(Pastor Karen's Daily Devotions have been moved to Facebook!)


 

Virtual Sunday Services with Pastor Karen

 

Sunday May 3rd

Good morning!  How are you?


It's another Sunday of "virtual" church. I'm delighted to have "joining me" our new Music Director, Gary Dennison, in presenting today's daily devotion.

 

 

Let's check in.  Are you experiencing any “quarantine fatigue”?   Me too.  What have been your  "hi's" this week? Tell someone.


This week consider how God of the resurrection created a new community, the Church.  The New Testament provides a number of images of this community to help us understand our relationship with Jesus and one another.  Today’s image - Jesus, the Good Shepherd of the sheep. 

 

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Song: The Lord is my Shepherd, John Rutter 


A Note from Gary…


Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter. We call this “Good Shepherd Sunday", when the readings draw on images of sheep and the loving care of their Shepherd. Across all three lectionary cycles we hear a passage from the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel and the appointed psalm is Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”. There’s probably not a passage in the Bible that has been set to music more frequently than Psalm 23. We find it paraphrased in hymns, as a text used for solo and choral compositions, and as the inspiration for instrumental selections. And why not? Is there a text that invokes a more beloved image of Jesus, our Good Shepherd?


I could fill more e-mails than you’d care to read listing the settings of Psalm 23 that I love. If you made me choose just one, it would be the setting by John Rutter, the celebrated British composer whose works are cherished by all who love music. Rutter’s setting of Psalm 23 was first published back in 1978… when I was still in high school! Rutter later incorporated the anthem into his musical setting of the “Requiem” which is a service for the dead.


The magic of Rutter’s setting is in its utter simplicity, accompanied only by organ, harp, and oboe. And what a perfect choice of the oboe. Its voice is gentle and dance-like, weaving among the text but never distracting from the beauty of the King James translation. Throughout the composition is quiet and subdued. Until we come to the wonderful promise “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord” where the voices swell to a goosebump-inducing crescendo of sound. This beautiful piece was sung at Senator McCain’s funeral at Washington Cathedral.


I am providing a link for you to enjoy this wonderful piece… This is a recording from a Choral Festival held in the beautiful Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles and the choir is directed by the composer, John Rutter. Let me know what you think.

 

 

Statement of Faith:

We confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God 

       and that He takes away the sin of the world.  

By His name and grace we live our lives of mission and witness for the world. 

We confess that God is the creator of all people on earth 

       and has created us to live in a covenant of love 

       established through the Word and sacraments.  

Through Baptism we begin this new life 

      that is acted out through the community of believers throughout the world. 

We rejoice with those who rejoice and we stand together with those who are sad.  

In the body and blood of Jesus we find the presence of Christ 

      and forgiveness of our sin.  

Within the church of God we accept our place as missionary, 

   prophet, teacher, helper and friend,

    in order that we might serve with great purpose the church that presently exists

    and the church that is to come. 


Bible Reading: John 10:1-5

 Sheep under the care of a shepherd remains an enduring image our relationship with Jesus and one another, even among us who are far removed from agricultural life.


“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”


Video Message:https://youtu.be/DlYMxocAP4k



Pray: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 

he restores my soul.   

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.  

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; 

for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me  in the presence of my enemies; 

you anoint my head with oil;  my cup overflows.  

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me  all the days of my life, 

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.


Good Shepherd of the sheep, you seek the lost and guide us into your fold. 

Feed us, and we shall be satisfied; heal us, and we shall be whole. 

Make us one with you.  Amen


God of life, we pray….

For this world as we walk together through the valley of the shadow of death….

For your gifts of patience, compassion, creativity, agility, courage to face the days and weeks ahead. 

for those who grieve their dead; 

for the sick and their families;

for those fearful of an unknown future; 

for the millions of unemployed;

For employers acting with compassion and wisdom;

for children at home and their parents;

for those who live alone;

for hospitals, in their desperate need for supplies; 

for first responders and “front line” workers; 

for scientists working on a cure;

for our church family;

For those seeking you, give your gift of faith...and community.


Our Father, who art in heaven.... (Lord's Prayer)


On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen (262-899-8509 cell)

Gary Dennison (414.870.9799)


Daily Devotions are posted on Gethsemane's website,  http://gethsemanebrookfield.org/  and facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GethsemaneBrookfield/


Coming Next....

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

Week 5/24-30 Ascension of Our Lord; Songs & Hymns to "lift you up"

 

Sunday April 26th

Good morning!  How are you?


It's another Sunday of "virtual" church -and will be for a while longer with the extended "safer at home" directives.  


Let's check in.  What have you tried or done new recently to adapt to your situation? Has it been one of your "hi's" this week? Or one of your "low's"? Tell someone.  


Song: Praise You in This Storm, by Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgpaULjZOl8  


God is with us wherever we are.  God wants our thanks and praise. So, let's worship God....

 

Get ready to take a few more moments reading, listening, praying...  Think of your church family, think of the whole Christian church in their homes gathering online with their faith communities ready to praise God and wanting to do His will. Think about our world in need of healing....


 

Statement of Faith: 

I believe in a living God, Creator of all humankind, who recreates the entire universe by power and love. 

I believe in Jesus Christ, God in the flesh and my Savior and Lord. 

Because of his work, his death, his life and his suffering,

I know who I am, what I can become through Christ. 

I believe that God is present with us always and can be experienced in prayer, the sacraments,

the Word, the fellowship of believers and in all that we do. Amen  


Bible Reading: Acts 6:1-8

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. 2 And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables.3 Therefore, friends,select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, 4 while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” 5 What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. 8 Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. [Acts 7 - Stephen's testimony…and death.]


Video Message: https://youtu.be/HDaykUP-j7U

The Hope Center continues to create new ways to respond to the needs of Waukesha County residents.  They have set up five additional locations to distribute free take out lunches.  If you’d like to financially support Project Lunchbox, for $39, you can provide lunch to a family of 4 for an entire week. Click here to make your online donation: https://outreachforhope.salsalabs.org/projectlunchbox/index.html  

 

Pray: God, you ask me to believe who I am - a child of God.  You ask me to believe my life has a purpose. Today, you are calling me to make a new commitment. Give me a willing heart.  Amen

 

Song: Build My Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smrq6hc-vcU&;list=PLcHqC9YNzSaB621igMmxfeMUvroQqYr3L&index=6


God of life, we pray….

For the healing of this world facing the coronavirus;

For your gifts of patience, compassion, creativity, agility, courage to face the days and weeks ahead. for those who grieve their dead; 

for the sick and their families;

for those fearful of an unknown future; 

for the millions of unemployed;

For employers acting with compassion and wisdom;

for children at home and their parents;

for those who live alone;

for hospitals, in their desperate need for supplies; 

for first responders and “front line” workers; 

for scientists working on a cure;

for our church family;

For those seeking you, give your gift of faith. 

 


Song: I Will Follow, Chris Tomlinhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ohvhmGSfxI


On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen

(262-899-8509 cell)


Daily Devotions are also posted on Gethsemane's website, http://gethsemanebrookfield.org/ and facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GethsemaneBrookfield/?fref=ts

Coming Next....

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

April 24th

HOW GOD GETS THINGS DONE


Romans 8:26-28

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

In the Book of Acts we read how Jesus’ followers would continue to live in fear as the Church will be persecuted for the next 300 years.  They also had disagreements and conflicts among themselves. Despite these challenges, their communities grew as people came to see, believe and join in The Way of Jesus Christ.  


Have  you been wondering what God is doing amidst this pandemic?  How is good “working all things for good”?


Today, amidst this pandemic, we are reminded of our vulnerability, resiliency….and our recalcitrance.  Personally, I wasn’t bothered by the hoarding - just amazed at empty shelves. Social distancing has been easy enough to practice, although I was mildly annoyed the day my husband gave me a “fist bump” instead of a goodbye kiss.   Figuring out how to offer “virtual” church has been a challenge, but you all have been so supportive of my effort.


But the closing of State Parks and Recreation areas due to vandalism and theft made me angry, and mad at those who committed the offenses.  Why should I be surprised. Isn’t that just human nature? We are capable of both kindness, generosity... and selfishness, carelessness, recklessness.  Why am I quick to point a finger and slow to admit my own lack of care and selfish acts.


Thank God for His grace….and for these words from Romans - reminding us that the Spirit intercedes with the right words, drawing us in line with the will of God.  Today, hold on to the perspective that God is up to something, working all things (YES, ALL THINGS!!) for good.


PRAY: Thank you God, that amidst the turmoil of the world your love is steadfast and your strength never fails.  In this time of trouble, grant us courage and hope for the future. Do not let our trust in you fail. Amen



On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 23rd

SURPRISES


Acts 4:13 

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.  But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.


Easter morning was a surprise.  Even when Jesus had told the disciples he would die and be raised, they didn’t understand.  Later, looking back, like most surprises, they could see the clues that it was coming. How “ordinary men” could heal was a surprise too.  But God the Holy Spirit has empowered the disciples to continue the work Jesus did.  


 Today, COVID-19 has forced us to take actions to restrict it’s spread.  Changes have been abrupt and evolving...and extending. How is the need to adapt affecting you?   


Have you had any pleasant surprises? Maybe you’re enjoying the solitude and slower pace. Has family togetherness actually been good?   Are you appreciating social media, glad to hear and see how others are doing - and to talk about what you’re experiencing?    

 

I have been surprised by my 90 year old mom who, two weeks ago, insisted on getting a Grandpad (a simple version of an I-Pad) and has learned to video chat!  Our neighbors invited us to their driveway for “social hour” and we greeted way more neighbors than I’ve ever seen walking down our street. I enjoy cooking and have more time to do so. 

 

God is full of surprises - good ones!  Maybe God will surprise you today with an unexpected blessing.  Thank Him! Or maybe God will make you a blessing to someone else today.  God will be thanked because of.....you!

 

PRAY:  God, today I celebrate Christ is raised from the tomb.  I am given new life through the power of your Spirit. Help me to boldly proclaim this good news in my words and deeds, rejoicing always in your powerful presence.  Amen

 

On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 22nd

IMPOSSIBLE


Acts 3:12-13

 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness?  For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this.

Have you experienced God closing a door on your life? At age 39, I knew the door was closing on the possibility of me becoming a mom.  It was a private grief my husband and I shared. To help let go of that hope I needed to see what else God might have in store for us. 


 In a devotional book, I came across an exercise that said to just name something you don’t think is possible - and then watch for it.  (Some may call this the power of suggestion.) So, I thought of….pink butterflies. It was random. I was sure they didn’t exist in the  ‘real’ world. And then...I started seeing pink butterflies..on little girl’s clothing, as refrigerator magnets, jewelry, in home decor. It started to get ridiculous!  


But grief began to recede, and I started to believe anything is possible; a new door would open.   This mid-life crisis led to getting our first dog, Ruby. I also embraced the family I had, two step-children who have generously welcomed me to be grandma to their own children.  Today, a pink butterfly sighting continues to serve as a call to adjust my perspective. I need to watch for what God is up to next - small things and big things.


Have  you been wondering what God is doing in the middle of this pandemic?  Anything is possible. What small things or big things are you seeing?

  

We need disciples, like Mary Magdalene, to name what the world sees and then name how the resurrection enables us to see the world differently.  We need people like Peter to keep on seeing and saying, “What’s so surprising about this healing?” We need believers, like you, who will say, “what you see is not what has to be.”


PRAY: God, give me such an awareness of  your mercy that with a thankful heart I can praise you and tell others about you not only through my words but through how I live. Amen


On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 21st

WAIT TILL MORNING


Psalm 30:5 Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Have you ever said, “I need to sleep on it” when trying to make a decision?  It’s a common expression...and practice. You want to delay making a decision so you can think about it.  By “sleeping on it,” you really can clear your mind and be relieved of the stress that says it has to be decided RIGHT NOW.  Sleep is a gift not only to your body but to your mind. You organize your memories, process information and solve problems.  


God can even speak to you through your dreams, as the Bible shows.  Joseph(OT) dreams about the years of plenty and famine and prepares for it;  Joseph(NT) decides to stay with Mary because of a dream that her child is Jesus.  Peter has a dream about what the future church will look like - a community for all people.    


Dreams offer insight and foresight.  They can help you in making good decisions and doing the right thing.  Remember, because of Easter morning, everything was changed. Tears receded and joy returned.  If tonight you are facing difficulty or in need of clarity, then sleep on it. Ask God for good dreams and a new perspective.  God, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, will be working it out for you. Greet tomorrow with “This is the day the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” -PS118:24


PRAY: Watch, O Lord, with all those awake this night - those who labor, care for the sick, protect our streets.  Watch, O Lord, with all those who weep -from grieving, hopelessness, overwhelmed. Give your angels and saints charge over all who sleep.  Amen.

On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 20th

EYES FIXED ON JESUS


Acts 4:8-10

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people,  are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed?  Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.


Last fall we took our dog Winnie back to training classes because she would lunge at other dogs on our walks.   I learned the issue wasn’t exactly Winnie or the other dogs, it was...me. I needed to teach her to remain focused on me, and to ignore any distractions around her.   We had to start easy - in the quiet of our house. “Winnie, sit. Stay. Wait…” With practice she is more focused on listening and following my directions and leash walking has become much better!

 

Do you find that you’re less reactive to your surroundings when you stay focused on Jesus?  I do. Sometimes that means going back to the basics and practicing, doesn’t it? You have to sit, wait, pay attention to God.  

 

Peter learned the importance of staying focused on Jesus the day he tried to walk on water, of all things.  Miraculously, he was able to do it only when he kept his focus on Jesus. When he looked at the water he began to sink.  In today’s reading, when Peter is questioned about the healing he performed, he again kept his eye on Jesus. That’s what made it possible for him to stand before his accusers.  It’s what gives him courage to share his perspective that Jesus is working through him to heal. 

 

In Hebrews 12:1-3, the writer tells y to fix your eyes on Jesus; and keep on running the race that is set before you.  An old hymn says this: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.

 

PRAY: Gracious and holy god, give me the diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you.  Grant me a mind to meditate on you, eyes to behold you, ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you and a life to proclaim you. Amen


On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 19th

God is with us wherever we are.  God wants our thanks and praise. So, let's worship God....

