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Pastor Devotionals

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

On this year’s Thanksgiving Day, remember to thank God for all God has done and provided. Although this year’s thanksgiving comes with unique challenges and difficulties, it is important to remember and teach our young people that God is most certainly good. Despite the coronavirus and the heartache resulting from the virus we do proclaim that God cares for us, looks after us and accompanies us in our joy as well as sorrow. Indeed, God has blessed us in many ways. We can reflect on how God has lead us and blessed us in the past, and we confidently dwell in God’s promises to continue to do so in the future.

This year we are missing our faith community and our extended family and friends, but our grief of missing our loved ones and traditions ultimately reminds us of how much God has blessed our lives. We also give thanks to know that all suffering is temporary and our promise of eternal life filled with only good things remains constant. More than anything else, we thank God for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation that is ours because of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.     

I am thankful for you and am blessed because you are part of my life.
 
Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

NOVEMBER 6, 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.  

We are entering into a season of hope. As Christians, we know our hope is linked explicitly to the death and resurrection of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13), with whom we too will be raised (4:15-17). It is also linked to faith and love (1:3; 5:8): that is, to our trust in God and to our service to one another (4:9-10). It is not really possible, Paul tells us to speak of one without the other. Therefore, practice hope in your home and your social circle. Remind others about God’s actions in your life and theirs that produce faith, inspire hope, and are centered on love.
Take care everyone. You are an essential worker for God and our hope is alive and building~ Pr. Erik

REFORMATION SUNDAY

The last Sunday in October was the day we commemorate the Reformation of the church led by Martin Luther and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Luther never intended to split Christ’s church, but he was compelled to return the church to the truth of Holy Scripture. The resulting disagreements about faith, grace, and church has divided Christians for over 500 years and remains a scar that we hope will one day be healed. But the reasons for the Reformation are worth returning to and remembering. Why are we Lutheran? What does it mean to be a Lutheran? There are many ways to answer this. The place I return to are the five solas (Latin for ‘alone’ or ‘only’) of the Reformation. These five solas set the foundation for the understandings Luther stood for and confidently taught.

• Christ Alone – Salvation is through Jesus’ work on the cross. Salvation is 100 percent God’s work. We don’t add anything to what Jesus did for us on the cross to forgive our sin and assure us eternal life.

• Grace Alone – Salvation is a gift freely given. It is not earned. It cannot be bought. God gives it freely because God loves us.

• Faith Alone – Salvation is received by our believing, not by any works. Faith is simply trusting that what God says is true, that Jesus death and resurrection save us.

• Word Alone – The Bible is true. The Bible is where we go with our questions about our faith and life and what God uses to shape our belief.

• To the Glory of God Alone -Our entire lives, the life of our church and everything we are about is aimed at giving God glory.

Our job is to tell others the truth about God and worship Him with our whole being. I encourage you to take some time this week and think about why you are Lutheran. Reflect on the catechism and the five solas. For me, I dwell in the blessed assurance that God has already done everything for my salvation- and yours too.  Jesus died on the cross to save us, and everything that is necessary for eternal salvation has been done. Therefore, we live our lives in response to this wonderful news. I love the scriptures and trust them to challenge me and guide me.   I’m grateful for the Reformation and the gifts it has brought. But I also look forward to the day when all the divisions in Christ’s church are healed and Christians unite as one. I am reminded that the Reformation is an ongoing movement, not just a day, and that it encompasses all our voices, not just Martin Luther’s.

God Bless you all.

Your Co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

October 16, 2020

Psalm 96:10 Say among the nations, “The Lord is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.” 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.

            Here in our home of Northern MN, the peak time for the Autumn leaves has come to an end. There are more trees that are completely bare then trees with leaves on. Yesterday, the street cleaner came down my street to clean up all the leaves that gathered in large piles on the curb, and t is clear that the time for winter is fast approaching. Inspired by verse 12, the beautiful hymn that nature sings to us whenever we open our door and step out into the world, the trees have sung their melodies of joy and peace. We thank the forest for the concert it has put on and praise God we created it all and who rules over all with righteousness.

Everyday is a blessed opportunity to enjoy this amazing world.  

Blessings~ Pastor Erik 

October 9, 2020

Philippians 4:1-9

1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

The Apostle Paul is an optimist. Metaphorically, Paul’s glass is half full rather than half empty. Today I really heard Paul’s voice focusing me towards verse 8. By saying “whatever” several times, Paul is saying that even the slightest bit of truth, honor, justice, purity, is enough to continue being each other’s brother and sister in Christ. People don’t have to agree 100% of the time or get along wonderfully 100% of the time in order to be community.  If there is ever even a shred of excellence, or just one single thing worthy of praise, in essence that is enough not to give up on someone. Remember, that nobody can ever promise that a project, relationship or organization will be perfect, but anybody can promise that they will strive to improve and that they will not give up.

Be gracious and loving to each other- just as Christ is gracious and loving to you.

Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

October monthly devotional:

Reformation Day is Sunday Oct 25th.  I am looking forward to this day for several reasons.  As a Lutheran, I love being engaged with the history of the church when Martin Luther courageously confronted the injustices of his time and boldly shared his theological insights with the world. Indeed, our entire lives are shaped by Luther’s teaching of salvation by grace through faith. This is a message that we hear and proclaim on a daily basis, and it is fitting to hold up Reformation Day as a special day to give thanks and praise to God for giving us theologians like Luther who help us articulate our faith. The music is pretty awesome too. 😊

I am also looking forward to Oct 25th because after much discernment we are going to add another opportunity as part of our worship schedule. In addition to radio, tv broadcast, and internet recordings, after much discernment we will resume in-person worship in the sanctuary. Worship will be different in several ways, and I ask that all of us keep in mind that the changes being made are because we prioritize the health and well-being of everyone. Everything has been designed to mitigate the risk of covid 19. (Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines for returning to in-person worship that is printed on page 2 of this newsletter, and know that I am always available for questions). I thank God for the several different ways of worshiping, and I thank you for your discernment on which method is best for you and your family. I am grateful for all the ways we strive to continue to be church together during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Over the past several months, the comment I have heard the most often has been how wonderful it is to worship together with Messiah Lutheran Church. Giving thanks for this relationship, OSLC and MLC has agreed to continue to worship together. So, beginning on Oct 25th, every Sunday we will offer two worship services-  9AM at OSLC and 10:30 at MLC. Both services are co-sponsored by the two congregations and will be co-lead by Deacon Kari and I. All people from OSLC and MLC are invited to attend whichever service best suits them, so OSLC folks can worship at 10:30 and don’t be surprised if some MLC folks who prefer an early service worship at OSLC.

                Worship is vital to our spiritual health. Thank you for your generosity, grace, and continued commitment to God’s Kingdom.  

Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

September 10, 2020

Psalm 103:[1-7] 8-13
[1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.   8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.



 
Blessing. Most of us define “blessing” as something good from God that happens to us or given to us. Our family and friends, vocation, health or even nice weather are often referred to as blessing. Interestingly, psalm 103 begins not with the author receiving blessing from God, but by giving blessing to God. The question is posed, “what could any of us do or give to God that God doesn’t already have or can acquire by God’s self? In other words, how can we bless God? I think the answer is found is the later half of verse 2, “do not forget all his benefits.” Remembering who God is and what God has done and continues to do is how we bestow blessing upon God. Simply put, being in genuine relationship with God is how we bless God. With any relationship, blessing goes both ways, and it is the same with God.

Know that you are blessed, as well as the source of blessing to God and all those around you.
Your co-worker in Christ- Pr. Erik

September Devotional

Greetings,

The theologian, Jurgen Moltmann wrote, “the church doesn’t have a mission rather the mission of God has a church. The idea is that the church is God’s instrument for accomplishing God’s goals for the world. Moltmann’s work challenges some of our assumptions and understandings about what the church is and what it is for. One of the challenges is that lots of people view church to be a safe place where we can retreat and be protected from the fast-paced and harsh world. Architecturally, Christians have even built church buildings with this mindset.  If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ve probably visited huge stone cathedrals with their super thick walls. These churches are so strong and safe, they have been standing for hundreds of years. Also, we call the main room of our church a sanctuary. Sanctuaries are peaceful and protected places where we can retreat to. Of course, churches should be peaceful places where we feel safe, but a drawback of this mindset is that it temps us to think the church is removed and separate from the world.

The thought that the church is an exclusively protected retreat is one of the reasons some of us get upset when anything going on in the world is spoken about in a sermon or lifted up in prayer. When church talks about economic inequalities, racial issues, and justice issues, people get offended. I’ve heard people say that they come to church because they want to feel good and they don’t want to hear about the controversies of the world. They are upset when the sermon or the Bishop or the ELCA or coffee an’ conversation disrupts that. I get this, and I also enjoy feeling good and I too need relief from the harshness of the world. However, we are called to be an authentic church, and an authentic church is one that is rooted and engaged in the world because the church is the instrument in which God uses to do God’s mission. I do think we can have it all. I do think we can engage in the messiness of this world while also feeling good and enjoying sanctuary. Warm feelings, peaceful expressions, and feeling protected come with being part of a community that is compassionate, confident and strong. After all, Jesus is both 100% God and 100% human. As man, Jesus shares with us all the experiences of being flesh and blood living in the messiness and controversies of the world. He saw, felt, and preached about economic inequality, gender inequality, racial conflict, civil unrest, etc. Jesus’ followers didn’t simply want to feel good for an hour, they were there for salvation, salvation that is only available through Jesus Christ. Same for us as for the disciples back then, we are called to live, work, engage and serve in this broken world, not to avoid or escape from it. As well, as God, Jesus gives to us peace, fulfillment, grace, acceptance, love and salvation. These gifts of Christ certainly make everyone feel good.   

The truth is that every relationship. Every business. Every political platform, both liberal and conservative.  Every organization. Ourselves and everything we are involved in can be sharply criticized by Christian theology and ethics. I don’t want people to feel personally attacked by sermons and prayers, but I do want everyone, including myself, to know that God is calling us to live lives that are more graceful, forgiving, generous, and open-minded, and to advocate for the other, and pursue justice. We are living in a unique time with a contentious political elections, relentless pandemic, destructive hurricanes and fires, and systemic racism. Avoiding these issues only makes them more destructive. We are Christians led by God to participate with God’s mission of salvation, peace, and justice.

Your co-worker in Christ~ Pastor Erik

AUGUST :

The theologian, Jurgen Moltmann wrote, “the church doesn’t have a mission rather the mission of God has a church. The idea is that the church is God’s instrument for accomplishing God’s goals for the world. Moltmann’s work challenges some of our assumptions and understandings about what the church is and what it is for. One of the challenges is that lots of people view church to be a safe place where we can retreat and be protected from the fast-paced and harsh world. Architecturally, Christians have even built church buildings with this mindset.  If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ve probably visited huge stone cathedrals with their super thick walls. These churches are so strong and safe, they have been standing for hundreds of years. Also, we call the main room of our church a sanctuary. Sanctuaries are peaceful and protected places where we can retreat to. Of course, churches should be peaceful places where we feel safe, but a drawback of this mindset is that it temps us to think the church is removed and separate from the world.

The thought that the church is an exclusively protected retreat is one of the reasons some of us get upset when anything going on in the world is spoken about in a sermon or lifted up in prayer. When church talks about economic inequalities, racial issues, and justice issues, people get offended. I’ve heard people say that they come to church because they want to feel good and they don’t want to hear about the controversies of the world. They are upset when the sermon or the Bishop or the ELCA or coffee an conversation disrupts that. I get this, and I also enjoy feeling good and I too need relief from the harshness of the world. However, we are called to be authentic church, and an authentic church is one that is rooted and engaged in the world because the church is the instrument in which God uses to do God’s mission. I do think we can have it all. I do think we can engage in the messiness of this world while also feeling good and enjoying sanctuary. Warm feelings, peaceful expressions, and feeling protected come with being part of a community that is compassionate, confident and strong. Afterall, Jesus is both 100% God and 100% human. As man, Jesus shares with us all the experiences of being flesh and blood living in the messiness and controversies of the world. He saw, felt, and preached about economic inequality, gender inequality, racial conflict, civil unrest, etc. Jesus’ followers didn’t simply want to feel good for an hour, they were there for salvation, salvation that is only available through Jesus Christ. Same for us as for the disciples back then, we are called to live, work, engage and serve in this broken world, not to avoid or escape from it. As well, as God, Jesus gives to us peace, fulfilment, grace, acceptance, love and salvation. These gifts of Christ certainly make everyone feel good.    

The truth is that every relationship. Every business. Every political platform, both liberal and conservative.  Every organization. Ourselves and everything we are involved in can be sharply criticized by Christian theology and ethics. I don’t want people to feel personally attacked by sermons and prayers, but I do want everyone, including myself, to know that God is calling us live lives that are more graceful, forgiving, generous, and openminded, and to advocate for the other, and pursue justice. We are living in a unique time with a contentious political elections, relentless pandemic, destructive hurricanes and fires, and systemic racism. Avoiding these issues only makes them more destructive. We are Christians led by God to participate with God’s mission of salvation, peace, and justice.

Your co-worker in Christ~ Pastor Erik

Psalm 138:1-8 DEVOTIONAL

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; 2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. 3 On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul. 4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth. 5 They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. 6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me. 8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

                I want to highlight verse 8- “The Lord will fulfill his purpose in me.” Have you thought about your purpose lately? Another way of asking this question is, “have you thought about what God’s purpose for you is?” Afterall, we are all creations of God. God didn’t create us just because. Indeed, God has something in mind, some special purpose for you.  I believe that God has specifically brought you to this time and place for a purpose. What is it? It takes a great deal of contemplation, prayer and discernment to confidently answer this question. Perhaps it is to be a voice of wisdom for others. A source of safety and reassurance. A means of grace. An example of love. A vehicle for faith. God has a purpose for all of us. Even for those who can’t leave their homes, or those whom experience physical limits due to age or health. Regardless of any label that society has placed upon you, know this- you are important, and God has a purpose for you. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “ 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life…” Basically, scripture tells us that our purpose is to do good works.

                So, as the summer winds down and the beginning of Autumn is in the air, think to yourself what good works you can do today. Especially good works towards folks who are not expecting it. When people ask you why you are so kind, generous, and/or gracious, simply tell them that you are fulfilling your purpose that God intended to do, and then invite them to live out their purpose too.

God Bless~ Pastor Erik

7 August 2020

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” Do any of you feel stress this week? When I am feeling anxious, I turn to the faithful and wise words of the psalmist. I have a memorized exercise where I speak the words to myself, let them sink in, and then repeat the words with some omission.

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know

Be still

Be

I often practice this exercise before or after I do something that’s special. Before a car trip, before beginning a project, after an emotional conversation, etc. This exercise grounds me, gives me peace and helps me gain perspective of whatever situation, and know God is active. I smile to myself with a deep breath when I just say the word “Be.” It feels good to simply “Be.”

Pick a time to do this exercise today. Maybe during lunch break, between phone calls or meetings, while you prepare a meal. It seems that people are on edge. The social restrictions weigh heavy on our shoulders, there is anxiety about schools, jobs, the health of loved ones. These are difficult times and we need to rely on our faith to help us get through it. It is helpful to be reminded that we have God to lean on. To be reminded that God is in charge, and that God watches over and cares for us. Because God is God, we can be still.

I pray for each of you, and I encourage you to pray for others. My prayer centers on you experiencing the peace, security, and reassurance that you can be still and know that God is present.

Your co-worker in Christ~ Pr. Erik

31 July 2020

Isaiah 40:31  

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The image of a soaring eagle is so powerful and vivid. Earlier this week I went to Camp Vermillion to hear about how the pandemic has impacted the camp and as I was driving back home a bald eagle flew across the road with a fish in its claws. What an amazing sight, the eagle displayed so much power, grace, and confidence. I was instantly reminded of the beautiful hymn, On Eagle’s Wings, and gently sang the hymn (I was the only person in the car thankfully) for the remainder of the drive. I could only remember the words from the refrain so when I arrived home I turned to hymn #787 and read through all 4 verses and I sang it all the way through with Nozomi and Ronin.  

I love this verse from Isaiah just as much as I love the hymn it inspired. It speaks so wonderfully about God’s love and God’s promises. It speaks of patience and persistence. I will confess that I’m not very good at waiting, and when I run I become weary very quickly. I confess that there have been long days in this time of pandemic, and times when I am weary, even exhausted from trying to figure out how to be pastor during a pandemic and how to be church in a time when so much of what we love to do together is just not possible right now. I am weary, but I still have unshakable hope in the Lord.

Though these are often challenging times, I do believe in God’s promise to renew my strength, to renew your strength, and to renew the strength of the church. I have witnessed amazing acts of generosity, the intense power of kind and affirming words, heartwarming love and care for neighbors, and the bold imagination of so many of you. Although we have not been able to gather in person on Sundays, we have never stopped being the church.

Last month, our gospel readings and reflections were from Matthew 10, the chapter where Jesus gives his disciples instructions just before he sends them out. He told them that the “harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; pray to the Lord of the harvest, therefore, that he may send forth laborers into his harvest.” I think the Holy Spirit was at work by assigning those readings to us at that time. It has prompted many people to think about our mission during this time of pandemic, of where and how God is at work and how we might be part of God’s mission. I hope you will join me in praying for our congregation: in thanksgiving for all the blessings and all the ways we are doing that mission together, and also that God continues to lead us and guide us to be faithful laborers for that abundant harvest. It is for that work that our strength, patience and perseverance is relied upon and we mount up with wings like eagles.               

Your co-worker in Christ~ Pr. Erik

Devotion July 24, 2020

Psalm 119:129-136

129 Your decrees are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. 131 With open mouth I pant, because I long for your commandments. 132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your custom toward those who love your name. 133 Keep my steps steady according to your promise, and never let iniquity have dominion over me. 134 Redeem me from human oppression, that I may keep your precepts. 135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. 136 My eyes shed streams of tears because your law is not kept.

                As I read today’s psalm, I was captivated by the imagery of God’s words unfolding before my eyes. How do you picture it? One particular aspect of Biblical study is that scripture always seems to have multiple meanings and interpretations.  Translating from one language to another and learning about cultural nuances gives a richness and depth to scripture that leads to a lifetime of learning and imaginative insight. One verse or even a simple word can have so many different layers, indeed God’s words unfold before our eyes and bring light to our world.

Earlier this week, after the kids fell asleep I started in on the seemingly never-ending task of folding laundry. I began by folding the towels. One particular towel that we have is a brightly colored beach towel. The edges are bright pink, then a strip of green, blue, and finally in the center is a big cartoonish sun with a smile on it. I love this towel; it is big, fun and still relatively new so it is soft and fuzzy. I can already picture this towel being neatly packed in our beach bag for our next outing to a lake on a hot and sunny day. The bright pink will shine brightly from inside the beach canopy while my family and I build sand-castles and swim. Then, we will take it out, unfold it, revealing the other brilliant colors and then the happy sun. Several beautiful layers just waiting to be unfolded and seen.

How has scripture unfolded for over the years? I think every time we read scripture, even the most famous stories, we hear something new layered in the words that gives new insights and directions. Scripture constantly and consistently inspires us and surprises us. Thanks be to God for that.

God’s Peace to you and yours- Pastor Erik

Devotion for July 10, 2020

1 Samuel 24: 1-5When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself.[a] Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak.

                I remember first hearing this story when I was a little boy. I felt connected by the imagery of young King David camping out in the wilderness with his friends, hiding in caves, and playing pranks on unsuspecting adversaries. I remember laughing while thinking about Saul’s cloak and how silly he looked when he emerged from the cave with a big piece cut out. But, reading the passage again as an adult conjures other feelings and images. I no longer find it funny, but deeply faithful and dramatic.
                I’ve labeled the time we currently live as the “messy middle.” It is time where covid-19 is no longer new, but the end of covid-19 is not yet in sight. The messy middle is a frustrating and anxiety filled time. People are anxious about their health and finances and even more anxious about the well-being of their loved ones. We are frustrated because things are not normal, plans have been changed or cancelled, and we can’t worship in person yet together.
                I chose this story from 1 Samuel because King David is also living during a “messy middle.”  David has been anointed King, but he hasn’t yet taken the throne. He is hailed as a national hero after defeating Goliath, admired for his musical talents, and beloved by many, but all these deeds and adventures have made Saul jealous. Saul’s jealousy resulted in having everything taken away from David. David is now homeless and an outlaw. He was forced to flee and abandon everything. As our story picks up today, David is hiding in a cave because he is being hunted by Saul, the most powerful man in the country.          
        We learn a lot about David’s character from this story. We know he is desperate and has suffered a great deal. He is a faithful person. He is well liked. He has tried to help others and do what is right, but now he is struggling by no fault of his own. In fact, the one person who is to blame – The one person who has victimized David – The one person who stands in the way of all that is good for David is Saul. And here he is. Completely vulnerable and open. David could have easily killed him and eliminated the one obstacle in his life. David didn’t. He didn’t give in to the temptation to cheat, cut corners, or lose his integrity. David followed God’s way even though it didn’t serve his own interests and even though God’s way was far more difficult.

         I know we are all living in the messy middle. For some, it is extremely messy. My message and prayer is that you don’t give up. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t act out of character and lose integrity. David teaches us that we can also live our lives with patience, humility, and trust God to do God’s work. God’s work is judgement and justice. Our work is to share God’s love. We look to this story of David as inspiration, but above all, we look to Jesus as inspiration, who humbled himself even to the point of death on a cross.
                Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

Devotion for June 26, 2020

1 John 5:14  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

            Thanks be to God and thanks to OSLC for the faithful prayers that you have offered on behalf on my mom for this past year. As many of you know, last summer my mom was diagnosed with a rare form of stage 4 lung cancer. For the past 12 months she has been enduring intensive cancer treatments several times a week. It has been extremely difficult for my parents, who live in Colorado, and I have been sad that I can’t do more to help them. But two weeks ago we received some great news from her team on oncologists! Her treatments have worked well and her doctors updated her diagnosis. Previously, the doctors said she had a couple months to live, but now she may have couple years. To celebrate this joy, I drove to Colorado last and was able to visit for a couple days. It was beyond wonderful to spend time with my mom as well as to see her be able to laugh and spend time together with the kids. For the past year, my earnest prayer has been for the treatments to work and to cherish every occasion I get to see her and chat on the phone. I am so grateful for your prayers too. Scripture is true- God certainly hears us.

God’s Peace and Blessings to you and yours- Pastor Erik

Devotion for June 7, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As a congregation, and as individuals, how do we respond to the killing of George Floyd? How do we respond to the protests that followed? How do we respond to the threat of violence is coming from national leadership? I know we all have our opinions and different life experiences that form them, but we are a church, we are the body of Christ, we must frame this answer by asking how our Lord and Savior has taught us to respond. We are called to follow our Lord Jesus Christ, and that is what we will do.

A focus point is that Chris calls us to live a life of compassion. Therefore, take a moment of self reflection- Are you being compassionate? How have you shown compassion to the family of Mr. Floyd and the far too numerous other families who are grieving the loss of their father, son, sister, or friend? How have you shown compassion to the protesters? How have you shown compassion to law enforcement? How have you shown compassion to law breakers? How have you shown compassion to the African American community? The pastor from my home congregation pointed out that word compassion means literally “to suffer with.” As people of God we read and proclaim scripture passages that tell how God showed compassion to humanity by coming to us in Jesus and suffering with us. Holy Week depicts God’s compassion fully when Jesus suffered betrayal, oppression, injustice, violence and murder. Although scholars have debated aspects and details of scriptures since it was written, there is one aspect that is not up for debate and everyone agrees. And that is that Jesus lived a life of compassion. He always responded with courage, care, mercy, and grace to those who were being oppressed.  

He used his power to offer healing and hope. He never backed away and he never prioritized his own safety. Jesus invites us to follow him and his way in the world. We must therefore condemn racism in all its forms. We must listen to the African American community with compassion and the desire to understand their experience. We must embrace solidarity with others as a way of life. We must teach our young people the violent, unjust, and evil history of race relations in this country even if it is painful and shameful. We have voice and power and we must use our voice and power to serve our neighbors who are ignored or silenced. And we must confess our own sins, including the sins of complacency and silence. We ask God to forgive us and we repent. That is what Jesus taught us and calls us to do.

God’s Peace ~ Pr. Erik

Monthly Devotional, June 2020

Dear OSLC,

Now it is June. We’ve been dealing with the pandemic for over two months now. It is no longer new, but still the end is not in sight. We are somewhere in the middle. So far, the middle is not a very nice place to be. Some of our businesses, organizations, and houses of worship are reopening and some are remaining closed. There is disagreement and hostility between levels of government on what is acceptably safe or unsafe. Sadly, people around the country feel compelled to choose one side over the other, and be for something and against something else, even though there truly is only one side that we are all on – humanity. This middle time is proving to be a time of frustration, impatience, anger and division, and I worry that the middle is going to last for a while. The middle is messy.

In times of messiness, we turn to scripture for comfort, perspective, and wisdom. The Bible tells us about times when people experienced hardship and uncertainty. The book of Exodus teaches us about people living through a middle time.  We learn that Israel wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. If we look at a modern day map, we can see that they didn’t really have that far to go, but it took them 40 years.  For long stretches of time it seemed like they weren’t really going anywhere, or making any progress. Previously, when they were living in slavery, the agenda was clear- escape Egypt and go to the promised land. The beginning was clear and the end was clear, but the middle was uncertain. Once they were freed, things became murky. They only had food for one day at a time, and their only guidance was a cloud by day and fire by night, and neither the cloud nor the fire explained where they were going. They became frustrated and angry. They yelled, grumbled, and were rebellious. Indeed the middle was not a nice place to be. The middle was messy and stressed them out.

But God was with them in the wilderness during the middle time. God guided them. God inspired their leaders. God provided food and water. God healed their sicknesses. God disciplined them and taught them and loved them. God taught them how to be a people, how to be a community, how to treat each other, and God taught them about faith. Just so, God is with us in our middle time. Even when we disagree on what to do next and how to do it. Even when we get frustrated, impatient, or even angry, God will remind us that God is in our midst, continuing to lead and care for us. And God will eventually bring us to where we need to be. Remember – God makes promises and God keeps those promises.

My prayer to God and my request to you is to be abundant in grace. Be generous to each other. Be patient with each other. Listen to each other. We should constantly be asking ourselves, “What does all this mean, and how can we use this time to further our relationship with God and our neighbors?” God does work to bring something good out of the bad times.

As we prepare to emerge from this messy middle time, I am assembling a new committee of people who will work towards making plans for how to assemble safely for worship and ministries for the coming months or longer. This team will also work closely with other churches and leaders to discern when it safe to gather again for worship. Notably, we will not gather until is safe to do so.

Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

Devotional: Memorial Day Weekend

John 10:10b I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

This Monday is Memorial Day here in the United States. It is a day often honored by getting together with groups of loved ones. This year, many people will honor it a bit differently because of restrictions on travel and gathering. Perhaps though, with a bit less noise and busyness, we can ponder more of the somberness of the day and where God fits in with it.

First, some context, Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday in 1971, but dating in practice back to shortly after the Civil War. It is a time to rest from work and the routines of our week in order to create an intentional time to remember and honor those who have died in service to their country. Also, it is a time to hear and tell stories about the sacrifices of actual people which enables the younger generation to attach a face to a name. Importantly, making this day more than just a series of memories will help us all to keep from making war an abstraction. Hopefully, when we hear and tell these important stories we will be inspired to actions of peace, patience, and solidarity so that in the future others will not have to make the same sacrifice.

In this sense, Memorial Day should not be merely a vacation, a time to go to the lake, or a long weekend, but a time to renew our sense of gratitude for those who have served their country, and for the freedoms we enjoy because of that service and sacrifice. And it can also renew our own sense of commitment to working for a world that is committed to justice and peace.

Sincerely~ Pastor Erik

Devotional, May 15, 2020

Today’s Devotional is from Pastor Erik ~

Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer let your requests be made known to God.
Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.
1 Thessalonians 5:17. Pray without ceasing.
James 1:5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given to you.
James 5:13 Are any among you suffering? they should pray.
James 5:16 The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

When we don’t know, pray. Strange times in which we are living. The uncertainty of this time bothers me. It bothers me as a pastor. It bothers me as a father. It bothers me as a son. It bothers me simply as a person who lives and participates in society. This past week, I’ve been speaking with people about church and the question that keeps coming up is, ‘When will we gather again for worship?’ This question is being asked along with several other follow up questions like: “When we will we be able have communion again? What about confirmation this next year and other youth events like the youth gathering next summer. What about the stuff sale and 25 cent clothes sale? When…

Perhaps the hardest thing for me and I think most people is to say the words and admit the fact, “I don’t know.” But that is the truth. I don’t know right now. What I do know is that you are experiencing this too. You are experiencing this uncertainty as a parent, grandparent, friend, businessperson, caregiver, student, and faithful follower of God. We are used to checking our calendars and making plans for the future. We are used to looking forward to events where we see our friends. We are comforted by having a routine in life of work, social and religious activities. But, we’re no longer able to reasonably assume the future and make plans. We don’t have control of the future. We’re living in the present in a way we’re not used to doing. As my kids say, “the virus is ruining everything.”

So what do we do? Give up? Throw our hands up in despair? Wallow in self-pity? No! We are Christians. When we don’t know, we pray. When we’re worried, we pray. When we’re confused, we pray. When we are scared, we pray. When things seems lost, we pray. In all things we turn to the One who does know, the One who is not confused, uncertain, worried, or scared. We turn to God. One way I’ve been turning to God this past week has been to pray Psalm 86 everyday. I read/pray it out loud even though no one else is around. I do this so that not only do I read it, but I can hear it too. Psalm 86 specifically communicates to me God’s power and certainty and it is helpful during times when I am feeling powerless and uncertain. Pray Psalm 86 or any other scripture that speaks to you.

So, fellow co-workers in Christ, keep praying. Pray for your loved ones. Pray for care givers. Pray for me and other pastors and religious leaders as we seek wisdom from God. Pray for all those guiding the lives of this nation. Pray for a vaccine. Pray that we all can become more humble, gentle, patient. I do know that prayer works and prayer is needed, but keep in mind that prayer is the companion of action. For example, Pray for those who are lonely or scared, and then give them a call. Pray for the church and then generously act on behalf of God’s mission. Pray for patience and then watch a beautiful sunset or take a nice walk.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always. ~Pastor Erik

PASTOR’S DEVOTION FOR THE MONTH OF MAY:

I never thought 2020 would be like this. In fact, since 2019 brought challenges to OSLC due to staff changes, I was planning for 2020 would be a year to take a breath and, relax, worship and simply enjoy each other’s presence. Not to make light of the situation, but I I’m reminded of the saying, “when people make plans- God laughs.”

This past week I was following the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA mostly out of curiosity because Rocky Mountain is where I was previously rostered in before moving to Minnesota. They were having their annual assembly and they used internet meetings to conduct their meeting. I mainly wanted to see some familiar faces and I wanted to hear what their guest speakers had to say in this time of the coronavirus. I was especially taken by one speaker who asked, “Is this an interruption or a disruption”? He posed this question to help everyone consider that the impacts of the coronavirus represent a fundamental shift in the way our society and therefore our churches will now operate. The reasoning was, if the coronavirus was just an interruption, then we would be looking forward to getting back to normal. But if this is a disruption, “then we must recognize that our normal is a thing of the past and make room for a new way of operating in this world.”

We’ve all experienced disruptions in our lives, and some are big, some are small. For example, we now stream our videos from Netflix and Amazon instead of renting videos from Blockbuster. This week I had all my dog’s food and chew toys delivered to my house by the UPS man rather than driving to the store, putting the food in the cart, buying it and bringing it home (amazingly, delivery is even cheaper than the old-fashioned way). Another example, after 9/11 people stopped greeting their loved ones at the gate at the airport and instead we all wait patiently in the cell phone lot. Everyone knows we must remove our shoes when we go through airport security and we can’t bring liquids in our bags. Our travel routines were disrupted, and we have now been living in this “new normal” for almost 20 years.

So, church has not simply been interrupted, it has been disrupted. Church is going to change. (Read that last sentence again and think about it for a moment before you continue reading) “Church is going to change,” is not a sentence I like typing. It’s not something I want to say or hear. I want to make plans for going back to normal, but the fact is we’ve been disrupted. Our worship will be different in the locations we can sit, the way we partake in communion, pass the peace, collect offering, and interact with others. As you all know, I love to give hugs, and that can’t happen anymore. But it is not all lament, I think some changes will enhance our ability to participate in God’s mission. I don’t know exactly what all those changes will be, but I’m ready to make the changes rather than get left behind and become ineffective in doing what Jesus has called us to do. One change that is permanently with us, for the good, is online worship. We will continue to have an online worship experience for people. Not just for health reasons, but when people are out enjoying the beauty of Minnesota on the weekends or out of town they can still worship and be connected to the community. I’ve also been humbled to hear from a couple folks who physically haven’t been able to worship in person for a couple years how grateful they are for this ministry. Having virtual meetings is also an opportunity. For example, our Synod’s Global Mission team, which I am part of, will have more frequent meetings over Zoom instead of occasionally having everyone drive to Duluth. This will cut down on travel, time and expense and hopefully bring more people into involvement. The folks from I-Falls have no excuse now. Our own congregation can use this technology to be more efficient and invite more people to participation.

Let us pray: Gracious God, we know that disruptions can be difficult to adjust to, but we also know they can bring new opportunities. Continue to guide us and reveal to us the majesty of your world.

Your co-worker in Christ- Pastor Erik

May 1, 2020

Psalm 116:1–4, 12–19
I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”
What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

This psalm really spoke to me this week. During a time of uncertainty and difficulty, I gain confidence and comfort knowing that God is a God who listens and responds to my prayers. God also listens and responds to your prayers too. Lately, several people have asked me to help them or teach them how to pray. It seems like the difficulty in beginning to pray is just figuring out what words to use. It seems strange to talk, especially out loud, if there’s no one else in the room. Laughably, I speak to an empty room all the time- just check out the worship service videos. Remember, there isn’t a wrong way to pray, and if you want to do it silently, it is ok. But even if you don’t mind talking out loud, it can be hard to know what to say, or how to “start the conversation” with God.

Well, the first thing to do is be comforted: you don’t have to perform for God in your prayers with perfect words or long speeches! God much prefers honesty to style. And if you only have enough to say to fill up one minute, that’s ok too. Another source of comfort: you already have a lot of experience praying. You have said and heard many prayers in church. Even if you don’t have them memorized, your brain is used to the language of prayer. Once you start to do it, it will feel perfectly natural. If it helps, you can begin with the Lord’s Prayer. You probably know it by heart, and it will help you relax a bit. You can also find a Psalm, or read another part of Scripture to loosen you up a bit! Another possibility is to start like you would a letter and say, “Dear God…” Whichever way you begin take heart knowing that we all end our prayers in the same way- “AMEN!”

Stay safe and God bless~ Pr. Erik

April 24th, 2020

I invite everyone to open their bibles and read Judges chapters 6-8. It is the story of Gideon. I’ve always liked the story of Gideon, and I’m highlighting this story now because some of the themes and issues that Gideon dealt with seem very pertinent for today’s struggles.

Chapter 6 tells us about a time when the Israelites were experiencing terrible suffering by the Midianites. Everything they valued and everything they worked for was either stolen or destroyed. Our main character in the story is Gideon, and when we are introduced to him he is hiding in a wine press, trying to thresh wheat in order to keep it from the enemy. Basically, he was working from home, and trying his best to preserve a future for himself and his loved ones. (A familiar place where many of us find ourselves these days) Then, an angel of the Lord comes to him and declares, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Notably, Gideon doesn’t boldly stand up and reply “Here, I am.” Instead, his response is something more realistic. Gideon said to the angel, “But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has cast us off and given us into the hand of Midian.” Gideon is honest. He’s fearful and feeling unsafe, and he’s wondering where God is. Where is God while people are suffering? Where is God while he’s trying to thresh wheat in a wine press? Where is God when we’re working from home because it is unsafe to be out? Where is God when the schools are closed? Where is God when jobs are lost and money is tight? Where is God when the church is unable gather to worship? Gideon’s question is, “Why has God allowed this happened?”

Whether it is Covid 19 or any tragic event during the course of our lives, we find ourselves asking the same question as Gideon. I don’t know the answer, but I do know that God invites us to ask and converse with God about our lives, joys and struggles. Another thing that I do know is that no matter what, God is with us. In fact, that was the angel’s greeting to Gideon. The Lord is with you mighty warrior! I doubt Gideon felt mighty and he doesn’t seem like much of a warrior. But God called him to be a leader and do great things. God believed in him and saw in him something he didn’t see in himself. I think the church is a mighty warrior too, and because the church is not a simply a building, but because the church is people, you are also a mighty warrior.

Through the oppression of the Midianites, people experienced fear, despair, anxiety, selfishness, and isolation. But God hears the cries of the people and God gets involved which leads to victory. Similarly, the virus has also caused fear, despair, anxiety, selfishness and isolation. God hears our cries and I am confident God is involved and is present. Gideon trusted God in the midst of hard times, and we can too. No matter what comes, know this: God is with us and is stronger than anything that threatens us.

Your co-worker in Christ. Pastor Erik

April 17, 2020

Thank You!

There are so many people to thank for all the ways people are stepping up during this difficult time and making a difference in the lives of God’s people. We are in ministry to walk with others through their joys as well as struggles and to equip others to fully participate in God’s mission. That mission remains t17 he same even when we can’t physically gather in our Sanctuary. My heart overflows because I see the congregation fully embracing God’s mission. Thank you for continuing to support the mission of our church with your generosity. Thank you for sending in your offerings through the mail or through our online giving. Thank you for sharing our worship service with your friends and family. There are some powerful stories coming to light about how people who hadn’t been in worship for years are engaging their faith through online worship. Thank you for your notes of thanks and encouragement to me during this time. Thank you for making phone calls and checking in with one another and expanding our congregational care. Thank you for being you and not letting the challenges of the world diminish your hope, commitment, and grace.

Above all, my main focus of thankfulness and awe is directed to God. God is the one who sustains us through this time. God is the one who is always present and is with those who are alone. God is the one who will guide us through these confusing and frustrating days and weeks. God is the one who raised Jesus from the dead so that we are fully redeemed and can live our lives with complete confidence in God’s grace. Therefore, we can devote ourselves in responding to this grace with good work to our neighbors. God is the one who gives us life and purpose and a peace that passes all human understanding. I take heart that the last thing we said and proclaimed as a physical gathered congregation was “go in peace, serve the Lord,” “Thanks be to God.” I take heart because we have done exactly that.

Your co-worker with Christ~ Pastor Erik

GREAT ARE THE WORKS OF THE LORD

Leviticus 25:1-5 

LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.’ ” 

The concept of a year of rest for the land is an ancient one for farmers. God commanded the people to give their land a rest every seven years. No plowing or planting, no harvesting. Just let the land be. We know now that this is important to help the land be productive, to allow it time to recover from being farmed. We are in a time of rest now. The difference is we didn’t choose this and we didn’t have much time to prepare; we have to stay home, distance ourselves for the sake of our neighbor. Like the land during the fallow year, many of us simply have to let ourselves be. 

After calling many of you to check in and see how things are going, I know most of us are at home now running out of things to do and occupy our time. The weather is still a bit cold and outside is wet and muddy so gardening and yard work are not options yet.  We’ve already organized our basements and cleaned out our closets. Now what? I can’t help but wonder what God is planning to do to redeem this slower time for us. Could this turn into a time of rest and renewal? I hope so.  I know I am spending more time with my kids now and feeling the bonds of our relationships strengthened. We’ve been reading a lot more kid’s books together and I can tell that my daughter is strengthening her reading skills everyday.  I’m also really glad I enjoy the company of my wife, and I feel our relationship flourishing as we work together to meet these challenging times. I think maybe, God is redeeming this time.

As many of you know, I am passionate about the environment and being a good steward of God’s creation. I’ve been interested to see that pollution is way down across the globe. There are some amazing videos on youtube that show dolphins swimming in the canals of Venice and other wildlife coming out of hiding. Maybe God can use this time to teach us about what our planet can be like, again. Please don’t misunderstand me. This virus is real and it is bad. But I think God has a way of revealing God’s self in the midst of bad situations to illuminate God’s love and grace.  

I am inspired by hearing stories of brave and talented people who work in essential services like healthcare and knowing that those people are using their God-given talents to do amazing work. These stories prove to me that God is here with us. God is with the nurses and doctors on the front lines. God is with those who are doing their part by staying home. God isn’t just with us; God is working through us and among us. For those of us who find these days to be quiet and still, God may just be doing the work of renewal deep in your soul. What is God reminding you of? How is God giving you new life? Pay attention and embrace God’s work, even when it’s invisible.

Bless you now and evermore~ Pastor Erik
 

SUSTAIN THE WEARY WITH A WORD.

Isaiah 50:4
The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.


 I know I am weary. I am weary of watching the constantly changing news, weary of not being able to do things and go places, weary of missing my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, weary of worrying about loved ones. “Sustain the weary with a word.” Sounds like just the thing for this week.

 And not just any word, but the Word. The word of God. In times of weariness and uncertainty, these verses from Philippians are right on. They teach us and remind us of God’s character, who God is, and God’s strength. It shows us Jesus  becoming fully human and entering fully into the human experience. Not only is Jesus one of us, but he is the best of us. 


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

Let the words from Philippians enter your heart and mind. In a time when we often feel powerless in the word, take comfort in knowing that God is powerful and in charge. When we can’t “do stuff” out in the community, know that the word is can and will “do stuff.” I love this quote by Martin Luther. He fully trusted the Word to go out and do God’s mission.  “I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word…did everything.”[i]


[i] Martin Luther, “Sermon on Monday after Invocavit” (March 10, 1522), in Luther’s Works 51:77.EDITSUSTAIN THE WEARY WITH A WORD.

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

Latest Bulletin & News:

Currently, due to the increase of covid cases, we are NOT having in-person services currently. We will be recording as usual, and you can watch the service on facebook, or listen to the radio broadcast at 9am on 1340AM KRBT (the broadcasting time has moved to 9am).

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted of changes. If you are part of a community group that holds meetings here, please go to the “Who Meets Here” heading on our home page for information.

You may find our Worship Services and devotional videos on our facebook page~join us! https://www.facebook.com/oslcmn/

November 29, 2020
First Sunday of Advent

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA
Pastor Erik Roth
Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA
Deacon Kari Olson

PRELUDE                                                                                              

WELCOME

GATHERING HYMN  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel     ELW# 257

Text:  Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, Köln, 1710; tr. composite
Music:  French processional, 15th cent. (Public Domain)
Text sts. 2, 6, 7 © 1997 Augsburg Fortress
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE A-704161.  All rights reserved.

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT WREATH
With voices rising, rising like incense
We pray to you in hope, our God
We pray to you in hope, our God

In you alone we hope
You who stir up your power to save
You who come down to us
Unbounded love put into flesh and bones

Being all powerful
Becoming most vulnerable
That is how you make true love known
You call us to awaken, see you all around us
In migrant mother, in homeless vet, in raised hands and held breath

We pray to you in hope, our God
We pray to you in hope, our God
You are our hope

HYMN    Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah        ELW# 240 (Vs. 1)
Light one candle to watch for Messiah:
let the light banish darkness.
He shall bring salvation to Israel,
God fulfills the promise.
Text:  Wayne L. Wold; Music:  Yiddish folk tune
Text © 1984 Fortress Press
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE A-704161.  All rights reserved.

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
Jesus, who comes as new birth,
we have prepared for you
with comfortable traditions and humble requests.

We have memorialized your birth
as if it was a past act
and not the bold declaration of a living God.

We have rested in the safer hope of your work,
abandoning our call as co-creators of the Beloved Community,
harming your children with our ill-informed action and comfort-catering inaction.

All this we humbly confess.

Help us remember in this season of anticipation
that we prepare not only for you,
but because of you.

Challenge us to examine our intentions,
and to hold sacred both the act of preparing,
and the transforming justice love of the one who comes.  Amen


GREETING
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
By the power of the Holy Spirit may we abound in hope

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Give ear, O God in whom we hope, to our pleas for your help. Rend the heavens and come down, that we may see your great power and glory. Make us attentive to the signs of your coming, and wake us up anew to your presence, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9
1O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
  so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
2as when fire kindles brushwood
  and the fire causes water to boil—
 to make your name known to your adversaries,
  so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
  you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4From ages past no one has heard,
  no ear has perceived,
 no eye has seen any God besides you,
  who works for those who wait for him.
5You meet those who gladly do right,
  those who remember you in your ways.
 But you were angry, and we sinned;
  because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6We have all become like one who is unclean,
  and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
  and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7There is no one who calls on your name,
  or attempts to take hold of you;
 for you have hidden your face from us,
  and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
  we are the clay, and you are our potter;
  we are all the work of your hand.
9Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
  and do not remember iniquity forever.
  Now consider, we are all your people.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE Deacon Kari Olson

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph | like a flock;
  shine forth, you that are enthroned up- | on the cherubim.
2In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, | and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and | come to help us.
3Restore | us, O God;
  let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
4O Lord| God of hosts,
how long will your anger fume when your | people pray?
5You have fed them with the | bread of tears;
  you have given them bowls of | tears to drink.
6You have made us the derision | of our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh | us to scorn.
7Restore us, O | God of hosts;
  let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
17Let your hand be upon the one at | your right hand,
the one you have made so strong | for yourself.
18And so will we never turn a- | way from you;
  give us life, that we may call up- | on your name.
19Restore us, O Lord| God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.

SECOND READING:  1 Corinthians 1:3-9
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

HYMN BEFORE THE PRAYERS  
Wait for the Lord      ELW# 262
Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.
Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart!
Text:  Taizé Community; Music:  Jacques Berthier
Text and music © 1984 Less Presses de Taizé, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE A-704161.  All rights reserved.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
After each petition, all reply, Your mercy is great.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION    ELW Pg. 142

GOSPEL:  The Holy Gospel, according to Mark 13:24-37.  Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said:] 24“In those days, after that suffering,
 the sun will be darkened,
  and the moon will not give its light,
25and the stars will be falling from heaven,
  and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading  Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN OF THE DAY  Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying ELW# 436

Text and Music:  Philipp Nicolai; tr. composite
Text © 1999 Augsburg Fortress
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE A-704161.  All rights reserved.

NICENE CREED
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,*
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN The Advent of Our God      Scott & Patty Chandler
Text:  Charles Coffin; translated by John Chandler, altered
Music:  Aaron Williams
Public Domain

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING
May you find time for rest this season
May you create space to prepare
May the Lord our God fill you with hope
May Jesus Christ be ever present in your heart
May the Holy Spirit illuminate your way  Amen

SENDING HYMN   Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers                              ELW# 244

Text:  Laurentius Laurenti; tr. Sarah B. Findlater
Music:  Swedish folk tune
Public Domain
SENDING
Go in peace. Prepare the way of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

November 22, 2020

Care for one another  ~ Share Christ’s Love
All are Welcome

Greetings

Opening Narration

            Often in our lives the celebration of a new year – a birthday, an anniversary, a new school term, a new calendar – provides a natural time of reflection.  We see ways that we are not the same as we were a year ago, and we think about how the events of the past year have shaped us.
            Today we celebrate Christ the King Sunday.  The wheel of our church year has come full circle, and we are poised on the eve of a new year.  Today we are invited to look back- to recall the stories of the seasons we have shared- and to turn with anticipation toward the year to come.  Today we are invited to reflect on how our encounter with the Word of the living God has shaped us.  For as we worship, we do more than remember: we enter into God’s story of redemption and new life.  We experience God’s saving action, and we are changed.
            And so on this day, we are invited not to sit back and relax as we begin our worship; rather, we are invited to enterin to the presence of the living Lord.  Through word and symbol, song and prayer, we join with the whole church – gathered here in this place and throughout all times and places- to worship and adore Jesus, our risen and exalted King!

+ Advent
Reading   Isaiah 11:1-10                                              
Symbol – the Advent wreath
Narration
Hymn  “Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn”  Vs. 1, 3, 4   ELW 242
Text: Marty Haugen, b. 1950 Music: Marty Haugen
Text and music © 1983 GIA Publications, Inc. Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted under #SB124425


+ Christmas
Reading Luke 2:1-20
Symbol-  Manger                  
Narration 
Hymn   “Joy to the World”  vs. 1 & 4   ELW 267
Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748 Music: English melody, 18th cent.; arr. Lowell Mason, 1792-1872 . Augsburg Fortress
Reprinted under #SB124425

Epiphany
Reading  Isaiah 60:1-3                         
Symbol – lit candle
Narration
Hymn   “Christ, Be Our Light”   ELW 715
Text and music © 1993 Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP Publications. Augsburg Fortress.
Reprinted under #SB124425

+ The Baptism of Our Lord
Symbol – water poured into font
Narration
Hymn  “Baptized and Set Free”  vs. 1& 2  ELW 453
Text and Music: Cathy Skogen-Soldner © 1999 Augsburg Fortress
Reprinted under #SB124425

+ The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Symbol – white cloth
Narration
Hymn “Shine, Jesus, Shine”   ELW 671
Tex and Musict: Graham Kendrick, b. 1950  © 1987 Make Way Music,
Reprinted under CCLI #2488679

LENT

+ Ash Wednesday

Responsive Reading  Psalm 51:1-13

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.                                     

Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. 
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.      

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.        
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.     

