Posts by Leta Behrens:
In this scripture from John (click above to read it), Jesus tells us he is truth and he is freedom. These two words about following Jesus can open up whole new worlds of what we understand being followers of Jesus to be. We are connected to truth and we are free. Free for living and loving. This is good news and it is difficult news. Sometimes freedom makes life harder to navigate, however, in the end it makes spiritual connection even more possible.
This passaged reminded me of a book I just finished reading: Wild Woman: A Footnote, the Desert, and My Quest for An Elusive Saint by Amy Frykholm. The memoir is about the search for signs of Mary of Egypt, a woman of self described sin who has an encounter with God and makes her way into the desert to be an amma– a desert mother of wilderness faith. Her freedom was wild, literally, as she found herself in the desert wilderness. She lived solely on what God provided and become an adored spiritual guru to the local community. She came to know God in a way that I doubt I ever will, and yet, her freedom from the world is an inspiration and hope-how can we live as followers of Jesus who are freed in the truth? What does that look today?
The author came upon this obscure story in a footnote while doing research on another topic and that footnote sent her on a quest of her own. This story of three women, two living today and one from ancient times, wrapped itself in a wild and free way that lit up the idea that Jesus brings to the gospel text. Being wild and free can look so many different ways and isn’t that the point of the Holy Spirit? That we each are unique and beloved and that the truth of freedom is that we are changed and made new each day in different ways. The story of this woman also reminds us that there are so many stories of women that we may not know or ever find AND yet, their stories still shaped how we know God as we know her today.
May your days be filled with Wild Freedom that catches you up into the Spirit.
Psalm 100 says…
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
This is the psalm reading for a wedding I am preaching at this weekend. It’s the perfect psalm for a beautiful occasion and I am grateful that the couple picked it. I have been walking with this psalm for a few days now. Reading it when I get up and at different points throughout the day. And I haven’t ‘felt’ it yet. What do I mean by that? Well, I have not really felt a joyful noise rise up, but more of a wimpy try at alleluia. I haven’t been able to sing anything but the sad songs and feeling the happy has been a struggle. So when I was leading chapel today, I was singing and the children were dancing, which made me dance, which made me feel this inkling, this sprinkle, of what the psalm asks us to do. And now I remember that joy isn’t a happy feeling, joy is nothing the love and presence of God beyond the desire for the feeling of it. Joy is moving my hips a little to join in dance with a preschooler.
Joy is also remembering that God gave us all the feelings and that most of the time we are not experiencing just one. Like at my own wedding- happy, excited, and also scared of stepping into full on adulthood! Or the mix of feelings this morning of relief and sorrow as my daughter’s covid test came back negative- relief, because of course no desire for covid, sorrow because I can’t just go bring her healing tea or kiss her forehead to see if she still has a fever, and then deep joy again because of all the precious memories and times I have gotten to express mother love in that way. God gave us feelings to feel them, to be human persons, who even in times of grief (which is the collective experience of the pandemic at the moment, more on that another day) can know that our feelings tell us things, give us information. We can move in and out of them and we can let them teach us about ourselves and our God. As you ponder the joint feelings you may be experiencing, let them tell you more about yourself and then also let them tell you of God’s presence in all of them. And then let them help you move your hips a little to the music of joy found in God’s profound promise of love– For the Lord is good, God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Starting up on again on January 5th we will have OSLC Kid’s Club from 4:30-6:30 for ages preschool-elementary! Parents may drop off or stay in the building for the community night happenings. Registration is Open Click here
4:30- Activities and Spirituality
5:30- Chime Choir
6:10-Closing activities and Clean Up
6:30- pick up
Wednesday Community Nights will also include music groups, Bible study, fellowship, and dinner for adults.
Friday May 7, 2021
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
“I am just a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
The rules are never in black and white. Even when we think it is, or perhaps even if it is to us, it probably isn’t to someone else.
This Past week’s sermon by Pastor Leta was awesome. She artfully discussed the reality of a Eunuch not being allowed in the temple and paralleled the issue to our own world. What she didn’t go into it was another reality that others wanted that Eunuch allowed in the temple. Here’s a summary of this context, “The temple was controlled by Sadducees. They only saw the first 5 books of Scripture as Holy. This text from Isaiah would not have been lifted up or followed. Instead Deuteronomy 23:1 would be where they law pointed them in terms of Eunuch which as Pastor Leta pointed out would be the be all end all of the argument. It is quite conceivable that this diplomat from Ethiopia was rejected at the gates of the temple.
Surprisingly to some the ally of Philip in the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 26-40) would have been the Pharisees. The Pharisees did not control the temple and were more or less spread out in the community. Their scriptures included the prophets and hence the book of Isaiah. In this text the Eunuch was specifically lifted up as worthy of God.
Yes 500 years after Isaiah was written the people he was lifting up were still not allowed in the temple. The Ethiopian Eunuch I imagine, though refused in the temple, was comforted in some way in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem by the Pharisees. It was in this context that Philip shared Jesus Christ with him who cuts through the mess of our rules and regulations and says you are loved despite what others say.
Many of our issues today are not so different from those of the first century. We are wrestling with different issues of sexuality, but it still boils down to who is in and who is rejected at the gates of the temple (church). We can be comforted that in whatever we determine as righteous through the law the one we worship in Christ Jesus moves beyond the law and reaches out to those who are deemed unworthy. The rules of God in Christ Jesus moves beyond the borders that we put up.
May 5, 20201 Devotion
John 15: 1-8
”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
The past few gospels and the ones to come in the weekly lectionary are Jesus describing what he is like. The image was of Shepherd last week and this week is vine. I sat with preschoolers this week trying to explain a vine and why Jesus would be like one and realized concretely that the stories that Jesus used most likely would not be the stories he would use today since the preschoolers don’t have much knowledge of shepherds or vineyards. I took yarn and showed them how we could each hold a piece of the yarn and even without touching one another we are still connected. It got me to thinking, what story would Jesus tell about connection today? Would it be even though you can’t shake hands, you are still connected through elbow taps and smiling with your eyes? Would Jesus tell us about connection using the images of the internet? Or would he look for something more concrete like “I am the keyboard, you are the keys?” I don’t know for sure what Jesus would pick, but I do know that he would be looking for an image and story that would link us to this idea of how he abides with us and provides us a living life and a living word. That part is not new. The word has always been about living. It’s been about knowing God as a source for all things and for all new things. God loves creation and loves creating! It is meant for us to know Jesus as the vine, yes, but it is also meant for us to know Jesus through the things that are with us each and every day. What brings you connection? What image do you draw on to know that Jesus is close and sending you life? Really, think about it! I would love to know what you come up with! You an email me at email@example.com
God of connection,
As we grow in you to be your witnesses to the world, help us to hold on to our piece of the yarn and to also know that you hold us all in your arms. Be with the little ones as they learn to see you in their worlds and in their hearts and be with the big ones as we embrace the same truth, day by day, breath by breath. Amen
JUNE 9TH 9:30 AM
Informational Meetings May 26 and June 2
The OSLC Church Council is recommending to the congregation to consider having an Intern from Wartburg Seminary who will work part time while studying part time. Informational meetings will be held at 9:30 on May 26 and June 2 in the East Meeting room.
We will meet in the sanctuary at 9:30 on June 9th for a presentation by the council and a vote by the congregation.
Women’s Retreat: All In!
Come join us for a weekend in the mountains of Estes Park! Our Theme is All In– All In with God, Ourselves and Our Community
March 31st-April 2nd, 2017
Cost is dependent on number of roommates–see registration below. Confidential financial assistance is available.
To Register fill out this form or contact Pastor Leta (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions!