Goats and Sheep

April 30, 2020

April 30, Proverbs 30, and Good Shepherd Sunday is coming – as is Spring. All to say that I love the images and lists in Proverbs 30. In verse 30 “a he-goat” is listed as one of the “stately” animals. That brings pictures to my mind. My husband and I started our missionary career in a famine relief camp in northern Kenya. 10,000 starving people surrounded our “compound.” They were nomads who had been T-boned by famine and starvation. Goat and sheep pens created from thorn bush surrounded us. No electricity or TV so I was the local entertainment as I was straight from the LA freeway and could not tell a sheep from a goat, much less milk one, so making sure I was not killing myself and to see the funny things I did was most entertaining. I had never seen live farm animals so their lifestyle was equally entertaining to me. They taught me so much about life!

Gradually I began to figure out that goat tails go up and sheep tails go down. Goats bounce around playing and sheep mill about, noses to the ground looking for food and following the leader. When the animals were brought in for the evening, the male goats would play around, rising on their hind legs, twisting their torso, tilting their head down and butt the other guy who was rising on his hind legs. I don’t know that either ever won but they loved to rise up and butt heads. The old male goat was huge, smelly, huge shouldered, long beard and “stately to behold.”

So how does that apply? As the images passed my mind of those little goats, I thought of our news media now, butting heads with each other, if not about the understanding of the virus then about elections. We watch their antics as each tries to better the other and wonder where truth lies. Sunday we will talk about Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The passage has three big images, voice, gates, and leadership. The little male goats butt heads and play around but the Sheperd speaks with integrity, guards with love, and leads to green pastures. Oooooh, I feel the sermon forming!

Values Clarification, Daniel 1:5-21

April 29, 2020

Study 3 Daniel 1: 5-21 Values Clarification (April 29, 2020)

The Book of Daniel takes place in modern day Iraq, involving a small group of Jewish young men taken captive into exile there. They are not prophets, priests, or kings, just ordinary people like us. They were chosen to be trained in the knowledge of their new home. We have gone through schools, training programs, and contributed to the on going of our secular culture like the young men in the Book of Daniel. Also we navigate society on the basis of beliefs that characterize our lives and hopefully are observable to others. Today Daniel and friends face their first “values clarification” experience, when beliefs clash with the dominant cultural practices.

  1. Before we start, reflect on the setting? What might have been “the rub” for these young men in their new culture because of the transition from Israel to Iraq? _______________________________________________ OK, that might be hard to imagine so let’s ponder where the conflicts are for immigrants coming to the USA? Where is “the rub” when they approach life differently? ______________________________________________ Now reflect on what aspects of the USA culture grates on your nerves? ______________________________________________                     Let’s read our text and see what issue Daniel & Co decided to focus on.

5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. 6 Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. 7 The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.

8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. 9 Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. 10 The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” 14 So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. 16 So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, 19 and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21 And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus.

  1. Daniel &Co chose to focus on dietary regulations of their religion.   You might enjoy reviewing Leviticus 11 that deals the dietary laws for the Jews. Diets are huge fads for us too. Remember Atkins, Keto, Weight Watchers? Face Book continually advertises ways to deal nutritionally with diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and overweight. We have not even entered discussions of food allergies. Food is a huge thing and part of our identity. What diet did Daniel propose? ______________________     What are the advantages of this diet? ______________ Problems _____________
  2. Diets while personal decisions, create implications for the other. How did the steward respond when presented with Daniel’s request? _____ What were his problems with Daniel’s proposal?___________________
  3. Since we meet virtually, let me name a hypothetical issue of our day. Let’s pick swearing, the use of God’s name carelessly, breaking the second commandment. I ask my children not to swear, at least in our house. So let’s think about it. What are some of the reasoning that might support this request? ___________________________________________________ What might be some of the benefits? __________________________ How does this request impact the lives of the other? _________________
  4. When met by the steward’s resistance, Daniel negotiates. He proposes a trial period of 10 days. As you think of the issue that irritates you, pick one and ponder what a trial period might look like. __________________
  5. At the end of the trial period, what marked Daniel’s plan as successful. _________________________                                                             What would mark success of your suggestion? __________________

The Bible mentions now that Daniel also had gifts in interpreting dreams. This will become important later but for now, Daniel got his “toe in the door” with his diet. I note there is no indication that Daniel advised it for the whole court. It seems that Daniel chose to stand up for personal integrity with his religious values. Perhaps “faithfulness in small things” resulted in opportunities for further use of spiritual gifts and resulting opportunities to witness to his faith.

  1. Identify an arena where faithfulness in small details, while perhaps a bit nit-picky in nature, might establish your character and open the door for sharing the faith that is foundational to your life?___________________
  2. Share with a friend about your thoughts and set a period of time when you will pray for each other.


April 29, 2020

Music. Last night I joined a zoom meeting of women discussing the book Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. The “get to know you” challenge was to share some family tradition that has passed into your family. Wow, strong memories rose as I grew up before TV was the constant companion, backyards had no fences, and entertainment was generated from within, perhaps expressing the soul’s delight. Hearing my parents call, “Coffee Girl,” in the morning and I would take a cup of coffee to them as they sat reading together before the day began, laid the foundation for my morning cup of coffee? Evenings spent on the back porch sharing. One woman realized that she knew my oldest son who is sooooo musical and good with kids. I shared of evenings in Kenya without TV or electricity even, sitting in the living room with our five kids and them pulling out their musical instruments and us having a family sing time. Memories bring tears and blessings.

This morning I happened on this YouTube link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SaBhN2idbM , “Evolution of Gospel Music.” I knew all the songs!!! I resonated deeply with the 1969 song, It Only Takes a Spark. That must have deeply impressed me. Today is the 29th and sure enough, Proverbs 29:6 shares, “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.” I pray you can figure out how to play this link. Music that covers 1500 years in 7 minutes! May a song stay in your mind and encourage you today.

Dignified and Expedient

April 28, 2020

One of the fringe benefits of sheltering is that often in the afternoon, my husband and I tune in to see another episode of “The Crown.” My husband is British by birth but adopted into a missionary family at two months so raised in Kenya, married American, but is always fascinated with British history. We are on our second time through the three seasons and nearing the end of Season 1.

Young Elizabeth is being asked by her tutor: “There is expedient and dignified. Which are you?” She thinks and responds. “Dignified.” The Crown is dignified and the government is expedient. A theme seems to be running through the series of how the monarchy must be impartial and so Elizabeth’s various roles as monarch, wife, daughter, mother, and human always have some sort of tension going on. The “dignified” (crown) works best with the “expedient” (government) when each party trusts the others and there is good communication. Winston Churchill, in this episode, has two strokes while his foreign ambassador has gall bladder surgery in Boston before an important meeting with Pres. Eisenhower. The info is withheld from the Queen but, of course, she find out. She must give Churchill a “dressing down” like a good British nanny and she uses the quote, “There is the expedient and the dignified. Government and Monarchy. To work well there must be trust and communication.”

Prov. 28:13 read this morning, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” God is dignified – impartial, representing all sides of humanity at any moment, but also establishes the expedient – the guidelines, laws if you will, that make life work. Churchill stands reprimanded, believing he is still capable of leading Parliament with the Queens “forgiveness.” He backs out and I must run to my computer to read about his life.

Today I ponder our dignified God who is also expedient, above bribery but tasked with making life work for everyone. Whew!   I fear our government is neither dignified nor expedient as we now see with this virus. Hence, the role of confession found in Proverbs establishing perhaps the communication that builds trust. I am so glad our God’s ears are always open and I do not have to file petitions through miles of red tape, that the Holy Spirit interprets my prayers when I do not know what to say, and that forgiveness and mercy are always available. I can start today with hope!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

