First Sunday in Advent

November 27th, 2015

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

It’s Black Friday and the rush towards Christmas has begun! Frantic shoppers are vying for the best deal, people are filling their calendars with holiday events, and the most wonderful time of the year has turned into the busiest, craziest time of the year.
Unless you’re someone who also pays attention to the church year, and not just the calendar year, as part of the faith community which observes Advent.

And so on this 1st Sunday in Advent, instead of picking up the pace, we slow down. We take time to savor this rich season of waiting. The word advent means “coming.” Together we wait with bated breath for the celebration of God’s coming into our world in human form, as one of us. As we also wait, too, for the day Christ will return and God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. While at the same time we wait for the way Jesus will come into our lives right now, with grace-filled gifts of joy and peace.

May this time of waiting fill our hearts with great hope and expectation for Jesus’ coming into our lives and world.

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

Endings & Beginnings

November 20th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

This Sunday is the end of the year on the church calendar as we observe Christ the King Sunday. The new church year begins the following week on the 1st Sunday in Advent as we await the birth of the newborn King.

Endings and beginnings. They are part of life and the rhythm of the church year. Death and resurrection is the very core of our faith. Every goodbye anticipates a borning cry of new life. And Christ the King, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, holds our lives and all of heaven and earth in his loving embrace.

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

“Don’t be alarmed”

November 13th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

We’re constantly reminded that life can change in an instant, whether it’s in the face of a wounded veteran; a homeowner whose house has burned to the ground; or a parent mourning the loss of a child. It takes courage and hope when the world as we know it crumbles around us. Yet that is exactly what Jesus gives us. “Don’t be alarmed,” are his words from the Gospel this week. For out of the rubble, God will build something new. Whether it’s a broken building, body or dream, whenever something fails it is but the “birth pangs” of a new beginning.

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

Icon1 Lectionary 33B (Color) (Clip Art)

Notice Those Who Need Our Compassion

November 6th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

We pay a lot of attention to people who are rich and famous and powerful—the mansions they live in, the clothes they wear and what they tweet or post on facebook. Yet we often avert our eyes to those who sit on sidewalks or stand at exit ramps asking for help.

When Jesus draws attention to a poor widow who put in her last cent at the Temple, he shows that God sees our struggles and hardships and cares about us. Likewise he invites us to notice and care for those around us—especially those who need our compassion—as we share the gift of God’s love with others.

See you in church,
Pastor Gretchen

widow