Treasure Valley Prays

Reimagining Church Together
SHARING STORIES AND EXPLORING SPIRITUAL CONNECTION

We are ELCA leaders and pastors from the Treasure Valley
and Northwest Intermountain Synod.

Devotions – Look for Monday and Thursday posts through the end of 2022

little girl waiting at window

How Shall We Wait?

I’ve never been someone who is good at waiting. Actually, I’m a pretty impatient person and often prone to worry. That said, I grew up in Colorado in a family that enjoyed skiing. We skied as much as we could. My mom belonged to a ski club that went up to the mountains twice a week during ski season. She would leave early in the morning and usually return in the early evening and that’s what I expected.

I remember a time when I was in high school, on a ski day for mom, that snow started falling at home in Denver about mid-day. It was one of those storms where it seemed that the sky just opened up like a feather pillow had been ripped in a pillow fight. The snowflakes came down fast and furious.

It didn’t take long for the snow to begin piling up in the streets. Almost always when it was snowing in town it was snowing in the mountains – probably worse. So, already I was beginning to get a little worried. At 5:00 it was dark and the snow was still falling hard. At 6:00 there was no sign of the snow letting up and there was no sign of mom coming home.

The family room and my bedroom were in the basement of the house, but I stayed upstairs waiting – looking out the window – hoping mom would be home soon. 6:00 turned into 6:30 and then 7:00. Still no sign. There were no phone calls (we didn’t have cell phones then), no news to let me know if everything was alright. I was beginning to get frantic. I paced the floor. I sat in front of the window. With every set of headlights that came down the street I hoped it would be mom. I paced the floor some more. Finally, at 7:30 or 8:00 she arrived. Exhausted from a long day, but perfectly fine. I was relieved.

The experience of two or three hours of passive waiting was almost more than I could bear. In the meantime, my homework didn’t get done nor did dinner get prepared – which might have been a nice thing since mom was indeed a couple hours late and neither one of us had eaten. I learned that day, and still continue to learn, that passive waiting can be depressing, immobilizing, and anxiety producing – and it rarely accomplishes much.

As the Church, we have just entered into Advent, a season of waiting and preparing. We wait with Mary and Joseph for the birth of Emmanuel – God with us. At the behest of John the Baptist, we prepare for the arrival of the Messiah through our repentance – our change of heart, a change of direction so that we might become even more Christ-like for our neighbors in our community and the world. At the same time, we wait AND prepare. To me, it implies that our waiting is not passive – like my anxious waiting in front of a window for hours – but rather, active.

About Advent, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Our whole life is advent – that is waiting until the end. Waiting for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all men will be brothers and will rejoice in the angels’ song, ‘peace on earth and good will to men.’ Learn how to wait! For he has promised that he will come: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’. And we call to him, ‘Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus. ”

“Learn how to wait.” How will we make our waiting active, faithful, fruitful, life changing in Jesus’ name for the sake of the world?

active waiting
passive waiting

Read More »
Grateful open hands

With a Grateful Heart

Tis the season to focus on gratitude and giving thanks. Much has been written about both and each are magnified in the month of November. I would be curious to see a study about how often the word gratitude is used in given year. I am sure its use is doubled, if not tripled, in

Read More »
stained glass of St Matthew

Getting Ready to Listen to Matthew’s Gospel…

A Four-part Study on Matthew Presented in two-2 hour Zoom sessions Advent begins November 27 and that means we’ll be hearing a new gospel read on Sundays in our worship services.  If your church uses the Revised Common Lectionary, 39 out of the next 52 Sundays will feature a reading from Matthew’s Gospel This is a four-part

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Communal Gratitude

Nov. 12, I attended a Boise Philharmonic concert at the Morrison Center for the first time in a long time. A friend of mine who teaches piano lessons and accompanies at a local church really wanted to attend the concert because of the guest pianist: Fei Fei. We ended up going early to hear the

Read More »

Christ the King Sunday  

November 20, 2022 Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 46 (10) Colossians 1:11-20 Luke 23:33-43 We are arriving at the end of the church liturgical year. What follows is the beginning of Advent and the start of the next year. I wish to look at the person we call Jesus and the people who call him king. In

Read More »
a diverse group taking a selfie

Working on Self-Acceptance

“What are humans that you are mindful of them,mortals that you care for them?Yet you have made them a little lower than Godand crowned them with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-5). Can we talk about . . . body image? One of my goals this year was to become more accepting of people who are

Read More »
Crowds in city

Belonging to Each Other

I enjoyed Halloween this year. I started the evening with a large supply of candy, and ended it with an empty bowl. I ran out of candy just before the trick-or-treaters stopped coming, and had to pass out small bags of chips to the last few children. It was actually exciting to run out of

Read More »
raised hands

A Look at All Saints

We are now late in the church year and are rapidly moving toward Advent. It seems that by late October and all of November we cannot fit in all the last of the special days, feast days and loose ends of the larger church calendar before we begin anew with Advent. We have two celebrations

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TV Cluster Connections Header

Treasure Valley Cluster Connections – November

Welcome to our latest edition of Treasure Valley Connections. We are welcoming readers from the Upper Snake Cluster this quarter. We are pleased to include a submission on Community Asset Mapping. That piece, the Listening with the Ear of My Heart Workshop, and this newsletter are all fruits of our cluster work with consultant Alicia Griffith.

