- WELCOME TO TRINITY!
October 24, 2016
Although our online presence may provide a small glimpse into our life together as the people of God here at Trinity, we sincerely hope that you will
Every Sunday at 9:00am
“Come as you are, but stay in your car!!!” It’s a different kind of worship for a very different time. We hope you can join us!
The service will last approximately 25 minutes, and will be broadcast over a radio signal, rain or shine.
IN-PERSON GATHERINGS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED.
SEE THE VIDEO OF THIS WEEK’S WORSHIP SERVICE..
FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT – February 21, 2021
Grace and peace…
So, did he fix it? And if he didn’t fix it yet, when is he going to fix it? No, I’m not talking about the leaky faucet or the wooden steps which go up to the deck. I’m talking about the rip in the sky… the tear in the heavens which took place at Jesus’ baptism. Did God repair the rip in the sky? Remember what happened at Jesus’ baptism? Today’s Gospel lesson sort of begins with one of those flashbacks. You know, how at the beginning of one of your favorite television shows when the announcer voice declares, “previously, on “The Mandalorian.” Such flashbacks are to catch you up to speed, or perhaps remind you what’s happened up to this point. Today it’s, “previously, on the Gospel according to Mark…. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River” 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
That same Spirit, after it came down upon Jesus, did something surprising. In a shocking twist in the story, the Spirit drives Jesus out into the wilderness. The wilderness is a place of uncertainty, scarcity of food, an with no comfortable places to sleep. We are told there are wild beasts out there. And the devil comes to tempt Jesus. All sorts of dangers out there. But that’s where Jesus remains for forty days.
We’ll come back to the desert in a little while. But first, back to that hole in the sky. Did God fix it? Is he going to fix it? If you read Matthew or Luke’s version of the story, you’ll notice that the sky “opened.” That’s the word they use. Mark says that the sky ripped. It’s torn apart. In my own mind, I picture not a nice neat opening, but rather a tear with jagged edges. The Gospel of Mark is anything but neat and tidy. There’s a hole in the sky. And no where does it say that God or anyone else fixed it or sewed it back together neatly. No where does it say that the opening closed again.
But maybe that’s ok. If you stop and think about it, it’s actually kind of nice to imagine that the rip in the sky is still there. Where we are right now in early 2021, it feels sort of genuine and honest to have the sky as it is, unrepaired and in ragged pieces. And perhaps the unrepaired sky gave some strange comfort to Jesus while he was in the wilderness. Perhaps during those forty days he would look up from time time. Maybe it gave him hope and comfort. Maybe as the devil tried to tempt Jesus and shake his trust in his Father, maybe that’s what helped Jesus remember his Father’s promises contained in the Word. And after those forty days were over, perhaps Jesus thought back to that wilderness experience, and I imagine him looking up. Maybe during his earthly ministry he looked up from time to time and remembered that his Father’s heart wept enough over the state of the world so deeply, that God poured the divine Spirit into human form. And the Father called that humanness beloved. Perhaps Jesus, from time to time, could see that sight and remember the words that came pouring from the sky on that baptismal day. “You are my beloved…”
It wouldn’t be the first time God used a celestial sign to declare his promises. Noah trusted God, followed his instructions, built an ark, filled it with living creatures of every size and genus and species and off they went into the waters. Later, when the rains stopped, and the waters subsided, God put a sign in the sky. Noah and his family looked up and saw the rainbow in the sky. And God made a promise. And the rainbow reminds us that God keeps his promises. He keeps his Word.
The written Word is filled with God’s promises, and Jesus knew that. Jesus knew those promises. And so, out in the wilderness of the desert, even if there were times when he couldn’t see any visible sign in the sky, or hear any audible voice, Jesus knew what his Father had promised. More than any sign or voice, Jesus’ trust in his Father’s promises is what kept him going while he was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Jesus’ trust in his Father’s promises kept him going when he was hungry, or when there were wild animals or other dangers things lurking around.
God’s Word moved Noah to build an ark. God’s Word was Jesus’ strength in the face of temptation, struggle, and danger.
Maybe while he was in the wilderness Jesus didn’t see or hear anything. But what he did have was his Father’s Word.
Like Noah, we look out our window watching for a sign, wondering when it will be safe to go out again, waiting for the flood waters… or the number of cases… to go down. As much as we would like to know when our troubles will go away…. to have a sign appear in the sky, or a voice speak to us… We would like to look up and see some sign.. to hear words of love spoken directly to us.
I like to imagine that the opening in the sky is still there…. that the barrier which separated God and humanity no longer separates us. And that as Jesus struggled with sin and the devil and won… and that in obedience he even endured death on the cross… and the curtain of the temple was torn in two… and as he was victorious even over death itself… Jesus repaired the chasm between God and humanity.
