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!
Church Update: Fellowship is Back!
Happy second week in Lent, as well as St. Patricks Day for those who celebrate. This announcement was made in last weeks worship, but we are happy to publish that fellowship after church will resume!

We have been on hiatus with regards to gathering in the fellowship hall for many months. As we adjust to the CDC's guidelines for social gatherings, as well as continue to be aware of the ever shifting COVID landscape, we feel it is time to rejoin as a congregation for some treats, coffee, and quality conversation! Please join us after service Sundays in the fellowship hall.
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: Genesis 17-24
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 

22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 

23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 

24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Writer's Corner: Appreciating Sacred Creativity 
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Seven years ago this month, I ventured to Paris and London with a long-time friend. I was so excited and felt so fortunate to see two cities on my bucket list (also two countries of my ancestry). It was a whirlwind adventure in ten days, and most of it was spent walking and eating and seeing every site we could fit into our itinerary. We bought the museum passes, and used them to the fullest. I even managed to find some consignment stores to get a couple of cool vintage scarves, purses and hats. I could have lived at the Louvre for months and still not see everything. But I must say, I confirmed something in myself during our brief stay in these cities—something that I’ve known since I studied art history in college as an elective. I’m obsessed with historical chapels and cathedrals; the architecture, the art, the acoustics, and sheer creative magnificence of these spaces.

Because we happened to be traveling during Lent, it was doubly special. Of course every Wednesday through Sunday there were several church services going on in many churches in each city. In Paris, I was able to attend mass at Notre Dame, and a couple Lenten services at “smaller” churches down the block from where we stayed. And although my French was poor, and it hadn’t been used since college, the services in Latin helped a bit.The rituals of when to sit and stand, although Catholic, were familiar enough as a Lutheran that I felt I could recite my own prayers and confessions in English at the same time, in my head. Otherwise, I just followed along in my bulletin, sounding out the words the best I could, knowing my heart would transcend all translation. God would understand my intentions despite my poor pronunciation. Kneeling next to people from all over the world in prayer was a most memorably powerful experience. And, being able to look around me at all the sacred art in every corner and square inch of the space I was worshiping in, was inspiring.

In England, I just had to go into the churches where the royal weddings happened. And, the afternoon I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, there was a final rehearsal going on for an upcoming service complete with choir, soloists and a fabulous orchestra. From the moment I walked through the door there was sacred music: violins, harp, brass, and beautiful vocal harmonies. There was sacred music while I walked around the basement crypt and small chapels, and saw where Princess Diana took her wedding communion. There was sacred music while I walked up 257 tiny stairs to the Whispering Gallery of the cathedral’s dome and sat listening to the angelic voices resonate off the frescos of saints and prophets. There was sacred music as I stood looking down at the rehearsal near the image of a huge compass on the floor. Although I was there by myself, supposedly you could whisper something on one side of the gallery and it could travel all around the circumference of the dome and be heard on the opposite side. It was magical. 

As I sat there, nearly a hundred feet up toward the cathedral’s dome, reveling in this unique experience: to be surrounded by sacred art, sacred music and in a sacred worship space—but otherwise pretty much alone in a foreign country—I had time to reflect on the importance of combining the creative expressions of art and music into worship spaces. It wasn’t just for beauty, it wasn’t just for exalting God, it had a another purpose. And although some people could have felt it was to show power or wealth, it was also for very spiritual reasons. During the times when many historic houses of worship were built, the art and architecture taught the gospel to people when bibles were rare and many were unable to be read. Congregants could sit in the pew and look up at the stained glass windows or frescos on the walls, sculptures of angels or saints, the stations of the cross, and learn about God, and Christ’s sacrifice, simply by opening their eyes and looking around.
Now, I’ve always loved the stained glass of our church, and the new stained glass art within other places in our sanctuary. Having to be on Zoom it has been hard not to see the sun gleam through the different colors and images of the windows. Because of the pandemic, the last time I was in the church was to dance for my mother’s funeral. But we are so fortunate that most of us don’t need to have art in our sacred spaces to make sure that we learn about God, because we can read the Bible, and we can listen to the sermons, or the radio; we can even watch movies and TV shows depicting the life and Passion of the Christ during Lenten season. We can still learn something new each time we dive into scripture in a new way, or a way that reminds us of something we’ve learned before but forgotten. But sacred art and music are still very important parts of our worship lives because they connect us to the creative gifts of our humanity that are linked directly to our Creator. It is why I love to hear (and sing-along to) Handel’s Messiah at Christmas, and choreographed my Good Friday services to Mozart’s Requiem. It is why for so many decades I had to spend the holy days of the year dancing in church with my dear friends, or sang in church choirs. 