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“Holy” Citizenship?!

“When (the Roman soldiers) had tied him up with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who is uncondemned?” (Acts 22:25) The verse above is part of today’s reading (Acts 22:22-23:11) from the Daily Lectionary (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 1150). The reading

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man going up staircase into sky

What Do You Believe?

Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”(Mark 9:24) Today is Halloween. What does that mean to you? Halloween began as Samhain, first observed by Celtic Pagans. It marked their New Year, the end of summer, and the end of the harvest season. It also signaled the beginning of winter,

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man sitting on grass at prayer

When All Else Fails, Listen

If you’ve been following along with the lectionary, you might be aware that a major theme of our recent gospel lessons has been prayer. It’s been a great opportunity to talk with our kids in the children’s message about the ways we pray and what happens when we pray. Far too often, we think of

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water pitcher

A Gift of Being a Vessel

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master at the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.(John 2:7-9a) We often

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Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Having grown up in the Midwest and lived most of my adult life on the East Coast, much of the Mountain West landscape was unknown to me until a few years ago. Yes, I had traveled along the Pacific Coast and throughout much of the Southwest, but I had not been to the “must see”

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stormy sky in distance

Do Not Be Afraid

The LORD himself goes before youand will be with you;He will never leave you nor forsake you.Do NOT be afraid;do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV) Fear is paralyzing. Anyone who has lived into young adulthood and beyond has a story to tell about fear. Perhaps it was a simple fear of some seemingly easy

Read More »
little girl waiting at window

How Shall We Wait?

I’ve never been someone who is good at waiting. Actually, I’m a pretty impatient person and often prone to worry. That said, I grew up in Colorado in a family that enjoyed skiing. We skied as much as we could. My mom belonged to a ski club that went up to the mountains twice a week during ski season. She would leave early in the morning and usually return in the early evening and that’s what I expected.

I remember a time when I was in high school, on a ski day for mom, that snow started falling at home in Denver about mid-day. It was one of those storms where it seemed that the sky just opened up like a feather pillow had been ripped in a pillow fight. The snowflakes came down fast and furious.

It didn’t take long for the snow to begin piling up in the streets. Almost always when it was snowing in town it was snowing in the mountains – probably worse. So, already I was beginning to get a little worried. At 5:00 it was dark and the snow was still falling hard. At 6:00 there was no sign of the snow letting up and there was no sign of mom coming home.

The family room and my bedroom were in the basement of the house, but I stayed upstairs waiting – looking out the window – hoping mom would be home soon. 6:00 turned into 6:30 and then 7:00. Still no sign. There were no phone calls (we didn’t have cell phones then), no news to let me know if everything was alright. I was beginning to get frantic. I paced the floor. I sat in front of the window. With every set of headlights that came down the street I hoped it would be mom. I paced the floor some more. Finally, at 7:30 or 8:00 she arrived. Exhausted from a long day, but perfectly fine. I was relieved.

The experience of two or three hours of passive waiting was almost more than I could bear. In the meantime, my homework didn’t get done nor did dinner get prepared – which might have been a nice thing since mom was indeed a couple hours late and neither one of us had eaten. I learned that day, and still continue to learn, that passive waiting can be depressing, immobilizing, and anxiety producing – and it rarely accomplishes much.

As the Church, we have just entered into Advent, a season of waiting and preparing. We wait with Mary and Joseph for the birth of Emmanuel – God with us. At the behest of John the Baptist, we prepare for the arrival of the Messiah through our repentance – our change of heart, a change of direction so that we might become even more Christ-like for our neighbors in our community and the world. At the same time, we wait AND prepare. To me, it implies that our waiting is not passive – like my anxious waiting in front of a window for hours – but rather, active.

About Advent, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Our whole life is advent – that is waiting until the end. Waiting for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all men will be brothers and will rejoice in the angels’ song, ‘peace on earth and good will to men.’ Learn how to wait! For he has promised that he will come: ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’. And we call to him, ‘Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus. ”

“Learn how to wait.” How will we make our waiting active, faithful, fruitful, life changing in Jesus’ name for the sake of the world?

active waiting
passive waiting

Read More »
Grateful open hands

With a Grateful Heart

Tis the season to focus on gratitude and giving thanks. Much has been written about both and each are magnified in the month of November.

Read More »

Communal Gratitude

Nov. 12, I attended a Boise Philharmonic concert at the Morrison Center for the first time in a long time. A friend of mine who

Read More »

Christ the King Sunday  

November 20, 2022 Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 46 (10) Colossians 1:11-20 Luke 23:33-43 We are arriving at the end of the church liturgical year. What follows

Read More »
a diverse group taking a selfie

Working on Self-Acceptance

“What are humans that you are mindful of them,mortals that you care for them?Yet you have made them a little lower than Godand crowned them

Read More »
Crowds in city

Belonging to Each Other

I enjoyed Halloween this year. I started the evening with a large supply of candy, and ended it with an empty bowl. I ran out

Read More »
raised hands

A Look at All Saints

We are now late in the church year and are rapidly moving toward Advent. It seems that by late October and all of November we

Read More »

“Holy” Citizenship?!

“When (the Roman soldiers) had tied him up with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it legal for you to

Read More »