April 27, 2020

Yesterday I sat in an empty church and prayed for my friends. I went home and as my husband tuned into his home church in Los Angeles to stream the service, I along with 45 others Deaconesses tuned into the installation of a Deaconess friend in Anchorage Alaska! Next I turned to my cell phone and philosophized with my son sheltered in Chicago. My sister in NY State called to chat about her church service and a book we are reading. We finished the evening by watching the movie, Saving Mr. Banks, in which the aunt from Australia arrives in the girls childhood to help deal with the alcoholic father who is Irish?? The girl writes Mary Poppins in London but has to fly to Los Angeles to settle the legal rights for Disney to make the movie Mary Poppins. I feel like from my chair in Indianapolis, I have visited the world. Proverbs 27:8 shares, “Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home.” I ponder if that means that when a bird leaves its nest, it flies over how many different scenes and dramas. If I, a mere human, not a bird, can sit in my living room chair and visit LA, Alaska, Chicago, NY, London and LA again in a span of hours, is it so miraculous that God sees and cares for us in ways that we do not even understand. Easter reassembles the faith in a God that stays in his nest, his geographical or linguistic arena, to a belief in a God who flies and sees and is involved in all our lives. A bit mind boggling. Our God does not sit in his nest governing the world but incarnated, became part of his creation, and his Spirit is present with us now. PTL.

Sunday, April 26, 2020 Third Sunday of Easter: On the Road

April 25, 2020

Prelude: We Have Come Into His House, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiJ0AdA05Ow

God speaks to each of us individually in ways that speak to our souls. Last week the risen Christ said, “touch, feel, experience and believe” to fearful disciples gathered behind locked doors. This week we ponder a different testimony by two followers who saw the risen Christ on Easter enroute to Emmaus.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Welcome to our virtual worship. The Lord be with you.

Confession and Forgiveness

If you were to keep watch over sins, O Lord, who could stand? Yet with you is forgiveness, and so we confess: (I invite you to reflect in the privacy of your home before a time of confession.)

Confession: Gracious God, have mercy on us. We confess that we have turned away from you, knowingly and unknowingly. We have wandered from your resurrection life. We have strayed from your love for all people. Turn us back to you, O God. Give us new hearts and right spirits, that we may find what is pleasing to you and dwell in your house forever. Amen.

Forgiveness: Receive good news: God turns to you in love. “I will put my spirit in you, and you shall live,” says our God. All your sin is forgiven in the name of ☩ Jesus Christ, who is the free and abounding gift of God’s grace for you. Amen.

 Gathering Hymn: Let us sing and focus our hearts and minds on God. That Easter Day with Joy was Bright LBW 384. It can be found on at this internet address: https://www.thetabernaclechoir.org/videos/that-easter-day-with-joy-was-bright.html

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

 The Prayer of the Day: O God, your Son makes himself known to all his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

 Let us join together in an old favorite: When Morning Guilds the Sky ELW 853, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaUxsgkKcAo


Alleluia. Our hearts burn within us* while you open to us the scriptures. Alleluia. (Luke 24:32)

Our first reading is found in Acts 2:14a, 36-41

14aPeter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed [the crowd], 36“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

1I love the Lord, who has heard my voice, and listened my supplication,
2for the Lord has given ear to me whenever I called.
3The cords of death entangled me; the anguish of the grave came upon me; I came to            grief and sorrow.
4Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray you, save my life.” 
12How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things God has done for me?
13I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
14I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people.
15Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your servants.
16O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your handmaid; you           have freed me from my bonds.
17I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the  name of the                   Lord. 
18I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people,
19in the courts of the Lord‘s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah! 

Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-23

17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
22Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

13Now on that same day [when Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene,] two [disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.


I read this on Face Book this week: “THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE:

1) You believe in Santa Claus,

2) You don’t believe in Santa Claus,

3) You are Santa Claus, and finally

4) You look like Santa Claus.”

This little summary of life seems to me to reflect much that is true about our faith in God and is reflected in our Easter testimony today. We could say: that followers of Jesus believed he would be the Messiah and restorer of Israel’s glory, but at the crucifixion their faith was torn apart, they didn’t know what they believed, and then needed to reconstruct faith because of the missing body and eventually became Christ-like in their lives – changing the world.

I would propose that we are going through a very similar social process now as we are caught in a public debate between health experts and economic needs. We trusted medical systems that dealt with illness though we admit sometime in the future we will die. Now we are sheltered, wearing masks and gloves and pondering our source of security. As we look at the statistics, we realize medicine cannot guarantee life and jobs cannot guarantee wealth. The decision to “shelter” in place, more and more places the responsibility of action on us. We are Santa Claus.

