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Letters from Pastor

Pastor Jocelyn Carson writes a monthly letter to the members and friends of Trinity.  Please read her letters, and feel free to comment.
Publish Date: January 30, 2013  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

February Letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,

In the face of great need and remembering the command of Jesus to “love our neighbors”, many of us often wish that we could do more for those who are hungry or homeless.  Thanks to our able administrator, Christa Johnson, we have some great news about how our gifts can go further!

Trinity Lutheran Church receives $5,000 Economic Outreach Bridge Grant. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation grant aids efforts to support basic needs in community:   “Difficult economic conditions and high unemployment rates have caused many Americans to seek support for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter from local nonprofits,” said Kathy Larson, grants program manager for the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation. “This grant program is   designed to help effective organizations maintain their financial stability in the face of increased demand on their resources.”
 
The funding was awarded to Trinity based on our effectiveness in addressing basic needs of the local community such as food, clothing or shelter through the Trinity Aid Bank (TAB).  Our staff persons are good stewards of the gifts you give and they are   compassionate listeners to those in need.  They are creative and kind as they seek to help in a wide variety of situations. 
 
In order to make the best use of the gifts you give, we have also elected to participate in a complementary challenge grant program sponsored by the Foundation. For every dollar given by donors by Mar. 31, 2013, the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation will provide an additional 50 cents—up to $5,000—in support of the our TAB ministry.  Thank you in advance for your support of this life-changing ministry! This is a great time to invite friends or family to join us in giving gifts during this “matching opportunity”.  Gifts of any size can be brought or sent to Trinity Lutheran Church, Attn. TAB, 2324 Lombard Avenue, Everett, WA 98201 or gifts can be given through PayPal on our website.
 
Jesus says, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was   homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.”  Matthew 25:34-36
 
Living hopefully in God’s kingdom, Pastor Jocelyn
 


 



Publish Date: December 4, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

December Letter

Dear Friends,

What are you waiting for?  In other words what are your dreams and hopes for this coming Advent and Christmas season?  For some of our neighbors the dream is so simple—that a space in one of Everett’s crowded and busy shelters would open up for them.  For some it is that the rent will be paid this month so that their children can have a bit of stability for a while.  For the families we adopt this year, dreams of warm coats and mittens, toys and the makings of a delicious Christmas dinner will come true.

Our God of love and mercy has this amazing dream that all the world will be fed, housed, and clothed.  We at Trinity have multiple opportunities to take part in making God’s dream a reality.  We remember that when Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem there was not room in the inn.  We remember that when King Herod threatened the lives of small boys, Joseph, Mary and Jesus became refugees from his anger.  We sometimes despair at the poverty and hatred in which the world exists—we can do our part in making the world a more welcome place for the homeless, for the hungry, for those who mourn, for those who have lost even their hope to dream.

Jesus Christ is the hope for our troubled world.  He came into the world as a tiny, helpless baby during a time of fear, poverty, disease, political oppression and he brought the power of God’s love into the human condition.  In spite of war, famine, droughts, and floods, God still loves the world!  God still loves you!

This Advent, we have two very special opportunities to hear God’s Word and some beautiful music.  Our children present the Christmas story on December 16 and remind us that it would not be Christmas without Jesus.  Then on December 23, our Choir and Bells present Joy Has Dawned.  This year the choir will once more sing the Advent song I sing all year long—Hear that glorious song in the distance. . . Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming, prepare the way!*  

What are you waiting for?  What are you hoping for?  Come Lord Jesus, enter into our lives and love us, comfort us, challenge us to be part of God’s dreams for the world, Amen.

Expectantly,
Pastor Jocelyn

*Advent Celebration, words and music by Jon Paige
 


 



Publish Date: November 5, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

November letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,
 
“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”  - 2 Cor. 9:8
 
Saint Paul wrote these words to the Corinthian church long ago and we still live in God’s gracious abundance today!  November is the month that we traditionally take time to give thanks for the abundant gifts that we have been given by God.  Giving thanks for God’s providential care of creation provides a strong connection for us to the farms and gardens that provide our daily food.  For those of us who live in cities or suburbs and shop in grocery stores or eat in restaurants giving thanks reminds us that our food comes from the gracious hand of God.
 
Thank you so much dear people of Trinity for the gifts of food that were blessed on Reformation Day!  Your gracious sharing means abundance for our Trinity Aid Bank and those who come to receive food from us.  Your generous giving is a wonderful example of each of us bringing what we can and together having enough.  God is good!  We will continue to bless your gifts of food and the sack lunches each 4th Sunday of the month.  
 
On Sunday, November 18th we gather to give thanks and to share God’s blessings with others in three specific ways.  On this Thanksgiving Sunday we will bring gifts of food and money for the Everett Gospel Mission in support of their Thanksgiving meal which provides a table of welcome for many in our community.  Women are invited to bring their Thankoffering gifts for Women of the ELCA projects, including scholarships and missions.  We will bring our stewardship giving cards which include our plans for financial gifts and our gifts of service to Trinity.
 
I was recently asked this question: “What is the biggest obstacle to trusting in God?”  For some of us it is uncertainty about our futures.  Trusting in God’s abundant care is the best antidote to our worry about the future.  In 1 Peter 5:7 we read: “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”  Our daily gratitude for God’s goodness is the best way we can grow in faith and trust in God.  We can make every day Thanksgiving Day!
 
Thankfully,
Pastor Jocelyn




 



Publish Date: October 1, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

October letter from the Pastor

Dear Friends,
 
During worship on Sunday mornings in September we have heard from the book of James.  We have heard words of wisdom about how to live with both active faith and consistent love.  James addresses Christian communities on welcoming one another without partiality, the proper use of speech, and expressing our faith in God’s mercy through our care of one another.  The book of James begins with Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and expands it into wisdom for daily life.  We are encouraged not to just talk about our faith, but to live it.
 
Here at Trinity one of the ways we live our faith is through our support of the Trinity Aid Bank which provides help for our neighbors.  Because of your generosity we can provide emergency help with food, bus tickets, rental assistance, or a night at a motel.  Our staff also provides a listening ear and referrals for long term assistance.  The needs of people   are huge and we are just one part of the support system of our community. 
 
