Happening Now Blog

Monday, August 12, 2019

Wednesday Message

Hello and blessings to all from your executive team,

Since we no longer have a pastor writing a Wednesday message, we
thought we might use this time to keep you all informed around the
changes and progress being made here at SOV. We hope this adds to our
communication to you all. Since Pastor Dan's announcement of his plans
for departure, council and executive committee have been working on a
plan to move SOV forward into the call process as quickly as possible.
At this time, we have handled what we can control. We are working
diligently to schedule supply pastors to cover the pulpit, and are in
regular communication with the synod regarding our options for an
interim pastor. We will inform you when arrangements have been made
for an interim.

What a great service we had on Sunday! 92 people were present to hear
the message from supply pastor Roger Fuchs. He will be with us again
this coming Sunday and we hope to see you all there. Pastor Larry
Jorgenson will return to SOV the following Sunday, August 18th. Thank
you for your support during this transition.

In addition, we are asking for volunteers to serve on the call
committee to aid the congregation in the search for our new pastor.
This committee will begin by revising our ministry site profile, and
will help guide us through the call process in communication with
synod. Council will be appointing a call committee which consists of
(6) voting members per our constitution at the next council meeting.
We will also likely have a few alternate members on the committee who
are non-voting. The call committee will be time intensive, but it
serves a very important role in shaping the future of SOV. If you are
interested please reach out to Jacob Tabor, or any member of council.
Please pray and consider this opportunity. Again, this is a council
appointed committee, so by expressing interest you are not guaranteed
a spot on the committee, but your consideration will still be
appreciated.

Here at SOV we have seen our share of unplanned changes .But we know
he is always with us. We trust in Him knowing that He has a plan for
our future.

In Christ,

The Executive Committee

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wednesday Message

Greetings, Saints of SOV—

I enjoyed my vacation time last month! I had deliberately held most of the days unstructured as a way of allowing myself to discover what was important for each day. I did some cleaning, cooking and sorting; I discovered a lot of boxes of stuff that I have carried with me move after move—sometimes for nearly two decades!—and found the strength and joy to find new homes for many things over which I have been anxious and troubled. And for many of those things the new home was in the recycling or even the garbage bin, if there was no further purpose! It was good to be about the business of letting go.

Our vacation time also brought a final decision for us about following our vocation as God's people in ministry. As most of you (I hope all of you, by now) have heard, I will be leaving Shepherd of the Valley at the end of the month. My heart aches with grief and with hope, as is always the case when the time comes for paths to diverge. Alyssa and I rented a small farmhouse sight unseen early in my vacation time, northeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota, just across the border in Wisconsin. From their I will be working with several Synods with ministries in transition. Alyssa will be able to pursue the degree she needs to follow her vocational calling.

And so each day now brings me closer to the parting of our ways.

This coming Sunday's gospel reading is the story of Mary and Martha, the sisters at whose home in Bethany Jesus finds respite from the business of life. Martha is preparing a meal; Mary is sitting with Jesus, listening to his proclamation of God's reign emerging in grace and love. Martha, of course, gets impatient. There are things to do! A good cook always works toward having everything finished at the same moment, which makes the last minutes before setting the table chaotic, at the very least.

"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things," says Jesus.

And poor faithful Martha has taken heat along with generations of her sisters, too often from those very ones who expect the Martha's of the world to have everything in place, every meal perfect, every surface dust-free at all times.

I suspect Jesus' words were intended to soothe Martha; I'm sure Jesus thought his words were spoken in love.

And maybe they were heard that way. Or maybe not!

Too many times to count I have discovered that my words are not always heard with the same intent I thought I invested in them. I have inadvertently and stupidly scraped sore spots. I am regularly reminded that my "thinking out loud" sometimes can sound like a papal pronouncement, unassailable and authoritarian. And I am sorry when this happens. And I am grateful (even if it is hard to show) when a trusted friend points this out.

Jesus' words to Martha come to us as a reminder that our successes and failures define us less than these words from the ending of last Sunday's gospel: rejoice not in your abilities and powers, but that you belong always to God . . .

along the way.

Pastor Dan

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Kids of the Kingdom Christian Preschool has a few openings left for Fall 2019. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact KOK at 503.645.0236

July 27th
Walk in the Park at SOV

12:00 -1:30 pm

July 28th
Farewell to Pastor Dan

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wednesday Reminders

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  7:00 am Coffee Group meets at Bethany Starbucks

Thursday     12:00 pm All Church Luncheon meets at Elmer's Restaurant

Friday          5:00 pm Women's Bible Study at SOV

Saturday     5:30 pm  Spaghetti Dinner (RSVP required)
                     7:00 pm  Transport 5 in concert

Sunday        10:00 am One Worship Service
                          Day of Pentecost
                          Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation Sunday)

Dinner and Concert!

Please plan to join friends on Saturday, June 8, starting at 5:30 for a spaghetti dinner followed by a special concert at 7:00 by the Transport 5.
It has been several years since we have enjoyed the music of Kevin Cope and the Transport 5, and we are in for a treat!
Please RSVP to indicate how many of your friends and family will be attending.
That will give our chef, Bill Hessler, an idea of how many to cook for.
Thank you!

Sunday, June 9th, 10:00 am
Day of Pentecost

Confirmation Sunday

June Newsletter link
https://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/june2019.pdf  

Sunday June 16th
Summer worship schedule begins
Worship services at 8:30 & 10:30 am
Fellowship hour in between.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wednesday Message

When Jesus prays…..

The gospel reading for this coming Sunday is again from John's story of the life of Jesus, continuing with the last few words of Jesus prayer for his followers, the last words before Jesus went to the garden where he would be arrested. Two things have always struck me about this short passage.

First, Jesus prays for us. After praying for God's presence with his disciples, Jesus prays "for those who will believe in me through their word"; that's you and me. That is the church, those who live to follow the teachings of Christ in their lives as individuals, as members of the community of faith and as members of society, the world around them.

Jesus' prayer entrusts those whom he loves, particularly his disciples and followers to God's care.

Second, Jesus prays for the disciples and us "so that the world may believe that you sent me". Jesus prayers are for the sake of the world, as ELCA Bishop Mark Hansen so often reminded preachers. Faith is not for our individual sentimentality or assurance (although that is part of what we experience) but so that the world may experience the real presence of God.

Jesus' prayer calls those whom he loves, particularly his disciples and followers, back into the world.

My grandmother (the Norwegian one) kept prayer diaries throughout her adult life. No one, not even her daughters, was aware of this practice: she believed that "wearing one's faith on their sleeve cheapens it" as she once explained to me. As she aged her mind began to fail as her brain started to wear out. After she was moved into a facility where she could receive the level of constant care she needed for her safety, her daughters cleaned out her house. They found this amazing collection that reflected her spiritual discipline. She kept track of her prayers and how they were answered; not always how she expected, maybe not in ways she wanted, but how God was revealed in the answers as they were revealed. Her diaries had nothing to do with how often she got her way with God but were a constant confession about God's presence in the world and in her own life in community.

When we pray so we entrust our cares and concerns to God and releasing our desires and wants to God's way of responding? Too often I suspect my prayers are more about what I want and when and how I want it. Too often my prayers, I suppose, are about letting God know what I think the right way is for God to be about God's business. The longer I practice, though, the more often I am able in some way to release my concerns to the God I trust to be God.

Jesus entrusts us to God's care for the sake of the world God so loves. May all my prayers be summed up in this along the way.

PD

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday  7:00 am Coffee Group at Bethany Starbucks

Friday          5:00 pm  Women's Bible Study at SOV

Saturday    9:30 am Choir rehearsal
                   3:00 pm Memorial service for Cal Sugyima's Mother,  All are welcome

Sunday     10:00 am One Service
                  11:00 am Annual Congregational Meeting and election

Please plan to attend the Annual Congregational Meeting this Sunday following worship at 10:00 am

All Church Luncheon
Thursday, June 6th
Elmer's Restaurant

Next Saturday, June 8th
Transport 5 Concert and Spaghetti Dinner
If you have not done so and plan to attend the dinner please RSVP to Tammy or directly to Linnea

Sunday, June 16th
One Service at 10:00 am
Confirmation Sunday
Pentecost Sunday

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Wednesday message

The lectionary we follow for worship walks us through an amazing amount of the Bible in a 3-year cycle. For each Sunday there is a 1st reading, usually from the Old Testament; a 2nd reading, often from one of Paul's letters, a Psalm and a reading from one of the Gospels (1st year selected mostly from Matthew, 2nd year from Mark, 3rd year from Luke). The Gospel of John is featured on particular occasions, church holidays and during significant seasons such as Lent and Easter, as is the reading for this coming Sunday.

Actually John is featured twice in this Sunday's appointed readings. Occasionally there is an "alternate" reading listed. This week our Gospel reading is a short section from one of the last teaching conversations Jesus had with his followers who are concerned about how they will recognize him in the Holy Spirit. Jesus reminds them that as his followers, they will know him.

The alternate reading is the story of a man who had waited by a pool for healing. The Spirit was recognized in the movement of the water: when it stirred, those who could get in the pool in time might be healed. This man's condition had, for 38 years, made it impossible for him to get in the water while it was stirring; he would be caught and cast aside in the stampede. There was no one willing to help him get into the water. Jesus restored the man to health and he was able to walk.

Most of my 30+ years of serving as a pastor have been marked by faith conversations about who has the "right" answers. Fundamentalism suggests a God unable to be those who haven't yet invited God in the "right" way to be with them. Literalism holds that there is one "right" way to understand the bible, usually the way of the loudest voice at the moment. Debates raged within our tradition questioning God's call of women into public ministry or the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the worshiping community.

Rarely do faith communities acknowledge boldly how much people of faith need one another. The man at the pool needed to be recognized as one of God's beloved and assisted in his quest. The disciples needed one another to discern the presence of the risen Jesus in the Spirit. Paul needed partners like Timothy and Lydia to make real the gospel in his life and message. And each of us needs others to know the presence of God.

Like Paul, we need companionship in which God's love becomes real.

Like the disciples, we need the community to point out Christ's presence in life.

Like the man at the pool we need partnership that affirms.

We, too, need to be carried at times. When there is loss, change, fear and doubt, we need others to speak the presence of God and to remember for us who God is; we, in turn, will remember faith for them when they are in need.

An early theologian of Christianity suggested that faith was like wandering in a wilderness filled with thick cloud. Once in a while the fog parts, the sun is bright, we see clearly and adjust our courses before the clouds close in around us again. Good thing we're not alone in our wanderings,

along the way.

PD

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday  7:00 am Coffee group at Bethany Starbucks

Friday     5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday  9:30 am  Choir rehearsal
                 12:00 - 1:30 pm Walk in the Park at SOV

Sunday    10:00 am One Worship Service
                 1:30 pm OEC

This Saturday, May 25th
Walk in the Park at SOV

Transport 5 in Concert and Spaghetti Dinner
June 8th
Dinner at 5:30 pm
Concert at 7:00 pm
Please RSVP/Sign up so that we can be sure to have enough Spaghetti

June 2nd, One worship service at 10:00 followed by Congregational Annual Meeting

June 9th One worship service at 10:00 Day of Pentecost (wear Red Sunday) Confirmation Sunday

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Wednesday Message

"It is the will of God."

I always flinch a little when I hear these words. It has nothing to do with God's presence in the world which I believe is always there and always at work. It has nothing to do with a notion that sometimes God wins, sometimes God lets evil win; God's purposes are always being worked out, God's kingdom is always being revealed even in the messiness and in the face of the painfulness of the human journey.

I guess I flinch because these half-dozen words seem to be used sometimes to justify the suffering we see in life as well and reinforcing passivity in the face of evil; sometimes these words seem to project an image of God who is be cruel. This image has been popularized by the modern fundamentalist movement in which God has no choice but to torture a person who has not prayed the appropriate prayer.

At the age of 10 my younger sister died after a long journey shaped by cancer. When I heard people say "it is the will of God" I raged within; no god worthy of praise would put a child through the agony and hopelessness she experienced. Rather I experience the God whom Presbyterian and UCC pastor William Sloane Coffin cries out to at the death of his young son: "My own consolation lies in knowing that it was not the will of God that Alex die; that when the waves closed over the sinking car, God's heart was the first of all our hearts to break." (from the eulogy he delivered at his son's funeral in January, 1983.)

Sunday's gospel reading is a small excerpt from the traditional Maundy Thursday reading from John. The excerpt begins with Judas (the disciple who would sell out Jesus to those who wished him dead) leaving the table. "Now", says Jesus, "the Son of Man is glorified." Scholars point out that the Greek word we read as "glorified" carries with it a sense of a reputation being made; an identity being set forth.

Our God has the reputation of being love and hope even in the face of betrayal, agony and death. God does not ever abandon us in our confusion but joins us in the work of making sense of the world around us as the first place we glimpse God's realm. Anna Madsen, a Lutheran theologian and teacher for the sake of the world, encourages us to seek out God's agenda and not to presume so much to understand the divine will. I appreciate this suggestion as I strive to see God's purpose at work in the world. I hang on to an image of a God who is always re-weaving the loose and broken threads I leave behind into the glorious tapestry of the God who is love, presence, forgiveness and hope

along the way.
pd

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday 7:00 am Coffee Group at Starbucks in Bethany

Friday      5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday  9:30 am Choir rehearsal
                 10:00 am 4T Hike

Sunday    8:30 & 11:00 am worship
                 1:30 pm OEC
                 Last Scrip Sunday

Last Sunday for Scrip Orders, May 19th


Dinner and Concert!
Please plan to join friends on Saturday, June 8, starting at 5:30 for a spaghetti dinner followed by a special concert at 7:00 by the Transport 5.  It has been several years since we have enjoyed the music of Kevin Cope and the Transport 5, and we are in for a treat! Please take a moment to put your name on the list on the fellowship table and indicate how many of your friends and family will be attending.  That will give our chef, Bill Hessler, an idea of how many to cook for.  Thank you!

Just a reminder
One Service at 10:00 am

May 26th
June 2nd
June 9th

Summer Worship Schedule
starts June 16th

8:30 & 10:30 am worship

Monday, May 13, 2019

Annual Congregational Meeting

Friends,

Shepherd of the Valley's 2019 Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, June 2, after the 10:00 a.m. service.  Please plan to attend this important meeting.

At the meeting we will elect a President and Treasurer to serve on the Executive Committee, Council Committee members, and Memorial and Endowment Committee members.  In addition, Jacob Tabor will share a peek at SOV's new website and the new directory that will be available to all soon.

Hoping to see everyone there!

Linnea Harmon
Council President

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Wednesday Message

"Today I Baled Some Hay to Feed the Sheep the Coyotes Eat"

This is the catchy title of a book a ranching neighbor named Bill wrote and illustrated about his experience as one who strove to be a good shepherd. He spoke of the beauty of birth in his flock and shared his laughter watching the littlest of lambs bounce around learning how to control their long legs. He acknowledged with respect the "clean-up" function of predatory animals while grieving the havoc left behind when they attacked his sheep randomly. He lamented the fact that veterinary costs for saving a sick or dying sheep often outweighed the financial worth of the animal, possibly by several times. His love for his flock and his vocation are obvious in his drawing and writing; his commitment evidenced by his stewardship of those whom he shepherded. His appreciation for the beauty of creation, even amid the ugliness that too often might break through, moves me each time I read his little book.

Our Gospel reading for Sunday is of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. As we move through this week I invite you to think about a God who loves all of creation even in the harshest of times—in the face of death, destruction and hatred; in spite of the name-calling and separation which is so easily fueled; in the innumerable times each day God's presence is denied, diminished or negated. I invite you to think about a God who knows you not only at your best, but at your worst as well, and continues to be the force of love that keeps you moving forward.

The 4-year-old pre-school class at KOK is working on the concept of "kindness" this month. Chapel this week was a joy as they identified for me all the things that make them feel happy, good and proud, and how they might be able to use the things that make themselves feel worth as ways to be kind to others. Not a bad lesson, I think, for any of us.

Bill Stockton's book title acknowledges the frustration of trying to be a good steward of all that God places before him. I have no idea how God experiences futility or how the Divine might "deal" with the negation of God's love. When I look to my favorite shepherd, though, sometimes I glimpse a path which does not deny the harsh, but doesn't let it have the final word at the end of the day.

Along the way,

PD

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday 7:00 am  Coffee Group at Bethany Starbucks

Friday          5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday     9:30 am Choir rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 am worship services
                     1:30 pm OEC


Come join friends on a hike—
thru Washington Park and Council Crest area
Saturday, May 18.

The hike, known as the 4T trail, is moderate in difficulty with varying elevation.  It starts at Washington Park Zoo (but we will start at the Sunset MAX station).  Hikers travel to the south of Hwy 26 on the "T"rail then take the OHSU "T"ram to the waterfront.  They then catch the "T"rolley to the Max.  From there we take the MAX "T"rain back to our cars.

Due to a busy parking lot in May, we will actually meet at the Sunset MAX   station at 10:00.  Taking the MAX to the Zoo exit.  Please buy an "All Day Pass" which will be valid for the trolley and return trip on MAX. You must RSVP to Kristi so that we can hike together and not miss anyone.  Friends are welcome to join.  Hope to see you there.


Walk in the Park at SOV
May 25th, 12:00 - 1:30 p

Please note
Upcoming Sundays with One worship Service

May 26th  at 10:00 am
June 2nd at 10:00 am, Followed by Annual Meeting
June 9th at 10:00 am, Pentecost Sunday/Confirmation Sunday

Mark your calendars
June 8th

Transport 5 in concert at SOV
5:30 pm Spaghetti Dinner
7:00 pm Concert

May newsletter is available online
https://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/may2019.pdf

Friday, May 3, 2019

Wednesday Message

Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." (John 21.10-12a)

The gospel reading for this coming Sunday tells the story of yet another appearance of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples. In short it tells the story of a group of the followers going fishing but having no success at all during the night. A stranger on the shore tells them at dawn to "put the net down on the other side of the boat", a technique not unlike my grandpa wearing his hat backwards to change his luck on Carter's Pond. What didn't work for Grandpa, though, worked for the disciples. The nets threatened to split with the huge catch of fish. They realized the stranger was indeed Jesus.

One hundred fifty-three fish were caught, John tells us. My favorite explanation among the guesses for this seemingly odd number is that according to some there were 153 known nations in the world. Jesus' love and acts of redemption are for the whole world, caught up in the net of resurrection.

This matters to me because it clearly challenges all the limits and conditions humans expect to find in God's love. Can God only forgive you if you are of the right faith or say the right words? Can God only forgive those who have truly and completely forgiven their enemies? Does God expect to choose from those who have true faith without doubt? I hope not, for I am never sure of the right words, but, as the apostle Paul says, rely on the Spirit's intercession "with sighs too deep for words." This matters to me because I have discovered that a few days or weeks after I think I've truly forgiven and enemy and forgotten the harm they did to me, I will suddenly find myself steaming with anger as I remember how I have been forgiven. Indeed, again as Paul writes, the good I would do, I do not. This also matters to me in these days when words and bullets strive to divide and diminish God's people based on creed, color, language; whenever political gain is assumed to be found in hatred and conquest. This is important to me as I live my journey in faith marked more by doubt than certainty; especially true the further I travel in this journey.

I visited the World Trade Center Memorial a few years ago with my Campus Ministry students. I was amazed as I read the names etched in the boundary around the fountain at how many nationalities, colors and presumable faith traditions were represented in memory of that day of death and destruction. I felt God's love and grief for each and every one of God's created beings whose journeys came to an end on that day which started out to be so ordinary.

God's catch is 153; all the peoples of the world.

Along the way,

Pastor Dan

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday 7:00 am Coffee Group at Starbucks in Bethany

Thursday    12:00 pm All church luncheon at Elmer's Restaurant

Friday        5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday   9:30 am Choir rehearsal

Sunday      8:30 & 11:00 am worship services
                 Scrip Order Sunday  


This Sunday, between services
Committee Awareness Day
Tables are set up for each church committee to present their mission.
 We want everyone who attends SOV to find a calling and join one or more of the committees that provide a vital service to our church community.

Mark Your Calendars
Come join friends on a hike thru Washington Park and Council Crest area on Saturday, May 18.  The hike, known as the 4T trail, is moderate in difficulty with varying elevation. It starts at Washington Park Zoo (but we will start at the Sunset MAX station).  Hikers travel to the south of Hwy 26 on the "T"rail then take the OHSU "T"ram to the waterfront. They then catch the "T"rolley to the Max.  From there we take the MAX "T"rain back to our cars. 

Due to a busy parking lot in May, we will actually meet at the Sunset MAX station at 10:00.  Taking the MAX to the Zoo exit.  Please buy an "All Day Pass" which will be valid for the trolley and return trip on MAX. You must RSVP to Kristi so that we can hike together and not miss anyone.  Friends are welcome to join.  Hope to see you there.

Sunday, June 2 – Annual Meeting and election after service.
                      Please plan to attend.

Saturday, June 8 – Spaghetti dinner followed by return of Kevin Cope and the Transport 5 for a live concert.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wednesday Message

The grave is empty! Hallelujah! Our Easter celebration on Sunday was filled with joy and celebration. The breakfast was excellent. We heard again the story of the discovery of an empty tomb, the words of the divine messengers and the shock and disbelief of the first apostles, the story we are sent out to live in the world.

One of my favorite Easter stories from the Bible is the text for a service on Sunday evening, one in which we rarely have opportunity to participate. That story is of the appearance of Jesus on the Emmaus Road.

Two of the disciples are walking toward the village of Emmaus on Sunday afternoon, talking about their loss. In addition to the confusion and grief of the death of Jesus they have heard the reports of the tomb being empty. They don't know what happened to the body of their teacher.

A stranger joins them along the way and asks them about their conversation. They unload all their pain and frustration and he shakes their head. This stranger is obviously familiar with scripture and helps them understand the message of the gospel. They are comforted and, at the end of the walk, tired. They invite the stranger to stay at the inn with them, and while eating supper they realize that their guest is Jesus!

How often have I been tired, frustrated, grieving angry or empty? How often have I headed down my personal path, walking in the darkness of my own feelings and not willing or able to look around myself and see the world? How often have I been attended to, listened to by a stranger who turns out to bring the living presence of God into my vision?

Once in a while I get to be that stranger. While waiting for a friend to join me in a coffee shop in Minneapolis (a friend who is very busy and involved with many things and people and so is chronically late for casual appointments) a young woman from a nearby college came up to me and asked me if I would be willing to participate in a neighborhood survey which was part of her sociology class project. "I am willing," I said, "but perhaps not helpful. I don't live in this neighborhood." She was disappointed and went back toward the coffee shop entrance to await a qualified interviewee.

About 15 minutes later she came back to my table. "Where are you from?" she asked, and we began to talk. I told her who I was, what I did for my living and then she told me of her life.

She was the daughter of a small town pastor in western North Dakota. While she and her siblings never felt wealthy, they always had enough and some to spare. As part of her college experience she spent a month in a small village in Nicaragua where she witnessed two things that changed her life: first, the absolute poverty of people who lived on nearly nothing along the edges of conflict and violence. Second, she saw and shared in the joy of a people who are simply glad to be alive.

By this time my new friend was crying. "I have so much and am still unsatisfied," she confessed; "they have nothing and they taught me about true riches. I'll never be able to feel faithful again." We visited for about 45 minutes and found bits of light and hope, laughter and future. Whatever this woman is doing today I am convinced she is living and teaching faith that matters in real life. What a gift. (And when my friend who did live in that neighborhood finally arrived, I made him sit down and answer her survey questions!)

The two disciples on the walk to Emmaus are from the larger circle of those who followed Jesus, not of the inner circle of 12. One of them is named Cleopas. The other is never named. Perhaps her name is Beth, once a sociology student and now a servant of God's Word in the world. Perhaps this disciple carries a name from your experience—maybe even your's.

along the way

pd

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THIS WEEK

Friday      5:00 - 6:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday  9:30 am Choir rehearsal
                 12:00 pm Walk in the Park

Sunday     8:30 & 11:00 am Worship Services

† Walk in the Park
This Saturday, April 27th, at 12:00 pm at SOV

† Next Scrip Sunday is May 5th 

† Committee Awareness Day is next Sunday, May 5, between services. Tables will be set up for each church committee to present their mission. We want everyone who attends SOV to find a calling and join one or more of the committees that provide a vital service to our church community.

† Mark your Calendars for May 18th
Come join friends on a hike—
thru Washington Park and Council Crest area
Saturday, May 18.

The hike, known as the 4T trail, is moderate in difficulty with varying elevation.  It starts at Washington Park Zoo (but we will start at the Sunset MAX station). Hikers travel to the south of Hwy 26 on the "T"rail then take the OHSU "T"ram to the waterfront.  They then catch the "T"rolley to the Max.  From there we take the MAX "T"rain back to our cars.

Due to a busy parking lot in May, we will actually meet at the Sunset MAX station at 10:00.  Taking the MAX to the Zoo exit.  Please buy an "All Day Pass" which will be valid for the trolley and return trip on MAX. You must RSVP to Kristi so that we can hike together and not miss anyone.  Friends are welcome to join.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Wednesday Message

During one of the non-violent actions in Ferguson, Missouri which followed the shooting of Michael Brown, a picture emerged of a young woman praying in a line face-to-face with guards in full riot gear. The picture shows two faces separated by a bullet-proof shield, eye to eye, each with their own commitment to reducing violence.

I know this young woman; I have known her since her birth. She will soon be ordained as an ELCA pastor and will bring to the church a deep commitment to the gospel, to pastoral care and to Jesus' proclamation of justice among all of God's people. I think of her often this week as we approach Palm Sunday (liturgically known as "Sunday of the Passion".

When Jesus entered Jerusalem that Sunday he came into a town, a country and a faith under siege by a foreign power. The Roman Empire was never slow to demonstrate its force and not unwilling to back up that force with violence. I suspect the "Chief Priests and Scribes", those whom preachers can be so quick to criticize, had their hands and hearts full as they tried to sustain a faith and a way of life centered on God the Creator which was always in conflict with the absolute commitment required by Rome of the nations it occupied. The Roman forces, it seems, would demonstrate their power and might with triumphal marches into the cities. It is not hard to imagine the great war steeds brushed into gleaming splendor, bedecked with plumes, brasses and the finest tack, ridden by soldiers in polished armor, carrying spears, across the "red carpet" path set out before them.

Jesus' ride into Jerusalem on Sunday morning was a open act of civil disobedience; his entry was a non-violent protest. Instead of a "war-steed" he came in on the foal of a donkey; instead of the finest path spread before him, the people (once they quit gasping in fear at his audacity) threw down cloaks and cut branches from the trees as they joined in the exhilarating opportunity to claim some agency in their perilous existence.

I have tried for years to come up with an image to carry the feelings of this protest, and this year I might have stumbled on to one that captures at least some of the first stirrings of fear and exhilaration among the crowd when Jesus came through the gates.

Imagine a parade where the military might of a nation was shown to its fearful small neighbors by first seeing the most decorated officers coming through the gates on the biggest, baddest, chrome-laden, shining Harley-Davidson's, roaring their throttles. Then the next day along comes Jesus, pedaling a child's tricycle. The contrast is huge. The irony is obvious. The risk is beyond calculation. The crowd gasps, then begins to laugh, then joins in the spirit of making fun at that which terrifies them.

The protest of Palm Sunday could not be ignored. The Romans were embarrassed. The Temple Leaders were terrified that this might be the tipping point beyond which the way of faithful life for a people would not survive. The commemoration of the Palm Sunday entry begins our worship this Sunday; from their we go on to walk through the events of Holy Week, leaving Jesus in the tomb. With him we await the day of resurrection.

along the way

Pastor Dan

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday  5:30 pm Soup/bread potluck supper
                    6:30 pm Holden Evening Prayer service

Friday          5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday     10:00 am Community Easter Egg Hunt

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 am Palm Sunday Services
             
Join us this Saturday
Community Easter Egg Hunt

10:00 am at SOV
bring your own basket
All children ages 0-8 invited.

April Newsletter link
 
https://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/april2019.pdf  

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wednesday Message

In the animated movie "UP", Ellie and Carl meet as children sharing a common interest in adventure and exploration. From their first days on through all the stages of their life they nurtured a dream of visiting "Paradise Falls" in South America, the unexplored frontier made famous by their explorer hero and his canine companions.

Soon after their marriage they set up a savings account in a big, empty water-cooler jar into which they put all their spare change. The purpose of this account was to fund their journey to South America, to realize their goal of visiting Paradise Falls.

However life intervened again and again. Essential auto repairs, storm damage to the roof of their home, illness and other needs forced them to break open the jar time and again. Each jar broken open sustained their life in the moment, but pushed back their dream of Paradise Falls.

This coming Sunday's gospel reading is the story of Mary breaking open the jar of costly perfume at a dinner for Jesus a week before he was killed. We're getting close now. Next Sunday is Passion Sunday, the Sunday of the palms, remembering Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, four days before the last supper with the disciples, five days before Jesus' death and a week before Mary Magdalene would announce the empty tomb.

In the reading Mary opens the jar, lotions Jesus' tired feet and dries the feet with her hair. This is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Mary is the one who from the beginning grasped the mystery of God's Word alive in Jesus Christ, bathing in his teaching while Martha prepared a meal as she does again in this week's reading.

Again she is caught in the mystery of the moment, expressing her love and her grief without words, beyond words, in her beautiful and impractical actions. Jesus pulls her actions into the timelessness of God's realm reminding the disciples ahead of time that she is anointing his body for burial.

Like Carl and Ellie's jar in the movie, Mary's jar holds more than it seems. Both hold life: in nurturing by soothing the needs of the moment; and in embracing the timelessness of purposeful dreams.

As we draw closer to Holy Week we are immersed in the timelessness of God's realm. We recount the last days of Jesus, remember the events of particular significance in the biblical witness and draw the experience into our time and space.

In the end, Carl makes it to Paradise Falls. Ellie is no longer alive, but her dreams and her purpose live on and she becomes real to Carl again as he lives their shared dream.

In the end we live in story of an empty tomb, another container which holds nurture in the moment and purpose for today, tomorrow and the next day,

along the way.

PD

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday 5:30 pm Lenten Soup/bread Supper
                    6:30 pm Holden Evening Prayer Service

Thursday    12:00 pm  All Church Luncheon @ Elmer's Restaurant

Saturday     8:30 - 12:00 pm Spring Cleanup

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 am Worship Service
                   11:00 am Little Lambs SS
                   12:00 pm Volunteer Meeting for Community Easter Egg Hunt

Scrip order Sunday, April 7th

Community Easter Egg Hunt
April 13th
10:00 am
Children 0-8 years old
Bring your own basket

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wednesday Message

My family therapy supervisor used to always remind me to look for the "third piece" of the puzzle. When hearing a client's story for the first time there were often two players identified; the person telling the story and the one they may feel is responsible for their problem. Sometimes I resonated with their account, sometimes not, though what I thought didn't really matter anyway. What was important was encouraging them to identify their own needs and find agency to live their life and participate in their relationships in a way that kept them safe and as healthy as possible.  

"Look for the third piece" my supervisor would repeat. "How boring would a stage-play or a novel be if there were only two characters?" he would say. "How boring would the fairy tale story of "Little Red Riding Hood" be without the wolf? A girl brings a meal to her aging and ill grandmother. Not much to go on there." And he was right. The drama and passion, the tension and movement in life's relationships comes from that third piece which unbalances the simple story.

Sunday's gospel reading is the familiar parable of the "Prodigal Son". A father has two sons. The younger son asks for an early advance on his inheritance and the father agrees.  That is the core of the story. Not much of an attention getter, if it were the whole story.

But wait: there is an older brother to weigh in. He is bound by convention and social construct to take over the household when his father can no longer run everything. ("Household", by the way, is the closet word for our notion of "family" in the Bible. It does have significant differences, though. The household is the interdependent community for which the father's business acumen and wealth are responsible. It includes spouses and children and relatives who need to survive. It includes servants, slaves, concubines and their children. It includes all of the workers and their dependents who need a "householder" so that they can survive.)

The "household" itself is put at risk by the father's decision as the payoff of the younger son weakens the financial standing of the whole community to say nothing of the challenge it brings to the stability of social convention.

The father is weakened and made vulnerable by his decision to part with the given order of "how things ought be done" and to part with the cash!

And then the son returns! Another character in the drama emerges, that of the repentant heir.

Each "third piece" of this  has its own valid story to tell to complicate the simple agreement between the generous dad and the desperate younger son.

Look for the third piece. A life of faith is not just a simple story between me and Jesus. Each sheep in the fold (to mix my parables a bit) has its role in shaping of the whole. How I live and perceive my life as a Christian involves the entire community of faith and all of God's people. It even seems to change God who chooses to become vulnerable even to the point of living and dying a human life.

Our journey through Lent prepares us to see this vulnerability-the third piece-for the sake of the world.

Along the way,

Pastor Dan

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday    5:30 p   Lenten Potluck/bread soup supper
                      6:30 p  Holden Evening Prayer Service

Saturday       9:30 a Choir Rehearsal
                     12:00 P Walk in the Park @ SOV
                     6:00 p Movie Night "Schindler's List"

Sunday          8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Service

Looking ahead

Spring Clean up
Spring Cleanup Saturday April 6, 8:30 - noon.
Please join us for the annual spring cleanup of the church.
We will spruce up the inside and outside as we prepare for Palm Sunday, Easter, and the Easter Egg Hunt.

Community Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 13th at 10 am
Children 0-8 years old (Bring your own basket)
Activities and snacks available
*Volunteer's needed;(12 yrs and older) to help with first annual community Easter Egg Hunt. hiding eggs, filling eggs, crafts, sign in desk, snack serving etc      

Volunteer meeting April 7 @ 12:00 p

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Wednesday Message

Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

These words are part of Sunday's gospel reading from Luke; the intended Lenten focus is on repentance. Luke keeps reminding us of the illusion of having plenty of time by reminding people of faith that, while we do not know when God's rule will break into our lives, our job is to be ready.

At a council meeting years ago in a small rural parish we were discussing (for maybe the 100th time) the removal of the dying old tree in front of the building. Each year it held less evidence of live and more obviously became a threat to the church building fifteen feet away. That night the vote was about to happen to remove the tree when Vern's voice broke into the president's call: "Dig it and dung it."

What? The question swirled around the men at table (yes, just men; that congregation was unwilling to consider yet that women could serve on council!) Vern's voice broke out again, "dig it and dung it. That's what the bible says." And with a few words from Luke's gospel the tree's life was spared.

Vern spent much time that summer and fall loosening and fertilizing the ground around that ancient tree. Spring came and the tree was dead. Council gathered with tractors and trucks, axes and chain saws and within a few hours the tree was gone.

That congregation is now gone as well. Their time of service and ministry to that small community came to an end and along with the old tree passed into history.

We began the season of Lent two weeks ago with the mark of ashes and the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return." Luke's question for us is this: what do you do with the gift of life in between?

Along the way,

Pastor Dan

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday  5:30 pm Lenten Soup/Bread Supper potluck
                     6:30 pm Holden Evening Prayer Service

Friday          5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Worship
                    9:45 a Adult Education
                    1:30 p OEC

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wednesday Message

Greetings, Saints of the Valley

Chickens are a new thing for me. The owners of the stable where we have our horses have a flock of chickens of all sizes and colors wandering around randomly. They are, for me, an unending source of humor and curiosity. One old hen in particular like to jump up on things—the tractor, the half-height walls, the lower part of stable doors—and then screech in panic, afraid to jump down! One day they all insisted on following me everywhere after a spilled a little bit of horse feed on the floor; when I went searching for a broom to clean it up, they did the job for me, gorging themselves on a feast of tiny hay pellets and rice bran. What amazes me most is their randomness: and how intentional they are about it!

As we move into the season of Lent I invite you to find a way to make it a journey of intention: that it have some shape or feature that sets these few weeks apart for you as we prepare for the central Christian festival holiday of Easter. One idea might be to read slowly and reflectively through a book of the Bible.

On Wednesday evenings during Lent we gather to pray at 6:30 p.m. (following a soup supper at 5:30). Our scripture reading during the Evening Prayer service will be from the book of Acts, the continuation of the writer of the gospel of Luke, focusing on the first Christian community that would become "church". One discipline or pattern to set this season apart might be to read through the book of Acts in the Bible. It is filled with drama (who knew!?) and moves quickly. The book raises questions regularly that have consistently been part of faithful conversation among believers. There are 28 chapters in the book; about four a week through the season!

The focus of the gospel reading for this Sunday (Luke 13.31-35) puts some shape and context to Jesus journey to Jerusalem and the last days of his life. Within the context of his daily life and service (which he calls "today and tomorrow") he begins to move toward its purpose-filled outcome in the city of the faithful ("the next/third day"). The manipulative and murderous King Herod, who continues to be threatened by Jesus teaching, is of the world and cannot interfere with Jesus' holy duties. Jesus' sights are set on the city which rejects the prophets, and will in turn abandon him.

The "city" is, of course, a metaphor for the people of God who consistently reject the prophets and fear the call to faithful living in the face of the world's desire for power and control. Jesus calls Herod "that fox"; Jesus calls God's people the "brood" of a hen; that is, those little chicks, vulnerable and confused, racing around in random panic, whom Jesus wishes to gather under his wings.

May this season of Lent and your journey through the wilderness bring you comfort, hope and purpose.

Along the way,

PD

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This Week

Wednesday 5:30 p Lenten Potluck soup/bread supper
                     6:30 p  Holden Evening Prayer service

Saturday     6:00 p Movie Night at SOV

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Worship
                    Scrip Sunday
                    9:45 a Adult Education
                    10:00 a Jr High SS
                    11:00 a Little Lambs SS

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Wednesday Message

In each of the three years of our lectionary cycle, the Gospel reading for the first Sunday of Lent tells the story of Jesus' temptation.  As one might expect, Matthew's is the most decorated. Marks is, of course, the shortest and most impatient. This year we read the story from the Gospel of Luke, a down to business narrative which sets before us three central principles of faithfulness:

One does not live by bread alone.
Worship and serve only the Lord your God
Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

With these three anchors Jesus resisted the lures of fame, fortune and power in order to teach a faith of compassion and care for the least.

One does not live by bread alone. An accumulation of the worlds wealth in possessions and financial security does not bring faith. Have you ever noticed the abundance of storage units that have sprung up in the world over the last twenty or thirty years? At one time I was paying rent on four units in three different states! While this is happening, faith communities are dwindling and failing.

Worship and serve only the Lord your God. I am and have been amazed for years at fierce loyalty and worship sports teams, especially college and professional, enjoy. I served my parish internship in the metro-Denver area and had to be very careful to keep worship short on Sunday's when the Bronco's played. (Of course my teams have been the Twins and the Vikings, which is in itself a bit of a spiritual discipline tending toward humility.) I am also often dismayed correlation between major sports events and the domestic violence, sexual exploitation and crime.

Do not put the Lord your God to the test. Despair comes easily when expectations are not met. I often meditate on the prophet Elijah whose grief over failed expectations led him to pray for his own death. God fed him, nurtured him, guided him to shelter and still he remained lost in despair—contrary to the current rash of Facebook posts on how a little food and a little rest made Elijah able to make good choices. God bluntly told him that his job as a prophet was not yet done and to get back to work (1 Kings 19).

We are tempted nearly every day to gather wealth in whatever form feels best to us; we are lured to put our trust in human efforts which separate us from one another; we expect to find the magic words to make it all good in the way we want it to be. In the season of Lent we are called to turn around so that God alone is at the center of our lives; that our trust is in the one who creates, reclaims and sustains all that exists and that we are called to continue to do God's work in Jesus name.

May this season of Lent be for all of us a time of honest renewal and awareness of the presence of God in our lives.

Along the way,

PD

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Ash Wednesday
March 6th
service at 7:00 pm

All Church Luncheon
Thursday, March 7th
12:00 pm
Elmer's Restaurant
All are invited to attend

Walking the Way of Lent
The Sacred Labyrinth Path
Saturday, March 9
10 - 12 pm
Christ the King Lutheran Church
1135 SW Bull Mountain Road
Tigard, OR 97224

Daylight Saving Time
Sunday, March 10th
Spring forward one hour before bed Saturday night

Daylight Saving Time

Sunday March 10th

Turn your clocks forward 1 hour before bed Saturday night.



Sunday, March 3, 2019

Wednesday Message

The seasons come and the seasons go.

This is the time of year which keeps me on edge. No matter where I've lived I always have a sense of impatience in the last days of the winter rains or snows; I'm ready for spring. I'm ready for sunshine and warmth. It's time to get on with it.

In worship the season of Epiphany is framed by the stories of recognition that the Jesus of the manger is the God of all creation; that this God is walking on earth! This coming Sunday is "Transfiguration Sunday", the culmination of the season of Epiphany. The church will be dressed in holiday white; we will read, as we do each year, the tale of Jesus, Peter, James, John, Moses and Elijah all gathered on the mountaintop; and we are amazed by the glory! Then we come back down to earth. It's time to get on with it.

Epiphany is also, for me as a preacher, the season of getting ready for Lent and Easter. With Wednesday night services on the horizon and with Sunday Lenten Worship needing its particular focus and direction; with the great church observances of Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday coming; with the celebration of the primary Christian holiday of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, there is much to prepare for; I learned early on not to enter Lent unprepared: I will never be close to catching up!

All of this preparation starts to make me impatient and ready to be getting on with things by Transfiguration!

Perhaps this is a good image of our lives of faith as followers of Christ. Our discipleship is always preparing for seeing God's Reign; always dimly, always in the "yet to come" even while we name it now. We are the people of Christ's community; we are waiting for its full presence. We ought be a little impatient as we journey, always ready to be getting on with it, always ready for the coming of Christ into the world.

Along the way,

PD

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THIS WEEK

Friday     5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Saturday  9:30 am Choir rehearsal

Sunday  Worship 8:30 & 11:00 am
               Scrip Sunday
               11:00 am Little Lambs SS