Our two-service worship schedule resumes on Rally Sunday, September 11th

Worship begins at 8:30 and again at 10:30 am.  Sunday School for 3 year old-6th grade will be from 9:30 to 10:20 am.

If you are new to our faith community and would like to get involved, please call the church office at 507.583.6621.  We would like to meet you!  This is epecially helpful if you plan to enroll new student/s in your family for Sunday School or Confirmation classes.  WELCOME!

You Are Somebody

Jesus said, “On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:20)  Jesus in you!  AMAZING!  Here is a story told by Thomas Long about how two children came to know “Jesus in you!” You are somebody!

The late Howard Thurman, who was dean of the chapel at Boston University, the first African American professor at that institution, and a mentor and counselor to the leaders of the civil rights movement, attributed much of his own sense of dignity and vocation to his grandmother, a former slave, who repeated to her young grandson a message she had heard in worship.  Over and over she told him, “You are somebody!”  She was bearing witness to her grandson of a truth she heard in church.

Once when traveling through the South in the 1950’s, Thurman and his family stopped to rest for a few moments at a park along the highway.  His daughters immediately spotted a swing set on a playground in the park and pulled their father toward it to swing.  They couldn’t read the sign that warned that this playground was for “white only by state law.”  Sadly, but patiently, Thurman told his little girls that they could not play there and explained why.  This was their first real encounter with the cruelty of racism, and they instantly burst into tears.  So, much as his grandmother had done when he was a child, Thurman gathered his children into a warm embrace and said to them, “Listen, you little girls are somebody.  In fact, you are so important and so valuable to God and so powerful that it takes the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the whole state police force to keep you little girls off those swings!”

This week’s gospel reading from John 14 promises that the Holy Spirit “will be in you.”  This is the presence of God – in us, the presence of Jesus – in us, by the presence of the Holy Spirit – in us.  YOU ARE SOMEBODY!

(Testimony: Talking Ourselves into Being Christian, T. G. Long, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004, p. 64)

When Your Personal Doomsday Has Already Happened…

Much has been made this week in the media of the doomsday predictions for May 21, 2011.  To counteract the fear and gloom, here is a word of hope–a word of resurrection–from someone who has suffered greatly.  Renee Splichal Larson was on a mission trip to Haiti with her husband Ben, both students at Wartburg Seminary in Iowa, during the devasting earthquake on January 12, 2010.  Renee and the other student, Ben’s cousin, survived the building collapse. 

Ben did not. 

Renee was widowed in her mid-twenties. 

Here’s a recent video of Renee.

In the video, Renee talks about how God and others turned her OUT of her inward suffering, to the world that needs her witness.  This is a marvelous example of our Lutheran Christian response to doomsday predictions; continuing the work of serving our neighbor, with no fear, just deep faith…until Christ comes again.

God of resurrection, turn fearful hearts into faithful ones.  Make us confident in your promises.  Amen.

Another Caring Bridge Added

A young member of the BPHS sophomore class, CJ, now has a Caring Bridge site.  Thank you to the many who assisted him at school on Monday, and please continue pray for him and his family.  His site is listed in the blogroll; left-hand column.

Labor of Love

A few years back I went to visit a favorite high school teacher.  He had moved to a different district, in a new area, much closer to where I live now.  To supplement his teaching income, he had bought a small farm and is in the business of raising livestock.  As he told me the story of why he chose sheep over other animals, he talked quite a bit about the precarious health of sheep, the travails they have at lambing time, their diet and general quirks.  Needy animals!  Then he said something I’ll always remember as he looked over his rolling pasture speckled with lambs grazing in the distance:  “Raising sheep is not for every farmer.  But it suits me.”

The Gospel Reading for this “Good Shepherd Sunday” is the beginning of Jesus’ long conversation about sheep.  To raise any livestock is quite a responsiblity.  To choose sheep as one’s lifework, however, seems to be a particular labor of love. 

God, you are gate, protecting us.  And you are shepherd, tending us.  This is abundant life.  Amen.

JR Foundation

The JR Foundation blog has been added to the blogroll for you to keep up with news and upcoming events. 

It is the season we call Eastertide.  As Christians, we confess that resurrection takes place not just “someday”–but everyday when we, with God’s help, transform tragedy into service for one another.   We continue to hold the family and our community in prayer.

2011 Synod Assembly

The 2011 Southeastern MN Synod Assembly will be held today and tomorrow at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.  Four voting members and your two pastors will be in attendance, along with voters and leaders from the 177 congregations in our synod. 

This year’s theme is:  God’s Work.  Our [Lutheran] Hands.  You may read more about the assembly here.

The Adult Forum on Sunday, May 8 will be dedicated to a discussion of this event:  the worship, Bible Studies, fellowship, business, reports, and more.  All are welcome to join us in the Fellowship Room at approx 9:40 am.

For Sunday, May 8th

So much emotion this week.

Tornado devastation in the south.  Record flooding of the Mississippi.  A stunning, stealth war victory.  The honoring of mothers.  Liriano pitching a  no-hitter.  Who was voted off Dancing with the Stars.

There is much to discuss as we travel through life together.  Violence and victory, power and peace, love and war.   And many voices, in our nation and worldwide, are speaking with passionate fervor this week.

As we read the Gospel text selected for this third Sunday of Easter [and I hope we all do; here it is],  let me ask you:  where do you see Jesus, hidden and revealed, in this week, in this life? 



As we discuss, one thing seems clear:  Jesus did not come alongside to halt the conversation of the disciples.  Rather, to ground that conversation in the God of all things, all times, and all places.

Risen Lord Jesus–the incarnate God of roadways, the gracious God of tables–reveal yourself to us.  Amen.