March 23, 2017
Sundays at 8:00 and 10:15 AM
1st & 3rd Sundays at 10:15 AM
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Welcome to the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church website. We hope this site will help you learn more about us and our witness for Christ. We strive to recognize and nurture the Christ in ourselves and each person that we encounter along the way. Our church is a thriving community of believers, and lovers of the word of God. Trinity Kutztown has a long tradition of outreach and service to its members and the community. We hope you will join us for worship on Sundays to experience for yourself the fellowship of Christ.
Daily Thoughts During Lent
Lent March 17 Upside/down Faith
Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him (Ethiopian eunuch) the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
I received a phone call awhile back that surprised me. The call was from a youth I had known from a previous church I pastored. That youth is now a young man who I had not spoken to in years. He called, to thank me for being there for him, and the difference that particular community made in his life. Wow, I had no idea. I do remember baptizing him and the rest was up to the work of the holy spirit. Philip shares the good news of Jesus Christ with the eunuch, responds to the eunuchs' request to be baptized, and then is snatched away by the Spirit, never getting to witness what becomes of the baptized eunuch. I want to know more about what happened to the eunuch. We are only told he went on his way rejoicing. Sometimes that's all we get. Or if we are lucky a phone call. That upside/down faith for everyone involved.
Lent March 20 Upside/down faith
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Two thoughts about today's reading continue to stick with me. First, sometimes you have to get knocked down to live upside/down. Saul has been on the fringes since chapter 8. He was the one whose feet the crowd threw their garments while Stephen was being stoned to death for the faith. He's got a taste of hate and he runs with it. To stop hate in its tracks is not an easy thing to do. It takes something extra ordinary to stop it - like power from above or continual love from below. Today we have the opportunity to do our part from below by letting love flow.
The second thought on this passage is that Saul's persecution of Jesus was manifested through Jesus' followers. This passage often reminds me of the Matthew 25 passage when Jesus teaches that when you did not feed, offer drink, welcome the stranger, cloth the naked, visit the prisoner, you did not do it to me. It such a short distance between hatred and indifference. I suppose we know a lot of Saul type people in the world. But then again we have opportunity daily to deeds of love as the body of Christ Jesus in the world. When we hear and respond to that voice things get turned upside/down.Lent March 21 Upside/down faith
Lent March 21 Upside/Down Faith
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look. for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be fill with the Holy Spirit.
The thing about living upside/down faith is that it can catch you off guard without notice. I suspect the last thing Ananias thought he would be asked to do was to deal with Saul the Christian hater. Saul's reputation as a persecutor of Christians has preceded him. Yet a vision has Ananias heading into the unknown. Vision tend to do that in the bible (think Mary, Joseph). Ananias could have well been tempted to write the vision off as a bad dream. He does not. Regardless of who Saul is or represents Ananias trust that God's love will be stronger than any hate Saul can conjure up. Faith finds its strength in trust. Ananias trust the vision and is willing to meet hatred face to face only to find that the Holy Spirit has already been at work with Saul. Upside/down faith begins with trust.
Lent March 22 Upside/down faith
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.
People notice when you begin to live an upside/down life. When hatred no longer drives your life. When what people experienced before no longer defines you. I remember early in my ministry I was asked to return to my high school to speak to the teachers at an inservice day prior to the beginning of a new school year. As I began to offer some motivational wisdom for the coming school year, I could hear the whispers from my former teachers. "This can't be the Keith Rohrbach we know!" Needless to say I had a reputation in high school that wasn't always that flattering. It's difficult turning your life upside/down. Most people who knew you from your past life won't understand. After Ananias laid his hands on Saul and the scales fell from his eyes, we are told Saul "immediately began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues." When the good news of forgiveness, grace, and new life becomes our proclamation, heads will turn, and people will talk.
enemies. But I really think it was his doing that pushed them over the edge. Extending healing love on the Sabbath, healing a leper, raising to life a girl and a women's son, feeding thousands of people, extending forgiveness to a sinful women. I'm just scratching the surface here. I wish desperately that this Week we call Holy would stir up the people again.
extends love through healing and miracles there is the belief and faith that life can be transformed and a new life lived. These Holy Days before us are the ultimate days of love does. All the healing, all the miracles, all the teachings of Jesus lead to the depth of God's love in this passion. Herod had been wanting to see Jesus for a long time - unfortunately he never truly sees him because he's looking for an entertainer not a savior who can transform life.
there with Jesus. One asks Jesus to use whatever power he has to get him out of this mess. The other understands the situation fully. I deserve to be hanging here - he doesn't! Unlike Herod who hasn't a clue who is standing before him, this guy knows exactly who is hanging next to him. All he asks of Jesus is to be remembered when Jesus moves from the cross to his kingdom. Dear friend, here is the biggest love does of all - Jesus says not only will I remember you but I invite you to share in my kingdom; "Today you will be with me in paradise." Words from the cross worth remembering.
me description is used of Joseph who was betrothed to Mary the mother of Jesus. Both these Joseph's took the risk of caring for Jesus, one at the beginning and one at the end of Jesus' life. Both are used to tell the story not knowing how it will end. But both are willing to risk their status and reputation on the unknown. Joseph says yes to God and Mary and steps out in faith. Joseph of Arimathea part of the council that sentenced Jesus to death (he didn't agree with the plan we are told) boldly steps forward and places Jesus lifeless body in a tomb. Maybe that is really what Easter is about, what love does is all about - stepping out in faith regardless what people think, not knowing what God has in store next.
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