Grateful for Labor Movement

“Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” (James 5:4) I recently watched the 2004 BBC mini-series “North & South”. This was set in a mill town in the north of England around 1850; it follows the clash of values between a clergyman’s daughter from the rural south of England and the owner of a cotton mill. The…

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Seek Silence

In his book Money Enough, author Douglas Hicks references 1 Kings 19, the familiar story of the prophet Elijah, harassed by Queen Jezebel and her thugs, who flees to the wilderness wanting to give up and die. While there he is visited by an angel who gives him food and water. The angel sends him on a 40 day/40 night journey to Mt Horeb, where he sleeps in a cave. When awakened, he is honest with God about his feelings, his exhaustion, and…

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“I-Thou” OR “I-It”

" Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, in his book Love is the Way, borrowed from Martin Buber as he talked about two kinds of relationships. First are the “I – Thou” relationships … ones where you think of and experience others as treasured, loved, respected, cherished. Second are the “I – It” relationships … where others are experienced as separate and different, allowing you to disdain, dismiss, objectify and use them. Bishop Curry doesn’t provide a third option. There is…

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ἀλλήλων

The writers of the New Testament described living our spiritual lives in community, a place where people gather and the Holy Spirit enables them to nourish each other’s faith. There are 94 verses in the New Testament, over half from St Paul, using the word ἀλλήλων. (I found this factoid on the internet; there may be a few more or a few less verses, but you get the point. It is used a lot!) This single word in Greek translates into English as…

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Chunks of Wood

“Do not judge or you will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own…

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Traditional – Typical – Expected

My family pattern has been to have one set of local grandparents and one set of distant grandparents. My local grandparents had a powerful impact on my life, as did my dad’s live-in grandfather and my children’s Nampa grandparents. Relationships with our remote grandparents developed through letters, gift parcels in the mail, and rare visits – important but less robust. Having deep relationships with those I love most is a priority to me. I did not want to be a remote grandparent! I…

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Plus

The sign says “Ashes on the Go”. There is snow on the lawn. The sun is shining. The thermometer says 38 degrees, but it feels more like 30, thanks to the wind. Four people gather on the bare parking lot. Three wear white robes, two with purple stoles.People arrive in cars. Some park, get out of their cars, and walk over to those in white robes. Others roll down their windows and stay in their cars. Words are exchanged. “What is your name?”…

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Created for Community…With Creation

All things of creation are children of the Father and thus brothers of man. Francis of Assisi As we walk the Lenten path together, at our shared worship on February 24th we are asked to ponder this concept: God created us to be in community with God’s creation. Here, as in other contexts, the word community indicates relationship.What term would you use to describe your relationship with creation? Do you consider yourself a “lord of the earth”? A “steward of creation”? A “profiteer”?…

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Choosing Calm

Trinity is committed to the principles of “year-round stewardship”. At our January meeting, the Stewardship team selected monthly themes for 2021. Some months fell into place quite easily. March would be Stewardship of Our Building, with the annual pre-Easter church Spring Cleaning/Work Day. May would be Stewardship Benefiting People Around the World, coinciding with our ELCA God’s Global Barnyard fundraising campaign. June would be Stewardship of Time and Talents, in preparation for resuming in-person worship in the sanctuary (hopefully) this fall. Our most…

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Faith Without Works Is…

I’m a “cradle Lutheran”. During the 1950s-60s, I attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and (by my calculations) about 200 hours of Confirmation Class (two hours each Saturday morning for the three years of Junior High). We memorized many Bible verses, the Ten Commandments, The Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer and Martin Luther’s explanations – all very important. We did a LOT of memorization – this is most certainly true! By the time I was confirmed, I felt I had been exposed to…

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Star Words

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me.” Psalm 25:5In January 2018, Trinity Lutheran began our annual Epiphany practice known as “star words”. Here is how it works: Hundreds of stars, each with a different word, are cut out and placed word-side-down in a basket or on a table. After Holy Communion, each person randomly selects a star, no peeking allowed. We don’t choose our word; our word chooses us. We ponder these words during the year, asking God what He’d like us…

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Waiting for……..

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon...There was also a prophetess, Anna...” Luke 2:25 – 38My childhood memories of Christmas include a lot of waiting. Of course, there was waiting for the time when I could open my presents and, waiting for everyone else to finish opening their presents so I could start playing with my new toys. As I got older, there was waiting to watch others as they opened the gifts I had prepared for them. There was waiting…

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Think About Such Things

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the LORD in this way, dear friends! I plead with Euodia, and I plead with Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the LORD. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book…

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Feedback and Encouragement

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)“…..Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)Oh, how we thrive when we get positive feedback. Someone says, “Good job.” Or she flashes you a smile that lights up her whole face, even making the corners of her eyes crinkle. Or he leans in toward you, nodding his head. Or gives…

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“Life Happens…”

Had he lived past the age of 40, John Lennon would have turned 80 this Friday. His lyrics had a huge influence on my generation. I have been thinking about one in particular this year, from the song for his son Sean called “Beautiful Boy”……. “Life happens when you are busy making other plans.”I love to travel, and since I am a planner by nature, this gives me three times the travel pleasure: 1) during the planning and research; 2) during the actual…

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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. We asked how the pandemic had impacted those ministries. Please watch this short interview with Paulette Blaseg and Sheila Anderson of Trinity Community Garden, Inc. https://youtu.be/FURdPYGpSQM The words…

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Expectations

My parents were intentional when they named me “Penelope.” They voiced the expectation that I would live up to the name’s various meanings. Many of you are familiar with the Greek myth about Penelope, the loyal wife of Odysseus. She stayed home for 20 years while he fought in the Trojan War and traveled the world. In his absence, suitors arrived and tried to convince her that Odysseus was dead – and that she should get remarried to one of them. She kept…

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What Sign Do They See

My British cousin spent ten days visiting me in August of 2017. It’s always fascinating to have foreign houseguests. They notice things that I take for granted, and they pose questions that I might never have thought of. She was curious about the way we in Idaho use flags, signs and bumper stickers to communicate things about ourselves.Take for example my Green Bay Packers decal. While European football is not the same as American football, devotion to a favorite team is something she…

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REJOICE! (are you serious?!)

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24March 10, 2020, was the last time I attended an activity in a group of over 15 people. That’s over four months ago, but some days it feels like it’s been years. My life has rearranged itself into cooking, yard work, reading, sewing face masks, and Zoom meetings. Each day seems much like the last. And, as a person in an “at risk” category, I know…

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