Often the story of faith follows a similar trajectory. A person believes until a major problem occurs in their life and Jesus does not ride in on his white charger and rescue them. “I’m spiritual but not religious,” is a polite way of saying, I don’t blindly believe in God, Santa Claus as I did when I was a child. I lead a good life and my decision on good is what is good.

Easter season looks at people whose lives had been turned upside down by the crucifixion and the disappearance of Jesus’s body on Easter morning. We are looking at reports of faith that had to be put back together in the face of major contradictions. Last week our reading from John went from the empty tomb on Easter morning to scared disciples behind locked doors Easter evening. Jesus appears and shows them his hands and side, eats fish with them, breathes the Holy Spirit on them and sends them. These people have a personal encounter with the risen Lord. Faith is recalibrated. These followers become committed believers and in fact die looking much like Jesus, martyred. And somehow, Christianity grows.

This week, our reading goes to Luke and the late afternoon of Easter day, before the closed-door encounter. Two followers of Jesus are walking from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus. They are not characterized by fear or doubt. They are confused and discussing all that has happened. They are trying to sort through their previous faith in Jesus and decide what is going on. Their childlike faith has met the unexplainable and they are in the process of reconstruction. It’s like when kids at school have whisper stories about Santa Claus and confusion results. “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” faith and reality conflict. We don’t understand. Today questions swirl around in the press, creating a similar crisis. How can hospitals be overwhelmed? How does the virus travel? Is my work essential? Am I essential??? Discussion follows. Our two followers today are deep in conversation and do not realize Jesus is walking with them.

During difficult times our vision narrows and our openness to new experiences of God. Again I note that even as the door did not stop Jesus from coming to his disciples, the ignorance of these two people does not stop Jesus from drawing near them. Jesus initiates conversation. Jesus is present but perhaps we do not recognize his presence.

Jesus draws them into a clarification of the situation when he asks, “What things” are going on that you are talking about?” When our vision has narrowed, we must clarify what really about a situation bothers us. Sheltering gives us a chance to clarify our issues. Are we afraid of death? Are we afraid of a future unable to pay bills? Do we have to face that we are not as “essential” as we would like to believe we are? I heard a nice sermon once by Andy Stanley who said, “The problem with running away from problems, is that wherever I go, there I am.” The problem is not the virus but what I believe about life. The problem is not that the body is missing from the tomb but whether these two people are going to believe Jesus is risen. There are so many reports!

Jesus does not say to them, touch and feel, but first lays a foundation for faith by going back to Moses and the scriptures and developing an understanding of reality. I told my children that Santa Claus, real or unreal, is not the problem. Whether I have been good or bad, is not the real issue.

Christmas confronts our understanding of the character of God. The resurrection confronts our understanding of God. Can God enter our real world as a human child, true God and true man? Can God die and live? The wisdom of God confuses our human wisdom. Will I trust God’s Word and believe? Jesus takes these two people back to Scripture and rebuilds their understanding of God.

Santa Claus comes at Christmas and gives gifts, not to reward the good and punish the bad but because of love. We carry on the tradition because of love. Hopefully, gradually we realize a life characterized by love, characterized by our faith in God, and faith gradually transforms us into more Christ-like people. The two men beg Jesus to stay with them and eat. As they commune with Jesus, their eyes are opened and they recognize him. Jesus then disappears. The two continue by faith.

Not everyone has face-to-face encounters with the visible, risen Christ. Some must question, struggle, read Scripture and then commune with Christ. The two followers on the road to Emmaus have grown from believing, to questions, to rehearing and reorganizing understanding, to communing and then they rush back to Jerusalem to share the news, “We have seen and Jesus became known in the breaking of the bread.”

So how does this Easter story impact my life today? How does it apply? Perhaps aspects of my life are being thrown into confusion by “the virus,” by health challenges, by economic challenges, by fears about loved ones, by reorganizing how we do church, or by some other factor. Reflecting on the events is a healthy coping strategy. We need to discuss what the “new normal” might look like. Talking it through with a friend is good practice. We call it the community of faith or believers. Searching Scripture to ponder how God has spoken in the past is excellent spiritual discipline. Our eyes will be opened as we commune with Jesus, at the communion table, in His word, and with his people. May we become known more and more as a “community that looks like Jesus.”

John 20:30, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Hymn of the Day: ELW 389, Christ is Alive! Let Christians Sing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL9ey1TM6No (Here are the words for those who are not that familiar) 

  1. Christ is alive! Let Christians sing. His cross stands empty to the sky. Let streets and homes with praises ring. His love in death shall never die.

    2. Christ is alive! No longer bound to distant years in Palestine, he comes to claim the here and now, and conquer every place and time.

    3. Not throned above, remotely high, untouched, unmoved by human pains
    but daily, in the midst of life, our Saviour, with the Father reigns.

    4. In every insult, rift and war, where color, scorn or wealth divide, he suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives, though ever crucified.

    5. Christ is alive! His Spirit burns through this and every future age, till all creation lives and learns his joy, his justice, love and praise.

The Creed

Let us join our voices virtually by sharing the Maasai (a tribe in Kenya) Version of the Apostles’ Creed.

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the bible, that he would save the world and all the nations and tribes.
We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.
We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Or you can llsten to the Creed in vocal form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuDI-sk2nJU

Prayers of Intercession

Uplifted by the promised hope of healing and resurrection, we join the people of God in all times and places in praying for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

For those whose hearts are fervent with love for your gospel, that they are empowered to tell the story of your love in their lives and to show hospitality in response to this love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

For the diverse natural world: for jungles, prairies, forests, valleys, mountains, and for all the wild and endangered animals who call these spaces home, that they are nurtured and protected. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

For broken systems we have inherited and that we continue to perpetuate, forgive us. Restrain the nations from fighting over limited resources. Redeem us from the cycles of scarcity and violence. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

For all who call upon your healing name, give rest. Stay with us, and walk with all those who are hungry, friendless, despairing, and desiring healing in body and spirit (especially). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

For the faith forming ministries of this church. For those preparing for baptism, first communion, confirmation, and membership (especially). For those who participate in Sunday school and adult education; guide and inspire learners of every age and ability. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

.Create in our hearts a yearning to rest in your promise of eternal and resurrected life. Give us thankful hearts for those who have died, even as we look forward to the hope of new life with you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

With bold confidence in your love, almighty God, we place all for whom we pray into your eternal care; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Peace If you are worship with someone else, turn and share, “The peace of Christ be with you always.” Response, “And also with you.” You might use your finger to mark you children or loved one with a cross on their forehead. If you are practicing social distancing, put your palms together in-front of your chest and open them outward to the other to show your blessing of them. Peace!

Offering Prayer

Merciful God, our ordinary gifts seem small in light of your actions for us, but you make of them an abundance, just as you do with our lives. Feed us again for service in your name, in the strength of the risen Christ. Amen.

Communion: I invite you to talk a little piece of bread and eat it. Christ is as close to you as the bread in your mouth and stomach. Always remember. Now take a sip of your drink. Christ is as close to you as the blood in your body, strengthening you. Always remember.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Life-giving God, you have fed us with your word, and our hearts burn within us. Through this service you have opened us to your presence. Now send us forth to share the gifts of Easter with all in need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


May the One who brought forth Jesus from the dead raise you to new life, fill you with hope, and turn your mourning into dancing. Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever. Amen.


Sending Hymn

Christ the Lord is Risen Today, ELW 389 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFjnlBn0K10


Christ is risen, just as he said. Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!


