You’re Invited

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 I’ve had a few conversations lately where people have lifted up the silver linings that the shutdown has offered. Some have experienced more time to evaluate their…

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A Community of Loved Ones

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14We have heard much conversation during the last year about what we all have lost during the pandemic.  Some have described it in terms of losing a year of their lives! For others it may actually be in terms of…

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God’s Best Work

One of my heroes—both in writing and for her spiritual wisdom— is a woman by the name of Pat Schneider. Recently I wrote a profile about Pat for the online magazine Literary Mama. During this past week of Lent we were looking at what it means to be in community with people on the margins. Pat Schneider knew something about being on the margins. She grew up desperately poor and spent part of her childhood in an orphanage. If it weren’t for a few…

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Being a neighbor

This past year has taught us a lot about how to be in community with those around us in new and different ways. And at times it has shown us some examples of how complicated and difficult it can be to be in community with other people. A year ago when the world as we knew it changed around us due to the pandemic, my job at Shepherd of the Valley shifted a bit in its focus. Working as a youth director my…

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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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Nothing Left to Give.

We are quickly closing in on a year since the world as we knew it changed out from under us due to a global pandemic. Throughout this year we have ridden the ups and downs of ever changing recommendations and restrictions to how we live our daily lives and how we interact with others. We have lived the ups and downs of mental and emotional exhaustion brought by living through a pandemic. Finding many moments when we feel like we have nothing left…

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Called to Community

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. In our Lenten services and readings we are going to be hearing about community—how we are called not only to be in communion with God, but to live in community with each other and with all of creation.When I was in graduate school I took a course on political theory. I remember studying two opposing schools of thought. One, called communitarianism, held that the well-being of a community should be a higher priority than the…

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Sanctuary…

Being quarantine buddies and spending time at home with Tigress (my cat) I was able to observe her migration around my apartment throughout the day from sunny spot to sunny spot as the sun shifted its location through the day. And as the seasons changed these spots where the sun came in changed and so did her sleeping spots. In a conversation with my spiritual director I reflected on this. We talked about how God shows up in different ways in different seasons,…

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Living in Community is Hard Work

“Peace is not when everyone agrees. It is when we can respect our disagreements and still play in the sandbox together.” Unknown Tweet My neighborhood loves fireworks. The 4th of July fireworks start several days before the 4th, and last until several days after the 4th. The 4th of July in 2020 was especially noisy with fireworks lasting several hours. New Year’s Eve 2020 fireworks started well before midnight and lasted until 2 am. When we walked through our neighborhood on New Year’s…

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Created to be in Community

Community is something that has been hard throughout this time of pandemic and social distancing. But the ways community has still shown up in and through all of this is a testament to the fact that we are beings created in and for community. As Genesis 1:26 says “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’” We are created in the image of God, and God is the community of the Trinity; God, Christ, and Holy Spirit.…

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Make My Joy Complete

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was…

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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 American City Desmond’s book came out in 2016, about a year after Trinity New Hope, Inc. (TNH) was started, long before masks took on new importance. TNH is…

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Nurtured in Faith

It was 38 years ago on September 5, 1982 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Endicott, Washington that I was ordained into a ministry of Word and Sacrament. It’s been a long, joyous and sometimes strange journey that has taken me throughout the United States to be a pastor, a shepherd of the flock as they say. When this day rolls around each year my thoughts are taken back to that tiny community, population under 400, my thoughts go back to the people of…

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Wilderness

What do you think of when you hear the word wilderness? For most people they probably think of a location or a place that they have been that may seem isolated or away from “civilization.” A place in the middle of a forest, up a mountain, or maybe even in the middle of the desert. In the United States we even have the National Wilderness Preservation System that helps preserve some of these places from our world of land development. But there is…

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Unconsolable Grief

“O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure. You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves. Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:4-7We have entered a time of grief like none other in my lifetime. And my life has been filled with grief…

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Hope Wins

The world seems chaotic lately. Filled with problems that I have no solutions for. There is a lot of grief being held by our community: for lives lost, for justice denied, for the felt loss of agency and certainty, loss of income and stability, for the loss of physical gathering and fellowship. Yet we do not grieve as those without hope. So I invite you to join me in remembering the story of our hope: Before anything that humanity knows ever came to…

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Our New Vocabulary

Words that we did not use just a little while ago are now common in our conversations. Pandemic is now a part of our daily lives. Some other new words are: Covid-19, Corona Virus, Shelter in Place, and Flatten the Curve. We’ve come to use these words frequently, whether we want to or not. We are growing in our understanding of this new vocabulary, as we grow into our understanding of how all of these words and phrases affect our daily routines. Using…

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All Abuzz!

The world feels like it’s filled with scary things right now. (Now, not only is there a virus to be extra concerned about but there’s something called “Murder Hornets” that have been found in the Pacific Northwest!)This morning I spent some time with camera in hand watching the honeybees visit the dandelions around me. (Yes, I need to mow, but I like to think of it as helping the honeybees!)As I watched them go from flower to flower gathering nectar to take back…

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From Where Shall My Hope Come?

“Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” Luke 24:29 The Gospel for today is one of the most dramatic of all the incredible stories of the resurrection of Jesus, albeit they are all dramatic. This is the story of the encounter of Jesus with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. For reasons not identified they don’t recognize him. He asks a series of questions to draw the story out. As they reach…

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Marking Time

“How might our experience of time change if we could learn to receive time as a gift from God? How might this open us up to live more fully?”  Dorothy Bass, Receiving the Day One of my favorite TV shows is When Calls the Heart on the Hallmark Channel.  It is about a schoolteacher Elizabeth  Thornton in the small town of Hope Valley in the early 1900s.  Elizabeth rings the bell to start and end the school day.  She also rings the bell to signal the end of…

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