June 21, 2020

Prayer of the Day

Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing that we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (ELW p. 40) Continue reading

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Soul Friends

Soul Friends (originally posted on tvprays.org June 18, 2020)

I have been pondering all the kinds of relationships that we are part of and need. We are relational by nature, even those of us who are more introverted. I need relationships with communities of people who have similar interests or background and stories. I need people to confide in and people who will hold me accountable to growth. In recent weeks we have been reminded of our need to be in relationship with people who are not like us. My compassion for all people grows when I put names and faces to the people who are different from me. I also need people to do things with—hiking, reading, discussing, re-creating. And I need people who share my faith, who are companions on this journey of discipleship. Continue reading

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June 14, 2020 (Commemoration Emanuel 9)

A Confessional Litany and Lament Commemorating Nine Who Were Slain at Mother Emanuel AME Church

They were doing what we are called to as they engaged in bible study.

It was Wednesday night— a stranger walked in, and these people welcomed him and prayed together:
the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Kibwe Diop Sanders,
the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons, the Rev. Myra Singleton Quarles Thompson, and the honorable state senator and pastor of the church, the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney.

This stranger wanted to ignite a “race war,” he said, after he shot and killed them, denying them the very humanity he claimed for himself, claiming rights and privileges associated with “whiteness.”

Now we are grieved, once again in pain,
burning and anguished, lamenting the horror of evil unleashed. And so we cry out,
Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us. 

Sorrow and heartache have come to us.
Death and mourning have visited us.
We feel far from you, O God, and distant from one another. And so we cry out, Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us.

Evil besets us in our land.
We acknowledge that our nation is socialized in ways that promote and normalize colonialization.
We cry out against the horrors and agonies of racism. And so we cry out,
Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us.

The privileged of our nation have benefited from practices that dehumanize indigenous peoples. We have claimed as “discovery” lands that were not ours. These lands have been stolen and the nations, that were the original occupants of these lands, slain. And so we cry out,
Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us.

Tribalism has led to the denial of your presence, O God.
Present generations,
the children whose ancestors were kidnapped and sold into slavery, those forced to labor not on their own behalf,
still suffer and struggle to live in freedom
while the children of colonizers,
live out of “white privilege,”
denying the fullness of your presence in all people. And so we cry out, Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us.

Assaults born of greed and murder continue propping up
white privilege that is institutionalized in our church and nation, preventing us from recognizing
the twin evils of racism and nationalism
still perpetuated among us. And so we cry out,
Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us.

Open our eyes, O God, open our hearts.
Open our ears, O God, open our minds.
Help us to behold one another as you behold us.
Help us to be more firmly rooted
in the practices of the gospel—so that, when we pray,
the way we live will make real the dream of your beloved community within and among us. And so we cry out,
Have mercy, O God, have mercy on us.

With the help of your mercy and grace, lead us to think, believe, and change. May your gospel’s transforming power by the working of the Holy Spirit be present in us, in our churches, in our nation and all the nations of the earth. May it be so. And the people said, “Amen.” Amen.

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Time for Deep Listening

(Pastor’s Column for Trinity Epistle, June 2020)

Dear Friends in Christ,

Of all the things that the time of the pandemic is, and there are plenty of descriptors, it could also be a  time of deep listening. In the midst of this listening, our congregation will continue to carry out the practices that both ground us and shape us–worship, study, prayer, generosity, sharing the Good News. But some deep listening might guide us to transform and adapt those faith practices and to even create new ones. Continue reading

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Anti-racism Learning in Southwest Idaho

I am writing this specifically for my congregants at Trinity Lutheran Church in Nampa, Idaho. Anyone who knows how to do a search on the internet can find a list of articles or books to read, films to watch, or pieces to listen to which will help them live into the current moment and better understand systemic racism and white supremacy.

I have tried to identify when my own journey began. I am embarrassed to say that although many books, conversations, and relationships shaped me and planted seeds, it was not until Ferguson that I sensed that the Civil Rights Movement had not solved as much as I had been told and that, as important, laws passed then had been chipped away at in the following years. What’s more, as a white person, I benefited from the lack of progress in ways I did not even understand.

I have not arrived. My personal work is far from over. There are new voices I need to read and more conversations I need to have. But I have done some work and I shepherd a flock of people who are at all different stages on this journey, but might be curious about recommendations from their pastor. Here are just a few great ones: Continue reading

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Empathy, Curiosity, and Hope

Originally posted on tvprays.org June 3, 2020

I have been thinking a lot about how we do not allow ourselves or one another to hold two truths together at the same time. That is not very helpful and leaves little room for dialogue and transformation.

The murder of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old African American man, at the hands of white Minneapolis police officers was horrific. Floyd’s killing should make all of us uncomfortable because it reveals the racism that is still so pervasive in our country. We can see the racism in our society, including in police forces, while also knowing law enforcement officers who are anti-racist. Continue reading

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Pentecost 2020

Prayer of the Day

O God, on this day you open the hearts of your faithful people by sending into us your Holy Spirit. Direct us by the light of that Spirit, that we may have a right judgment in all things and rejoice at all times in your peace, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (ELW)


Acts 2:1-21

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May 26, 2020 Congregational Letter

May 26, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

The last few months have not been easy, and we are so thankful for the many ways that you have individually and collectively stepped into new ways of being the church. Learning new skills, caring for our neighbors, using our imaginations can be challenging in the best circumstance and these have not been the best circumstances. We had hoped that we would be back to in-person worship for Pentecost, May 31, and both of us are heart-broken that we will not be. If your heart aches, let it ache. Allow yourselves to feel and do not judge those feelings. Continue reading

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Summer of Baseball….Movies

Dr. Osterholm has become one of my trusted sources when it comes to COVID-19. This Iowa native and Luther College graduate runs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. When I listened to his podcast, Osterholm Update, on Wednesday, he stated that we are still in the second inning of a nine-inning game. No, his podcast will probably not cheer you up. But he did say that just like in baseball, we do not know how long each inning will last.

I have no energy to write more about the pandemic and how the church will continue to adapt. But Osterholm’s analogy did give me an idea–an entire blog post about baseball movies. We will not be going out to the ballgames much this summer. We do not know if we will be watching major league baseball on the small screen. We can keep enjoying baseball films. Continue reading

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May 24, 2020 (Service of Healing)

Prayer of the Day

O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. Continue reading

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