By the end of September we have helped as many people in 2012 as we helped all year in 2011.  In order to better support each other in this faith work, we are going to begin blessing the food brought for the Food Bank on the 4th Sunday of every month.  This is the day that our Sunday School leads us in making sack lunches for Central Lutheran’s Parking Lot Dinner and for our Food Bank.  Our prayers that day will include those who receive these gifts.  On the 3rd   Sunday of the month we will give out lists of what is currently most needed in the Food Bank so we can shop wisely.
 
On October 21 we will join churches across the country in celebrating “Bread for the World” Sunday when we will remember the hungry in our country and around the world   in our prayers.  The book of James reminds us: “What good is it my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?  Can faith save you?  If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?  So faith   by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” (NRSV)
 
As a community that follows Jesus, we celebrate our faith in God who is gracious and   merciful; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  We rejoice in God’s grace and the blessings of peace and hope we receive through our faith.  We also give thanks for the opportunities we have to share God’s love with others.  Thank you for your gifts thus far this year that have given nourishment, encouragement and hope to over 350 households.
 
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed.  Blessed be God, who is our Bread; may all the world be clothed and fed. Amen.
 
Pastor Jocelyn



 



Publish Date: August 30, 2012  ::  Author: Christa Johnson

Pastor, I have a question?

Dear Friends, One of the joys of being your pastor is hearing you say, “Pastor I have a question?”
 
Sometimes your questions are clarifying something from the sermon or they touch on Biblical or theological concerns.  Other times you bring your personal concerns about life.  Whatever the question I am always happy to sit down with you to figure out an answer together with you.  I do not have all the answers but I am happy to think with you about even the unanswerable questions such as “Why is there evil in the world?”
 
In September and October we will have a series of classes.  For some people these classes will answer their questions as they consider becoming a member here at Trinity.  But everyone is welcome to come and bring their questions and share in the fun!  We will consider some big topics such as how Lutherans understand the Word of God, how the Ten Commandments and the Creeds are important in our daily lives, a bit of history about Trinity Lutheran, and how your talents and interests can be part of ministry in this faith community.  Obviously we will discuss the questions you bring, too!  The classes will be held after worship in the Koinonia Room on September 23, October 7, 14, and 21.  We will welcome new members on Sunday, October 28th.

I welcome your questions after worship on Sunday mornings or in my office during the week.  You can make an appointment via e-mail or by calling or you can just drop by.  If you can not come into the office I am happy to meet you for a cup of coffee or I will drop by your home.  You are also welcome to join in one of the weekly Bible Studies at any time.  Some of our Wednesday students have been meeting on Wednesday morning for a long time—but they are happy to welcome new questioners to the mix.  We meet at 10:45 on Wednesday morning in the Sojourner’s Room.  The Monday evening group meets at my home from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. (You can call the church office for directions.) Questioners are always welcome!   Jesus often taught because someone asked a good question.  “How many times should I forgive someone?”  “Who is my neighbor?”  “Is it okay to pay taxes to the government?”  “Will my dog go to heaven?”  Oh wait, Jesus did not answer that one—but we can have a great time talking it out together!  Jesus invited questions and so do we here at Trinity!
 
Thanks be to God for his unending mercy and grace and for all the questions that we ask!
Pastor Jocelyn
 


 



Publish Date: July 7, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Welcome!

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. —-Romans 15:7

On Sunday mornings at Trinity Lutheran Church we have a number of opportunities to say a word of welcome and peace to one another.  We share the Peace of the Lord as we greet those whom we know and those whom we are meeting for the first time.  Sometimes the peace turns into a brief conversation as we share important information and maybe a laugh with one another.

We also greet people before and after worship and these times of welcome go a long way in helping those new to Trinity feel at home.  Hospitality is something we do really well!  Whether it is the friendly greeters and ushers or the amazing hostesses and hosts during coffee hour, you welcoming people do a great job! Thank you for your welcoming spirits, your bravery in greeting strangers, your helpfulness to those with a special need.  You make Trinity a warm, friendly place to encounter the Word of God.

I especially want to thank those of you who take turns as coffee hostesses and hosts! 

Actually that title is a bit misleading. You provide much more than “coffee”!  There is always tea, juice and ice water in addition to the “Fair Trade” coffee and a warm smile.  The choices of things to eat vary from week to week but they are always delicious!  The treats usually include items that are gluten and/or peanut free and there are always cheese and crackers provided by the hostesses and the hosts!  Thank you women and men of Trinity who do this fabulous service for the rest of us! 

Would you like to help with this welcoming ministry?  You do not have to be able to bake—maybe you could be the one to bring the cheese and crackers—and purchased items are very acceptable!  There are directions posted for making Lutheran World Relief Coffee and John Martin is always willing to help with set up and clean up.  Thank you John!!!  Some of those who serve as hostesses or hosts have indicated that they prefer to have someone else serve with them.  This is a great way for two people to pair up and share the work and the fun.  If you would like to volunteer to be half of a team, please call Gina in the office (425-252-1239) and she will pair you with an experienced person. 

All of us are part of this hospitable welcome!  Whether we are servers or partakers, our kindness and listening ear can be just what someone else needs that day.  I hope that all those who enter our doors can find the welcome expressed in the choir song, My Shepherd Will Supply My Need* sung in our June 10th concert: No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home. 

Welcome home all who enter through these doors!  May you be refreshed and ready to take Christ’s welcome with you all week long! 

Pastor Jocelyn

*Lyrics from Psalm 23, paraphrased by Isaac Watts



 



Publish Date: May 30, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

To Dubai and Back

To Dubai and Back. . . .

In late April I flew to the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a lovely place which is rapidly becoming a tourist destination due to its sunny climate. It has beautiful beaches, and it has amazing and unique buildings, including some of the most beautiful resorts and hotels in the world. If you add in the great shopping at some of the world biggest and fanciest malls, one of which includes a winter wonderland complete with skiing and penguins, you will know why many people choose to visit Dubai.

None of these wonderful places is why I went. I went to see my best friend from high school and her husband, who have been living and working in Dubai for the last fourteen years. They will retire in June and leave Dubai, so this was my last chance to visit them and see Dubai from a non-tourist point of view. I loved the amazing buildings and I fell in love with Arabic mosaics and designs. I found shopping in the malls and the traditional “gold and spice souks” to be a great adventure and lots of fun, but I went to Dubai for the people. Maggie and I were able to share memories of our mothers that only we have—what a blessing for both of us, now that they are gone.