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Symbol – cross
Narration
Hymn “Change My Heart O God”  ELW 801
Tex and Musict: Eddie Espinosa, b. 1953 © 1982 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing
Reprinted under CCLI #2488679

+ Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday
Symbol – palm branch
Narration
Hymn  “Lamb of God” vs 1   ELW 336
Copyright 2020 Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted under #SB124425

THE THREE DAYS

+ Maundy Thursday
Reading John 13:1-5, 12-17
Symbol – Basin and towel
Narration
Hymn “Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us With Your Love” vs 1 ELW 708
Text: Tom Colvin, 1925-2000, alt. Music: Ghanaian folk tune, adapt. Tom Colvin. © 1969 Hope Publishing Company. Reprinted under CCLI #2488679

+ Good Friday
Reading  Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Symbol – black cloth
Narration
Hymn “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” vs 1  ELW 335
Text: Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915 Music: William H. Doane, 1832–1915
Reprinted under CCLI #2488679

+ Vigil of Easter
Symbol – white cloth draped on cross
Narration

THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD

+ Easter
Reading Matthew 28:1-0
Symbol – Rock
Narration
Hymn “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” vs 1  ELW 365
Text: Latin carol, 14th cent., sts. 1–3; tr. J. Walsh, Lyra Davidica, 1708, alt.; Charles Wesley, 1707–1788, st. 4 Music: J. Walsh, Lyra Davidica, 1708 Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted under #SB124425

+ The Ascension of our Lord
Symbol – Chalice and paten
Narration
Hymn “You Are Holy”   ELW 525
Text: Per Harling, b. 1948 Music: Per Harling © 1990 Ton Vis Produktion AB. Augsburg Fortress.
Repritned under #SB124425

Pentecost
Reading  Acts 2:1-4
Symbol – Red Cloth
Narration
Hymn     Gracious Spirit, Heed Our Pleading, verse 1ELW 401
Text: Wilson Niwagila; tr. Howard S. Olson, b. 1922. Music: Wilson Niwagila; arr. Egil Hovland, b. 1924
English and Swahili text and tune © Lutheran Theological College, Makumira, Tanzania, Augsburg Fortress
Arr. © Egil Hovland. Reprinted under #SB124425

Time after Pentecost
Reading    John 15:1-5
Symbol – Plant
Narration

Prayers of the People
Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.

The Gathering of the Gifts
The work of the Spirit among us leads us to offer our gifts, a sign of the giving or our whole selves in grateful response for all God’s gifts to us.

Offertory Prayer
Let us pray.  Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things. 
Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts: our selves, our time, and our possessions. Use us, and what we have gathered, in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

✚ CHRIST THE KING (Celebrating the Feast of Victory)
Reading   Luke 23:33-43
Narration
Hymn  “Crown Him with Many Crowns” vs 1, 3, 4   ELW 855
Text: Matthew Bridges, 1800-1894, sts. 1-3, 5; Godfrey Thring, 1823-1903, st. 4 Music: George J. Elvey, 1816-1893. Reprinted under #SB124425


Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who are in heaven hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heave.  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.

Blessing and Dismissal
Through every season of the year, therefore, we live under God’s blessing and to God’s praise!  May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord’s face shine on your and be gracious to you, the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Go in Peace.  Christ is with you.   Thanks be to God.

Postlude:  Beautiful Savior Kristen Weikum
Words: Public Domain Music: Arrangement by Nancy M. Raabe. Grace and Peac, Vol. 3. Augsburg Fortress 2009.  Reprinted with permission under license #SB124425               

CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY
The Festival of Christ the King was first celebrated in 1925, in the midst of the European political turmoil of the 1920’s and 1930’s. It was intended to proclaim God’s reign over a world wracked by one world war and facing another.That truth can still be proclaimed today. No human system is forever. No one can claim absolute allegiance. Only Christ is sovereign.

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
November 8, 2020

Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA
Deacon Kari Olson

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA
Pastor Erik Roth
PRELUDE

WELCOME

GATHERING HYMN   O God, Our Help in Ages Past     ELW# 632
Text:  Isaac Watts, Music:  William Croft
Public Domain

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
in whose image we are made,
who claims us and calls us beloved.  Amen.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Holy One,
we confess that we are not awake for you.
We are not faithful in using your gifts.
We forget the least of our siblings.
We do not see your beautiful image in one another.
We are infected by sinthat divides your beloved community.

Open our hearts to your coming,
open our eyes to see you in our neighbor,
open our hands to serve your creation. Amen.

Beloved, we are God’s children,
and Jesus, our Beloved, opens the door to us.
Through ☩ Jesus you are forgiven,
by Jesus you are welcome, in Jesus you are called to rejoice!
Let us live in the promises prepared for us
from the foundation of the world.  Amen.

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   ELW Pg. 203

HYMN OF PRAISE   ELW Pg. 204

PRAYER OF THE DAY 
O God of justice and love, you illumine our way through life with the words of your Son. Give us the light we need, and awaken us to the needs of others, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

FIRST READING:  Amos 5:18-24
18Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
  Why do you want the day of the Lord?
 It is darkness, not light;
19as if someone fled from a lion,
  and was met by a bear;
 or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
  and was bitten by a snake.
20Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
  and gloom with no brightness in it?
21I hate, I despise your festivals,
  and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
  I will not accept them;
 and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
  I will not look upon.
23Take away from me the noise of your songs;
  I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24But let justice roll down like waters,
  and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE  Pastor Erik Roth

Psalm 70                                                        
1Be pleased, O God, to de- | liver me;
  O Lord, make | haste to help me.
2Let those who seek my life be put to shame | and confounded;
let those who take pleasure in my misfortune draw back and | be disgraced. 
3Let those who say to me “Aha!” and gloat | over me
  turn back because | of their shame.
4Let all who seek you rejoice and be | glad in you;
let those who love your salvation say forever, “Great | is the Lord!”
5But as for me, I am poor and needy; come to me quick- | ly, O God.
  You are my helper and my deliverer; O Lord, | do not tarry. 


SECOND READING:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

HYMN BEFORE PRAYERS  Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying    ELW# 752

Text and Music:  Ken Medema
Text and music © 1973 Hope Publishing Company
Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE A-704161.  All rights reserved.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
After each petition, all reply, Your mercy is great.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION    ELW Pg. 205

GOSPEL:  The Holy Gospel, according to Matthew 25:1-13.  Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said to the disciples:] 1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading   Deacon Kari Olson

HYMN OF THE DAY   When the Poor Ones   ELW# 725
Text:  José Antonio Olivar; tr. Martin A. Seltz
Music:  Miguel Manzano
Text and music © 1971, 1998 J.A. Olivar, Miguel Manzano, and San Pablo Internacional – SSP, admin. OCP Publications

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE A-704161.  All rights reserved.

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN  We Give Thee but Thine Own   ELW# 686
Text:  William W. How, Music:  L. Mason and G. Webb, Cantica Lauda; Public Domain

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING 
May the God of all creation,
in whose image we are made,
who claims us and calls us beloved,
who strengthens us for service,
give you reason to rejoice and be glad!
The blessing of God,
Sovereign, ☩ Savior, and Spirit,
be with you today and always.  Amen.

SENDING HYMN  Lift Every Voice and Sing    ELW# 841
Text:  James W. Johnson, Music:  J. Rosamond Johnson
Public Domain

SENDING  Beloved of God, go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Thank you for worshipping with us today.

Pastor Erik Roth
Deacon Kari Olson
Twilla Ann Ahola, Piano
Scott & Patty Chandler, Cantors

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

REFORMATION SUNDAY
25 OCTOBER 2020

Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA
Deacon Kari Olson

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA
Pastor Erik Roth

PRELUDE  Kristen Weikum

WELCOME    Pastor Erik Roth

GATHERING HYMN  A Mighty Fortress          ELW# 504

 Text: Martin Luther, 1483–1546; tr. Lutheran Book of Worship. Music: Martin Luther, 1483–1546 Text © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted with permission from Augsburg Fortress #SB124425

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS

In the name of the Father,
and of the  Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God of all mercy and consolation, come to the help of your people,
turning us from our sin to live for you alone.
Give us the power of your Holy Spirit that we may confess our sin,
receive your forgiveness, and grow into the fullness of Jesus Christ,
our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Silence is kept for reflection

Most merciful God,
we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.Amen.

In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us,
and for his sake God forgives us all our sins.
As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, and by his authority,
I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins,
in the name of the Father, and of the  Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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                                                                                                   ELWPg. 203
HYMN OF PRAISE                                                                               ELW Pg. 204

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. Amen.


FIRST READING:Jeremiah 31:31-34
31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

PSALM 46
     1God is our refuge and strength,
  a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
3though its waters rage and foam,
  and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be shaken;
  God shall help it at the break of day.
6The nations rage, and the kingdoms shake;
God speaks, and the earth melts away.
7The Lord of hosts is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold. 
   8Come now, regard the works of the Lord,
what desolations God has brought upon the earth;
9behold the one who makes war to cease in all the world;
  who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shields with fire.
10“Be still, then, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.”
11The Lord of hosts is with us;
  the God of Jacob is our stronghold. 

SECOND READING:Romans 3:19-28
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
              21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading  Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN BEFORE PRAYERS 
 Jesus Remember Me   ELW#616
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

Text and music © 1981 Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc. 7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638. www.giamusic.com. 800.442.3358. All rights reserved. Used by permission.. Reprinted with permission from Augsburg Fortress #SB124425
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION  After each petition, all reply, Hear our prayer.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION                                                                     ELW Pg. 205

GOSPEL  The Holy Gospel, according to  John 8:31-36,Glory to you, O Lord.
31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading          Deacon Kari Olson

HYMN OF THE DAY  
Day by Day                                             ELW# 790

Text: Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903; tr. Robert Leaf, 1936-2005
Music: Oskar Ahnfelt, 1813-1882 Text © 1992 Augsburg Fortress.
Reprinted with permission from Augsburg Fortress #SB124425, CCLI#2488679

APOSTLES’ CREED
          I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
         I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN                                                                                

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING  The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.

SENDING HYMN 
Soli Deo Gloria                                            ELW# 878

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

Thank you for worshipping with us today.
Deacon Kari Olson
Pastor Erik Roth
Kristen Weikum, Piano
Judy Peliska, Cantor

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
OCTOBER 18, 2020

PRELUDE   Mark Ongalo

WELCOME   Pastor Erik Roth

GATHERING HYMN  Gather Us In ELW# 532

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates, redeems, and sustains us and all of creation.  Amen.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Faithful God, have mercy on us.
We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We turn from your loving embrace and go our own ways.
We pass judgment on one another before examining ourselves.
We place our own needs before those of our neighbors.
We keep your gift of salvation to ourselves.
Make us humble, cast away our transgressions, and turn us again to life in you
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

God hears the cries of all who call out in need,
and through his death and resurrection, Christ has made us his own.
Hear the truth that God proclaims:
Your sins are forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ.
Led by the Holy Spirit, live in freedom and newness
to do God’s work in the world.  Amen.

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                                                                                                   
ELWPg. 203

HYMN OF PRAISE                                                                               ELW Pg. 204

PRAYER OF THE DAY 
Sovereign God, raise your throne in our hearts. Created by you, let us live in your image; created for you, let us act for your glory; redeemed by you, let us give you what is yours, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE  Pastor Erik Roth

FIRST READING: Isaiah 45:1-7
1Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped
 to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes,
 to open doors before him— and the gates shall not be closed:
2I will go before you and level the mountains,
 I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
  and cut through the bars of iron,
3I will give you the treasures of darkness
  and riches hidden in secret places,
 so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
  the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen,
 I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me.
5I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides me there is no god.
  I arm you, though you do not know me,
6so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
  and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
  I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness,
  I make weal and create woe;
  I the Lord do all these things.

Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading   Dave Ackerson

PSALM 96:1-9 [10-13]
1Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2Sing to the Lord, bless the name of the Lord;
proclaim God’s salvation from day to day.
3Declare God’s glory among the nations and God’s wonders among all peoples.
4For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised,more to be feared than all gods.
      5As for all the gods of the nations, they are but idols;
  but you, O Lord, have made the heavens.
6Majesty and magnificence are in your presence;
power and splendor are in you| sanctuary.
7Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples,
  ascribe to the Lord honor and power.
8Ascribe to the Lord the honor due the holy name;
bring offerings and enter the courts of the Lord.
9Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before the Lord, all the earth.
10Tell it out among the nations: “The Lord is king!The one who made the world
         so firm that it cannot be moved will judge the peoples with equity.”                                
11Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
  let the sea thunder and all that is in it; let the field be joyful and all that is therein.
12Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy at your coming, O Lord,
for you come to judge the earth.
13You will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with your truth.  

SECOND READING:  1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
  To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
  Grace to you and peace.
2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

HYMN BEFORE PRAYERS 

Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying                   ELW# 752

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
After each petition, all reply, Hear our prayer.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION   
ELW Pg. 205

GOSPEL  The Holy Gospel, according to Matthew 22:15-22. Glory to you, O Lord.
15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap [Jesus] in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
 This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading    Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN OF THE DAY   O God of Every Nation              ELW# 713

APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
         I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN   Mark Ongalo                

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING 
Mothering God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and lead you into the way of truth and life. Amen.

SENDING HYMN Here I Am, Lord                                                       ELW# 574

SENDING  Go in peace. Serve the Lord.  Thanks be to God.
Thank you for worshipping with us today.
Pastor Erik Roth
Dave Ackerson, Lector
Mark Ongalo, Piano
Carolyn Flaschberger, Cantor

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

WORSHIP BULLETINS:

October 4, 2020

PRELUDE

WELCOME

GATHERING HYMN The Church’s One Foundation ELW# 654

Text: Samuel J. Stone Music: Samuel S. Wesley Public Domain

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates, redeems, and sustains us and all of creation. Amen.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Faithful God, have mercy on us.
We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We turn from your loving embrace and go our own ways.
We pass judgment on one another before examining ourselves.
We place our own needs before those of our neighbors.
We keep your gift of salvation to ourselves.
Make us humble, cast away our transgressions, and turn us again to life in you through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

God hears the cries of all who call out in need,
and through his death and resurrection, Christ has made us his own.
Hear the truth that God proclaims:
Your sins are forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ.
Led by the Holy Spirit, live in freedom and newness
to do God’s work in the world. Amen.

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 ELW Pg. 203
HYMN OF PRAISE ELW Pg. 204

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Beloved God, from you come all things that are good. Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right, and by your merciful guidance, help us to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE Pastor Erik Roth

FIRST READING: Isaiah 5:1-7
1Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
3And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?

5And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 6I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

7For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!
Word of God. Word of Life. Thanks be to God.

PSALM 80:7-15
 7Restore us, O God of hosts;
  let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
 8You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
  you cast out the nations and planted it.
 9You cleared the ground for it;
  it took root and filled the land.
 10The mountains were covered by its shadow
  and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
 11You stretched out its tendrils to the sea
  and its branches to the river.
 12Why have you broken down its wall,
  so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
 13The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it,
  and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
 14Turn now, O God of hosts,
  look down from heaven;
 15behold and tend this vine;
  preserve what your right hand has planted.

SECOND READING: Philippians 3:4b-14
[Paul writes:] 4bIf anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
  7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
  12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Word of God. Word of Life. Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading Deacon Kari Olson

HYMN BEFORE PRAYERS Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying ELW# 752

Text and Music: Ken Medema Text and music © 1973 Hope Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission under CCLI License # 2488679. All rights reserved.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION After each petition, all reply, Hear our prayer.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION ELW Pg. 205

GOSPEL
The Holy Gospel, according to Matthew 21:33-46. Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said to the people:] 33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
  42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
 ‘The stone that the builders rejected
  has become the cornerstone;
 this was the Lord’s doing,
  and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
  45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN OF THE DAY All Are Welcome ELW# 641

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN Praise and Thanksgiving ELW# 482
Text: Albert F. Bayly. Music: Gaelic tune; arr. hymnal version (Public Domain) Text © Oxford University Press; Arr. © 2006 Augsburg Fortress
Reprinted with permission under CCLI License # 2488679. All rights reserved.

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING
Mothering God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless you and lead you into the way of truth and life. Amen.

SENDING HYMN How Firm a Foundation ELW# 796

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

Thank you for worshipping with us today.

Pastor Erik Roth
Deacon Kari Olson
Twilla Ann Ahola, Piano
Scott & Patty Chandler, Cantors

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Copyright permission:  “How Firm a Foundation” – J. Rippon, A Selection of Hymns, 1787, alt., Music:  Early American; Public Domain.

Worship Service
20 September 2020

Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA
Deacon Kari Olson

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA
Pastor Erik Roth

PRELUDE Mark Ongalo
WELCOME Deacon Kari Olson, Pastor Erik Roth
GATHERING HYMN  Great is Thy Faithfulness   ELW# 733   
Mark Ongalo, Carolyn Flaschberger

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates, redeems, and sustains us and all of creation.  Amen.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.

Faithful God,
have mercy on us.
We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We turn from your loving embrace and go our own ways.
We pass judgment on one another before examining ourselves.
We place our own needs before those of our neighbors.
We keep your gift of salvation to ourselves.
Make us humble, cast away our transgressions,
and turn us again to life in you through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

God hears the cries of all who call out in need, and through his death and resurrection,
Christ has made us his own.
Hear the truth that God proclaims:
Your sins are forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ.
Led by the Holy Spirit, live in freedom and newness to do God’s work in the world. Amen.


GREETINGS 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 & Hymn of Praise page # 204

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Almighty and eternal God, you show perpetual lovingkindness to us your servants. Because we cannot rely on our own abilities, grant us your merciful judgment, and train us to embody the generosity of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE Deacon Kari Olson

FIRST READING:Jonah 3:10–4:11
10When God saw what [the people of Ninevah] did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
4:1But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.
6The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. 7But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. 8When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” 10Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”  
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.
*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Deacon Kari Olson

PSALM 145:1-8  
1I will exalt you, my God and king,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2Every day will I bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!
There is no end to your greatness.
4One generation shall praise your works to another
and shall declare your power. 
5I will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty
and all your marvelous works.
6They shall tell of the might of your wondrous acts,
and I will recount your greatness.
7They shall publish the remembrance of your great goodness;
  they shall sing joyfully of your righteousness.
8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 

SECOND READING:  Philippians 1:21-30
21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—30since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
  After each petition, all reply, Hear our prayer.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION  ELW Pg. 205

GOSPEL  The Holy Gospel, according to Matthew 20:1-16, Glory to you, O Lord.
 [Jesus said to the disciples:] 1“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN OF THE DAY 
 Canticle of the Turning  ELW# 723

APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN  Mark Ongalo, Carolyn Flaschberger    

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING  Mothering God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and lead you into the way of truth and life. Amen.

SENDING HYMN  Christ Be Our Light   ELW# 715

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

Thank you for worshipping with us today.
Deacon Kari Olson, Pastor Erik Roth
Piano: Mark Ongalo

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Worship Service 13 September 2020

Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA
Deacon Kari Olson
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA
Pastor Erik Roth
PRELUDE
WELCOME
GATHERING HYMN   My God, How Wonderful Thou Art  ELW# 663

CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who creates, redeems, and sustains us and all of creation.  Amen.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.

Faithful God,
have mercy on us.
We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We turn from your loving embrace and go our own ways.
We pass judgment on one another before examining ourselves.
We place our own needs before those of our neighbors.
We keep your gift of salvation to ourselves.
Make us humble, cast away our transgressions,
and turn us again to life in you through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
God hears the cries of all who call out in need, and through his death and resurrection,
Christ has made us his own.
Hear the truth that God proclaims:
Your sins are forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ.
Led by the Holy Spirit, live in freedom and newness
to do God’s work in the world. Amen.

GREETINGS 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   ELWPg. 203

HYMN OF PRAISE  ELW Pg. 204

PRAYER OF THE DAY  O Lord God, merciful judge, you are the inexhaustible fountain of forgiveness. Replace our hearts of stone with hearts that love and adore you, that we may delight in doing your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE           Pastor Erik Roth

FIRST READING:  Genesis 50:15-21

15Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” 16So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” 19But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

PSALM 103:8-13                                                                                              

8Lord, you are full of compas- | sion and mercy,
  slow to anger and abounding in | steadfast love; 
9you will not al- | ways accuse us, nor will you keep your an- | ger forever.
10You have not dealt with us according | to our sins,
  nor repaid us according to | our iniquities.
11For as the heavens are high a- | bove the earth,
  so great is your steadfast love for | those who fear you.
12As far as the east is | from the west, so far have you removed our transgres- | sions from us.
13As a father has compassion | for his children,
  so you have compassion for those who fear | you, O Lord. 

SECOND READING:  Romans 14:1-12
1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written,
 “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
  and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.
*Reflections on the Scripture Reading Deacon Kari Olson        

HYMN BEFORE PRAYERS  Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying  ELW# 752
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION  After each petition, all reply, Hear our prayer
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION ELW Pg. 205

GOSPEL
The Holy Gospel, according to Matthew 18:21-35. Glory to you, O Lord.
21Peter came and said to [Jesus], “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.
*Reflections on the Scripture Reading Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN OF THE DAY Our Father, We Have Wandered  ELW# 606

APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting. Amen.

