By Pastor Linda Dolby
Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:7-8, 11-18
While wandering in the desert, suffering continually reminded the people of God, and the danger was that when they grew prosperous in the Promised Land they would forget him. Beginning in v. 10 with “When you eat, and are satisfied, you are to bless. God for what he has given you.” V.11: Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God. Then in v. 12 it says: “Lest when you have eaten ...” and in v. 14: “that your heart become haughty...” The people are to remember, in times of plenty, that it is God who brought them out of slavery, led them, and fed them, to test them and ultimately to give them prosperity. It is not by their own “power and ... might” (v. 17) that they will become wealthy, but rather it is God who gives them this power – in accordance with the agreements he made with Abraham, Isaac and Noah.
By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25
If you were in church last Sunday you no doubt noticed that I was not. I appreciate Pastor Amber filling the pulpit so I could attend my Women Touched by Grace retreat. Women Touched by Grace is a Lilly funded initiative to provide training and support for women clergy. It is a series of five retreats spread out over three years. There are twenty women in the program from across the U.S. and Canada from a multitude of denominations and non-denominational. As you might imagine, when we are together we talk a great deal about our congregations. And I always leave those retreats tremendously thankful for all of you. I am deeply grateful that Trinity is the congregation I serve. Now, I’m not grateful because we are the biggest congregation or the wealthiest or located in the most exotic place. In fact, one clergy woman in the program pastors a church in Napa Valley, California. I confess, I do envy that, especially with the weather we had this past week. I imagine the Napa Valley as a beautiful, exotic place. So, why? Why do I feel myself so fortunate, so blessed, to be pastor at Trinity? Well, stay tuned for the answer.
When I was in seminary, Luke was my favorite gospel. It’s probably, however, important to note that, at the time, I could fit nearly all of my worldly possessions into the hatch of my Pontiac T-1000. Luke has long been dubbed the gospel of “the least, the last, and the lost.” This morning’s gospel verses are from what’s known as The Sermon on the Plain, Luke’s take on Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. Both contain beatitudes, but most of us are more familiar with Matthew’s beatitudes. Beatitudes are a particular rhetorical form or device. They are words that solicit, distribute, or celebrate the favor or grace of God. Furthermore, when we celebrate God’s grace, it is a form of worship. Put in simpler terms, it’s kind of like we’re thanking God and congratulating a person simultaneously. The Greek word most frequently translated as “blessed” is closely connected to the Greek word for praise. So blessing involves praising God. Blessing is something we do out loud to identify and name the presence of God’s grace or favor in someone’s life. All of which sounds really good. So why is it that the none of the things Jesus identifies as blessed in this morning’s verses from Luke sound very good; I mean poverty, hunger, sorrow, people maligning you?
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On a lifelong journey of seeking to live out God's call on my life and to reflect His grace.
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