I was able with Maggie and Russell’s help, to see a side of Dubai that most tourists will not see. I visited with young Emerati women, all robed in black from head to toe in their math class taught by Russell. I had tea with Maggie’s fellow teachers and friends at the Dubai American Academy. I met the attendees of a baby shower, both male and female, who included people from almost every European country who had come to Dubai to work in a variety of fields from engineers to bakers. That evening I was part of an international community gathered to celebrate a baby and her parents.

Far from being fearful when riding the Metro by myself, I felt safe and welcome. Everywhere I went I felt free to be my usual friendly self and had a number of interesting conversations. People I met wanted to know where I was from and were happy to tell their own stories. In many ways it was a very strange land and I was a stranger, but I was welcomed, sometimes because of Maggie and Russell, but often just because I stopped and asked a question. For a week, I enjoyed this great adventure and I look forward to traveling to some other amazing place in the future. My world is now both larger and smaller. Just fourteen hours away by plane, I met people loved by God, who had stories to tell. Thanks Maggie and Russell for this great time!

May we all be blessed by those strangers we meet who become friends and may we always give thanks for our amazing differences and our amazing similarities! Please watch the Pew News for when I will be sharing my amazing pictures and stories.

Pastor Jocelyn



 



Publish Date: April 30, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Easter Continues

Dear Friends,

The joyous Easter season begins with Easter and continues until Pentecost.  We have seven glorious Sundays to celebrate the Good News of the resurrection.  Of course every Sunday of the year is a celebration of the “first day of the week” when the women came and found the empty tomb!   During the Easter season we celebrate with special joy because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and conquered sin and death on our behalf.

The resurrection of Jesus gives us reason to trust that God holds our future in his hands!  As far back as the prophet Jeremiah, God promised, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  Easter and the resurrection encourage us to trust in our hopeful futures with God!

What we will do with our earthly futures is a question we ask at every age.  “What will I be when I grow up?” is a question not just for children but for all of us.  In her book, The Gift of Years: Growing Old Gracefully, Joan Chittister, invites us to live hopefully and with purpose every day of our life. This is a book that a small group could use to walk with each other through times of transition and change.  I invite you to contact me if you would like to be part of such a small group.

On April 15th we celebrated the many generations of people who are part of Trinity.  In the Circle of Blessing led by Professor Mark Jackson, we honored those of every age, who are making their own unique contributions to our faith community and the world.  From the youngest to the oldest, God’s grace carries us through the challenges of each day, strengthening us to serve others.

Joan Chittister includes in her book this great poem by Robert Browning:

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith, “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half;

Trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

This poem reminds us that Trinity is a faith community where we can grow older and wiser together.  At any age, we can continue to grow in faith and trust in the God who loves us and holds us!

Blessings on your further



 



Publish Date: March 26, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson\

Lenten Journey Coming to an End

Dear Friends,

Our Lenten prayer journey will soon be coming to an end as we walk together through the solemnity of Holy Week and move into the joyous season of Easter.  In just a few short days we will move through a myriad of emotions evoked by hymns, prayers and Bible verses.  I am reminded of the words of Psalm 30:11-12, “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.”

Holy Week begins with the joyful, exuberant procession of Palm Sunday, when our children will lead us up the aisle with waving palms and glad hosannas!  We hail Jesus as our King, and we welcome the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God.  Too quickly our joy turns to sorrow as we hear the words of the Passion of Jesus from Mark’s Gospel.  The story begins with Jesus celebrating the Meal with his friends and ends with some of them placing his body in the tomb. We will receive Holy Communion at the Altar on this day.

On Maundy Thursday, we are invited to worship with our friends at Central Lutheran.  We will hear the words of Jesus about loving and serving one another and we will take part in the Lord’s Supper.

On Good Friday, we meet in our darkened sanctuary to hear the Passion Story again, this time from the Gospel of John, interspersed with familiar hymns of the Cross.  As our worship concludes we have the opportunity for Prayers around the Cross.  This time of personal and corporate prayer echoes the prayers that we have prayed during our Lenten journey this year.

On Easter, we sing our glad Alleluias once more when God indeed clothes us with joy!  Our Lenten journey becomes an Easter journey as we walk with our resurrected Lord through all the days to come. 

We are truly Easter people—even as we walk through the shadows of Lent, we have always known that our journey ends in joy at the empty tomb!  As we move through our personal sorrows and joys, we know that God walks each step with us and that our journey with God always ends with the peace and joy of the resurrection.

Blessings on your continuing journey—may it lead you ever closer to the heart of God,

Pastor Jocelyn



 



Publish Date: February 29, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Lenten Journey Continued

Dear friends,

How is your Lenten journey going?  I know it is the early days, but I am hoping that you are feeling blessed as you spend time each day in prayer.  If you have not yet received a copy of “Prayers for a Lenten Journey” please stop by the office or call and have us mail you one. 

It is no accident that the prayers for each week are connected to the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus taught his disciples to pray using these words and we are “bold” to pray in his name.  It is also no accident that you are being asked to read the same lesson and pray the same prayer for the whole week.  Repetition is good for us, each day we will find new blessings for which to give thanks or new people who are in need of our prayers.  These prayers can deepen our faith and fill us with peace.

The “Taking Faith Home” bulletin insert is another great resource for us to use in our homes not just during Lent, but all year long.  The conversation starters could be shared with people at work or with neighbors and friends.  We all appreciate a chance to be heard and your listening to one another is a gift.  I hope that some of us will take time to memorize the “Scripture verse for the Week”.  Memorizing is something many of us did as children; it is good for growing minds of any age! 

During Lent our prayers on Sunday morning are being framed with “prayer songs”.  This time of singing and reflection unites us in our praying and gives us opportunities to add our own concerns to the community prayers.  Thank you for sharing your prayer requests and for your kind thoughts and prayers on behalf of others.

