Come as you are

January 30th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Ever feel like you have to hide those parts of yourself you don’t want others to see? That you have to clean up your act before you come to worship? Not so, says Lutheran seminary professor David Lose: “Our God is a God of the broken, and our church is a fellowship of the needy.”  All it takes to be a follower of Jesus in the community of faith is to recognize your deep need and trust that Jesus has come to meet it.

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

Follow Me

January 23rd, 2015

Dear Disciples of American Lutheran,

When Jesus calls his first disciples they drop everything to follow him! Do we have that same sense of urgency about God’s call to us-to share the love of Christ in all we do and say? There is so much to distract us, so much noise and busyness that keeps us from focusing on what is truly important in life. As we continue in this season of Epiphany, we watch for the signs of God’s presence breaking into our ordinary lives, so we may respond-now! 

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

“the house of God, and…the gate of heaven”

January 16th, 2015

Dear Disciples of American Lutheran,

All the baptized have a calling in God’s world. God calls not just the clergy but also the youngest child, like Samuel. The story of the calling of Nathanael plays with the idea of place. Nathanael initially dismisses Jesus because he comes from Nazareth. But where we come from isn’t important; it’s where – or rather whom – we come to. Jesus refers to the story of the vision of Jacob, who called the place of his vision “the house of God, and…the gate of heaven” (Gen. 2:17). Jesus says he himself is the place where Nathanael will meet God.

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

The Baptism of our Lord

January 9th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

As we observe The Baptism of our Lord this Sunday, we also remember the blessings we receive in baptism: forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, a community of faith and everlasting life. Come and celebrate the grace-filled water of life through which God accepts us as beloved sons and daughters!

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

A New Year Resolution

January 5th, 2015

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

It’s January–the beginning of a new year. The time when we look back at where we’ve been and look forward to where we want to be in life. There’s a lot of advice about how to get more organized, more healthy, more financially secure. I particular liked the wisdom offered by a 96 year old woman, the oldest living yoga teacher, who lives out her belief that age is just a number: “I don’t believe in age. When people ask me about age, I tell them to look at all the trees around them. They’re hundreds of years old. They may look as if they’re dying at the moment, but they’re not; they’re recycling themselves. And in a couple of months, they’re going to be reborn again.”

Martin Luther offers his own advice about how we can be reborn again–not just at the start of a new year, but at the start of each new day. He encourages every Christian to remember their baptism daily. Every morning upon waking, make the sign of the cross on your forehead—and on your children’s foreheads if you’re a parent. When we remind ourselves who we are, everything else we do flows from our sense of self, our core identity as beloved sons and daughters of God.

On Sunday January 11th we gather in worship to give thanks that we have been “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever” as we observe The Baptism of our Lord. Then we gather for a potluck and our annual meeting to celebrate the ways we have fulfilled our identity in the past year, and the ways we anticipate God will continue to lead us into the next year.

If I may suggest a resolution for the new year, it would be this. Find one new way to deepen your commitment to this community of faith—your community of faith. Whether it’s through regular presence in worship; deepening your prayer life; offering your gifts in leadership or service; or becoming more engaged with the Bible. Not only will your commitment bless you personally, you will bless and strengthen the body of Christ as we fulfill our mission together “to witness the Good News of God’s love through service in our community and beyond.”

Happy New Year!

Pastor Gretchen

The Light of the World

January 2nd, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Happy New Year! As we begin our journey into 2015, we remember the journey taken long ago by the three wise men from the East, led by a star to the manger. May we, like them, be beckoned to worship the Light of the world, so we may bear Christ’s light in a dark world.

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen