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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Mount Olive website to be previewed at July 4 Adult Forum

The Minneapolis marketing agency that designed and built our new website will lead a discussion about Mount Olive's new website at the Adult Forum on July 4 at 11:00 a.m. in the Chapel-Lounge.

Two years in development, the project is headed by Mount Olive members Steve Berg and Beth Gaede, each of whom has extensive experience in researching, writing, editing and publishing. While the parish has maintained a good website for the last few years, the Vestry approved the new project as part of an Evangelism Committee initiative to:
  • Simplify the site’s navigation
  • Enhance its appearance
  • Make it more interactive and useful for members
  • Make it more attractive and informative for visitors and for the wider community
  • Establish a clear and consistent online "voice" for Mount Olive
  • Make Mount Olive’s non-Sunday opportunities for service and fellowship more transparent and accessible to newcomers.
"In these days of electronic change, a superior website can become a parish’s most valuable evangelism tool," Berg said, "especially for attracting and holding younger members." He described two over-arching aims for the new site:
  • Becoming the primary vehicle (other than face-to-face) for improved communication among Mount Olive members and between members and staff. If a member wants to sign up for serving coffee, donating flowers, delivering Meals on Wheels or helping with the tutoring program, the website will be the place to go.
  • Becoming the primary vehicle (other than word-of-mouth) for spreading the news that Mount Olive is an energetic, musical and liturgical church that welcomes all comers. The new site, for example, includes a professionally produced Welcome Video that introduces the parish to prospective members and friends.
The video was produced by Dan West and Mount Olive’s Ann Sorenson. Photos on the site were contributed by members Paul Nixdorf, Kate Sterner and Louise Lystig Fritchie. Adsoka’s Kayla Stearns and Maggie Frazier were principal designers, with technical input from Mount Olive’s administrative assistant Cha Posz.

Your comments and suggestions on the new site are welcomed and encouraged, either at the Adult Forum or July 4 or in the days immediately before the forum. The new site is scheduled for launch on or shortly after June 30. The address is

Liturgies This Week

Sunday, July 4 (Ordinary 14)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Worship Folder for June 27

.Ordinary Time: Sunday 13
June 27, 2010 + 9:30 a.m.
Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Welcome to Worship at Mount Olive!
Mount Olive is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It is a community in and of the city where all are welcome in every aspect of congregational life. We believe that worship is central to our life together, that our weekly gathering around Word and Sacrament strengthens us for our work as people of God in this and in every place.

An elevator to the lower and street levels can be found at the northwest corner of the education wing. The elevator is accessible throughout the Parish House renovation. Restrooms are located on the main floor and lower level (the newly renovated main level restrooms are handicapped accessible). Turn right as you exit the narthex, then turn left. Restrooms are at the end of the hall, next to the elevator. Please ask a Greeter if you need assistance!

All are invited to join us for coffee and fellowship immediately following the liturgy. Adult Education follows coffee hour. Everyone is welcome.

Focus on the Season: Ordinary Time: Sunday 13
We have no good apart from God. That makes our Lord’s call to follow him an invitation to freedom. This is freedom to revel in the Spirit’s fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, and the like. This is the path of life.

Today the church commemorates Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, remembered as an outstanding theologian who defended the orthodox teachings about the person of Christ. He died in 444.

Numbers marked with the word “page...” in small case are found in the front portion of the hymnal at the bottom left and right corners of the page.
Numbers marked with the word “HYMN...” in caps are found in the back portion of the hymnal in the upper left and right corners of the page. Note that the psalms are numbered as hymns 1-150.

The Preparation
PRELUDE: “Meinen Jesum laß ich nicht” J.G. Walther

AT THE PROCESSION Standing to face the cross as it is carried into the sanctuary
“O Holy Spirit, Enter In” HYMN 786

P The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the
Holy Spirit be with you all. C And also with you.

P Let us pray. Sovereign God, ruler of all hearts, you call us to obey you, and
you favor us with true freedom. Keep us faithful to the ways of your Son, that,
leaving behind all that hinders us, we may steadfastly follow your paths,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. C Amen

The Liturgy of the Word
FIRST READING: I Kings 19:15b-16, 19-21 (seated)

Response: C Thanks be to God.

PSALMODY: Psalm 16

SECOND READING: Galatians 5:1, 13-25

Response: C Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION “Celtic Alleluia” (standing) HYMN 174
HOLY GOSPEL: Luke 9:51-62

Response after the announcement: C Glory to you, O Lord.
Response after the conclusion: C Praise to you, O Christ.
Please remain standing until the invocation is pronounced.

SERMON (seated) The Rev. Arthur Halbardier

HYMN OF THE DAY (standing)
“Come, Follow Me, the Savior Spake” HYMN 799
Stanza 1 – All, in harmony Stanza 3 – Women
Stanza 2 – Men Stanza 4 – All



Response: C hear our prayer.

PEACE You are invited to share God’s peace with those around you. (standing)

The Liturgy of the Eucharistic Meal
AT THE OFFERING: “The Call” Ralph Vaughan Williams

OFFERTORY (standing)
"Create in Me a Clean Heart" HYMN 186

Response: C Amen.

Sanctus HYMN 190
“Holy, Holy, Holy”

Eucharistic Prayer
Lord’s Prayer page 145
“Our Father in heaven…”

We believe and teach the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and we invite all who are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to commune with us. Communicants may receive the wine from the common chalice or dip the wafer into the intinction cup. Children and adults not communing may fold their hands as they come forward to receive a blessing.
“Jesus, Lamb of God” HYMN 199
“Take, Oh, Take Me As I Am” HYMN 814 - Sung several times, in harmony.
“Praise and Thanks and Adoration” HYMN 783
“Lead On, O King Eternal” HYMN 805 - Stanza 2 may be sung in harmony.

Response: C Amen.

The Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood may be sent to those unable to be present at our celebration.

BLESSING DISMISSAL A Go in peace. Serve the Lord. C Thanks be to God!

"Toccata Brevis" Daniel Gawthorpe

Worship Leaders
** Preacher & Presiding Minister: The Rev. Arthur Halbardier
Sacristan: Adam Krueger
Assisting Minister: Gene Hennig
* Organist: Joyce Brown
Soloist: Kristen Heider
Eucharistic Minister/Crucifer: Kandi Jo Benson Nelson
Communion Minister: John Clawson
Lector: Brad Holt
Acolytes: Maddie Nelson, Brad Nelson
Greeters : Eric Zander & Dennis Bidwell, Judy Graves, Tom Graves
Altar Guild: Bob Christensen & Beth Gaede
Coffee Host: Gail Neilsen

Worship Leaders for Next Sunday, July 4, 2010
** Preacher & Presiding Minister: The Rev. Rob Ruff
Sacristan: Susan Cherwien
Assisting Minister: Judy Hinck
Organist: Cantor David Cherwien
Eucharistic Minister/Crucifer: Paul Odlaug
Communion Ministers: Bob & Mary Lee
Lector: Jessinia Ruff
Acolytes: Gary Flatgard, Thomas Fenner
Greeters: Hans Tisberger, Cletius Puhrmann, Art & Elaine Halbardier
Altar Guild: Lynn Ruff, Steve & Sandra Pranschke
Coffee Host: Peggy Hoeft

Today, June 27 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 13; Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, theologian
9:30 am Holy Eucharist, followed by fellowship & coffee
11:00 am Adult Forum presentation: an Update from the Call Committee
11:00 am Loss and Grief Discussion & Support Group

Monday, June 28 - Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons
7:00 pm Worship Committee meeting

Tuesday, June 29 - Peter and Paul, Apostles

Wednesday, June 30
8:00 pm N.A.

Thursday, July 1 - Catherine Winkworth, 1878; John Mason Neale, 1866; hymn translators

Saturday, July 3 - Thomas, Apostle
9:00 am Men of Purpose
(Community Meal is postponed to July 10)

Sunday, July 4 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 14
9:30 am Holy Eucharist, followed by fellowship & coffee
11:00 am Adult Forum presentation: A preview of newly designed website
11:00 am Loss and Grief Discussion & Support Group

Monday, July 5 – Church offices closed
Flowers on the altar are given to the glory of God by Irene Campbell.

Today’s Adult Education
The Adult Forum this morning will be an update on the work and progress
of Mount Olive’s Call Committee.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Olive Branch

Accent on Worship

Jesus was the only human being to walk the earth uncompromised by power. The apostles of Jesus witnessed some amazing acts. Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, multiplied loaves and fishes to feed thousands, and even calmed the destructive winds of a storm at sea. In the Gospel for Sunday 13 in Ordinary Time Jesus again draws on his divine power in order to drive a legion of demons out of a man.

There were many instances in the life of Jesus in which he refused to use his power. The Pharisees asked

Jesus for signs, but he refused. Jesus didn't even give an authority figure like Herod a sign. The devil himself asked Jesus to show him a miracle or two and Jesus did not grant his requests either. In almost every instance where Jesus used his divine power, he was responding with mercy and compassion to a horrible situation. One amazing piece in Sunday's Gospel is how Jesus even had compassion on the demons! They begged him not to send them hack to the abyss and Jesus obliged them by sending them into a herd of swine instead.

We all possess a certain amount of power. If we have no other power, we at least have power over ourselves.

However, most of us have much more than that. Just by being citizens of the U.S. gives us more than most. If we are parents of young children, we have power. Certainly we have power if we have people working under our supervision. We are also able to earn power, by being respected in our field or by what we do in other areas in our lives. Wisdom gives us power. The words of a wise person are heard, and often sway the decisions of others. Because we are sinful, power has compromised us. We need look no further than the mess we have made of this world to know that. As Christians we are called daily to repent and reconcile ourselves to God. How we use our power is a very good first step when examining our daily walk with our Lord.
-Donna Neste

Sunday Readings

June 20, 2010 –Ordinary Time: Sunday 12
I Kings 19:1-15a + Psalm 22:19-28
Galatians 3~23.29 + Luke 8:26-39

June 27, 2010 - Ordinary Time: Sunday 13
I Kings 19:15+16, 19-21 + Psalm 16
Galatians 5 1, 13.25 + Luke 951-62

Call Committee Update

The past two weeks have been exhilarating and exhausting for the committee. We met four times during the first week of June and conducted six interviews that lasted approximately two hours each. During the second week of June, we met with the final two candidates and held a meeting to discuss our impressions of each of the eight candidates.

The eight pastors that we interviewed were an impressive group. There were seven men and one woman. Six live in Minnesota and two reside in other states. Six were nominated from the congregation and two names came from the Synod.

To move from the one dimension of the candidate's papers and recorded sermons to the three dimensions of a face to face encounter taught us, once again, that the Holy Spirit is unpredictable. Throughout the interviews, we laughed, raised our eyebrows, nodded, and questioned the candidates and ourselves. The most enjoyable time was to respond to the candidates' questions to us. It was a delight to share our impressions of Mount Olive with a unity that is reflective of our entire congregation.

The committee will meet on June 16th to finalize the process for a second round of interviews. We expect to make visits to the congregations of each of the remaining candidates through the end of June and conduct the second interviews in early July. We hope that our work will be done shortly thereafter, but we recognize that much of this process is not ours to dictate nor to control.

The Call Committee will present another update on their work at Adult Forum on Sunday, June 27.

In Our Prayers

Please pray throughout the week for the following persons: Mabel Jackson; Priya Ross-Jones; Daphne Broum, friend of Melissa & Paul Stone; Brian Crosby, brother of Larry Croshy; Esther Mundinger; Paul Engwall; Ed Mikkola; Luni Peterson, friend of the Caye family; Richard Reyer, father of Chuck Reyer; Barbara Johnson, friend of Mount Olive; Steve Schultz, relative of Joyce Brown and Linda Pipkorn; Jay Graves, friend of Judy Graves; Marcella Meyer, sister of Eunice Hafemeister; Denise Dagon, friend of Brenda Bartz; Matt and Rita, friends of Nancy Peterson Anderson; Anne Swendsbye, friend of many; Cleo Edwins, aunt of Mike Edwins; Donald Bates, friend of Mike Edwins; George Lindbeck, friend of Dwight Penas and Brad Holt; Margaret Polzin; Ellie Siess; Anne & Warren Bartz; Brylee Tabis, granddaughter of David & Shirley Tahis; Dorothy Odlaug; Paul Holt, son of Brad & Linda Holt; Joy & Stephanie Obadiaru; Margie Brady, friend of Michael Brady; Marcella Seboldt; Patry McCabe, friend of Melissa Stone; Janet Rice, niece of Leanna Kloempken; Tom Johnson, friend of Florence Peterson; Mona Volden; Claudette Crosby, relative of Larry Crosby; Deb Anderson, friend of the Penas Khurstons, Rob & Lym Ruff, and the Peterson/Nacks; Ralph & Edna Berg, parents of Steve Berg; Richard Boggie, friend of Jack & Kathy Kruger; Labrant Dennis and Timothy Eling, friends of Paul & Darlene Engwall; Mike Kasner, friend of Celia Ellingson; Joel Berka and Leonard Molberg, brother and grandfather of James Berka; Jim Tomson, uncle of Tom Olsen; Gabriel Rodreick, friend of Leah Crosby; Anders Jenson, friend of Peter Tressel; Harold Diersen; Michael Brady; Maureen Degnan, friend of Erik Gronberg; Gloria Schnackenberg, sister of Margaret Polzin; LaVern Olson; Pariann Schenk; Gene Burmaster; Linnea Sundgaard, mother of Sven Sundgaard; Maq Elizabeth & Guy Jacobs, parents of Brian Jacobs; Jennifer Norbie, and Margaret Huisinga, nieces of Wes Huisinga; Paul Fisher, nephew of John Gidmark; Haley Nelson, grandchild of Jean Glabe; Carla Goedderz, sister-in-law of Ann Bruggeman; Daisy Zander, mother of Eric Zander; David, friend of Eric Zander. At the death of: Lorraine Sullivan, aunt of Dwight Penas.

For those who serve on Mount Olive’s Call Committee and for their work on our behalf: Dan Burow, Thomas Fenner, Elaine Halbardier, Erica Johnsen, Carol Peterson, JoAnn Sorenson, and Mark Ruff (Chair).

Our continual prayers are offered for peace. We pray for all of the world’s governments, leaders and peoples, especially for those who work overseas toward peace: Joe Minke, nephew of Evelyn Royce; Steve Knock, nephew of Judy Graves; Casey Moores, friend of Nancy Peterson Anderson; Ranz & Tamara Sykes and family, relatives of Brenda Bartz; Joel Adams, son of Dan & Julia Adams; Jean Batiste Uwimana, friend of Melissa Stone; Ruben Halstead and Jeremy Sager, friends of Krys Camphell; Solveig & Philip, daughter and son-in-law of Karen Johnson; and Tyson and Keegan Crush, relatives of the Croshy family.

Sunday’s Adult Education - 11:00 a.m.

1. Jeni Grangaard, Mount Olive member and 2009 graduate of Luther Seminary, will lead a presentation about her time spent in Africa, Israel, and Palestine while on a special preaching fellowship grant from Luther. She will also be our guest preacher that morning.

2. Loss and Grief Discussion and Support (see information in this issue of The Olive Branch) Book Discussion’s Books for June and July Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month a t 10:00 a.m. at church.

For the July 10 session the selection will be People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks.

Staff Summer Schedules

Several staff members are taking some vacation time in coming weeks:
Donna Neste is on vacation June 1-22.
Interim Pastor Hollie Holt-Woehl will be on vacation June 21-July 5.
Cantor David Cherwien will be out of the office June 19-July 2.
Cha Posz will be on vacation August 2-6.

Jeni Grangaard to Preach This Sunday

Jeni Grangaard joined Mount Olive in 2003, after graduating from Augsburg College and enrolling at Luther Seminary. When she received her M.Div. degree in 2009, she was honored with the Graduate Preaching Fellowship award, and has been traveling in Africa and the Holy Land this past year. Jeni will preach and lead our Adult Forum on June 20, sharing with us the adventures on which God has led her, and reflecting upon the work of the church in far corners of the world. Jeni is currently awaiting her first call and has been assigned to the NW Minnesota Synod.

Praying for Our Graduates

This Sunday, June 20, we would like to remember Mount Olive’s graduates in the Prayers of Intercession at the morning liturgy. If you, a member of your family, or someone you know from Mount Olive is graduating (from high school, college, or any post-secondary school), please drop a note to the church office, so that they may be named in the prayers this Sunday.