Blessings on your Lenten journey—may it lead you ever closer to the heart of God,

Pastor Jocelyn


 



Publish Date: February 5, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Lenten Journey

Dear Trinity friends,

On Wednesday, February 22 at 7:00 pm we will host the Ash Wednesday worship and welcome our friends from Central Lutheran to worship with us.  This day marks the beginning of the season of Lent, our journey with Jesus to the Cross and to the Resurrection.   The three traditional disciplines of Lent are almsgiving for the poor, praying and fasting. Most of us are familiar with almsgiving and prayer, but not the practice of fasting.

Fasting in the classic sense means to give something up for a time; often we think of things we particularly like such as food or a habit that isn’t really good for us.  The six weeks or forty days of Lent could give a person time to adjust to a new habit and make it part of their daily routine.  Hopefully giving up something would somehow bring a person closer to God. 

In the Small Catechism Martin Luther answers the question of whether fasting prepares a person to receive the sacrament worthily with these words, “Fasting and bodily preparation are in fact a fine external discipline, but a person who has faith in these words, “given for you” and “shed for you . . . for the forgiveness of sin,” is really worthy and well prepared.” 

While fasting might be good discipline, it is not required of us as we journey through Lent towards Easter.  What is required is a desire to grow in faith and we can grow in faith through prayer, giving alms and spiritual disciplines such as fasting.  The prophet Micah says it like this, “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” 

This Lent we will have opportunities for almsgiving.  In February our local benevolence is for Open Door Ministries and in March it is for the Ethiopian Chicken Hatchery.  We have some extra opportunities to pray during Lent: Wednesday worship at noon here at Trinity and at 7:00 pm at Central Lutheran. Our Good Friday worship will include a time for personal prayer around the Cross.  On Sunday mornings your prayer requests are always included.

Do we have any opportunities for fasting during Lent?  I invite you to consider giving something up or adding something that will help you focus on God’s presence in your life.   If you do plan to make a fast part of your Lenten journey, I would love to hear how it goes for you and I will include your fast in my prayers.  My personal Lenten fast will be to give up playing solitaire and free cell on my computer and phone.  Hopefully I will find many positive uses for that time—maybe I will even exercise more as I move closer to God.  On my journey I will be thankful for your prayers, too!

Blessings on your Lenten journey—may it lead you ever closer to the heart of God,

Pastor Jocelyn



 



Publish Date: January 9, 2012  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

New Year

 Dear Awesome Trinity friends,

On the 7th Day of Christmas, Dave and I thank you for the Christmas cards, greetings and gifts to our family.  It is a joy everyday to be partners with you in this welcoming faith community.

On the 7th day of Christmas, I also wish you a very Happy New Year!  New Year’s Day can be celebrated with lots of noise and merriment but it can also be a day for quiet reflection.  Our calendar is based on the ancient Roman calendar and the first month is named for the Roman god Janus, who had two faces. Janus symbolizes change and transitions because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other.  Many of us spend part of New Year’s Day thinking about the past year and writing resolutions for the New Year.  We, like Janus, look forward and backwards.

Every Sunday morning we have an opportunity to look both into our pasts and into our futures when we gather for the time of confession and forgiveness.  We take time to review our past week and ask for forgiveness for those things we have done and regret and to ask for forgiveness for those things we should have done but neglected to do.  We also hear words that inspire us to look forward in hope.  Our prayer each week is that with God’s blessing we can become more and more the people God creates us to be.

When we gather for worship we meet God and we meet each other.  We bring our regrets and we bring our hopes.  We hear words of forgiveness, we hear words of hope, and we feast together at the Table of Grace set for us by Jesus.  We join our hearts in prayers that also look both ways.  When we look backwards we find many reasons to be thankful and when we look forward we pray for God’s presence in all that lies ahead.

Each New Year, each new week and each new day, God invites us to live in the present time, with our pasts forgiven and blest and our futures wide open to God’s presence and purpose.  In 2012, Trinity Lutheran Church is truly “Growing into God’s Future!”

New Year’s blessings of peace and hope,

Pastor Jocelyn



 



Publish Date: December 5, 2011  ::  Author: Amy Stamatiou

All Earth is Hopeful


All Earth is Hopeful

The words of this joyful Advent hymn were originally written in Spanish by Alberto Taulé with the title, Toda la tierra.  This Advent we sing it every Sunday morning as the Advent wreath is lighted as a reminder of God’s presence in all of creation and in our lives.  The lyrics of this song remind us that the world is waiting for God’s truth and justice to set all of us free. 

The word all seems really important this year at Trinity as we begin work on the two platform lifts and the handicap accessible bathroom which will allow us to be a lot more inclusive in our welcome of all people.  “All” and “everybody” are words that we do not use lightly.  We ask ourselves who is not here?  Whose voice is not being heard?  How can we let those not here know that we recognize their importance in the kingdom of God?  As we move into this new church year, together we embrace the changes that welcome all to this community of faith!

How to be sure that all are included is an issue that goes beyond the walls of our church building.  In these days of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Everett, as our representatives and senators meet to plan state and national budgets, we remember those who do not have enough food, healthcare, jobs, or housing.  As we sing this Spanish song, we remember those most affected by our immigration laws. For some people truth and justice seem in short supply. 

God’s Good News is for all, the poor, the proud, the persecuted and the privileged.  Jesus has come to bring light and hope for all of us.  Jesus has already come—we do not have to wait any longer in order to be working for the coming of the kingdom of heaven.  The time is now for all to be welcome!

In Advent we open our eyes, we light more candles, and we look for a new vision of what God’s presence will mean for our world.  God’s truth and justice sets everybody free! *

Jesus is coming!  Jesus is here! Advent blessings!

Pastor Jocelyn


*Alberto Taulé, b. 1932; tr. Madeline Forell Marshall, b. 1946.  Music: Alberto Taulé. Spanish text and tune © 1993 and tr. © 1995 Centro de Pastoral Ligurgica, admin.  OCP Publications

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Publish Date: November 5, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

What Kind of King?

Dear Friends of Jesus,
 
 
On Sunday, November 20th we will celebrate Christ the King Sunday.  That is also the day that we are all invited to bring our Time and Talent sheets and our Financial Commitment Cards to the Altar.  it is a very good day for us to consider the kind of King whom we follow.
 
In the Psalms, God is often described as a mighty King who reigns over heaven and earth.  The Psalmist is moved to praise the awesome God who is our Creator and our Judge.  While it is good to be able to claim a God of power and strength, sometimes those are not the adjectives taht move us to faith and trust in a God who loves us.
 
In the Gospels, we come to know Jesus as a compassionate healer, as a teacher who welcomed the outcast, and as the one with the power to calm the seas and the wind for the sake of his friends int he boat.  Jesus is the God who inspires our trust and Jesus promises us that in relationship with the Father, our faith will grow.
 
What kind of King do we follow?  We follow the King who rode a humble donkey not a white stallion on Palm Sunday.  We follow the King who on Maundy Thursday, tied a towel around his waist and washed the feet of his friends.  We folloow the King who humbled himself to the death on the cross.  but before those events, come the words of our King from Matthew 25:34-26 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'"
 
When we wonder when it was that we did all those things for Jesus, he tells us what he said to his disciples, "The King willr eply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
 
We follow a King who taught us to love one another because God first loved us.  We follow the Kign who conquered death and lives and rules eternally.  In our following and in our loving, we "dof ro Jesus" what we "do for others."  We do not get it right every time and we cannot do it all by ourselves.  One of the reasons to be part of a community of faith is to share in both the celebrations and the work.  As we gather to worship on November 20th we will give thanks for a King who loves us, forgives us, and has taught us to live like servant kings ourselves.  Thanks be to God!
 
Pastor Jocelyn


 



Publish Date: September 29, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Building Toward the Future

Dear Friends,

Thanks be to God for his unending mercy and grace!  In our meeting on Sunday we were informed, inspired and encouraged to take bold steps towards the repair and accessibility of our church building.  The vote was nearly unanimous to move forward in obtaining funding for the inter-related projects, including the repairs of our south wall, the tear-off and replacing of our roof, the upgrading of our electrical system, and the addition of two platform lifts and a unisex accessible bathroom, which will make our facility accessible to all.

Thank you to all who came and asked questions and thoughtfully considered the proposal.  Thank you to those who set up and cleaned up and to all who brought delicious food to share.

It was good to hear the latest developments from our Handicap Access Team who have been working on these issues for the last two years.  The move towards accessibility for all has been a process here at Trinity for many years and we give thanks for all of the foundational work which has been done in the past bringing us to this point.  Many plans have been considered and many prayers have been prayed.

With this very positive vote, we now move into the funding portion of the project. Gifts towards the project are now being received.  Any gifts that are given at the beginning of the project will mean that less money will need to be borrowed and less interest paid.   When you give towards the project please mark your gift for “The Building Fund”.  Please watch future Tidings, our Website and the Pew News for further updates.

What the Apostle Paul wrote to the people of Ephesus applies also to us here at Trinity.  “God is building a home. He's using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he's using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” -Ephesians 2:20-22 from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.

May we all be blessed as we build towards the future,

Pastor Jocelyn



 



Publish Date: August 9, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

A Lifetime of Learning

Dear Friends of Jesus,

I have always been a fan of lifelong learning!  My faith today is not what it was when I was confirmed many years ago.  My understanding of God’s grace at work in the world has grown and matured.  When our daughter was a baby, a friend gave us a needlepoint picture of a little girl with these words, “Please be patient with me, God isn’t finished with me yet.”  It was a good reminder for first time parents and over the years that saying continues to be true.  God is not finished with any of us yet—we are still being invited to grow in grace and in faith!

In Ephesians, Saint Paul writes about the followers of Jesus growing up in this way, “But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 NRSV)   As a faith community and as individuals we grow in love and understanding, never standing still! 

Some of our growing happens through “book-learning.”  The most important book we are invited to know is the Bible.  As we grow in faith, we need to read and consider more than the Bible stories of our childhood.  As we are being built up in love, we are invited to ask difficult questions and challenge some of our child-like views of Holy Scripture.  Reading Scripture alone can be growth producing, but even better is reading and talking with other growing Christians.  When we study together, we hear the questions and answers from a variety of perspectives.  Our response to someone else, “I never thought of it in that way,” is a sign of mutual understanding and encouragement.

Our growth in faith also happens when we put our faith into practice.  Acting on what we believe, strengthens our own faith and is a witness to others.  This is true in every part of our life together as “friends of Jesus.”  Whether it is giving away socks to children, making sack lunches for the Parking Lot Dinner, praying for a friend or neighbor, giving an offering, or buying a bag of food for the Food Bank; your faith grows every time you act on behalf of someone else. 

There are many opportunities for both study and service here at Trinity Lutheran Church.  Be ready for growth—God is not finished with you yet!

Blessings as we grow together,

Pastor Jocelyn

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Publish Date: May 29, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Summer

Summer brings us so many opportunities to celebrate.  There are graduations, concerts, Father’s Day, the 4th of July, family reunions, weddings, anniversaries, and for us at Trinity the Salmon Barbeque coming up on Sunday, August 21st.  There is also the day that we celebrate as the Birthday of the Church or Pentecost.  This year Pentecost is June 12th.  On that day we will remember the gift of the Holy Spirit, given by God to breathe life and hope into the hearts of the followers of Jesus.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus himself breathes on the disciples after greeting them with the words, “Peace be with you.”  We greet each other on Sunday morning with handshakes, hugs, and words like, “The peace of the Lord be with you.”  We are happy to see each other and sometimes we visit a bit before we move on to the next person.  We breathe life and hope into each other in our greetings.  We name Jesus Christ as the one who calls us to faith.  We share the joy that we have been given with those we know and with those whom we are meeting for the first time.
We, like all disciples of Jesus, take the peace of our Lord with us when we go home.  We take the peace of our Lord to soccer and softball games, to the grocery store and the mall, to public events and when we visit our family and friends in private homes.  We usually do not greet people with the “peace of the Lord” like we do in church, but God’s peace is with us and becomes part of who we are.  Our responses to those in need, our acceptance and appreciation for those who are different from us, our willingness to listen when someone has a story that they need to share—these are some of the ways God’s peace becomes real in our world.
We are people of the peace of God.  This is what it means to follow Jesus.  We love as we have been loved.  We give as we have been given to.  We are blessed by our faithful God, in order to be blessings to others.  We are carriers of peace and hope into every place we go.  This summer I hope you will worship frequently—here at Trinity when you are in town or in a church or worshiping community wherever your travels take you.  When we gather to worship we are filled with the Spirit of God—this weekly renewal blesses us and it blesses those with whom we are worshiping.  God’s love made real by real people!
On this Pentecost, we can choose to wear the color red, as a reminder of the flames seen on the heads of the disciples in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost Day.  We will sing, “Send down the fire of your justice, send down the rains of your love; come send down the Spirit, breathe life in your people, and we shall be people of God.”*
Blessings as you catch the Spirit and pass the peace on,
Pastor Jocelyn
 
* Send Down the Fire, words and music by Marty Haugen copyright 1989, used by OneLicense.Net #A-706877.

 


 



Publish Date: May 3, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good: God’s mercy endures forever! Psalm 118:1

On Easter we heard thankful words from Psalm 118.  In our thanksgiving we also express the trust and the hope that God will continue to be with us.  With the psalmist we declare:  “The Lord is my strength and my song and has become my salvation.”  For the next six weeks followers of Jesus will continue to celebrate the glorious Resurrection.  I am really glad about that because we will have the opportunity to continue singing the great Easter hymns of the church.  One day is not enough for the stories and songs of Easter!

In April, I taught Holy Communion classes for our Sunday school children.  For some of them it was a review of the “Fed and Forgiven” class we had a year ago and for some it was their introduction to the joys of Holy Communion. During the Easter season we will welcome Isaiah and Nikaela Perez and Kylie and Ryan Austin to the Lord’s Table.  As we share in the feast of our Lord, we each have opportunity to experience God’s welcoming grace and forgiveness new each Sunday.

As followers of Jesus, we are not ever finished learning about Holy Communion.  Whether it is on Sunday morning with the community of faith or in a hospital room with a patient and their family, God is present and real for us in the Body and the Blood.  We taste and see God’s love, we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, we give thanks for God’s grace, we celebrate with the community of the faithful in every time and place and we look forward to feasting with God and all the saints in all eternity.  

On Maundy Thursday, we heard the words from Saint Paul to the Corinthians:  “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)  During this glorious Easter season, we also proclaim Christ’s Resurrection each Sunday when we feast at the Lord’s Table.  All are welcome as we celebrate and give thanks!
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Easter blessings of peace and joy,
 Pastor Jocelyn

 


 



Publish Date: April 23, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 22nd

Today is Good Friday and Earth Day.  Two days of great significance for us as followers of Jesus Christ.  How do we faithfully follow on the way to the Cross without abandoning what we have learned about loving each other?  In the horror of the crucifixion we must allow ourselves to know the deepest hatred of humanity in order to know God great love for us.  But never do we allow ourselves to hate those whom we imagine put Jesus on the Cross, because if we are truly honest we know that it was us, and people just like us, who cried for freedom for Barabbas and death for Jesus.  Good Friday is not a time for blaming others, but a time for self-reflection and most importantly a chance to let God’s love over power the Cross and all hatred.

On a Good Friday a few years ago, we heard the story, heard the clang of the nails being driven into Jesus’ hands and then heard the voice of God, “For God so loved the world…..”  Amen.

Earth Day is not separate but integral with Good Friday.  I celebrated by renewing my membership in Earth Ministry.  Their tag line reads, “Earth Ministry leads the way in caring for the Earth from a faith perspective.  Please join us and help spread the good work of religious environmental stewardship!”  They are found at www.earthministry.org.  They will send my newsletter via e-mail in order to save paper.  It is good to know that there are many, many thoughtful people making choices everyday for the safekeeping of our planet, God’s Garden, not a gift but a trust for safekeeping.

When this Lenten blog is over, I will continue my small steps of environmental stewardship and my joy in the beauty God has given us in this garden.  Amen.



 



Publish Date: April 23, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 23rd - Holy Saturday

It is Holy Saturday on our Lenten journey.  The reality of Good Friday and the Cross are deeply imprinted into our minds.  Those who are busy preparing for an Easter Celebration are looking forward not backwards.  This morning at Trinity Lutheran Church a group of faithful sharers of God’s love and mercy gathered to make 40 sack lunches for those who will eat their dinners at the Parking Lot Dinner at Central Lutheran tomorrow evening.  Thank you for your caring hearts and for your thoughtfulness on behalf of those who have little.

Others gathered to prepare a delicious Easter Breakfast.  It is free, with a place to make an offering if one is able.  This breakfast is cooked by those who have prepared it for many years, as their gift to all who come!  Again, thank you for your caring hearts and your busy hands.

And then there were those who gathered to prepare our worship space for the glory of the Glad Easter Alleluias!!  Thank you for your caring hands and hearts! We have a colorful Garden of flowers to remind us of the beauty God gives.  We have shiny bells, beautiful banners, and a Table set, ready for us to share in the Celebration Feast of our Risen Lord!  Alleluia!

In the beauty of the day, we remember those who do not have enough, those who are living with tragedy, those who suffer debilitating or fatal illnesses.  We remember those who are so busy caring for others that they are not able to take a moment for themselves.  Jesus says to all, “Come to the Table, this is my Body and Blood given and shed for you!  Come and be strengthened for service, come and have your faith renewed, come and celebrate this moment together.  Go forth, knowing that I am with you always.”

God, we thank you for the abundance of food, clean water, and the natural beauty of the earth. We petition on behalf of those who live with the daily realities of hunger, pollution, and poverty. May we all experience your abundant life. Amen.

Thank you for your part in this Lenten blog.  Reading or writing, we have journeyed together and grown in God’s Garden!



 



Publish Date: April 21, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 21st

Today is Maundy Thursday and Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you should love one another as I have loved you.”  This new commandment to love includes loving the creation as well as the humans who are a part of the creation.  Is it easier or harder to love non-humans?  I suppose easier if the thing being loved makes few demands on us.  When we love each other, we do respond to each other’s needs—otherwise it isn’t love. 

Loving nature is never a substitute for loving other human beings.  Today I had an opportunity to think about the choices we make as a community of faith.  To choose the highest good is not ever easy, because my highest good may not seem like your highest good.  Talking about difficult choices is hard, but from these conversations comes growth in faith towards God and love for each other. 