I like to imagine that the opening in the sky is still there. Imagine that a voice is still saying to us, “You are my beloved.” But even if we can’t see the sign in the sky or hear the voice, we still have the same hope and source of strength that Jesus had in the wilderness and throughout his earthly ministry… We have our Heavenly Father’s Word. In our wilderness, we have God’s promises. And he always keeps his promises.
BE SAFE. BE WELL. BE PATIENT. BE FLEXIBLE. BE FAITHFUL. BE THE CHURCH.
NEW!!! TRINITYS PODCAST…
“TLC OUT THERE!”
TRINITY SOCIAL MINISTRY
Thank you for your continued support of Abiding Missions! Whether you prayed for the ministry, made homemade soup, or provided desserts your help is so appreciated. Especially in these cold temps, a warm bowl of soup and delicious cookies or cakes are so appreciated. What an easy way to share our love and concern with our city neighbors. During the winter months the collection will be twice a month to allow for additional supplies for the warming center. Abiding Missions still offers a weekly pantry but also serves as a warming center when the temps fall below 28 degrees. The next collection date for February is Sunday, February 21st. If you have questions please call or text Terri Mostoller – 724-816-4815
PERSONAL CARE KITS FOR LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF
During this Lenten season we will be collecting items for Personal Care Kits that will be distributed by Lutheran World Relief. These simple gifts improve the standard of living for people around the world. Below is a list of items needed and guidelines to remember. Items can be brought to church and placed in the Ackerman Fellowship Hall or if the building is locked, you may leave your donation in the bin outside the fellowship doors.
The collection bin will be marked – LRW- Personal Care Kits.
Later this year Trinity Lutheran Church Woman (TLCW) will prepare and pack the kits that will be delivered to a local distribution center in Zelienople. Stay tuned for more information regarding this part of the project if you are interested in helping prepare and pack kits.
Light weight bath-size towel (between 20” x 40” and 52” x 27”) – dark colors are recommended. Be sure the towels are light to medium weight to allow for easy hand washing, air drying, and easy storage.
Bath size bars of soap – any brand, in original wrapping
Adult size toothbrush
Sturdy hair comb
If it is not convenient for you to shop for these items and you would like to make a monetary contribution, please place in the offering or mail to the church office and mark it :
Personal Care Kits. The monies will be used to make purchases to complete the kits.
New Items Only
No items with any religious symbols or messages
No items decorated with the U. S. flag, patriotic or military symbols or references to the armed forces, including camouflage
If you have questions please contact the church office 724-443-8110.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity.
PARISH EDUCATION NEWS…
SUNDAY SCHOOL teachers are reaching out to the families of children in our youngest classes. Hopefully, you’ve received an email message with some information regarding faith formation materials and perhaps an invitation to a live Zoom meeting. If you haven’t received information about Sunday School, please let us know by calling the church office 724-443-8110. Thank you!
LIGHTHOUSE FOOD PANTRY – Trinity members and friends are encouraged to continue their support of the Lighthouse food pantry. Items may be dropped off at the church in the bin outside the office door, or taken directly to the Lighthouse. Best time to drop off donations there is Thursdays 12-3pm and Fridays 10am-1pm. Monetary donations may also be made, or gift cards for turkeys may be given. ($20 increments please)
From the Lighthouse, here is a current list of needs…
Suggested Donations for the Winter / Christmas:
- INSTANT POTATOES
- BOX OF SCALLOPED POTATOES
- MAC N’ CHEESE
- CANS/JARS OF GRAVY
- CRANBERRY SAUCE
- CANNED FRUIT (especially pineapple)
- CANS OF VEGETABLES: (CORN, GREEN BEANS, CARROTS)
- BROTH (CHICKEN, BEEF, VEGETABLE)
- CANS OF SOUP / CHILI / STEW
- BOTTLES OF JUICE
- MUFFIN/CAKE/BROWNIE MIX
- PIE FILLING / PIE CRUSTS
Additional messages are also being made available on the “Pastor’s Page.” Please see the menu above.
To see more, LIKE US ON FACEBOOK… Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church – Gibsonia
RESOURCES FROM THE CHURCHWIDE OFFICE OF THE ELCA
Worship and devotional resources, prayers, updates, and other helpful information.
RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
“Family Sunday School” is available from our own Lutheran Sparkhouse publishing. See videos with music and stories, and download free coloring pages and activity pages.
“Illustrated Ministry” is a company which is making available free resources for families during this time. There are lessons, coloring pages, and activity pages for children. See the link below to sign up.
COUNSELING RESOURCES FROM ANCHORPOINT
Anchorpoint Counseling is offering video and phone appointments. See the link below to contact them for help during this time.
“GRAB AND GO” MEALS FOR STUDENTS
Meals made available by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The link and the map provided show locations in our area.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK… Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church – Gibsonia