Parish News

The Ascension of Our Lord will be celebrated on Thursday, May 13, 2010 with a Festival Eucharist, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Pardon our dust! The Parish House renovation is finally underway! While the nave is completely intact and will remain untouched, the rest of the first floor is not useable at this time. However, the church elevator will be accessible throughout the project. For the endurance of the renovation work, all church offices and all restrooms will be located on the basement level of the Parish House.

A Centennial Celebration. Paul Nixdorf, Mount Olive member and professional photographer, has produced a photographic documentary book of scenes from Mount Olive’s Centennial celebration, observed just a little over one year ago. You can preview the book online or see Paul at church for a look at the book itself. These books will soon be available for purchase - more information about this is coming soon.

Stay on top of renovation progress by visiting the Building Committee's blog!

The next Community Meal will be served on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 12:00 Noon. The monthly Community Meal is a great opportunity to meet and greet our neighbors, and enjoy a wonderful meal together. Join us!

For more Parish News, read our newsletter. The Olive Branch.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sermon: The Tale of Two Crowds

by Interim Pastor Hollie Holt-Woehl
Luke 7:11-17

"It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair..."

So begins Charles Dickens' classic, A Tale of Two Cities providing for us a vivid portrayal of contrasts. In his novel, Dickens goes on to compare and contrast living conditions in London and Paris during the second half of the eighteenth century. In both places, life was very good for some but very bad for others. The contrasts were striking.

In the seventh chapter of Luke's Gospel, we find another study in contrasts. Here we discover a "tale of two crowds" who have come from two cities, Capernaum and Nain.

Luke 7:1-10 (prior to our gospel reading for today) tells the story of Jesus healing the centurion's slave, an event which created much excitement; so much so that when Jesus traveled from Capernaum to Nain, a large crowd went with him.

As Jesus and his exuberant crowd approach the city limits, they meet another crowd heading in the opposite direction, figuratively and literally. But unlike Jesus' crowd, this crowd is sorrowful. They are slowly making their way out of the city to the cemetery to bury a widow's only son. In the meeting of these two crowds, we discover contrasts every bit as striking as those described for us in Dickens's novel, only with a twist.

First of all let's look at the crowd from Nain. We will call them the "funeral crowd." They are a picture of sadness and loss. They make their way to the outskirts of town bearing the body of one who had died. The man is described as "the only son of his mother, and she was a widow." This women's pain must have been great. Remember this was a man's world in which this woman lived; and having lost both her husband and her only son, she was left with no one to care for her. She was left in a particularly vulnerable position. Not only was this woman overcome by grief but also by helplessness and aloneness in the world. For this widow who had now lost her only boy, this was truly, to use the words of Dickens, "the worst of times...the season of darkness...the winter of despair..." Heartbroken, she leaves a trail of tears as she travels toward her son's grave, surrounded by people who could offer her neither comfort nor hope.

Now let us look at the other crowd who was on the road that day. We'll call them the "Joyous Crowd." The reason this crowd was joyous was because of Jesus. They had heard Jesus speak about the kingdom of God like no one they had ever heard before. They had seen him heal people and cast out demons. In fact, many of them were healed by Jesus and this was cause for much joy and excitement. This crowd perceived that Jesus was a prophet, at the very least, and some wondered if perhaps he could be the Messiah. Certainly he had touched their lives already, and they followed him joyfully. For them, this was "the best of times...the season of light...the spring of hope...." Faith filled their lives, they felt close to God, and life was good for this "Joyous crowd."

I think it is safe to say that neither crowd was prepared for what happened when the two groups met on the road that day. This meeting of contrasts would have a twist that none of them foresaw. No doubt the Joyous crowd began to make their way to the side of the road as they saw the funeral crowd approach. This was done out of respect (much as we do today), to let the funeral procession pass. Jesus, too, moved aside as expected. However when he saw the dead man's mother, his heart went out to her. He had compassion on her. He told her not to cry and then he touched her son’s bier (the stand or pallet on which the dead body lay). "Young man," he said, "get up." And he did! Not only did he sit up, but he began to talk. Then Jesus gave the young man back to his mother, turning her tears of sorrow into tears of gratitude and great joy.