Today’s conversation reminded me of Jesus and the woman who anointed him with fragrant expensive oil.  He defended her actions and reminded us that we will always have the poor with us.  In the past I have seen that as a choice between honoring Christ and caring for one another, but more and more I believe Jesus was saying that we can do both.  We can care for each other, care for our planet earth, and enjoy gifts of beauty—music, art, flowers, poetry.  All of these things are gifts from God and always the conversation about priorities is a good one to have.  The obvious answer may not be the best one in the long run.

Here in God’s garden we are cared for and loved.  Thanks dear readers for sticking with my random almost garden thoughts all through Lent.  Good Friday is also Earth Day—How will you celebrate the gift of Creation this year?  How will you remember the cross and the one who gave his life for you?  The gift of abundant life comes from the cross and is lived out in creation.  Thank you, God!  Amen.

 


 



Publish Date: April 20, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 20th

For Today’s lent Blog I welcome this guest blogger. 

Editors’ Note: This year Holy Week coincides with Earth Day and the one-year anniversary of the horrible oil spill that claimed the lives of 11 men and dumped almost 5 million tons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. What does Jesus’ resurrection teach us about God’s creation and our part in it? In this issue of Faith and Justice Connection, we look at the church’s role in caring for God’s creation.

We wish you a blessed Holy Week.

A reflection on Earth Day and Easter

by Matthew Sleeth

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it… --Psalm 24:1

It is fitting that this year Earth Day falls on Good Friday and that, three days later, the greatest dawn since the beginning of time is celebrated. To those who claim that the earth and the life on it are disposable -- or that God cares only about altar calls and has no time for the call of whales -- Easter Sunday reminds us of something quite different.

God is the author of all life. It pleased God to take the form of humanity and to dwell among us. Christ came to pay a ransom and redeem us. He reminded us that his Father notices every time a sparrow falls from the sky. He is that kind of a God -- no less.

In the fullness of time, God will choose to sound the last trumpet. A theology that says we should force God’s hand by wanton greed or negligence seems dangerous at best. Easter marks the day when all creation held its breath to see the firstborn, the new Adam, the Messiah.

This Easter, let us renew our commitment to love our neighbors with extravagance and to care for this gift of God’s, called the earth. Let us remember that Mary did not mistake Christ for a soldier or even a rabbi on Easter morning, but rather a gardener.

Matthew Sleeth, MD, is author of Serve God, Save the Planet and co-editor of The Green Bible. He is co-founder of the faith-based educational nonprofit, Blessed Earth.


 


 



Publish Date: April 19, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 19th

We are already deep into Holy Week and as Pastor I am thinking about death and resurrection.  In God’s garden these are realities that we face also.  Yesterday Amy and I snipped off some of the little tomato seedlings in order to allow one plant to grow stronger.  We chose by size and leaf quality.  In our gardens we pull weeds, thin out plants that grow too thickly, we kill slugs, slap mosquitoes and do not always stop to think about death. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies…”  He was speaking realistically, if you plant a grain of wheat, it dies and becomes something new.  He was also talking about his life and death.  Unless he died, so that he could rise again, death would not be overcome! 

In my gloomiest of moments, I remember that death is a part of life.  Acceptance of what cannot be avoided means that we can put our energies into things where we can make a difference.  It would be nice to not ever have to decide which tomato plant is strongest, but we do so that one plant can grow and give us many, many cherry tomatoes, feeding our bodies and enriching our souls. 

What are those things that we must give up on?  Where can we move forward with renewed strength and determination?  These are questions for us as individuals and as a community of faith.  Easter promises us new life in the face of death!  Easter gives us hope for God’s presence with us, always!  First comes Good Friday, but Easter follows!  Always!



 



Publish Date: April 17, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 16th

This morning I took some time to re-read all of the Lenten blogs from Ash Wednesday on.  Mostly I was trying not to be repetitive by any of my comments that will continue through Holy Week.  I was not surprised to find a number of references to rain and cold.  This has not been a warm spring, but rather one that has challenged my enjoyment of being outside.

 I am reminded of the journals of Lewis and Clark, those intrepid Northwest explorers who came overland from Saint Louis to the Astoria area.  They wintered over in a little fort that has since rotted away (this is the Northwest) but has been rebuilt so that we can imagine what it was like to be here in primitive times.  From reading the journals I imagine their winter was as cold and damp as our spring this year.  We of course have warm water-proof jackets and warm houses in which to sip hot tea as we watch the rain fall. 

If you are brave enough to venture out on a rainy Saturday in April, let me encourage you to go buy the Interfaith Family Shelter’s native Plant sale at the Lion’s Club every Saturday in April.  They will teach you which native plants you already have in your yard and have pictures of noxious weeds so you can rid your yard of those.  They also have plants to buy, with the proceeds going to the Family Shelter.  Even on a rainy Saturday, my heart was warmed and I came home with lots of plant info and a lovely pot for my front porch. 

The blog continues one more week, but the garden will keep growing all summer long!  Blessings on your rainy days!



 



Publish Date: April 14, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 14th

How do we ever explain away the presence of those destroying pests in our gardens?  I am feeling particularly guilty this spring over my anger at the furry, cute, totally annoying squirrels who have come into my yard this spring to destroy my lovely daffodil bulbs.  I say destroy because usually they do not even eat the bulbs, but they leave them lying all around the pots from which they have taken them.  They have dug up newly planted bulbs from the ground and in pots, and now that some of the bulbs have come up the squirrels have even have dug up whole flowering plants.  What is a loving, caring gardener to do?

As I prepare to plant my vegetable seeds, I really do not want to just be “feeding squirrels!”

This is only one of the pests that bug gardeners!  What are some of yours?  Moles, weeds, variety of bugs, slugs?  As a “green” gardener I hate the thought of pesticides and herbicides.  Pulling weeds and using weed barriers are better ideas.   I don’t want to ever kill a squirrel and most of the year I enjoy watching them run around my yard—their clowning around always makes me smile. 

What would God say?  In the beginning all creation was good—that had to include the pests as well as those useful plants and animals.  How does God define useful?  I do believe that all of creation is essential to the whole.  We need all things to be part of the circle of life and death and rebirth. 

Maybe I worry too much.  I still have lots of lovely daffodils.  I can put a screen over my little lettuces and radishes.  God has blessed us with abundance—now I need to learn to share!  Even with the pesky squirrels!



