been quite busy at church. But, busy is generally a good thing. Busy means that the Spirit is active and energized. My busy life received a wake-up call today when I read a daily devotional that my friend sent me. I read the book of Ecclesiastes. (I encourage you to read this book now before continuing with the newsletter. It is only 11 pages)

Ecclesiastes was written by a wise teacher. A teacher who reflects upon their life shares words of advice. The teacher realizes that many years were spent striving after riches, success, accomplishments, and even wisdom is like chasing after the wind. The teacher says that constant striving doesn’t bring fulfillment or meaning to life, and that life is meant to be enjoyed.

In the devotional, my friend reminded me that when I read Ecclesiastes to read it like it was written to me personally from a friend, from someone who knows me and knows what I need to hear. I suggest you do the same. When you read it, take it as encouragement to occasionally step back from the work of life. To take it as permission to leave your work, even if just for a moment, and to step out under the sun – after all it is August and the days are getting shorter every day. Ecclesiastes reminds us to accept God’s invitation to sabbath, as an invitation to rest.

These Holy words have been a major help to me this week and month. Summer is almost over, and it should be enjoyed and spent surrounded by loved ones. September is going to bring lots of exciting youth ministries and other activities, and we are going to need to be well-rested.

Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

 

Bible Study Times

We have various Bible Studies that are ongoing @ OSLC. You can check out one of these listed below, or stop by the office for a little more info about the topics being studied or who to get in contact with if you would like to try one out.

  • Mondays @ 2pm: The Rouchleau Women’s Weekly Study meets at Rouchleau apartments.
  • Third Tuesday of the month @ 9:30am & 1pm at OSLC:  The WELCA Circles meet @ OSLC.
  • Wednesdays at 7:30am: The Men’s  Breakfast & Study Group meets weekly at Perkins in Mt. Iron.
  • Wednesdays @ 2pm: OSLC  Weekly Bible Study is in the Fireside or youth room meets and is open to everyone!
  • Thursdays at 3pm: The Ladies Weekly Study @ Adventures Restaurant meets.

Pentecost and the Holy Spirit in Your Life

Acts 2:1-21
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
John 14:8-17, [25-27]
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
[25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.]

This week I would like to try something new with the weekly witness. Instead of simply telling you what I think of the reading, I would like to hear from you. Below are three discussion questions. Please ponder them and tell me what you think. You can email me at pastorerik@oslcmn.com or even better- stop by the church and we’ll share some coffee and chat about the Holy Spirit.

Discussion Questions for Pentecost
Amazed. Perplexed. Witness to deeds of power. When have you had a Pentecost experience? (Acts 2:1-21)

When have you, like Philip, yearned for a sign so that you can believe with confidence? (John 14:8-12)

How is the spirit being poured out in your own life and in your congregation? (Acts 2:17-19)

(http://www.workingpreacher.org/)

Lent Supper and Service Schedule

Lent Suppers will be held @ 5:30pm, with Worship at 6:30pm:

  • March 4, Our Savior’s
  • March 11, Gethsemane Lutheran
  • March 18, Gethsemane Lutheran
  • March 25, Messiah Lutheran
  • April 1, Messiah Lutheran

 

Special Worship Services:

Ash Wednesday: Feb. 26th, Noon & 6:30pm at Our Savior’s

Maundy Thursday Agape Feast: April 9th, 5:30pm, Messiah Lutheran

Good Friday: April 10th, Noon & 6:30pm, Gethsemane Lutheran

 

 

She gave out of all she had. . .

Mark 12:38-44

38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” 41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

                Jesus’ words have constantly and consistently been a problem and an inconvenience to the elite/wealthy members of society ever since he spoke them. The Gospels are filled with stories showing Jesus comforting the conflicted and conflicting the comfortable. Jesus brilliantly sees through and beyond the surface and recognizes the actual intentions and character of rich and poor alike. Do we follow Jesus example? Do we hold people accountable to their actions that denigrate and oppress the voiceless? Do we hold ourselves accountable for participating in systems of greed and oppression?

For the past several weeks I’ve found myself thinking back to a day in early October when I was in Honduras. We were in the 15-passenger van travelling to El Buen Pastor Lutheran (Good Shepherd Lutheran) for worship on a Sunday morning. During the drive I notice several huge factories on the outskirts of town. Each factory contained 10,000 workers devoted to making name brand shoes and clothes. The workers earn 8 dollars per full day of work. Next to the factories were several 2 to 3 million dollar homes with big fences and heavily armed security guards patrolling the properties. It is not secret to anyone that the people who own those homes are connected with gangs, narco-trafficking, and/or corrupted government. Seeing such stark examples of elite/poor, greedy/humble, oppressor/oppressed I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words. I do feel some comfort knowing that some day Jesus will right all these wrongs and bring into the fullness of Kingdom, but I am also impatient and upset that people are suffering now. But I am also encouraged that Jesus invites me and you into God’s powerful mission of sharing God’s love and peace with all. My wise Grandmother used to tell me that if I don’t like something instead of whining and complaining I should do something constructive to help change it.

Blessings~ Pr. Erik

Rooted in Faith

Growing in Christ

Reaching to Serve