Jan. 29, 2023

Prayer of the Day

Holy God, you confound the world’s wisdom in giving your kingdom to the lowly and the pure in heart. Give us such a hunger and thirst for justice, and perseverance in striving for peace, that in our words and deeds the world may see the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

Micah 6:1-8

1Hear what the Lord says:
  Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
  and let the hills hear your voice.
2Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
  and you enduring foundations of the earth;
 for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
  and he will contend with Israel.

3“O my people, what have I done to you?
  In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
  and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
 and I sent before you Moses,
  Aaron, and Miriam.
5O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
  what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
 and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
  that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”

6“With what shall I come before the Lord,
  and bow myself before God on high?
 Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
  with calves a year old?
7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
  with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
 Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
  the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
  and what does the Lord require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness,
  and to walk humbly with your God?

Psalm 15

1Lord, who may dwell in your | tabernacle?
  Who may abide upon your | holy hill?
2Those who lead a blameless life and do | what is right,
  who speak the truth | from their heart; 
3they do not slander with the tongue, they do no evil | to their friends;
  they do not cast discredit up- | on a neighbor.
4In their sight the wicked are rejected, but they honor those who | fear the Lord.
  They have sworn upon their health and do not take | back their word.
5They do not give their money in hope of gain, nor do they take bribes a- | gainst the innocent.
  Those who do these things shall never be | overthrown.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

18The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, 
 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
  and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Matthew 5:1-12

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Sermon – Pastor Meggan Manlove

The Beatitudes are first of all descriptive of Jesus’ life and ministry. Jesus is a messiah, a savior, who quite literally walks the talk. Before climbing the mount and preaching, Jesus has been very busy. He went throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. He cured diseases and every sickness among the people. It’s no wonder his fame spread. So, the one who preaches the Sermon is the one who is physically making all things new. The sayings of the Sermon on the Mount are the interpretation of Jesus’s life.

There were times Jesus was all those things he names in the Beatitudes. He was the ultimate peacemaker. His life and death encapsulate those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He mourned for individuals and for our broken world. And in emptying himself for the world he showed us what it meant to be poor in spirit. 

That Jesus lived what he preached may be a faithful reading of the Beatitudes. But it does not fully answer the question of what this iconic text means for us living some 2000 years later on a different continent. For that, it’s helpful to remember that the Sermon on the Mount was not addressed originally to individuals but to a community that Jesus began through calling the disciples. 

Sometimes the word makarios is translated as happy. Do any of you remember that translation? Our translation today uses the word blessed, which carries with it all sorts of problems, including what is sometimes called the prosperity gospel, the idea that earthly riches are a sign of God’s blessing. I prefer the translation I read online by a fellow pastor who wrote, “Jesus is saying to those who are hurting and those who side with them, God loves you too. Although it seems sometimes like God sides with the rich and powerful, Jesus has good news: God cares for those who feel they have lost in the game of life. So, good news, you who are poor. God is with you. When you are grieving, God is near. 

Jesus’ trip up the mountain is much like Moses before him. Like during the time of Moses, Israel suffers under an oppressive ruler. Like Moses, Jesus’ life is threatened in its earliest days. Like Moses, Jesus (and his family) has to flee the threat of death. Like Moses, Jesus too emerges out of Egypt to follow God’s call to liberate the people. Like Moses, Jesus wanders in the wilderness and relies on God for sustenance.

This morning, like Moses at Mt. Sinai, Jesus interprets God’s vision of a world aligned with God’s concerns. In this way, Jesus’ sharing and interpreting of these commandments is not so much an imposition of rules for an obedient life. It is instead a guide to a life of wholeness aligned with God’s creation and grace. So, both the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments are not rules as much as they are visions for communal wholeness rooted in God’s liberation of the oppressed. Also, like the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount is narrated and set within a larger story about the character of a faithful God.

You might ask, is this vision for the reign of God about heaven or about the here and now? The absolute answer is that it is about both. Are the Beatitudes supposed to drive us to God’s grace by showing us how we can never love perfectly or are the beatitudes showing us how to live now? The answer is both. It’s true that we cannot depend on our works for salvation, but we also cannot cast aside the radical demands of the law.

There is great symmetry and order to the Beatitudes and its worth paying attention to. Let’s take the first four as one stanza. Take a look at your bulletin. This stanza includes those who are suffering. Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are those who mourn; blessed are the meek; blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. In other words, blessed are the dispossessed, abandoned, poor, homeless. Is anyone here mourning today, last week? This blessing if for you, who looks on the many tragedies near and far and weeps. They will be satisfied and comforted in the eschaton, the age to come. God loves them.

One scholar wrote, “no one is asked to go out and try to be poor in spirit or to mourn or to be meek. Rather, Jesus is indicating that given the reality of the kingdom we should not be surprised to find among those who follow him those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek.” And Jesus is not idealizing poverty. Later he will encourage his followers to fight it. The Kingdom of Heaven, which we will hear about throughout Matthew’s gospel, has come near you. When God reigns, the poor get a better deal.

If the first four beatitudes are about those who are suffering, the second four are about those who help them. Look again at your bulletin. Blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers, and blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

All of these are preludes to Jesus’ later teachings, in which he will favor mercy over sacrifice, in which he will emphasize forgiving not just in words but from the heart, in which he will teach peacemaking within community and in the larger world. Finally, blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, or justice, sake. In other words, serve others and give generously, and see what happens. Blessed are those who hunger for the well-being of others, justice for all (Rinehart).

The last verses switch from third person to second person and things get personal. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” This world is suffering, Jesus says. Look around, listen, feel the earth groaning. God cares about the suffering, as God always has. If we are the people of God, the body of Christ, we will care about the suffering too.

We often talk about the Season after Epiphany being this time when we learn more and more about who Jesus is. His identity is manifested or revealed gradually over the course of weeks. But this season is also about what it means to be Jesus’ followers, both as individuals and as community of faithful followers. The scripture passages encourage us to have specific types of encounters—with those who are meek, mourning, poor in spirit, and yes persecuted for righteousness sake. When we have those encounters, we then have our own epiphanies. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Action in accord with Christ does not originate in some ethical principle, but in the very person of Jesus Christ.” In other words, our discipleship is inextricably tied to the person and ministry of the one we follow—Jesus. 

If none of this sounds like really good news to you, you are not alone. Remember that this is the very beginning of Jesus’ very long Sermon on the Mount. For today we do well to pair the Beatitudes with our reading from First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul’s first letter to that early church community, with its many dysfunctionalities. Paul reminds the Corinthians that God is making all things new. 

As is consistent with God’s character, God chooses what looks foolish to the world. In this case that includes both the Corinthians themselves and the cross, that ugly symbol and wretched thing which Jesus died on. The new life the Corinthians, you and I enjoy is not the result of our worthiness. It is the result of the connection between God and Jesus the Christ, and the choice God made to give us life in that same Jesus Christ. Today, tomorrow, forever, Jesus Christ is both the messenger, preaching the Beatitudes and painting a vision for the reign of God coming to us, and Jesus Christ is the message itself—the message of God’s abundant and unfailing love. Amen. 

Prayers of Intercession

Called together to follow Jesus, we pray for the church, the world, and all in need.

A brief silence.

Cultivate humility in your church. In gatherings of every size, teach us to boast only in the cross. Shape your church to be people of kindness, generosity, and justice. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

The foundations of the earth bear witness to your faithfulness; the mountains and hills echo with your holiness. When we mistreat your creation, show us the error of our ways. Inspire us with reverent awe to honor all you have made. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

You make foolish the wisdom of the world. Raise up honorable leaders who seek justice, love mercy, and pursue peace. Frustrate plans that are corrupt, wicked, and self-seeking. Prosper the work of peacemakers (local and international reconciliation efforts may be named). Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Bless all whom the world rejects. Accompany those who are regarded as foolish, weak, low, and despised; reveal your power and presence at work where it is least expected. Give your life, strength, and wisdom to all in need (especially). Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

As with your people Israel, remind this congregation of your saving acts. Remind us how your faithfulness brought us through difficulties and sustained us despite our weaknesses. Establish the cross as the center of our life together. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

Praise to you for your blessed saints in every time and place (especially). Trusting you accompanied them in poverty, persecution, and in every trial, we trust you abide with your people always. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

We bring to you our needs and hopes, O God, trusting your wisdom and power revealed in Christ crucified.

Amen.

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TLC 2023 Ann Rprt- Pastor’s Report

PASTOR’S REPORT

In 2022 it seemed that we traded the word pivot for transition. Or maybe we have just grown so accustomed to pivoting that the switch from the ELCA Youth Gathering (cancelled) to a different trip to the Twin Cities and the Labor Day Weekend fire evacuation at Luther Heights that led to fall retreats down in the valleys seem almost normal. But in the life of the congregation there were multiple transitions. Sometimes they were behind the scenes, like different people climbing the ladder to change cloths on the suspended cross and Karissa Armbrust stepping fully into role of Treasurer. Other times they were roles everyone sees, like College of Idaho student Kaiti Walton joining our team of accompanists after Trish Bishop’s move to Washington. New volunteers were added to our sound and streaming team and altar guild. We also transitioned our annual God’s Work. Our Hands. Day in September—partnering with CWI student groups to beautify neighboring West Middle School. Read about more transitions in our team and committee reports. I have thought often of these scripture passages as we transition roles and equip new disciples.

Numbers 27:22-23

22So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation; 23he laid his hands on him and commissioned him—as the Lord had directed through Moses.

Romans 16:1-2

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, 2so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.

We also had transitions in the cluster. The Confirmation Co-op Team looks completely different than the pre-pandemic one. We added a quarterly cluster e-news publication and two-part workshop: Listening with Ear of My Heart. Pastor Lucas Shurson was installed at Faith, Caldwell and hopefully more installations will happen around the cluster in 2023.

One of our council’s goals was to keep telling our stories. If you look at the tvprays.org website (with its many contributions from Trinity members), our Video Devotions page on nampatrinity.org, and our Advent Daily Devotional, you will see that, though the work of storytelling never ends, this year we made great strides.

Thank you finally for the faith active in love that you each exhibit in your daily lives. Everything we do at Midland and Lone Star is done so you can share the love of God wherever you are: work, home, playground, senior center, coffee shop, and even the highway. Thank you for taking seriously our dismissal to Go in peace and serve the Lord. At Luther Heights we all shout this response: You know we will. So it is at Trinity, I know you will and for that I am grateful. 

Pastor Meggan Manlove

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TLC 2023 Ann Rprt-Trinity New Hope

TRINITY NEW HOPE

Trinity New Hope’s tagline is “Help and hope for those in need.”  That’s what we do!  We are very proud of the numerous families we have been able to help this year, including assisting several families transition from homelessness to a clean, safe home in which to live.  Trinity members have participated by helping to provide furniture, appliances, cleaning supplies, and holiday gifts for our tenants. Pastor Meggan created videos this year of several tenants telling their stories about how Trinity New Hope has changed their lives. If you would like to see these videos, please ask and we will share! They tell a wonderful and uplifting story of hope.  

Since Trinity New Hope is a 501(C)(3) non-profit corporation, we are eligible to receive donations.  In 2022 Trinity New Hope participated in the Home Partnership Foundation’s Avenues for Hope housing campaign, which raised $15,451.  We exceeded our fundraising goal of $15,000 and received donations from more than a dozen different states!  Our goal is to use part of the funds raised to improve our property’s landscaping.  We used the Avenues for Hope funds raised in 2021 to complete the construction of a new maintenance shop on the Trinity New Hope land, which provides space for a workshop for our maintenance staff and a place to store maintenance tools and materials. We also began work on landscape renovations to improve drainage around our homes.  

Trinity New Hope’s 16 single family homes are overseen by our amazing staff:  Tami Romine (property manager) and Steve Van Atter (maintenance manager).  If you see these fine individuals, please thank them for their excellent work! In addition, Jerry Armbrust has been a huge help this year with unit turnovers. Thank you!  

The Board of Directors is proud of the difference that Trinity New Hope is making in Nampa.  If you have a heart forthis ministry, please contact Pastor Meggan or any board member.  There are many opportunities to volunteer, and we would welcome you to the team.

The Board of Directors, Trinity New Hope

(Pastor Meggan Manlove, Tami McHugh, Cathy Winwood, Judy Kellar, Andrew Hanson, Shelly Regis, Debra Harris, Carl Radke, and Tom Dale)

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TLC 2023 Ann Rprt-Worship, Music, Altar Guild

WORSHIP AND MUSIC / ALTAR GUILD

Worship and Music and Altar Guild work together throughout the liturgical year planning ways to integrate our worship services and worship space to allow members to fully experience God’s word. 

Your worship and music group meet to plan the different liturgies that we use throughout the year.  In our hymnals are several settings that we cycle through with the different seasons of the year.  We try to mix up traditional gospel music, with different cultural experiences (Latin and others).  This year we even sang a couple of songs in Spanish.  We have several other settings including Tree of Life, Dakota Road, Taizé and, of course, Holden Evening Prayer that we incorporate during special seasons.  We also try to add new things occasionally, while keeping many of our most familiar and favorite songs/liturgies.  We know Trinity is always willing to try something new . . . at least once. Worship and music also choose the songs we sing each week to accompany the readings and sermon.  