Get ready to take a few more moments reading, listening, praying...  Think of your church family, think of the whole Christian church in their homes gathering online with their faith communities ready to praise God and wanting to do His will. Think about our world in need of healing....


Song: Amazing Grace, by Home Free

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n145-J8ejg


Statement of Faith: 

I have faith in God, in response to overwhelming love. 

I believe that God created me and all that I have and has given to me gifts beyond measure. 

I have faith in Jesus, who emptied Himself out of His love for me. 

I believe that Christ died on a cross for my sin, conquered death and the power of evil, 

  and was raised to life on the third day. 

His death is mine, His resurrection is mine, new life is mine because of Jesus’ words and work. 

I believe in the Holy Spirit in response to overwhelming love. 

I believe that the Holy Spirit is present here among us and lives within each person. 

The Spirit continues to call people by the Gospel and creates and builds the church of Christ.

Through the power of the Spirit I have power to stand in strength against all adversity. 

I believe that Jesus is gone to prepare a place for me 

  and will come again to take each of us to be with Him. Amen.

  

Bible Reading: Luke 24:13-35 

13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” 19 “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said.  27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat,he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 


Video Message https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i20YBk0Z_P0


Pray: Mysterious and Divine Presence, too often my heart burns within me because my body recognizes before my mind does that you are here working in me and through me in this world. Open my eyes, give me your gift of faith to recognize you, for the sake of the one whose presence is never far, Jesus Christ our Savior Lord. Amen.


Song: Take Heart, by Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3osp2p_gLx4&;list=RDCLAK5uy_mU14EejSbDsfLuPc9KpNzoC0o-YQvi6I4&index=3


God of life, we pray….

For the healing of this world facing the coronavirus;

for those who grieve their dead; 

for the sick and their families;

for those fearful of an unknown future; 

for the millions of unemployed;

For employers acting with compassion and wisdom;

for children at home and their parents;

for those who live alone;

for hospitals, in their desperate need for supplies; 

for first responders and “front line” workers; 

for scientists working on a cure;

for our church family;

For those seeking you, give your gift of faith. 


Song: The Pittsburgh Blessing 

 

On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen

(262-899-8509 cell)

 

April 18th

SENT

Matthew 28:16-20   

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age

 

Can you believe it!  Jesus puts the disciples in charge.   But, as always, Jesus knows what he’s doing...and we'll begin to see it too.  Given a purpose - go, make disciples, teach - the disciples become united, excited and empowered.  In the coming weeks, these daily devotions will follow their stories from the Book of Acts.  


Today, mission statements can have the same effect on churches.  Do you know Gethsemane’s mission statement? (Our mission is to ….)  Families or individuals can have purpose statements too. Does your family have one?  One family I know uses Micah 6:8, “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God.”  And individuals might be, ”I want to use my gifts to help change the world.”   I’d love to hear about yours. These statements help identify what’s most important to you, aid in making decisions, and evaluating the choices you do make.  Simple and easy to memorize is best.


I've worked on a personal statement before, obviously long forgotten. We are living in different ways these days.  Maybe it’s a good opportunity to write/re-write a purpose statement. 


PRAY:  O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us

faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ

our Lord. Amen.

On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 17th 

FAITH/PEACE

John 20:26-29  

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side.  Do not doubt but believe.”Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

 

How do you know you have faith? For me, on some days an overwhelming sense of trust comes over me.  Somehow I just know everything is going to be alright. I’m relying on God’s promises.  Today’s reading sends a blessing through the generations - to those of us who didn’t see the risen Lord.  We believe their testimony! Easter changes everything. We receive that same gift of peace in believing. 


Paul argues in Philippians 4:7 that this peace passes all understanding.  Maybe you have experienced this peace when you’re staring at your checkbook wondering how you’ll meet this month’s bills, or when you're with a loved one who  is sick or may even be dying, or when you hold your crying child in your arms. It’ll be okay. You just know it.


It’s on these days, in these moments, you believe that you're right where you belong, doing what God needs you to do.  God is with you, taking care of all the rest. All you have to think about is - what do I need to do today. You are living in peace. That's faith.  


PRAY: Lord of Life, strengthen my trust in your promises.  I want to follow where you lead. Grant me your grace and your peace.  Amen

On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

April 16th

DOUBT/FAITH

John 20:24-25 

 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

Contemporary Christian songwriter, Zack Williams, wrote: “Fear, he is a liar. He will take your breath, Stop you in your steps; Fear he is a liar. He will rob your rest, Steal your happiness.” 


The disciples had good reason to be afraid.  But fear is fuel for doubts. Thomas puts their doubts about Jesus' resurrection into words.  I’m thankful to hear it because I have plenty of my own.  And if Jesus would be gentle with Thomas, I’m hopeful Jesus will be patient with me when I’m overwhelmed with doubt and fear. 

Like Thomas, I find it helpful to put my doubts into words.  Sometimes I pray, “God, how will you help? Will you really help him/her get better?  What could I possibly do to make any difference?” Such prayers feel like I’m challenging God (which doesn’t seem a smart thing to do).  I hope God hears that I’m struggling to trust, to believe. I’m praying, “Help my unbelief.”


Somehow, being honest with God about my fears and doubts makes them subside enough for the faith and trust in God that I desire to become stronger.   Try it...and see.   


Today, let’s give thanks for Thomas who teaches us how to express our doubts in order to renew our faith. 


PRAY:  Lord of Life, I am weak in faith; strengthen me.  I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether; help me.  I am cold in love, warm me that my love may go out to my neighbor.  Amen  
 
On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changes our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 15th

BEHIND DOORS

John 20:19-23 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  

 


The disciples are hiding back in the room where they’d celebrated the Passover with Jesus.  They are frozen by fear and regret. Not good. Today, we are holding out in our homes, due to the current pandemic.  Some of us are finding the solitude enjoyable or family togetherness has been precious. Others of us are feeling more isolated or frustrated or worn down.  


The Bible tells us that Jesus, throughout many days after his resurrection,  met with his followers. He came to them when they were behind closed doors, walking down the road, or at their work.  Jesus knew they needed reassurance - to know they were not alone. Jesus' words of peace, forgiveness, and promise of the Holy Spirit renewed and strengthened their faith to meet the days ahead.  Today, may God give you  peace in your home and strength for whatever task is yours to do. 


PRAY: Jesus, you are our Savior and Lord.  Nourish our faith in your promises, and ground us in your strength. Amen.  

 
On the journey with you,
Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)
 

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changes our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise

 

April 14th

VICTORY

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul insists that Jesus is more than “an example” for us to follow.  Jesus died and was raised and was seen, even by Paul. Death and resurrection is an event, an experience we share with Christ, not only at our own deaths, but daily.  When we experience forgiveness, hope, a fresh start, we receive a victory from God. Paul’s own “God-sightings” changed his life, his perspective, his mission and work. Through hardship or in joy, he claimed a victory received Christ's power, presence, and grace.    


Today, with the threat of disease and death, we understand the “sting”  that Paul is talking about. I’m holding on to the promises that God is stronger.  I don’t know what victory will ultimately look like. But in every person leaving the hospital, in the possibility of a cure, in the kind and courageous acts among our fellow humans, in the strength of your faith, I see a reason to thank God for a victory.  What have you seen?


PRAY: Lord of Life, increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with you.  Enable us to show the power of the resurrection in all that we say and do. Amen

 

On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen
(cell 262-899-8509)
 

Coming Next....

Week 4/19-25  Easter Changed our Perspective

Week 4/26-5/2 Easter Changed our Commitment

Week 5/3-9 Easter Changed the Message

Week 5/10-16 Easter Changed the Community

Week 5/17-23 Easter Changes the Promise


April 13th

Jesus' death and resurrection changes everything.  As we continue in the church’s season of Easter, the Bible stories not only teach but show us how this is true.  Today, we know our world is changed by the current pandemic. Are we ready to see what God will do? I will continue to send you a daily devotion. I hope it will renew your faith, hope, and commitment to share the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. 

 

4/13 MON: FUTURE; Matthew 28:10

 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


"Followers of Jesus don’t always know where they’re going, but they knew who they’re with." - Unknown

Jesus’ death left his disciples and followers leaderless, scattered, and scared.  Easter changed everything because they had their leader back. The women met him (soon others will too)!  Jesus sends the women to his disciples with a message that was clear. It held a promise of a reunion.  Jesus says, Follow me..once more. 


Following Jesus is simple, but not always easy.  We’re given instructions - the Bible. We have examples of faithful followers - in the Bible and in the people we know.  We see that it was not always easy to do and the path Jesus takes was not without difficulty.


I know my tendencies to want to “take over the steering to avoid a rough road.”  But the invitation is irresistible. Following Jesus is filled with the promises of living your best life, for a great purpose, together with our Lord who loves us.  


PRAY: Draw your church together, Lord, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together witnessing to your love wherever you will lead us.  Amen


On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen

 

April 12th

Happy Easter!

alleluia

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!



SONG: I Raise a Hallelujah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRo7kFl7hBw&;list=PLcHqC9YNzSaB621igMmxfeMUvroQqYr3L&index=4


OR, if you prefer a traditional Easter hymn…..

 HYMN: Jesus Christ is Risen Today - St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church-ELCA, Wauwatosa WI (2014)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyJo92rwbBY


PRAY

God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for he is alive and has become the Lord of life. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ, and help us to grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

THANKSGIVING FOR BAPTISM

You may make the sign of the cross, 

 Joined to Christ in the waters of baptism, we are raised with him to new life.

Let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.

 

We give you thanks, O God,

for in the beginning you created us in your image

and planted us in a well-watered garden.

In the desert you promised pools of water for the parched,

and you gave us water from the rock.

When we did not know the way,

you sent the Good Shepherd to lead us to still waters.

At the cross, you watered us from Jesus’ wounded side,

and on this day, you shower us again with the water of life.

We praise you for your salvation through water, and for all water everywhere.

Bathe us in your forgiveness, grace, and love.

Satisfy the thirsty, and give us the life only you can give.

To you be given honor and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

PSALM 118

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

    His faithful love endures forever.

2 Let all Israel repeat:

    “His faithful love endures forever.”

The Lord is my strength and my song;

    he has given me victory.

17 I will not die; instead, I will live

    to tell what the Lord has done.

19 Open for me the gates where the righteous enter,

    and I will go in and thank the Lord.

20 These gates lead to the presence of the Lord,

    and the godly enter there.

21 I thank you for answering my prayer

    and giving me victory!

22 The stone that the builders rejected

    has now become the cornerstone.

23 This is the Lord’s doing,

    and it is wonderful to see.

24 This is the day the Lord has made.

    We will rejoice and be glad in it.


GOOD NEWS: Matthew 28:1-9

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you. So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 


VIDEO MESSAGE/SERMON:

 https://youtu.be/ARDW0sg6_Gg

 

To make sense of the cross of Jesus Christ we need to see God at work in the resurrection, where life is stronger than death.  We have the joy that Christ is alive and with us.  We believe that Jesus is indeed “going ahead of us” as the angel also said.  


So, like the women and disciples, we continue to follow our crucified and risen Lord because it’s not over.  Easter changes everything. We need to pray; watch and get ready to be a part of whatever God is doing next.   


SONG:  Love Changes Everything, by Red Rocks Worship

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcZGtAOCftI

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

 maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. 

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, 

eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, 

true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made.

 For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, 

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

 he suffered death and was buried. 

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures; 

he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, 

and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, 

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

 who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, 

who has spoken through the prophets.

 We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. 

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

 We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.  


PRAYERS & PRAYER SONG: Heal Our Land - by Kari Jobe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyzbpBR1KOI


God of life, we pray….

For our distraught world facing the coronavirus;

for countries hardest hit, especially China, Italy, Spain, and the United States;

for those who grieve their dead; 

for the sick and their families;

for those fearful of an unknown future; 

for the millions of unemployed;

For employers acting with compassion and wisdom;

for children at home and their parents;

for those who live alone;

for hospitals, in their desperate need for supplies; 

for first responders and “front line” workers; 

for scientists working on a cure;


for our church family;

for  the Hofstetter family and all who grieve.  


LORD’s PRAYER

BLESSING

May the One who brought forth Jesus from the dead

raise you to new life, fill you with hope.

Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever. Amen.

Christ is risen, just as he said.

Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!

SONG: ”Worthy is the Lamb” by Hillsong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-cd5prE4f0


OR, if you prefer a traditional Easter hymn…..

HYMN: Thine is the Glory - Gethsemane Lutheran Church-ELCA, Hopkins, MN (2019)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urOVS4v6FsA

 

April 11th

HE DESCENDED INTO HELL

Today, we remember how our Savior Jesus Christ passed from death to life. We gather in Spirit with one another and the church throughout the world in vigil and prayer.  While we wait to celebrate Jesus resurrection, we tell the stories of our faith family, recalling how God loved and saved his people throughout history.   

Many images may come to mind on this day, like a sea that’s parted for us to travel to a promised land. We might see a bush that’s burning and, to our surprise, is speaking the voice of God. We might envision a pillar of fire ahead of us, guiding us into a future where God is already present. Today’s image might present another - God rescuing the earth like Noah’s ark after the flood.   

 

The Easter vigil story that has been meaningful to me for many years is Jonah, the reluctant prophet, rescued from his own disobedience.  Here is a paraphrased version by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel:  

 

The Story of Jonah

There once was a prophet named Jonah. He was from Galilee, and like most prophets of his day, he counseled the kings of Israel. One day, the Lord came to Jonah and said: "Jonah, son of Amittai, I want you to go to the great city of Nineveh and speak out against it. The people there are very wicked, and if they do not repent, I will destroy their city."

 

Jonah knew of the wickedness of Nineveh and how powerful and great they were, and he was afraid to go there. So he set out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. He went to Joppa, where he decided to book passage on a sailing ship. The ship was bound for Spain, which is about as far away from Nineveh as you could go in those days. There, he thought, he would surely get away from the Lord.

 

But the Lord sent a strong wind and a great storm upon the sea. It was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up. The sailors were terrified and cried out to their gods. Jonah came forward and told them, "I know it is my fault that you are caught in this violent storm. For I have run away from my God who made the land and the sea and all there is. Throw me into the sea, and it all will calm down." 

