Treasure Valley Prays

Reimagining Church Together

We are ELCA leaders and pastors from the Treasure Valley
and Northwest Intermountain Synod.
Together, we are reimagining and revisiting what it is to be
church together with daily devotions.

new plant in desert

The In Between

As a child, I never really understood why scripture makes God’s people seem so discontented in the desert. They are freed from slavery in Egypt, provided with food and water by miraculous means, receive the ten commandments, and they get to see the active presence of God in the pillar of cloud by day and

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scrabble letters spelling friends

Friends

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 Jesus said, … “I have called you friends…” John 15:15 The landowner replied, “Friend…” Matthew 20:13 One of the realities of the pandemic is that many of us have not been able to see our friends in person as much as we usually see them. We have

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Rev. Paul Olsen

Thank an Unfair God

In Matthew 20, Jesus tells a parable:
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them out into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” (see video)

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hame altar items

On the Road

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.” (Psalm 86:  11-12) We took long road trips during my childhood years. We drove every summer to Minnesota for an

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driving through giant redwood

Trusting God

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;

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vote

Fulfilling our Vocation

A couple weeks ago we observed Labor Day, a time to reflect on our vocation. Typically, the meaning of that word is synonymous with employment, career, or occupation. Yet Martin Luther had a much more expansive view of vocation. Our primary vocation as Christians is to love and serve our neighbor and the world that

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tomatoes in garden

Messages from Agriculture

Living in Idaho, we can relate to Jesus’ agricultural parables – the sower and the seeds, the workers in the vineyard, the wheat and the weeds. The farming and gardening process holds lessons we can apply to other kingdom ministries. For example, I recently helped conduct interviews with the ministry partners of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa.

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bedraggled bird

Our Unfailing Refuge

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. Psalm 57:1 “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm

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boat facing storm

Transformation in the Suffering

“A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:37-38 I’m afraid I am approaching “overwhelmed” at this point.

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poem

This Daily Bread

One of my favorite artists to connect with on social media is Lori Hetteen, a Minneapolis-based self-described “haikuish” poet. She is witty and gentle in the same breath, and her work usually makes me pause. However, the other day, her work stopped me in my scroll and a single sentence lead me straight to a

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Fire and Smoke

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141: 2 Almost all the evening prayers service I’ve either led or attended have included this verse. Some churches have even gone so far as to actually burn it as the service was unfolding.

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New Hope Housing

Affordable Housing – Through the Pandemic

“The home is the center of life. It is a refuge from the grind of work, the pressure of school, and the menace of the streets. We say that at home, we can ‘be ourselves.’ Everywhere else, we are someone else. At home, we remove our masks.” Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the

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missing person and two vials of ashes

Two Vials of Ashes

It’s been 19 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center (September 11, 2001) and 40 years since Mount St. Helens erupted (May 18, 1980).  Pictured are two vials of ash—one from each event, along with a missing person flyer given to me by the family of Tonyell McDay, who perished in the explosion

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prayer to be right with God

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Last summer I spent a month with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude’s Monastery in Cottonwood, Idaho. The nuns had granted me an artist residency: a whole month to work on a manuscript I was writing and read and engage in what they called “holy leisure.”  It was one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever

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Sawtooth mountains and desert

Deserts and Mountains

In October of 2019, my husband and I moved to Meridian, Idaho, from Alexandria, Virginia, where we had lived for over 31 years. Due to family living here, we were already quite familiar with the area – we knew where grocery and home improvement stores were located. We had been to Boise State football and

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new plant in desert

The In Between

As a child, I never really understood why scripture makes God’s people seem so discontented in the desert. They are freed from slavery in Egypt,

Read More »
scrabble letters spelling friends

Friends

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 Jesus said, … “I have called you friends…” John 15:15 The landowner replied, “Friend…” Matthew 20:13 One

Read More »
Rev. Paul Olsen

Thank an Unfair God

In Matthew 20, Jesus tells a parable:
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them out into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” (see video)

Read More »
hame altar items

On the Road

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.  I give thanks

Read More »
driving through giant redwood

Trusting God

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. O give thanks to the God of gods, for

Read More »
vote

Fulfilling our Vocation

A couple weeks ago we observed Labor Day, a time to reflect on our vocation. Typically, the meaning of that word is synonymous with employment,

Read More »
tomatoes in garden

Messages from Agriculture

Living in Idaho, we can relate to Jesus’ agricultural parables – the sower and the seeds, the workers in the vineyard, the wheat and the

Read More »
bedraggled bird

Our Unfailing Refuge

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will

Read More »
poem

This Daily Bread

One of my favorite artists to connect with on social media is Lori Hetteen, a Minneapolis-based self-described “haikuish” poet. She is witty and gentle in

Read More »