April 15th, 4:00pm – in the fellowship
No admission charge – $10 donation for snacks & beverages goes straight to the West Valley Food Pantry.
WE are most pleased to be able to host Border Radio again to St Luke! Here’s their website – we just noticed that they are a Pandora Radio band, no small achievement! Also, here’ a little video sample of their music:
The question we reflected on together: “salvation” in the Bible isn’t just “afterlife,” but “abundant life” here and now – the gifts of:
Rest – Joy – God – Home -Human connection – Direction
Which of these do you think people in our society have a special need for today? Can churches help provide these gifts? How?
Reflections on REST: Rest isn’t just a nap; it’s freedom from anxiety. “the people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away.” (31v2-3) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.” –Psalm 22
Rest means having land; the end of travel. “Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit.” (v5) Implies work, but connected to your own labor, your own food, the land. “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘the LORD you God is providing you a place of rest, and will give you this land.”-Joshua 1:13
Rest is Sabbath – entering God’s rest.
“For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his habitation:
‘This is my resting-place for ever;
here I will reside, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless its provisions;
I will satisfy its poor with bread.
Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
and its faithful will shout for joy.”
– from Psalm 132
Reflections on Joy – in the Bible – inward joy and outward expression go together. “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, raise shouts for the chief of the nations, proclaim, give praise…” (v7) “People seem to have forgotten a Luther who taught that a Christian has a duty to be glad and thankful for God’s grace, while the devil is the … evil spirit of depression and an enemy of all true joy.” Birgit Stolt, “Luther’s Faith of the ‘the Heart’” in The Global Luther, ed. Christine Helmer.
From Luther’s Catechism: In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say:
“God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.”
Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.
If you wish, you may in addition recite this little prayer as well:
“I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ your dear
Son, that you have protected me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you completely. For into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
After singing a hymn perhaps (for example, one on the Ten Commandments) or whatever else may serve your devotion, you are to go to your work joyfully.”
says Rowan Williams, “ultimately, joy is about discovering that the world is more than you ever suspected, and so that you yourself are more than you suspected. The joy of the resurrection has a unique place in Christian faith and imagination because this event breaks open the shell of the world we thought we knew and projects us into the new and mysterious realm in which victorious mercy and inexhaustible love make the rules. And because it is the revelation of something utterly basic about reality itself, it is a joy that cannot just be at the mercy of passing feelings. It roots itself in the heart and remains as a foundation for everything else.
God the living stream… …helps us understand our past, find hope for future –
“the LORD appeared to me from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”(v3)
…. hears us in our time of need – “Proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘Save, O LORD, your people, the remnant of Israel.’”(v7)
…. is with us as a parent guiding us. “I will let them walk by brooks of water … for I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (v9) –
Image, above – By Ben (Flickr: DSCF3268) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On Sunday, March 18, at 5:00 p.m., St. Luke will host a potluck dinner, followed by a spectacular spring style show that you won’t want to miss. Bob Miller will be the announcer. Ten of the church’s most stylishly dressed men will model outfits suitable for both casual wear and Valley elegance. We promise that you will hoot, holler and make cat calls as the men strut their stuff as they parade down the Fellowship Hall runway. Child care will be provided.
Thank you to Helen for sharing some of her words from our first Wednesday gathering!
Reflection…..being rooted in God’s word……rooted in God’s love! Reading Psalm 1:1-3
I am drawn to the metaphor of a tree planted by streams of water. As I started to think about the roots of trees …….I thought about how roots provide an “anchor”. An anchor for the tree that gives it the support it needs. The stronger the roots become……the stronger the stability and the support to withstand all kinds of weather and earth changes. We have an enormous Oak at home that withstood a fire hundreds of years ago………and still it stands beautiful …….anchored securely, reaching upward.
Roots also provide a way for the tree to take in the nutrients and moisture it needs to grow.
Another definition I noticed for the word “root” was………original or true home…..I thought about that in relationship to God……we live and move and have our being in God as it says in Acts. …..Our original and true home is in God…..with God.
I started to think about a tree beginning to take root by being in one place. I wonder if the same applies to us? Standing still with God long enough for our roots to take hold and grow………taking time to be intentionally before God…….. in prayer, silence, study, worship, …….simply living…….paying attention to all the ways God is present to us and noticing all the ways God meets us daily that we might otherwise miss.
I then began to muse on the myriad ways that tree roots grow, depending on the variety…..Just like we are all uniquely individual…..our roots grow differently, but grow they must as they are fundamental and essential for us to be strong, not only to withstand all that life brings, but also to flourish….for God, for ourselves and for others. I started to think about roots that lace so beautifully together and that spoke to me of the importance of community……..community offers strength when our roots alone are depleted and in need…… the roots of our community around us help hold us together.
I thought about gardens and vines, abiding and flourishing. We often talk about this metaphor as one we like for our congregation …….. a community growing and flourishing together and individually. I have a hand out I thought we could take some time to read and then have a few minutes to share any thoughts, insights or questions.
God is so much more than we can ever fathom and God is always at work.
In this Lenten season, is there an invitation from God to grow your roots deeper into the mystery of Lent and allow God’s living water to grow your roots and flow thru you like a river?
Before we move into our closing Vespers, I would like to close by reading
Ephesians 3:14-20 from The Message.
And as a blessing……. Colossians 2:6-7
As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith just as you taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
God’s abundant blessings to you in this Lenten season.
Image attribution: pam fray [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons