Working Together So That All Experience Gracious Invitation Into Life-giving Christian Community
Welcome to the Gethsemane Lutheran Church Newsletter. As 2022 unfolds, and we continue to bring you information virtually, we welcome all who are members of Gethsemane, as well as those who are discovering us for the first time, to join us in our mission journey. We hope to keep you up-to-date in these times of amazing change for our church community. Feel free to forward the newsletter to others and give us the emails of those you think my wish to connect with us and see what great things God is doing with our church each week!
The Camden Shop is Open!

The Camden Shop is now open! After a short prayer of blessing, we opened the doors and shoppers found clothing and housewares that they needed. We are so excited about how this place will help our friends in the Camden neighborhood! Spread the word, and come say hello!

We are open every Saturday of the month at Gethsemane from 12-3pm
Gospel Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
13 If I speak in the tongues[ of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 

10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 

12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Editor's Corner: Aphids, Boxelders, and Mice...Oh My!
So, we have been invaded! Things that we don’t want in our home have found their way in, while we’ve been so focused on keeping the dreaded Covid out. How did this happen?

1) I suppose a bit of ignorance—who knew that if you brought a beautiful rose bush into your house for the winter, thousands of tiny little green bugs might grow and fester and fly around (like pollen in the wind) on your side porch.
2) Perhaps a bit of turning a blind eye—if you see one black and red beetley-thing crawling on the floor of your bedroom, no big deal; or another in your bathtub (which you grab with toilet paper and flush it down); but when your dog starts finding them in every crevice and corner you’ve got a problem.
3) And a bit of neglect: the pest controller advised you (months ago in the summer) to seal up all the windows into the basement of your home, and patch the dryer vent leading into your wall from the garage— but, well... time gets away from you and soon its winter, snow and the lot. Now, your poor dog is scratching at the kitchen cabinets and whining, going crazy with the “squirrel type things” now inside! So you have to call the pest controller back (yep, admit you didn’t heed their advice) buy a ton of steel wool, stuff it everywhere that is a potential hole, set traps with yummy organic peanut butter (that get licked clean and empty because its so yummy) and you realize that you are dealing with some pretty smart visitors that really intend to stay.

But, you’ve avoided Covid so far, that was the’ve gotten good at the unseen, invisible virus fighting: barriers with masks, tons of sanitizer, rethinking your life to include only the risks worth taking. You’ve prayed to God to keep you safe from the Coronavirus and its mutations, yet forgot to ask for help against insects and rodents...ugh. What to do?!

Well, first realize that it is not God’s “job” to fix this problem, like so many other small asks you might make of God in your prayers. Sure, God probably gets a kick out of our human antics, dealing with his other creatures (yes, they are God’s creatures too). Realize, even though these “pests” are not your ideal houseguests, that why wouldn’t they like to be inside, warm, in the dead of Minnesota polar freeze and general icy yuckiness. You’ve been taught, since childhood (modeled by your parents and Jesus), the importance of hospitality to the stranger.

Realize, after all, God is experienced in using locusts (in multitudes) when needed; people in the Old Testament had tons of frogs to deal with, too. Now that is worrisome! See, a little bug infestation isn’t anything big, huh? And God is not punishing you with mice, with aphids, with Boxelders, or even with Covid. That’s not what God does, how God works. You know this. Sometimes you just need a reminder, when things get tough that God is not punishing you—but is with you, through it all, none-the-less.

And, of course, everyone says that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Whether it’s pests, pestilence, grief, or loss. Whether this really is true or not, or you find yourself in as bad a predicament as Job, you must still give thanks to God, regardless. Remember, God is with you, through it all; through illness, through depression, through transitions in your life that you didn’t see coming. In your fears, your worries, your obsessions, addictions, even your forgetfulness, your negligence, your ignorance, and your turning a blind eye (all the things that got you in this predicament). Yes, you see the metaphors, here.

Then, remember, your confession: “Lord, forgive me for the things I’ve done, and what I’ve left undone” (yes, like not sealing up the windows so icky things can’t come into your home...another metaphor for leaving yourself open to sins in your life). God forgives it all. The pest control guy might roll his eyes, but God still forgives you for bringing inside the rose bush you bought in honor of your mom who passed. He gets that importance of that symbol for you—why you tried to vacuum all the bugs from its branches and sprayed it with alcohol...and how hard it was to put the regal plant out in the garage (to freeze the bugs off), knowing it might not survive. He gets the symbolism of that death, too.

And, you realize that even though you don’t appreciate these annoying house “guests” (like maybe you don’t appreciate some people in your life) that God loves them all. Even the baby mouse you found on the sidewalk that you saved by putting in your front yard berm (could that be the mouse under your sink thinking it wants to live with the one who saved it?).

Friends, in the big picture, you realize that you have some work to do on acceptance and unconditional love, and such and such. Work on doing more good in the world than not. This pest problem becomes about improving you, not eliminating things that “annoy” you or cause you personal problems. Because some people even keep mice as pets; a facebook friend recently posted the grief at the loss of her tiny, beady-eyed friend with whiskers and long tail. And you posted a sad face emoji of condolence, instead of a thumbs down.

And while you are worrying about what to do now, the predicament of killing God’s creatures because of your inconvenience, how this represents your ethics and soul, how to keep your family safe from things that sneak into your house when you aren’t looking (things that upset your life)—weighing it all with generally trying to be thankful at all times in everything like the Bible says. You still send your son to the store for more traps, and pest killer and ask God to forgive you for that too.

And, meanwhile God is busy at work in the world dealing with a pandemic, food scarcity, injustice, lost souls, and nudging his flock on to do God’s work. Oh, the things you can occupy yourself with that in the scope of it all, really mean nothing. So you vow to get rid of self-interest, pride, doubt, lack of faith, fear, worry, and to not turn a blind-eye to the wrongs in the world. You vow to pay attention to the things that can pick apart your home, your relationships, your faith and focus on those real life pests that you need to get rid of in your life. And with that epiphany, a Boxelder wandering across your window ledge isn’t so bad after all.

The Camden Promise: Weekly Food shelf Schedule

Food Giveaway Schedule into 2022:
The Camden Promise Food Shelf feeds boxes of food to community families 6 days a week at noon: Monday through Saturday.

All are welcome!
Gospel Reading: Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
 the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Weekly Message: Agape Love, by Peter Geisendorfer

In this week’s gospel message, Paul speaks to people in need of hearing the type of love that God has for us. There are a couple of different types of love that are translated from Greek. Philia love is characterized as sisterly love, or familial love. Eros love is known as passionate or romantic love. However, the love to which Paul specifically references in this text, is agape love—selfless and unconditional love. This is the type of love that God has for us.

In today’s society, our typical human mode of functioning is based on self preservation, self satisfaction, self fulfillment, and ultimately, a focus on self. Our day-to-day goal is to make ourselves happy—and this mindset is what Paul teaches us to strive against. The goal of agape love is to make others happy. Paul says this pure love is patient and kind. Agape love is not mean; it does not insist on its own way. 

This is a big concept. Do you know anyone that lives like that? 

Right now, it appears that everyone in today’s culture insists on their own way. What it means to show agape love is to give love whether you think people deserve it or not. There is no requirement of equal exchange, just love given freely without expectations. When we love those who do not seem to deserve it, that is the power of agape love; the love that Jesus calls us to have. What Jesus gave to us all—sacrificing his life for our sins. 

So, love the Lord your God, love your neighbor, and love how we are meant to love. No, it is not always easy. Even Paul was the “great persecutor” of Christians, and he lived a life of violence until he had an encounter with God’s love through Jesus. He experienced, first hand, the embodiment of agape love. Paul found Jesus, love, and a new purpose. This is how Paul knows what love can do first hand—how it transforms—and why he encourages us to follow in his footsteps.

Friends, in this world we live in, giving the love of Christ to others is very important, and it is not easy. We cannot always get what we want, but we must remember that love defeats all things. Love endures all things. And when the church can live out this love, it is a beautiful and magnificent thing to see. 

Love like Jesus loves us, and love as Paul calls us to love each other—with agape love.


The Prayer Corner
A Prayer for Copmassion
Dear Lord, please let me see those around me that are in need of my compassion. Allow me to listen to them, to hear their needs. Give me the heart to be interested in their troubles and provide for me the means to help them. Lord, I desire so much to be compassionate and to be more like You. In Your name we pray.

Sunday Worship
Please join us every Sunday for our Virtual Zoom Worship Service. Online "fellowship starts at 10:00 am and Worship Service Starts at 10:30 am.
Gethsemane Lutheran
Building Hope Together
4656 Colfax Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55412