Grace

October 23rd, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Grace. That’s what it’s all about for us Lutherans, going all the way back to the 16th century Reformation, which we celebrate this Sunday. As Paul wrote even earlier in the 1st century, we are “justified by faith apart from works” (Romans 3:28) solely by the grace of God. Think of it this way: 

There is nothing you can do that will make God Love you more.

There is nothing you can do that will make God Love you less. 

That’s the promise given to us in baptism. And the promise that three of our youth declare publicly this Sunday as they affirm their baptism in the Rite of Confirmation.

We have much to celebrate this week as we live in God’s amazing grace!

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

Turbulent Waters

June 18th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

An old French prayer says, “O Lord, my boat is so small and the sea is so great.” This Sunday’s gospel reading is filled with turbulent water. We all have experienced storms in our lives-whether emotional, physical or spiritual. Sometimes we’re even called into the storms that come from following Jesus. Either way, the water of baptism reminds us not to fear. In faith we trust that we are not alone in our small boats-Jesus is with us. Faith gives us the courage we need to weather the storms of life.

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