Friday, August 20, 2010

Letter to the 1st Trinitarians, Chicago; on the occasion of the thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost; A.D. 2010

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
August 22, 2010

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. -Hebrews 13:2

To the Family of God in Christ at First Trinity:

Grace to you and Peace!

Welcome! Willkommen! Bienvenidos! All Are Welcome!
—so say the well-wishes painted for us on signs and printed on restaurant menus, plastered to our windshields or lying, soaking wet, on our rainy-day door steps. So proclaim church marquees and websites and bulletins, often boldly in bold, printed prominently for all the welcomed to see.
So often restaurants and churches, synagogues and small businesses alike attempt to tell the world—in this certainly non-confrontational way—that there's something about you that, for one reason or another, we would like here. We will your coming—Willkommen! We want you here, with us!

When I was a child, on occasion, my family would say Grace before a meal. One prayer we recited quite often was the prayer my mother had learned from her mother: Come Lord Jesus. Be our guest. And let thy gifts to us be blessed. Amen. Though our family was certainly religious (My mother was a Sunday School teacher for years, and my father's mother had helped start a Missouri Synod congregation), in reality, we usually just prayed mealtime-prayers when we had company. Not every night. Come Lord Jesus be our guest...

And how appropriate.

For people of faith, faithful welcome is much more than wanting someone to be around—for whatever reason. Indeed for people of faith, welcoming strangers and friends alike, the act of hospitality in itself, is the very act of welcoming God. When we say welcome—or, more importantly, when we live that welcome—we are praying Come, Lord Jesus! knowing that: there he is—in each and every person in the park across the street, and in every person who comes in our doors.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, the author of Hebrews reminds us, for by doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. As summer winds down, and the schedules and responsibilities of a new season begin, may we be reminded of our call to faithfully welcome, and may that welcome be contagious as we grow in God's grace and love. Amen.

In the coming weeks, we look forward to a number of events and opportunities.

Today: We welcome the Rev. Joy McDonald Coltvet as special Preacher/Presider
Saturday, August 28: Trinity Arts Fair, 10 AM – 3 PM. Lots of local artists! Invite your friends!
Sunday, September 26: First Trinity's Organ Rededication (See Rich Albrecht for more details)
Sunday, October 10: Worship followed by OKTOBERFEST.
Of Course: Keep your ears open for updates on God's Closet

Also coming up is our Fall Voters Meeting, scheduled for Sunday, September 12, after worship. One item of discussion at the meeting will be the Core Values Statement that we have been working on slowly in the past months. On the reverse of this page is the latest draft, brought to you by the First Trinity Core Values Team. Please review it, and offer any feedback before the Voters Meeting!
As always, thank you all for your hard work in God's ministry here at First Trinity! This is truly a unique and quite special place.

In God's Grace,

Pastor Tom Gaulke

Newest Revision of First Trinity's Proposed Core Values Statement
(Please offer any feedback before Sunday, Sept. 12)

What we believe in, and what drives us, deep, deep down...

Grace At the core of the message of the Gospel is God's unconditional love for all people.

Worship Moved by god's grace, we make time to gather as one supportive body to be nourished by the Word and Sacraments.

Community We celebrate God's gift of diversity, recognizing that unique blessings come to the community through individuals at various stages of faith and life.

Service The call to love one's neighbor inspires us to use our gifts to be God's hands in God's entire creation.

Learning We value asking questions, digging for answers, and sharing in dialogue about faith and its many expressions.

Creativity We value creativity, artistic expression, and innovation as gifts of the Spirit that enable us to be a part of God's ongoing creation.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, we are to show hospitality to strangers -- strangers who might seem timid, or rude, or self-centered, or cunning, etc. We are to do our best to welcome and care for them (with wisdom and love), because we are to do this on God'S account, because they bear the image of God (albeit so hard to detect at times), because they may in fact be angels, because our Father in fact loves them all -- loves them all, like a heartbrokenly long-suffering father loves his prodigal daughter or son, like how God has long-sufferingly loved & is long-sufferingly loving the prodigal in each of us...

    Our Father wants us to love the strangers on His account, so that they may at last be assured to come home to Him, so that we ourselves may thus come home with them, and see Him, face to face...

    Prayers & blessings for the coming new season of your church's ministry to be the salt & the light in your community! Prayers & blessings for you all to be continuously devoted in the heart, attentive in the mind, fruitful in the Spirit, and filled with the peace & joy of God's all-embracing grace!

    "Come Lord Jesus. Be our guest. And let thy gifts to us be blessed. Amen."