SEASON of CREATION Devotions

Week Three

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Episcopal Church

My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. —PHILIPPIANS 1:23b-24

There are a lot of good hymns and spirituals about heaven and how wonderful it will be to rest from our labors and be there with the Lord. And this is true. The apostle Paul, when he wrote his letter to the Philippian Christians, was in prison and didn’t know if he was about to die. If so, he said, that would be just fine: “To die is gain.” But he went on to say that, although this world and its problems can be tiresome, he needed to stick around because there was still work to do. To remain, for Paul and for us, was “necessary for you.”

Now, “you” isn’t just our loved ones, or even our neighbors, co-workers and folks we meet. “You” is also the world in which we live and breathe, the vineyard in which we toil. To “remain in the flesh” is hard work, because it calls us to be ever more intentional in our care for all around us, including creation itself. German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once affirmed that “it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.” This world, and all that it holds, is in God’s hands. But as long as we remain in the flesh, then by God’s call it is in our hands as well.

Liberating, life-giving God, help us to know that we and the world you have created are truly the work of your hands. Give us knowledge and wisdom to care for your handiwork now and for future generations. Amen.

Suggested hymn: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” (Lift Every Voice and Sing II, 217).

SEASON of CREATION Devotions

Week Two

National Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? —MATTHEW 18:21

At the 2018 Bishops’ Academy, theologian Cynthia Moe-Lobeda reminded us of our call to “neighbour love,” to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself. She went on to say that if God loves the creation, then we must think of the creation as our neighbour.

I am reminded of this when I read today’s lesson. What if Peter had rephrased his question to Jesus as “Lord, if a neighbour sins against me, how often should I forgive?” Or, what if the neighbour asking the question was creation asking about us? How many times should creation forgiv us for overfishing, deforesting, polluting, endangering species, desertification, commodifying or even just not paying attention? Whether it is seventy-seven times, or seventy times seven, we are past the breaking point.

The 1854 speech attributed to Chief Seattle included these words: “Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. … The earth is precious to [God], and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.”

How long until we don’t just know it in our heads, but know it in our hearts, and change the way we treat the creation, our neighbour?

Creator, we pray that you would help us touch the earth gently. Turn us from our ways of commodifying the earth and consuming its riches without thought. Amen.

Suggested hymn: “Touch the Earth Lightly” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 739).

SEASON of CREATION Devotions

Week One

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. —ROMANS 13:11

Discipleship is a lifelong calling to worship, learn, listen and act in the name of Jesus. In Romans 13, disciples are invited to wake up to the significance of the times in which they live.

Waking up to matters of climate justice and environmental stewardship are among the most important callings people have today. Over many years, through many voices, our churches have come to a growing conviction that loving our neighbour includes loving Mother Earth as a neighbour.

Who helps you to wake up?

For our churches, many voices have come from Indigenous Peoples who continue to teach us the significance of land and relationships. The particular “place you are in” at any given moment is important. “Land” is about relationships between earth, water, animals, plants, peoples, environments and climate. Healing relationships with the land are essential for justice and peace among peoples. God speaks to us anew through relationships with the land.

Worship also wakes us up. Worship helps open our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits to our relationships with creation and to the possibilities for action. We are grateful for the worship you regularly offer in order to support many on the journey of learning, listening, discerning and acting.

We are excited to share these devotions with you during the Season of Creation. We share with you these hymns that speak to our spiritual connections to creation:

  • National Bishop Susan Johnson
    Touch the Earth Lightly (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 739)
  • Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
    He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands (Lift Every Voice and Sing II, 217)
  • Archbishop Linda Nicholls
    Now the Green Blade Rises (Common Praise, 237)
  • Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
    Light Dawns on a Weary World (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 726)

Perhaps you will have an opportunity to sing one or more of these hymns during the Season of Creation.

What songs, prayers, words and practices encourage you as you express your discipleship through caring for creation? What helps you wake up?

Loving God, we thank you for the gift of life in all its diversity and beauty; renew us in discipleship and in love for the earth. Amen.

“God’s work. Our hands.”

On Saturday 9/8 and Sunday 9/9, members of Mountain View Lutheran Church participated in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) day of service, “God’s work. Our hands.”

View photographs of volunteering in the Mountain View Community Center and Edgewood Nourish Food Bank; washing cars for food bank clients; cleaning up garbage on the campus and in the community; playing Bingo with the residents of Mill Ridge Village Retirement Community; writing cards of encouragement to members of the congregation; cleaning up the Sanctuary, Education Building Resource Room, and Gym equipment storage closet; putting together care packages for MVLC college students and worship activity bags for kids; and a GWOH breakfast and benevolence recipients discussion.

View the photos HERE.

“God’s work. Our hands.”

On Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9, members of MVLC serve the needs of the community (Saturday) and the needs of the campus (Sunday).

Sign up for one of the following events in the Gathering Space. (Or email the Church Office at office@mtviewlutheran.org and we can add your name to the appropriate list.)

Seeds of Change Breakfast 
Saturday 08 September 2018. 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Team leader: Emily Thompson.
Serve breakfast to the community and our neighbors at the Mountain View Community Center. Sign up to help prepare/cook (9:00 a.m.); serve (10:00–11:30 a.m.); and/or clean up (11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.).

Car Wash for Food Bank Clients
Saturday 08 September 2018. 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Team leader: Sonja Dahl.
Wash cars behind the Gym for clients of the Edgewood Nourish Food Bank.

Community Clean Up
Location, date, time to be determined.
Team leader: Skip Harrison.
Sign up if you are interested and Skip will contact you with all of the relevant information. Most likely it will include cleaning up an area park.

Make “Kid PowerPacks” at MVCC
Saturday 08 September 2018. 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Team leader: Beth Ann Johnson.
Put together packs of food for kids within the Puyallup and Fife school districts to take home on weekends and holidays.

Clean the Sanctuary
Saturday 08 September 2018. 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Team leader: Mark Williams.
Help make the Sanctuary sparkle and shine for upcoming worship services.

Writing Letters of Encouragement to Members
Date and time to be determined.
Team leader: Lynn Wadnizak.
Sign up if you are interested and Lynn will contact you with all of the relevant information. Help lift up the spirits of fellow members of the congregation.

Kids’ Worship Bags
Team leader: Wendy Wadnizak.
A team is putting together about a dozen “Worship Bags” that kids can bring into worship with them as a God’s Work Our Hands project. Your help is needed to gather the items to go in these bags. We need:

*Crayons and/or colored pencils.
*Children’s books for various ages.
*Clipboards.
*Coloring pages/books (Bible-themed ones are most preferable).
*Pipe cleaners.
*Bible stickers.
*Finger puppets.
*Donations to purchase fun Bible-themed supplies in bulk.

If you are able and willing to donate any of these items, then please bring them to the Church Office.

Thanks for your help creating this resource for our kids.

★ MVLC families! Service is an important part of living out our faith. Be sure to sign up for a project with your kids and help them learn what it means to give of their time. (Events marked with a star are “family friendly.”)

ELCA Presiding Bishop Responds to DACA Announcement

9/5/2017 10:45:00 AM

CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2017) – The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s announcement about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“As we journey together through the time God has given us, may God give us the grace of a welcoming heart and an overflowing love for the new neighbors among us” –ELCA social message, “Immigration” (1997).

We are saddened today by the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided relief from deportation to young people who have grown up as members of our churches, as neighbors playing with our children, and enriching our communities. We pray today for those who will suffer undue repercussions due to the end of this program. As Lutherans, we regard the family as an indispensable social institution and stand firmly against policies that cause the separation of families.

As we lament this change in policy, we call on members of Congress to pass long-overdue legislation to protect young people brought to the U.S. as children, also known as Dreamers. Our churches, our schools, our communities and the country are enhanced by their presence and contributions. It is time that our immigration policy reflects their gifts to all of us.

God’s peace,

Elizabeth A. Eaton
ELCA Presiding Bishop

Houston after Hurricane Harvey

Bishop Michael Rinehart of the Gulf Coast Synod of the ELCA has a blog that you can follow: bishopmike.com/2017/08/29/congregations-impacted-by-hurricane-harvey

Read about congregations impacted by Hurricane Harvey, as well as view photos of the damage and the ministry in the aftermath.

As Bishop Mike writes:

“These congregations will have a difficult time, in large part because insurance companies do not like to insure congregations so close to the coast. Quite a few these congregations had no flood insurance.”

“The good news is, ministry continues. Evacuees were sheltered in homes and churches. 5,000 people stayed at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. There have been, and continue to be, touching acts of kindness from strangers. The church is the church, regardless of buildings.”

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast of the United States on Aug. 25, 2017, threatening millions of people with multiple days of heavy rain, winds and rising tides. While many have evacuated, significant damage is still expected, and thousands of people may be housed in shelters for an extended period of time.

Lutheran Disaster Response’s affiliate is actively present, collaborating with community leaders and officials to initiate the proper responses, particularly the long-term recovery efforts. Together, we have a strong history of working with disasters in the Gulf Coast area. The road to recovery will be long, and Lutheran Disaster Response will be there to accompany those affected through every phase of this disaster.

We invite you to stand by our neighbors on the Gulf Coast during this time. Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those left homeless or otherwise affected by this disaster for years to come.

Gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response, designated for “Hurricane Response – United States” will be used entirely (100 percent) for this disaster until the response is complete. Together, we can help provide immediate and long-lasting support. Give today to support the needs in this response and others like it.

Visit the “Hurricane Harvey Relief” Lutheran Disaster Response page at community.elca.org/ushurricanerelief?erid=28805499&trid=7de0dc7d-4a24-4ad2-af34-e2e0f5eb5a7b

Photograph of Pastor Ashely Dellagiacoma at the George R. Brown Convention Center by Bishop Michael Rinehart.

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