Altar guild is primarily responsible for the sanctuary and setting things up behind the scenes.  As we visited the various seasons and color during our Christ the King (the end of the liturgical year) service, you may have noticed how altar guild makes sure the sanctuary is decorated to call to our attention these changes in color.  We bring in additional decorations and may even move some of the essential elements to emphasize different themes amongst the seasons.  Altar guild prepares the sacraments every week so we can engage in communion.  We ready all of the candles, paraments, baptismal font, eternal candle and banners for each week’s service.  During our Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Easter seasons we hope you enjoy the extra touches that are provided to help you experience the “reason for the season” through all of your senses.  

Together these two groups help Pastor emphasize different themes throughout every week and season of services.  Last, but not least, our groups collectively look at our service worship practices to ensure that “All are welcome”.  We look for ways to include our community through outdoor worship opportunities as well as online (thank you to our AV team).  This year we did our Pet Blessing, blessing of bicycles and Longest Night services outdoors.  We also continue to support practices that allow individuals the freedom and support to protect themselves from illness while returning to our “normal” practices:  passing the peace, collecting offering, and gathering for communion.  As you can imagine, none of this can happen without many dedicated people.  Our worship assistants including assisting ministers, crucifers, acolytes, accompanists, ushers and greeters allow our weekly and special services to flow so smoothly.  We are so grateful for those who have so diligently continued to serve on worship and music and/or altar guild.  We are excited to welcome those who have recently agreed to join us as we look forward to learning and serving together.  Yours in Christ – Kim Mills  

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TLC 2023 Ann Rprt-Stewardship

STEWARDSHIP

How does a church “do stewardship” in the ever-changing world of the 2020s? Using grant money that Pastor Meggan secured from the Northwest Intermountain Synod of the ELCA and the Myrtle Foundation, Trinity began exploring this question. Starting in May 2022, we joined four other congregations from the region, meeting four times as a cohort on Zoom with consultants from GSB. During alternate months, the Trinity team met separately with our consultants, plus we had ongoing access to them by text, phone and email throughout the year. With their help, we created a very different fall financial appeal, complete with full-color bulletin inserts, a brochure, and statement of intent cards. Our thanks to Kristina and Carl Radke, Sarah Henthorn and Dean Metzger for speaking in church during the appeal – outlining the ways Trinity impacts their lives in the areas of faith formation, having tough conversations, and ministry excellence. In response to this appeal, 37 households submitted statement of intent cards, with a total of $120,912.00 committed to our 2023 ministries.  That’s an increase in commitments of 19.7% over what was pledged for 2022. What is even more heartening, during a global period of financial uncertainty related to inflation, 29 households pledged to increase their average weekly offerings to Trinity in 2023.                                         

We will continue our relationship with GSB in 2023, focusing on other aspects of stewardship, including how we volunteer our time and our talents, how we approach the endowment fund and legacy giving, and how we encourage people to connect the dots between money given to Trinity and our ministries within the congregation and beyond our walls. Be watching this spring for Trinity to host a community event on how to have tough conversations about difficult topics.  

Yet “stewardship” is much bigger than “the pledge drive”. The broader perspective is this: Christians acknowledge that ALL we are and have are gifts from God. This concept permeates our daily decisions about how we use our time, what we do with our stuff, how we care for our bodies and our world, and how we share our giftedness (both within our church and in the world beyond the narthex doors.) “Year-Round-Stewardship” is how Trinity addresses stewardship in daily life.             

In January, we let our Epiphany Star Words guide us to a deeper sense of how our faith connects with our daily lives. In February, our focus was on Stewardship of Our Attention, asking us to ponder *where do I notice and pay attention to God?  *who is God asking me to pay attention to this week? *how does where I direct my attention during my discretionary time align with my values? *how do I critically engage with media? March was Stewardship of Our Property – asking people to notice different parts of our property: the patio area; the garden; the entrance; the narthex; the hallway, etc., and to participate in the pre-Easter work day.                                                             

During Lent, we encouraged you to be good stewards of God’s Presence…. to ponder how “we come from dust” each time we touch dust or dirt; to position our arms like pretzels as we pray; to compliment others; to give to our neighbors; to connect with the symbols of faith, such as candles. During April-May, we talked about being stewards of God’s Gift of Water, particularly since we live in a desert and drought impacts so many areas of the world. We took time during June to be good stewards of our relationships, re-energizing them at our very popular “food trucks and lawn games” event, at fellowship time after worship and at the church CampOut.  In July-August, we focused on stewardship of our stories. Our thanks to Phil Cronk, Mary Braudrick, Sarah Henthorn, Judy Kellar, Dean Metzger, Bryce Quarve, Steve Ward, and our teens who went to Minneapolis for sharing how God and their faith community have impacted their daily lives. Links to these videos are available on the church website   nampatrinity.org .        

During the rest of the year, we looked at stewardship of generosity, stewardship of creation, and plunged into a ‘season of gratitude’, followed by a ‘season of celebration.’ 

We are also grateful for generosity during special appeals: fundraisers such as Idaho Gives in May, raising $1550 (including $700 from non-members) and Avenues for Hope, supporting Trinity New Hope housing in December. The “Avenues” effort yielded $9,201 in donations PLUS another $6,550 in combined matches and prizes. We continue to be heartened by the 41 family and friend (ie, non-member) households who demonstrate they share our concern for affordable housing by supporting this financially.

We continue to encourage people to give in a variety of ways, including through online giving, using your bank’s bill-pay system, mailing checks to the church, and qualified charitable donations from IRAs, and of course using the offering plate on Sunday morning.

Phil Cronk, Sarah Henthorn, David Sheriff, Penelope Smith, Brandon Ziemer

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Jan. 22, 2023

Prayer of the Day

Lord God, your lovingkindness always goes before us and follows after us. Summon us into your light, and direct our steps in the ways of goodness that come through the cross of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

Isaiah 9:1-4

1There will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time [the Lord] brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2The people who walked in darkness
  have seen a great light;
 those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
  on them light has shined.
3You have multiplied the nation,
  you have increased its joy;
 they rejoice before you
  as with joy at the harvest,
  as people exult when dividing plunder.
4For the yoke of their burden,
  and the bar across their shoulders,
  the rod of their oppressor,
  you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Psalm 27:1, 4-9

1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then | shall I fear?
  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I | be afraid?
4One thing I ask of the Lord; one | thing I seek;
  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek God | in the temple.
5For in the day of trouble God will | give me shelter,
  hide me in the hidden places of the sanctuary, and raise me high up- | on a rock.
6Even now my head is lifted up above my enemies | who surround me.
  Therefore I will offer sacrifice in the sanctuary, sacrifices of rejoicing; I will sing and make music | to the Lord. 
7Hear my voice, O Lord, | when I call;
  have mercy on me and | answer me.
8My heart speaks your message— | “Seek my face.”
  Your face, O Lord, | I will seek.
9Hide not your face from me, turn not away from your ser- | vant in anger.
  Cast me not away—you have been my helper; forsake me not, O God of | my salvation.

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-23

12Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
  on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16the people who sat in darkness
  have seen a great light,
 and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
  light has dawned.”
17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

18As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

23Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

There are parts of Matthew’s gospel that I absolutely dread as a pastor and preacher, but today through the end of February include the passages I love. I love watching Jesus gather follows and begin his movement with teaching moments that are so memorable and iconic. The truth is I am here, in this work of Christian ministry, because of passages like today’s. 

John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner, came preaching, calling for repentance, “for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This morning Jesus both imitates that call but also makes it his own. He tells the crowd to repent. Repent is not meant to conjure up sorrow or remorse. It is about a change in perspective, a change in how we view the world. Get yourself a new orientation for the way you live; and then act on it. Jesus could be talking about individual repentance or collective repentance. I like to think he would welcome both. 

Last weekend I was at a continuing ed event in Southeast Georgia. Since I traveled all the way over there, I decided to be a tourist in Savannah for a day. One of the places I toured was the Owens Thomas House and Slave Quarters. The mansion was built in 1819. It was only owned by the original family for a few years. In 1830, lawyer, landholder, and enslaver George Welshman Owen purchased the property at auction. He lived there with his wife, six children, and up to fourteen enslaved laborers. 

Over the next 121 years, the home was owned by the Owens family until the last descendent, Margaret Gray Thomas, bequeathed the property upon her death in 1951 to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences to be run as a house museum. My tour included the mansion, slave quarters, and garden. The basement of the mansion held large replicas of letters by the Thomas family in which they wrote, in dehumanizing language, about the enslaved people.

Another woman on my tour asked the guide what he thought Margaret would have thought of the tour. He answered that she probably would not approve of it. My follow-up question was, “how long has this been the script for the tour?” 2018 was the answer. And later I found a plaque thanking the donors who had made possible the “2018 Reinterpretation Project.” 

