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: Psalm 91:1-16
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,

no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Editor's Corner: An Apple By Any Other Name
And so, in the Garden we lived. God created us, in His own image, to live with Him in this special place. To live side-by-side in communion with Him, in the most beautiful and bountiful and blessed of homes. God provided everything we needed, and told us so. God’s creation was magnificent—picture all the different colors over the land, and the different fragrances in the wind. And, God was so very generous. We’d never go hungry, we knew this, we trusted our Creator. We were given free rein of God’s Garden to eat of any plant, bush, and tree we saw, touched, and smelled—all the luscious and nutritious and tasty fruits and vegetables we could imagine. All except one. God only forbade one. The fruit of the most appealing tree in the center of the Garden. Just that one, alone. Remember this.

Now think of how you were as children when you were told not to touch something: don’t touch the outlet, the hot stove, don’t eat plastic that fell on the floor even if it looks like a piece of candy. But what if the plastic looks so much like our favorite Halloween candy (maybe a Tootsie Roll or piece of strawberry taffy)? Or if the outlet called out to be touched, no cord was in it— we think maybe it needs a finger to go inside the emptiness of the wall. Or the fire on the gas stove looked so very beautiful, and all the adults seemed to love spending time making food with it…could it really be all that bad? As children, new to the world, we do not have much in the way of reasoning skills. We have not experienced enough to know better. We often think we are invincible; and are born questioning the world and those around us, learning who to trust and who to listen to. Scientists have shown that we have a pretty big desire to please ourselves as children—we cry when we are hungry, need attention, are afraid. We want to make sure we are taken care of, it is for our own preservation, self-survival. 

Now think about if you are in God’s Garden, not as a child, but as an adult (albeit still innocent to the world), and are told not to eat the apple from a certain tree, by someone that loved you, took care of you, who you had a solid relationship with, and you trusted. Don’t touch that one kind of apple, or you might die. Just that one. And then a crafty, but interesting serpent—who seemed to be full of knowledge (or full of himself)—challenges everything you were told, putting additional thoughts into your head: God doesn’t want you to eat of the apple not because God cares for your safety, but because He doesn’t want you to be as smart as God. He’s lying to you. And, you question who to trust: this serpent or the God who created and cared for you. 

Of course, it doesn’t help that you are very curious, and know you really want to eat the apple, just to try it. So, is it the serpent’s trickery speaking to you or your own desires, your childlike wants, your innocence. Or, maybe you try to reckon with this juxtaposition. You might justify it all in your mind. Perhaps, God really didn’t mean to single out that one apple, because God is so very generous and protective. Maybe it’s just God’s very favorite fruit and He wants to keep it and its knowledge for himself; after all why would God put that apple anywhere in the Garden —especially smack dab in the middle, in plain view— if it wasn’t safe to eat? Or even the thought might run through your head, a self-serving thought, a thought based on your inexperience in any such situation before—just this one time it should be okay, right? How could just one time, one bite (if God doesn’t see me), make a difference. I could take an itty bitty bite, ever so small, and then hide it back in the tree, perched on a branch, among all the other apples, turned the right way so God would never know it had been bitten. And maybe, just for safe measure, you can get your companion to take a bite too, so that just in case, you are in it together. Safety in numbers. Or better yet, if you both take a bite, God can’t get mad at both of you—He can’t be mad at everyone in the Garden... 

Oh, so many scenarios. But in the end, an apple by any other name is still just an apple…right? So who do you choose to believe, the sly serpent that gets you some immediate gratification or a gracious God who has always provided for you? Or more importantly, which decision (to eat or not to eat) gives you what you want the most in life? And what are its consequences? Do you trust God or not?

Now think of two more things:

  1. Is there anything in your life that is a forbidden apple for you? You know you shouldn’t eat of it, but you still do. Maybe not always, or maybe you don’t do it alone. Maybe you convince yourself so many things that the apple looks like something else…
  2. Now make a list of all the things you do to hide the apple away once it has been bitten. Maybe you don’t tell anyone, or maybe you believe that you can take a bite, put it away, and then you will never touch it again. Everything is okay.

But here is the deal. And it is not meant to scare you or me, to make us feel ashamed. It’s just the same situation that happened in the Garden, oh so long ago. Remember, we were there. Even though we hid, God found us. Remember this too. God was upset, we were punished (as was right to do)—we needed to learn. But then, God came back to us in promises and in Jesus, who died for us on the cross for the very sins that we were ashamed of, and hid from. The very sins that we ARE ashamed of, and still hide from. 

Yes, the Garden was magnificent, God provided everything we needed. We were tempted, we sinned, and we hid. But what is more amazing is that God is still providing for us in a more profound way than ever. With God’s covenant to us, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness. God sought us out, from the shadows, and loved us so much that He taught us how to live better lives, how to repent, and be better versions of ourselves. But most of all, He taught us about how to love unconditionally, and how to forgive, as He did and continues to do for us. Yes, an apple by any other name might still seem to be just an apple to us. But in God we will always know the true difference, through Jesus.