Notice the reactions of the crowds. At first, there were fearful; but then fear gave way to excitement and praise. And so a funeral procession was transformed into a celebration of life, an affirmation of the greatness of God. Jesus, engaging the pain of the mourners, overcame the contrasts of life and death with the unexpected giving of life.

These two crowds represent the two most fundamental contrasts in human experience: Life and Death. The reality of this "Tale of Two Crowds," is that it is a tale of life which is a tale of life and death. Sometimes in our life we find ourselves in the funeral procession. This funeral procession is not limited to only the physical death of a loved one, but it includes the death of a relationship through divorce, the death of a friendship through a parting of ways, the death of an income with the loss of a job or the inability to work. We also may find ourselves in the funeral procession when part of us dies from rumors or lies that are told about us. Or when our children are involved in painful situations: divorce, abuse, alcoholism. Or if we, ourselves, have any kind of addiction we are in this funeral procession. Addiction is a continual funeral procession, because it gradually kills us and our relationships. These addictions that are included range from obvious: drugs, alcohol, extra-marital affairs, and sexual promiscuity. To not so obvious: addictions to work, power, or control, addictions to abusing or being abused, and addiction to the internet.

Yet there are times were we find ourselves in the joyous celebration of life; the birth of a child, the wedding of a friend or family member, or the celebration of a special anniversary of a long term relationship. Other joyous celebrations of life may be good health, good grades, good harvest, time spent with family, time spent with friends, and maybe nothing in particular just the celebration of the absence of the funeral procession.

The contrast of life and death are continually before us. A baby born without a brain. A young child hit by a drunken driver. A high school senior who is killed two weeks after graduation. A young man who, due to an incurable brain disease, is spending his last few days on this earth unconscious. The middle age father of four young children, stricken dead by a heart attack. The elderly person with Alzheimer's living out their days in some other world, as some other person. All this is contrasted by those bear healthy children, the children who are missed by the drunken driver, the many high school seniors who go on to college or a job, the many young people who go on to live productive lives, fathers who is able to watch and enjoy their children grow into adulthood, and elderly people who are able to remain fully alert and responsive until the very end of their life.

This life of ours is one of contrasts.
It is the best of times,
it is the worst of times...
it is the season of Light,
it is the season of Darkness,
it is the spring of hope,
it is the winter of despair...

Our life is one of continually having contrasts before us. But in this life of contrasts there is one twist. That twist is our God. Our God who came to live amongst his creation in the form of a human, Jesus. When Jesus came into this life of contrasts God added a twist. In this life we have the contrast of life and death, but in Jesus we meet the giver of life. This giver of life not only hangs around with the joyous crowd, but also at the same time Jesus hangs around with the funeral crowd. That is the twist, only Jesus can hold the contrasts together and hold us together in the contrasts. Otherwise we would be left to live with the contrasts. Not only does Jesus hold the contrasts together but Jesus transforms our funeral procession into a Joyous celebration of life.

When Jesus was on the earth he took on the contrasts of life and death, and he brought the contrasts of life and death together on the cross. And in the cross we see Almighty God the giver of all life, take that death on the cross and transform it to new life. We see God take the weakness of the cross and transform it to strength. We see God take the suffering of the cross and transform it to comfort. We see God take the pain of the cross and transform it to joy.

In the same way Jesus Christ transforms your life. Into your reality of life and death steps Jesus the giver of life. Jesus enters your funeral procession, whatever that may be for you, whether physical or emotional, whether addiction or hatred of self. Jesus sees your tears, you pain, your loneliness and Jesus has compassion on you. Jesus calls you by name and says, "This world is a crummy place and it will totally consume you. Get up, I have come to give you life. The life I give to you will still be a life of contrasts, you will still experience death, but you will survive. Yes, you will die, but the part that makes you, you will not die. Don't worry about your body, that is not what makes you, you. What makes you, you is on the inside, and with me right here beside you I will not let anyone take that from you. That is the part of you that will live eternally with me and my Father. Yes, there is more to life that what is before you. Yet in this life let us work together, let us work together to make the most out of this life. I am right here, you are not alone, call on me and we will work together."

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, the one who gives us eternal life will also give us life as we live amidst the world's contrasts. We are not just left with a tale of contrasts, but in our contrasts we see one amazing God.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Reconciling in ChristRIC

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