April 25, 2020

“GREAT TRUTHS THAT ADULTS HAVE LEARNED: 1) Raising teenagers is like nailing Jello to a tree. 2) Wrinkles don’t hurt. 3) Families are like fudge…mostly sweet, with a few nuts. 4) Laughing is a good exercise. It’s like jogging on the inside.” Jello, teenagers and laughter. Yes, I have a memory. My middle school son plopped on the grass on his stomach and looked up at me. “Mom, I have decided when I am in ninth grade, I’m going to kiss a girl.” This was a kid, ready to tackle life, talented and well liked. My heart laughed at his enthusiasm for life. I replied, “Wow, Son, that’s great. Do you want to kiss me, I’m a girl? Do you want to kiss the dog, She’s a girl. Or will any ole girl do?” He of course looked at me and said, “Motherrrrrr” in that tone. I replied, “Just remember, Son, do not act in ways that you are not ready to be responsible for the outcomes of.” Proverbs 25 for today, v. 12 shares, “Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” I’m not sure my son thought of me as wise or like gold but the verse reminds me to reflect on rebukes, perhaps disagreements, to find the word of truth hidden inside. As we now debate loosening restrictions for sheltering and meeting together again, I reflect on this verse. I so want to see friends and be able to share and touch in person without fear, but Lord, help us to be wise and have our ears open. Help us to v.4 “Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith”, be wise as we face the future.

I will post tomorrow’s service later today.


April 24, 2020

“GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT GROWING OLD: 1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. 2) Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician, and 3) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.” These were another section in the email yesterday but they seem to support Proverbs 24:3, 4 “By wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” I like this verse. Aging is mandatory but reflection and learning from our trials is ours. The question floating in conversations now is, what have we learned during this time of sheltering? Similarly, what will the new normal look like? I suppose at one time I might have answered, a cane or a walker. Perhaps in our middle years the marriage dissolved, children graduate, jobs end and we have to reorganize our lives. Easter season is about that reorganizing of faith after the crucifixion. We can get older but are we growing up in our faith? The houses of our lives are built with time but the understanding comes from reflecting with the Lord about our experiences. I think the rare and beautiful treasures in my home are all the wonderful memories He has blessed me with and the fantastic people He has brought into my life that have made me who I am. People like you! Have a blessed day.

Truth from Children

April 23, 2020

Calendar Wisdom on a lighter note. An email is floating around that made me chuckle and think. We have been pondering with Proverbs but here are a couple “truths that little children learned:”

*When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair (do I hear Amen!),

*Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair (my five year daughter and her friend found a pair of scissors and cut her hair straight down the center of her head. To even it out we had to cut the sides short and all the women at the market asked if she was a boy – lesson learned),

*You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk (in fact, “honesty is the best policy” has always seemed truth),

*if your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always Catch the second person (My last mouth washing was playing hide and seek with my sister who was hiding in the closet and squeeled when I found her. When I claimed we were just playing, her squeeling trumped my innocent look as I was “oldest and should know better”),    * but a fitting final wisdom, The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandma’s lap.”

Little truths often reflect great life lessons, even as does Proverbs. Grandma may not be the nicest or even the closest person as I never knew my grandparents but it is for sure true that the best place to be when you’re sad is in the hands of God! Blessings on your day.

Qualifications, Daniel 1:3,4

April 22, 2020

Daniel 1: 3,4 Chosen (April 22, 2020)

Last week we placed the book of Daniel in history and geography. We placed ourselves historically and pondered the historical influences that have formed our lives. This week we will ponder Daniel’s qualifications to be used by God…and ours. Was there anything that made him special?

Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 

Daniel was chosen as one of many young men to be trained.

  1. What were his qualifications. ______________________
  2. Now think about your training, perhaps application for college, perhaps apprenticeship, perhaps enlistment into the armed services? What qualifications did you have?______________________

Daniel was chosen “to serve in the palace.”

  1. What do you imagine that might have meant? _____________
  2. Nobility chosen to serve, what tensions might Daniel have struggled with? ______________________________________
  3. Now reflect on those first years of service in your “career.” My first year of probation hall was a very steep learning curve. I had to find a voice! I jumped out of the frying pan of probation into junior high math teacher with the low achievers!!! If I could have afforded to quit I would have or if I could have found someone to marry me and rescue me, I would have jumped. Lessons learned!   What challenges did you face, or lessons learned? ______________
  4. What helped you persevere? ___________________________
  5. Hmmmm, could immigrants living us, be going through similar challenges? How might we help them? _________________

Daniel was not a priest or theologian but an ordinary person caught in social upheaval, chosen to be trained. Spend time thanking God for times you have been chosen and the challenges and blessings that came with it.