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: Exodus 3:1-10

1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 

There, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 

So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 

Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 

So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 

And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Weekly Message: Our Burning Bush
This is the story of Moses. As we continue to talk about finding a more intimate relationship with God, we look toward Moses and the burning bush. Picture the burning bush, with the voice of God calling out to Moses, “Moses, Moses!” The flames coming from it seen as purity, miracle, and luminescence. Imagine the flames dancing like a thousand tongues in oranges, reds, yellow and hot blues. God’s voice booming from within it. Notice, like Moses, that the bush is burning but was not being destroyed. 

It is interesting to find out that the burning bush itself was made of thorns, also representing are humanity as sinners. The prick of sin; like the thorns in the crown on Christ’s head, when He hung on the cross for us. Realize, too, that the fire in the bush showed God’s power—power over the thorns, over sin, over everything—but it didn’t consume it. This fire was not to cause peril or teach lessons like in the Flood, or the Plagues of the Bible. The image of the fire was purifying, humbling Moses to bow down, causing him to listen. And God taught Moses reverence, telling him to take off his sandals for he was walking on Holy Ground. In God’s presence, this is holy ground.

 God called Mose by name. “Here I am,” Moses told God. Here I am. 

The image of the Lord came to Moses in the flame and he was never the same. It changed his countenance. How could it not? Do you remember when you first gave your life to God, to Jesus? How it changed you? Now, God could have come to Moses as a sparrow in a tree, too, meeting him where he was at. Like God might show up for us in many ways: in nature, through voices of others. Someone in the market telling us we are special. Although we might not see a bush in flames or hear the boom of God’s voice coming from it, our burning bush (and our call from God) can come in many forms. And it will come. We are told that we are all born with a purpose as we are reminded in Jeremiah 29:11 “for I know the plans I have for you…” and God is in the habit of reminding us of our purpose, in different ways, every day. We just need to be open to receiving it, like Moses.

God called Moses, and so Moses went. Sometimes God will call us and we don’t answer, or we turn away. It’s a willful choice. We must stay tuned into God, and when we hear the call, say “yes Lord.” And, it might not be an easy task we are called into. When Moses said, “here I am,” God told him to go to the Pharaoh and free God’s people out of Egypt. We all know what worry and insecurity Moses must have felt at such an enormous ask from God.

Have you ever been called by God, or got an inkling of something that God wanted you to do that you but felt it was too big for you to accomplish, so you refused? Moses asks later, “who am I to send me?” We recognize that type of doubt in our own callings. Who are we to take on the tasks that God desires? But God gave Moses the assurance of strength, fortitude and God’s presence with him in his journey. So we must trust that God, in relationship with us, will be with us too. The relationship of trusting God, that no task is too big, when God is with us. 

And God gives all of us intentions and visions on how to minister to God’s people, how to serve, how to spread the word of God to others. Sometimes, as with minister Beverly and her husband, it might be at a global level; sometimes serving multitudes selflessly and tirelessly (like our friend Randy); and other times it might simply be praying over someone you meet at a mall store. Whatever God says, whatever God tells you you should do…do it! Don’t be afraid that you can’t handle it. Tap into your relationship with God; lean into the relationship that God wants to have with you. One of complete trust. Sit and listen to God in addition to just telling God your worries, or asking for God’s help (although God wants us to do this too). And, share the news of Christ with everyone, because after all the Bible tells us “we are all ministers of reconciliation.”

So what do we do so that we can see “our burning bush” from God? And what do we do once our burning bush shows up? (Or the sparrow in the tree, or someone asking for our help…)

  1. Shine the light of Jesus wherever you go.
  2. Be a “Moses”: obedient and present for God.
  3. When God calls you by name, you can say “Here I am!”
  4. Follow your call without fear, knowing God’s strength and fortitude AND presence are with you.


The Prayer Corner
A Prayer of Global Solidarity
O Creator, Our world is large, and yet the global community is so fragile. We glimpse the needs of our sisters and brothers, and those needs are great. We want to turn away, but you call us back. We want simple solutions, but you want us to help solve the complex problems. Through your Church, you call us to listen, to learn, to reflect and to act. Give us a deep sense of our place in this web of Creation. Give us the wisdom of mind and generosity of heart to seek your will in the world today. Inspire us to respond to the call to live in solidarity with impoverished countries of the world, so that all children of God might live in dignity and peace.

Written by Education for Justice staff. Copyright © Reprinted with permission. For additional resources at Education for Justice, go to
Sunday Worship
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Gethsemane Lutheran
Building Hope Together
4656 Colfax Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55412