 

So the sailors picked up Jonah, and tossed him into the sea. And it calmed down at once.

 

SONG: O Lord, Hear My Prayer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-2WZFf_uAc&;t=91s

 

God had not intended that Jonah should drowned, however. At his command, God sent a large fish alongside the ship, and it swallowed Jonah as soon as he hit the water. Jonah remained inside the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

 

During that time, Jonah prayed constantly to the Lord and repented for trying to run away from his command. Jonah was very grateful that God had saved him from drowning in the sea and promised to follow his command from now on.  God heard Jonah's prayers and caused the fish to cast Jonah out on the dry land. When God commanded a second time that Jonah go to Nineveh, he did not hesitate. Jonah set out on the road that went north to Nineveh.

 

Now, Nineveh was a very large city, three days walk from one end to the other. Jonah went throughout the city and proclaimed, "Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days! Nineveh will be destroyed because of the people's sins!" The people were convinced that God had sent Jonah, and immediately went to their king to ask him what to do. "Let everyone turn away from sin and repent," he said. "Perhaps if we are penitent, the Lord will forgive us." Everyone obeyed the king's counsel throughout the city. They all prayed humbly for the Lord's pardon and repented of their wickedness. Day and night they prayed to the Lord for forgiveness.

 

God heard their prayers and saw their changed ways. And he did not destroy the city, because he is loving and merciful, patient and kind. The people were not evil anymore, and they were saved -- thanks to the word of the Lord delivered by Jonah.

 

PRAYER: 

For our world in this time of public health crisis. Deliver us.

 

For those who are sick, give recovery of strength and health. For those who are well, especially nurses, doctors, researchers, and all medical professionals, preserve them as they care for others. 

 

For those who mourn those who have died, envelop them in your peace and presence.  Lord, in your mercy..

 

For leaders of nations, give clarity and wisdom as they create short-term policies and design long-term solutions for the health and well-being of all whom they serve, especially the most vulnerable. 

 

For all people, free us from fear and anxiety as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare, change and adapt.  

 

For your church. Strengthen our faith and embolden our witness to your never-failing love for this world, especially now.   

 

LORD’S PRAYER

 

BLESSING: Now there is rejoicing in heaven; for you were lost, and are found; you were dead, and are now alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. Go in peace. 


April 10th

GOOD FRIDAY: THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST


HYMN:  “Were You There”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpSScICWJ9M&list=RDfpSScICWJ9M&start_radio=1


Jesus' final words, spoken from the cross, recorded in four Gospels, serve as today’s devotion.  Some say the last words someone speaks before dying become memorable and precious. Jesus' followers consider his to be. Plan to take some time to read, listen to songs by “clicking” on the link (Again, apologies for commercials!), pray, and meditate on what Jesus crucified has to say to you today.  


On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen


THE FIRST WORD  


HYMN  “Ah, Holy Jesus” by Fernando Ortega

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABzJc9sQtYc


LESSON: Luke 23:32 - 34

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’


PRAYER: Almighty God, our redeemer, in our weakness we have failed to be your messengers of forgiveness and hope in the world. Renew us by your Holy Spirit that we may follow your commands and proclaim your reign of love. AMEN 

 

THE SECOND WORD  


HYMN  “Jesus, Remember Me” - Taize

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3StPXD6flQ&;list=RDgo1-BoDD7CI&index=4


LESSON: Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’


PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you. Grant that our love may not grow cold in your service and that we may not fail or deny you in the hour of trial. AMEN 

 

THE THIRD WORD  


SONG: Nothing Can Trouble - Taize

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvfTVxgkWpo&;t=16s


LESSON: John 19:25-27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.


PRAYER: Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ; you have sent your Son to show us your love and the way of life. Make us sincerely thankful for this gift and for your patience with our sins and sorrow. AMEN

 

THE FOURTH WORD 


Song: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” by Joy Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9FG12eTSbI&;list=PLjtTxd12SFDqW0aIrVXLswwDfS-nB45qM&index=5


LESSON: Matt. 27:45-49

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’


PRAYER: Lord God, our strength, the battle of good and evil rages within and around us, and our ancient foe tempts us with deceits and empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your Word and, when we fall, raise us again and restore us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



THE FIFTH WORD 


SONG: “At the Cross” by Chris Tomlin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUvpBphq5og


LESSON: John 19:28-29

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.


PRAYER: Merciful Lord, you sent your Son to be our peace. Help all who suffer pain or grief to find in him strength and peace, so that their trust in your promises may be renewed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN 

 

THE SIXTH WORD


HYMN:  O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”  Fernando Ortega

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgkVTtT-0xg


LESSON: John 19:30

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


PRAYER: O God, your Son chose the path which led to pain before joy and the cross before glory. Plant his cross in our hearts, so that in its power and love we come to the final joy and glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN 


THE SEVENTH WORD 


HYMN “Lamb of God” by Twila Paris

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QGNUDsQ6fI


LESSON: Luke 23:44-49

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.


PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you carried our sins in your own body on the tree so that we might have life. May we and all who remember this day find new life in you now and in the world to come, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and for-ever. AMEN 


Go in peace.

Thanks be to God.


SONG: How Great Thou Art - Home Free https://youtu.be/tXQpDDcrN-w

(Thank you Dick & Connie Henning for sharing this arrangement with me!)


April 9th

 

LAST SUPPER & GETHSEMANE

 

As you read, meditate, pray, listen or sing through this daily devotion trust that this is “living Word." Trust that God will speak to you the very thing you need to hear today. 

 

Matthew 26:26-28, 36-39

 

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it,  for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.   


Song: In My Father’s Kingdom, by Fernando Ortega

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibVDd3zHnD8


In the sharing of the meal, Jesus established a new covenant for all people.  How we long to share in this Holy Communion! May the Holy Spirit keep us united until we are together again.  May you feel the bonds we share as one big family of God - past, present, future - around the world. God bless His Church longing to be fed today.  


Jesus' journey to the cross continues. Our Church was named to remember this night Jesus spent in the garden....

 

 

 

Go to dark Gethsemane,

 

You who feel the tempter's pow'r;

 

Your Redeemer's conflict see;

 

Watch with Him one bitter hour;

 

Turn not from His griefs away;

 

Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.


Matthew 26:36-39

 

Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”  He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”   He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

 

20200318_084949.jpg

 

Song: Stay With Me Here, by Fernando Ortego

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYOz2YqBxEM


Pray:  Merciful Lord, you were willing to be lifted upon the cross in order to draw all people to you, for you desire to give help, healing and hope to our hurting world.  This is the message of the cross we can share. May we who have been born out of your wounded side always find mercy in you. Amen


On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen


April 8th

 

FOOTWASHING

 

John 13:3-13, 34-35

 

 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.  So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”


Song: Ubi caritas/Where True Love and Charity

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHkmOi5Wzgo


20200318_141616.jpg

 

The Bible tells us about the death of only two disciples: Judas and James, son of Zebedee.  The fate of the rest is known by tradition or the writings of early Church historians. This witness says Jesus’ disciples suffered greatly for their faith and in most cases met violent deaths on account of their bold witness.  Today’s image, a picture hanging in our church, portrays the last supper. Each disciple is represented at the table as a cross. In their sacrifice they took to heart Jesus' call to follow his example.   


Pray:  Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us.  Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as Jesus served us. Amen


On the journey with you,

 

Pastor Karen



Sunday Edition, 3/22/2020


"EXAMPLE & ENCOURAGEMENT" THEORY #3

 

Good morning! I miss you all especially today! How I have taken for granted our ability to gather for worship on Sunday morning!

 

Today, let's check in. What have been your "hi's" this week? What have been your "low's". Just click "reply all" and share it with your church family.

 

Because it's Sunday, I've planned a more extended devotional/worship for you. So, get ready to take a few moments (go refill your coffee cup if need be)...think of your church family, think of the whole Christian church in their homes gathering online with their faith communities, think of our world....

 

God is with us wherever we are. God wants our thanks and praise. So, let's worship God....

 

Prayer of Confession


Gracious God, have mercy on us. In your compassion forgive us our sins, known and unknown, that we have done and things we have failed to do. Turn us again to you, and uphold us by your Spirit, so that we may live and serve you in newness of life.

 

Promise of Forgiveness

 

In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. Amen.

 

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-UmemwpAvA

 

Bible Reading: Luke 15:11-24

Jesus told this story: "A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. "A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. "When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant."' So the son returned home to his father.

 

church heart

 

This theory states that we simply don't or can't love God or our neighbor as we should. And that's true to our lived experience, isn't it? We turn away or ignore God, until we are in need. And not only do we find it difficult to love our enemies, we even find it difficult to love those we claim to love the most: our family and friends.

 

So God enters into this world in the person of Jesus, whose life points to the depth of God's love for all creation. God is love. Parables like the Prodigal Son teach us about this depth of God's love for sinners like you and me. [In next days we'll see how the Father shows us what love is.] Jesus doesn't just come into the world to tell us that God is love; he comes to show us how to love, and inspires us to do so.

 

Pray: Teach us what love is. Help us remember and care for the poor, the stranger, the widowed, the orphan. In Jesus' name, Amen.

 

Act: Look for opportunities to help someone else this week. And if you would, share that with your church family, email us by clicking "reply all." OR post it on our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GethsemaneBrookfield/

 

Remember, we can only do small things, but with great love. [Quoting Mother Teresa}

 

On the journey with you,

Pastor Karen

 

And now, a personal message from me....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSAQbvjAYVw

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