OFFERING HYMN  I Come with Joy   ELW# 482 
Scott & Patty Chandler, Cantors

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

BLESSING  Mothering God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and lead you into the way of truth and life. Amen.
SENDING HYMN  Christ, Be Our Light   ELW# 715

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

Thank you for worshiping with us today.


Worship Bulletin Eighth Sunday after Pentecost July 26, 2020

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA
Pastor Erik Roth
Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA
Deacon Kari Olson
 

PRELUDE Kristen Weikum
WELCOME
HYMN Carolyn Flaschberger
Children of the Heavenly Father   ELW 781                              

CHILDREN’S MESSAGEDeacon Kari Olson

CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting,
whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen.

Trusting in the mercy of God, let us confess our sin.
Silence is kept for reflection.

Reconciling God,
we confess that we do not trust your abundance,and we deny your presence in our lives.
We place our hope in ourselves and rely on our own efforts.
We fail to believe that you provide enough for all.
We abuse your good creation for our own benefit.
We fear difference and do not welcome others as you have welcomed us.
We sin in thought, word, and deed.
By your grace, forgive us; through your love, renew us;
and in your Spirit, lead us; so that we may live and serve you in newness of life. Amen.

Beloved of God, by the radical abundance of divine mercy we have peace with God through ☩ Christ Jesus, through whom we have obtained grace upon grace.
Our sins are forgiven.  Let us live now in hope.
For hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

PRAYER OF THE DAY: Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

FIRST READING: 1 Kings 3:5-12
5At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”
10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.”   Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Pastor Erik Roth

PSALM 119:129-136
129Your de- | crees are wonderful;
  therefore I obey them with | all my heart.
130When your word is opened | it gives light;
it gives understanding | to the simple.
131I open my | mouth and pant
  because I long for | your commandments.
132Turn to me and be gra- | cious to me,
as you always do to those who | love your name. R
133Order my footsteps | in your word;
  let no iniquity have dominion | over me.
134Rescue me from those | who oppress me,
and I will keep | your commandments.
135Let your face shine up- | on your servant
  and teach | me your statutes.
136My eyes shed | streams of tears,
because people do not | keep your teaching. R


SECOND READING: Romans 8:26-39
26The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
 “For your sake we are being killed all day long;
  we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor 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.
Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Ken Bartlett

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Let Justice Flow Like a River    W&P 85
Let justice roll like a river, and wash all oppression away. Come, O God, and take us, move and shake us; Come now, and make us anew, that we might live justly like you.

GOSPEL READING
The Holy Gospel, according to Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52, Glory to you, O Lord.
31[Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Deacon Kari Olson

HYMN OF THE DAY  My Faith Looks Up to Thee    ELW 759

APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God, the Father almighty,creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,and the life everlasting. Amen.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION After each petition, all reply, “Hear our prayer.”

LORD’S PRAYER
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.

OFFERING MUSIC Kristen Weikum, Carolyn Flaschberger   
Accept, O Lord, the Gifts We Bring     ELW 691 

BLESSING  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.
God, the creator, ☩ Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter,
bless you and keep you in eternal love. Amen.

SENDING HYMN  O Shelter Me
Verse 1. Shepherd and sheep, my God and I:
to fresh green fields you led my steps in days gone by.
You gave me rest by quiet springs
and filled my soul with peace your loving presence brings.

REFRAIN: O shelter me, O shelter me:
the way ahead is dark and difficult to see.
O shelter me, O shelter me:
all will be well if only you will shelter me.

Verse 2. Yet now I tread a diff’rent way;
death dogs my path with stealthy steps from day to day.
I cannot find your peaceful place
but dwell in dreary darkness, longing for your face.
REFRAIN

Verse 3. I will look back in days to come
and realize your faithfulness has led me home.
Within your house I’ll find my peace,
trusting that in your mercy you have sheltered me.
REFRAIN

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

Thank you for worshipping with us today.
Cantors:  Carolyn Flaschberger
Piano: Kristen Weikum
Lector & Prayers: Ken Bartlett
Presiding: Pastor Erik Roth, Deacon Kari Olson

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bulletin for Worship, 19 July 2020, Seventh Sunday of Pentecost

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church ELCA, Pastor Erik Roth

Messiah Lutheran Church ELCA, Deacon Kari Olson

PRELUDE Mark Ongalo

HYMN  Carolyn Flaschberger

WELCOME

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less   ELW 596 

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE  Pastor Erik

CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting,

whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen.

Trusting in the mercy of God, let us confess our sin.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Reconciling God, we confess that we do not trust your abundance, and we deny your presence in our lives.

We place our hope in ourselves and rely on our own efforts. We fail to believe that you provide enough for all. We abuse your good creation for our own benefit. We fear difference and do not welcome others as you have welcomed us. We sin in thought, word, and deed. By your grace, forgive us; through your love, renew us; and in your Spirit, lead us; so that we may live and serve you in newness of life. Amen.

Beloved of God, by the radical abundance of divine mercy we have peace with God through ☩ Christ Jesus, through whom we have obtained grace upon grace. Our sins are forgiven.  Let us live now in hope. For hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

PRAYER OF THE DAY: Faithful God, most merciful judge, you care for your children with firmness and compassion. By your Spirit nurture us who live in your kingdom, that we may be rooted in the way of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

FIRST READING: Isaiah 44:6-8

There are no other gods besides God: the word of the Lord does not fail to come to pass. We can trust in God, through whom Israel—and we—are redeemed.

 6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

 7 Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be.

 8 Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.

Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading

PSALM 86:11-17

 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk | in your truth; give me an undivided heart to re- | vere your name.

 12 I will thank you, O Lord my God, with | all my heart, and glorify your name for- | evermore. R

 13 For great is your | love toward me; you have delivered me from the | pit of death.

 14 The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent people | seeks my life; they have not set you be- | fore their eyes.

 15 But you, O Lord, are gracious and full | of compassion, slow to anger, and full of kind- | ness and truth.

 16 Turn to me and have mer- | cy on me; give your strength to your servant, and save the child | of your handmaid.

 17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be | put to shame; because you, Lord, have helped me and com- | forted me.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Kim Anderson

SECOND READING: Romans 8:12-25

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Word of God. Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Deacon Kari Olson

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

GOSPEL READING The Holy Gospel, according to  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, Glory to you, O Lord.

24 [Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ”

  36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

*Reflections on the Scripture Reading, Pastor Erik Roth

HYMN OF THE DAY   We Plough the Fields and Scatter    ELW 680 

1      We plow the fields and scatter  the good seed on the land,

        but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand who sends the snow in

winter, the warmth to swell the grain,  the breezes and the sunshine,

        and soft refreshing rain.

2      You only are the maker of all things near and far

        You paint the wayside flower, you light the evening star.

        The winds and waves obey you, by you the birds are fed;

        much more to us, your children, you give our daily bread.

3      We thank you, our creator, for all things bright and good,

        the seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food.

       No gifts have we to offer for all your love imparts

        but what you most would treasure—our humble, thankful hearts.

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.*

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

         I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION  Kenneth Bartlett After each petition, all reply, “Hear our prayer.”

LORD’S PRAYER

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.

OFFERING MUSIC Mark Ongalo                       

BLESSING  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. God, the creator, ☩ Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter, bless you and keep you in eternal love. Amen.

SENDING HYMN  For the Fruit of All Creation     ELW 679           

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

Thank you for worshipping with us today.

Cantors:  Carolyn Flaschberger

Piano: Mark Ongalo

Lector & Prayers: Kenneth Bartlett, Kim Anderson

Presiding: Pastor Erik Roth, Deacon Kari Olson

From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SB124425.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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 ([email protected]) 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign up for our email newsletter,

Call the church office if you would like to receive the email newsletter weekly, or a to have a Christ in Our Home devotional, or even a Bible or a Hymnal brought to you. We will be happy to provide what you need to worship at home. Our phone # is 218-741-6207, email us at [email protected]

Listen to the recorded service at 9:30am on 1340AM KRBT, or watch on the link to facebook, or on Youtube (Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Virginia, MN

Drive – In Services:

October 4 & 11 Drive-In services will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church’s parking lot, 10:30am. October 18th Drive-In service will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church parking lot.

Please see “Latest Bulletin & News” for this week’s worship bulletin

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

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 @ 1pm at OSLC:  The WELCA Circles meet @ OSLC in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Wednesdays at 7:30am: The Men’s  Breakfast & Study Group meets weekly at Perkins in Mt. Iron.
  • Wednesdays @ 1pm: 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 [email protected] 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

Be Bold in Your Love. . .

Amos 2:7 5:24 and 6:4-6

2:7“they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals — they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way”

5:24  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

6:4-6 Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; Who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; Who drink wine from bowl, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, But are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!

                Whoa! Amos is being quite bold in his words. Some questions to ask ourselves today. What will God do in response to the cruelty and greed expressed by people? (Please read all of Amos and find out)

Is life today in 2018 much different than mid-700 B.C.? What is God going to do next?

We are going to read part of Amos this Sunday. I love Amos because of his bold courage and because of his deep concern and love for others. His concern and love are often overshadowed because of the harshness of his words, but his love is revealed by urging people to repent and lead humble and generous lives in order to avoid calamity.

A commentary by professor Elaine James helps to clarify. “As theologian James Cone writes, ‘Most theological treatments of God’s love fail to place the proper emphasis on God’s wrath, suggesting that love is completely self-giving without any demand for obedience. Bonhoeffer called this ‘cheap grace.’  1. God’s love demands righteousness, and breaches of God’s call to justice and love cause God grief. As Amos is keen to show us, God is not indifferent to human suffering, oppression, and injustice. Cone goes on: ‘The wrath of God is the love of God in regard to the forces opposed to liberation of the oppressed.’  2. God’s judgment, for Amos, is a manifestation of relationship with a living God, a God of passion who deeply cares.”

I hope everyone has a great week. Be bold in your love. Blessings~ Pastor Erik

Amos article

https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3700

Rooted in Faith

Growing in Christ

Reaching to Serve