As our entire country continues to reckon with bigotry, antisemitism, racist actions, and racist systems, my tour of the Owens Thomas House and Slave Quarters was both sad and heartening. This is what repentance can look like. I imagine the conversation among museum staff:

We were not telling the story of everyone who lived here. We dehumanized the enslaved people by hiding that history. Now we are trying to tell a more complete history. And when we tell a more complete history, we can see better the outcomes of that history. We build empathy, understanding, a broader view. We can better address injustices today and prevent injustices from happening. What does that conversation sound like in Southwest Idaho? What does repentance look like? What new perspectives does repentance draw us into?

Repent, Jesus says. Something new is on the horizon, breaking in now. So, get a different orientation, a different perspective. For better or worse this perspective is not going to make your life easier. When we are following in the steps of Jesus there is a lot in this world that should bother us: the increased wealth gap, the propensity for violence, every type of othering of people not like us, harm of the planet. And the church, the body of Christ, should be heartbroken by all of it and moved to action. To follow Jesus, as those first disciples did, means to be frustrated, heartbroken, and occasionally outraged by so much of what we see in the world.

But to follow Jesus also means to have hope. Why? Because Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John and, imperfect as they were, they followed him. They left their nets and two of them left their father. They leave him to follow Jesus who has announced that the kingdom has come near. As one scholar put it, “the kingdom born in this man, the kingdom of David, requires a transformation that all his disciples must undergo. The new David is not one whose [royalty] is immediately evident, but rather his power can be found only in the crucifixion. It will take new eyes and ears to see and hear the truth proclaimed through the cross.”

Following Jesus will be costly in so many ways, but when the imagination gets hold of the kingdom here and now, that is a powerful and life-giving force. God is the provider of light in darkness, as Isaiah and Jesus proclaim. God, through Jesus, proclaims that the kingdom of heaven is near. Emmanuel, God with us, in Jesus, is living proof that God’s reign is indeed breaking into the world. The kingdom is already present, not a hypothetical future nor a gift awaiting fulfillment of fine-print conditions on the part of the hearer. The kingdom has come. It’s near, it’s real, and it rolls onward. Our response is to repent. 

After my time in Savannah, I drove south to Epworth by the Sea, a Methodist Conference Center on St. Simon’s Island. The event I attended included around 700 people from many different denominations. If you had told me when I left that I would return ready to talk about the sacraments, I would have given you a quizzical look. But there is something about being in ecumenical spaces that reminds you of the gifts of your own tradition. Mixed into the keynote addresses about language, injustices, theology was a longing for sustenance. How is one sustained and nourished for the hard work of transformation and restoration? And my inner dialogue was, “I return to the Lord’s Supper and the promises it holds.” 

I know from my own experience and years as a parish pastor that there are many things that sustain Christians. I am buoyed by a walk on the perimeter of my subdivision where I get to the view the snow covered Owyhees or the budding fields. Lunch with a friend gives me laughter and encouragement. A phone conversation with my mom reminds me I am unconditionally loved. 

All of these things are sacramental, all of them have the potential to be means of God’s grace. But only in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper does Jesus promise to always be present. The Lord’s Supper stands at the center of our lives as Lutheran Christians. In that meal, we received Jesus’ presence into our very bodies. We receive God’s gifts of forgiveness of sin, new life and salvation. At the same time, as a community God makes us into the body of Christ, one with all in every time and place who share this holy meal.

It was this very community Jesus begins calling together today when he calls the first disciples. We become the body of Christ for the sake of the world. That is, we participate in God’s mission. Having been showered with God’s gifts, God sends us forth to take that love and compassion out into the world to the lonely, the oppressed, the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, and those suffering in mind, body, and spirit. 

The first two promises we make in Affirmation of Baptism are to live among God’s faithful people and to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper. There’s a reason those two are first; they are how we receive the love and courage and nourishment for everything else involved in following Jesus. Gather together around the table with the communion of saints. Receive the gifts of bread and wine given freely. Trust the promises of forgiveness and new life. Hear the words, “given for you” and trust that you are loved beyond measure by the God who calls you.

Prayers of Intercession

Called together to follow Jesus, we pray for the church, the world, and all in need.

A brief silence.

Make your church one in purpose, proclaiming the message of the cross. Help us to work together across differences. Energize ecumenical partnerships, including the World Council of Churches and Lutheran World Federation (other ecumenical ministries in which the congregation takes part may be named). Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

We rejoice at the bounty of your creation. Fill the land and sea with your abundance. Bless harvests in the southern hemisphere and fallow fields in the northern hemisphere. Equip farmers to till and keep the earth sustainably. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

In Christ your reign comes near and calls all to repentance. Break the rod of the oppressor in every nation. Dispel the shadow of death in places of war and persecution. Grant us leaders who lift the yokes that burden those in need. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Be a stronghold for those in trouble and a rock for all who are afraid. Rouse communities to care for neighbors who need shelter, are facing maltreatment, or are isolated and lonely. (Especially we pray for . . . .) Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Sustain the ministries of this congregation and all churches in this community (neighboring congregations may be named). Nurture each congregation’s unique witness to your presence; foster mutual respect; inspire our cooperation in loving our neighbors. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered.

We praise you for the faithful who have gone ahead of us, both famous and unknown. Help us to leave our nets and follow, and bring us with them to the fullness of your promise of eternal life. Merciful God,

receive our prayer.

We bring to you our needs and hopes, O God, trusting your wisdom and power revealed in Christ crucified.

Amen.

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TLC 2023 Ann Rprt-Property and Gospel and Growth

PROPERTY

We installed new locks on the front and back double doors this summer—no more bicycle lock on the back door! We also had repairs to heat pump #1 this summer.Our water heater that serves the kitchen and the maintenance closet was replaced this December.Mid-December we had problems with heat pump #2 and are in the process of getting that fixed.The refrigerant for those units is no longer manufactured and with supply getting low, we have been advised by a few places that we need to start looking at replacing them.We are in the process of discerning our next steps and getting bids.I would like to thank everyone for all they do to keep our wonderful little church going year after year.

Jerry Armbrust

GOSPEL AND GOWTH

The Gospel and Growth team’s role is to facilitate a focus on the gospel and to encourage growth at Trinity Lutheran.  Our thanks to all who participated in our events and projects in 2022 as we were transitioning back to in-person worship.

Open Sanctuary – On 2/26/2022 we opened the sanctuary from 3:00 to 5:00 pm to provide a quiet place for prayer.  There were paper leaves that we could write our prayer requests and hang on a small tree to be viewed until Easter.  There were flyers about Lenten activities, scripture verses, and small candy bars to refresh our spirits.

“Get Your Buns to Church” – This was held on 3/15/2022 in the social hall.  We had coffee and hot crossed buns.  We asked everyone the question “How has Trinity made a difference in your life”.  Some of the responses became videos on the website to encourage others. It wasn’t a large turnout (11) but you could feel the joy at being able to gather around the table and “catch up” with everyone!

“Spiritual Spa Day” – Saturday, 4/30/2022, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. A catered meal from Silver City BBQ, paid for by a Thrivent Action Team card, was provided for this congregation of volunteers. The theme was “Thank You for Being a Light at Trinity”.  Everyone received a decorated candle to take with them. We also asked those who wanted to, to describe a time when they had witnessed someone being a light and “showing up” for someone else or for the church.

Church CampOut – This event was hosted once again by Steve and Julie Ward at their property in Donnelley. There were 41 in attendance this year with 14 of those being first timers!  The food was plentiful and so was the feeling of community.  The worship service around the campfire was enjoyed and communion was done in a circle. The teens took on the challenge of providing a sermon skit and did a great job.  A lot of positive comments were made about the whole experience.

Spiritual Practices – We will be focusing on a different faith practice each month, encouraging members to grow in these practices.  September was “Care of Creation” with a display on the back wall of the sanctuary with seven stations of creation art and meditations, with more information in the bulletins. October was “Reading the Bible”.  We created a bulletin flyer with suggestions on ways to read the Bible.  These included 1) Committing to reading and re-reading two Psalms each week. 2)Read about different heroes in the Bible. 3) Download a Bible App, among others.  November was prayer and December was Forgiveness.

Advent Daily Devotional Booklet – We had 23 different authors contributing devotions to this annual project! Thank you each and everyone.  It seems that each story offers hope to each person although it might be in a totally different way.  We are blessed to have so many people who are willing to share what’s on their heart

Mary Braudrick, Edith Hannett, Tami Robinson, Penelope Smith

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TLC 2023 Ann Rprt-Church in Community

CHURCH IN COMMUNITY

Due to your generosity of approximately $2,564.00 and in-kind donations, we contributed to making a difference locally, in state, interstate, and internationally.  Thank you for your help and donations to meet our goals.  Thank you for all your support of money, time, and talents.

Julie Haugen

TRINITY NOISY OFFERINGS 2022

JANUARY 30  Trinity Emergency Fund  $ 313.11

FEBRUARY 27   Trinity Community Gardens  $ 259.43

MARCH 27   West Valley Animal Shelter  $161.28

APRIL 24 Nampa Bicycle Project  $ 246.77

MAY 29  Learning Peace; A Camp for Kids  $ 180.00

JUNE 26   First Responders  $ 175.68

JULY 24   Duck Valley Indian Reservation  $ 388.89

AUGUST 28  The Shoe That Grows  $ 470.02

SEPTEMBER 25   West Middle School  $ 138.21

OCTOBER 30  The Nampa Family Justice Center  $ 207.48

NOVEMBER 27   Valley Women & Children’s Shelter  $ 243.82

Lighthouse Mission for Men, Socks/Hats/Mittens/Gloves

Thanksgiving Food Boxes x 6  

DECEMBER 25   Trinity New Hope  $ 231.17

Christmas Food Boxes x 6

New Hope Totes x 16

Grand Total: $ 3,015.86

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TLC 2023 Ann Report-Christian Ed and Youth

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND YOUTH

2022 proved to be an exciting year for Christian Ed & Youth. I think we can all agree that we are finally back to a sense of normalcy after a not so normal couple of years. 

Pastor Meggan led five online Zoom groups throughout the year for our congregation. The topics included Trinity Parents: Faithful Families, Spiritual Practices in Lent, Galatians Study, Brian McLaren’s Do I Stay Christian? Study and ELCA World Hunger. Fifteen non-Trinity members participated in one or more of these studies. Our Monday Morning Study Group read Richard Rohr’s The Universal Christ, and Diana Butler Bass’ Grateful. They also completed an in-depth Bible Study on Luke’s Gospel. The Sunday Adult Forum read Rozella H. White’s Love Big and completed a bible study on Sunday Epistle (2nd lesson) Readings

The ELCA Youth Gathering was postponed in 2021 due to COVID and then canceled in 2022, but our youth still made the trek to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota in July. Sierra, Mwajuma, Diane, Kevin, Giada, Alexa and Jason were able to partner with youth from Hope Lutheran and attend the Northeast Iowa Synod’s youth event at the University of St Thomas. The theme was “Boundless,” and highlights included worshiping with youth from other states, participating in service projects and touring the Twin Cities, just to name a few. 

We had four 9-12 graders participate in the Leader In Training program at Luther Heights Bible Camp where they went on a backpacking trip and lead Grandparents Camp. Six additional members also attended Youth Camp where they enjoyed horseback riding, archery, hiking, swimming, daily worship, meeting new friends, and the infamous camp songs.  

This fall we decided to try something new and introduced Intergenerational Sunday School to the congregation. Each Sunday, both members of all ages gathered in our Fellowship Hall to learn from one another by reading scriptures, completing craft projects, and answering questions that really made us think. This was a great way to spend time with our church members that we otherwise may not get to spend time with and view things from other perspectives. 

We ended the year with our Christmas Program. This year’s theme focused on the Christmas Story and our youth did a great job presenting it to the congregation. 

-Amanda Hanson

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TLC 2023 Ann Report-Communications & Hospitality

COMMUNICATIONS

Good Morning and Happy New Year!  This past year on the Communications Committee, we were focused on coming up with different approaches and focuses for the Committee to improve overall communications.  I would like to thank the members of the committee (Jerry, Karissa, Kim, Larry and Pastor Meggan) for their help with providing updates and changes to the reader board throughout the year.  We also were hoping to try and help these folks with getting into and out of the sign by changing out the locks.  We had a locksmith come out and change those out but unfortunately, we are still battling with the heat swelling the doors so we will continue to see if we can’t get that fixed for these folks.

Some other areas that the committee worked on throughout the year are as follows:

  • Storytelling videos that have been completed and posted on the church website and YouTube Channel.  Also had other platforms for storytelling including the Church Camp out and coffee hour
  • Monthly mailings to the congregation
  • Reading of the Advent Daily Devotionals on Facebook Live by Pastor
  • Also focusing on community connections through outdoor events such as Ashes on the Go, Food Trucks and Lawn Games, Pet Blessing, and Longest Night

As we go into 2023, we are looking to expand our committee membership to help expand communication with both our congregation and our local community.  If this is something that you are able to help us out with, please come and speak to me or any of the committee members as we are looking to grow the committee through volunteers and our reach.

God Bless!

Dean Metzger

HOSPITALITY

Fellowship Time after worship is happening weekly


We had Soup Suppers during Lent and Advent

The Easter Breakfast was a great success

There was good attendance at the Food Trucks and Lawn Games event in June and the Game Night in November. 

-Sandy Blom and Church Council

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