 



Publish Date: April 13, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 13th

There in God’s Garden stands the Tree of Wisdom. . .this is the first line of that beautiful hymn that we have been singing all during Lent.  In this hymn the tree of course is Jesus, our source of wisdom, our source of love, our font of grace and forgiveness.  There are trees all through the Bible—so often we think of the tree of Calvary not as Jesus, but as the tree on which he was hung.  And really that piece of wood also started life as a tiny tree from a seed either deliberately or randomly planted.

The Cross is the tree that centers much of our Lenten worship.  As we get closer to Good Friday, we remember that the cross is empty—Jesus was on the cross for a brief time only.  The empty cross speaks to us of resurrection and hope, while at the same time reminding us that in all of our sorrows we have a Savior and a Friend who also knows pain and sorrow, abandonment and despair. 

At Trinity Lutheran Church one of our trees has burst into beautiful bloom.  The magnolia is full of huge, pink blossoms.  It stands outside our front door to welcome us in and it offers a place to sit by the cross and meditate on the multiple meanings of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus did not stay safely in heaven; he came to our messy, life-filled and death-filled world to live with us, to love us, and to lead us home.  Amen.



 



Publish Date: April 12, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 12th

This morning’s sunrise was worthy of any Easter that I can remember.  The glow started early—at my house it was an iridescent orange moving to yellow.  The mountains were outlined by the light and a new day began!  Later the snow on the mountains lit up. 

I was reminded of those beautiful Easter mornings in South Dakota, when we would wake up early to go to a sunrise service.  They did not happen every year—maybe it depended on the weather, the date of Easter, the current pastor—I was a child and all I know is that the sunrise has always inspired awe in me.  This year Easter is late in the calendar year and so even with daylight savings time the sunrise will be very early. 

On Easter morning, I will be up and I will be thankful for the gift of sunrise and the growing rays of light that it brings to God’s Garden.  In our wet northwest, it is sometimes hard to believe we would ever need to be sheltered from the rays of the sun—other than perhaps our sunglasses and maybe a hat.

Our plants need all the sun they can get!  Especially in gardens like mine which are surrounded by big trees and a high fence.  In mark’s Gospel Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow and he does not know how.” Mark 4:21.  We might think we know how seeds grow because we are a scientific people, but for me much of growth is still a mystery, held in God’s hand, powered by God’s love.  The sun is part of that mystery—I know photosynthesis and all those scientific theories.  But it is still a mystery and we still give thanks to God who gives the growth.



 



Publish Date: April 10, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 10th

Okay, I finally gave up and came in out of the rain.  It was not cold, but I kept getting wetter and wetter.  I transplanted some raspberries to a new spot in the garden.  I hope they get enough sun!  I also transplanted some perennial flowers and replanted the “chair” planter that I won last year at Trinity’s spring choir and bell concert.  The fuchsia starts are not very big, but eventually they will grow up.

I pulled weeds again in the resurrected garden spot—they just keep coming back!  Hopefully that means the vegetables will also grow well in that spot.  I have not planted any seeds directly in the ground yet, because the squirrels would think they were food for them.  Dave will build me some sort of protection until the plants get big enough to survive. 

The perennials have started coming back to life and almost all the bulbs are blooming—I am still waiting for the tulips, but the rest are all blooming.  It gives me hope to know that the winter cold did not kill them and that with light and heat they will come back to life.  Kind of like Lazarus coming out of the grave in this morning’s Gospel.  God demonstrated God’s power over death and that gives me hope as we move closer and closer to Good Friday. 

Sometime this week, we will move the palm plants to church for Palm Sunday.  They have grown a lot this year.  God’s garden is full of life!  God’s abundant love and tender care is Good News for us all!



 



Publish Date: April 7, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 7th

Growing in faith—this morning I was at Washington Oaks, a retirement home, where I led a Bible study with an amazing group of women all over 85 years young.  We have been studying the letters of Paul to the Corinthians and we talked about planting seeds of faith.  Most of them had been Sunday School teachers at one time or another and many of them remembered who planted those first seeds of faith in them.  Mothers and grandmothers were often those mentioned as having been the one who first told them of God’s love. 

In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he writes:  “That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice and now to you!”  (The Message)   Whether we think of our faith as planted or handed down, it is a gift not only from God, but also from the one who shared it with you.  We are always to be in the business of nurturing the faith of one another—we do that by prayer and by being available to listen. 

Trinity Lutheran Church has a giving garden that is being planted with vegetables to share with those who are hungry.  This is a new way to share with those who come to our Trinity Aid Bank.  But, Trinity Lutheran Church has long been a place where seeds of faith are being planted—we have so many gifts to share with a hungry world.  Not just vegetables but hope, patience, grace, and trust in the God who loves us and who never abandons us. 

Garden workers—thanks for passing on the faith to everyone you meet!  Thanks for your prayers on behalf of the hungry and the grieving, thanks for your care of our children and youth, thanks for joining in worship and fellowship with all who come to this Place of Grace.  Thanks for giving God’s grace away, every day!  Amen!



 



Publish Date: April 6, 2011  ::  Author: Pastor Jocelyn Carson

April 6th

This morning I went to the Bible for some “growing” inspiration.  It was snowing at my house this morning and I need to think about something other than the weather!

So I have gone to two of my favorites:

Galatians 6:9 “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”

2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (NRSV)

Both of these verses remind us that our lives have a purpose way beyond complaining about the weather.  We are called to lives of doing good—each of us can make a difference in the life of someone else today.  Even a smile to a sad looking fellow shopper can make a difference.  You may never know what the harvest even looks like.  St Paul does a good job of reminding us that we may plant seeds, but that God is the one who gives the growth. 

We can grow weary of doing good, especially if the world seems to grow more callous and needy day by day.  Let us help each other find the signs of God’s grace and mercy among us.  I want to thank all of you who do good by bringing food to the Trinity Aid Bank.  You need to know that the vast majority of people whom we help are thankful and appreciative.  At the end of the month, there are always some who come in apologizing for their need, but who go out with thankful hearts.  We help those who are homeless, but we also help those whose other resources are gone before the end of the month.

As food prices seem to be rising, so will the need of our neighbors.  Thank you for not growing weary in well-doing!  To God be the glory! Amen.

 


 



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