Yes, in the end, a church building (even if it’s as grand as St. Paul’s in London) is just a building— and the church itself is really about its people. But how humans express and worship and create are so important to who we are as people of God. Every time we create something for the worship of our Lord, to honor Christ, to teach others about scripture, or to share the message of God’s love, we are fulfilling the gifts that our Creator gave us to use. And when we appreciate the gifts that others share with us (even from centuries past), we are honoring God, too. To live creatively and appreciate others’ creativity helps us to look at, and live in, the world through the lens of God, the Divine Creator. These things are more than just beautiful or moving, they are innately important to our connection with our Lord. So every time you find yourself humming your favorite hymn, hum loudly; if you get the need to pick up a paint brush and play with some color on the page, paint boldly; you feel the need to visit every church you can find to see what sacred each holds, visit them all; and especially coming from me: if you get the urge to move to a praise song during this Lenten season, please kick up your heels, twirl around, raise your arms up to God, and dance!
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 66:1-12
1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!

 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.

3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.

4 All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”

5 Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!

6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—come, let us rejoice in him.

7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—let not the rebellious rise up against him.

8 Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;

9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.

12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Sermon Notes: The Three Ingredients For Temptation 
Sermon Notes: Pastor Jeff 3/13/22

In this second week of Lent, we prepare ourselves for the coming of Easter. We prepare by remembering what God has done for us in sending His son. But this is also temptation Sunday; the day in which we recall Jesus’s temptation as well as temptation felt by all humanity. We remember what it means to fall prey to sin. Specifically, this week’s passage talks about the temptation of Adam and Eve, the original sin, and the result that came—noticing they were naked. 

In the world we live in, we are tempted by so many things. Even in conversation with others, we use temptation—or even just the word itself—to talk about the things that peak our interest and “scratch our own itch”; that make us think we want something that we do not have. We talk about temptation with regards to things like cakes, desserts, or delicious treats that look super appetizing. We know we shouldn’t have them, or have an extra one, but as that frosting glistens in the light, and you imagine the smell and taste of the creamy interior, you experience the feelings of temptation. 

We also use the word “tempting” when we are trying to sort out what we are supposed to do in relationship to what we should not do—and what we might want to do along that continuum.The speed limit is 60, but it would be so tempting to go 75 with no traffic; that feeling entices all of us. Do we go 60, 62, 65, 70? When are we really breaking the rule?

For the most part, food cravings and speed limits are not the real bad stuff. Innately, there is nothing malicious about them, even if they might have some bad outcomes. However, some temptations are not so innocent, and come with a certain degree of danger. An example would be to listen to a friend at a party who says he is sober enough to drive, or take a pill someone says will relieve you of your stress and pain. Temptation can even be like taking this new K drug— that is currently sweeping our community—that causes addiction, dependency, and obsession. Temptations can also be socially criminal, like stealing or taking what is not yours. Temptation can come from many different places, and take many different forms.

When I was a younger man working at a restaurant, I was taught three ways in which one could recognize if money had been stolen from the register. In learning these things, I was able to understand the levels at which one must be at to fall victim to temptation—and knowing these levels has served me well. The first level is: one must know if an opportunity is present in a situation. Do employees work the counter, or do they need to be responsible to count the money at all during the length of their shift? Temptation comes from the opportunity to be tempted. The second level is: recognition of an individual’s need; was there a necessity or a need that would warrant the temptation to become more than just a thought or impulse? For example, someone being low on rent money could motivate them to steal. Finally, the third level is: one must have some lie that they are willing to believe in order to take the money. One could think that their boss is a jerk or that they need the money more. Maybe someone feels that they are not paid enough. A lie to go along with one’s need— and adding an opportunity can create routes of action for temptation to be realized. 

In Genesis, Adam and Eve are tempted by the serpent in the garden. The story is innocent enough as it starts; the snake asks Eve if God really said you cannot eat off any trees in the garden. Eve replies that God told them they can eat all the fruit from all of the trees except for the one at the center of the garden. If they ate from it, they would surely die. 

The serpent, however, is clever, and responds by asking if God really said that because they would die, or did God say they will not die, but simply know the difference between good and evil? Eve believed the serpent’s lie and said, “Wow, the opportunity is right there!” The opportunity to be like God and to become wise just like God. There is the need, to be just like God, and the opportunity to eat of the apple—and with the lie, she takes the bite. Adam shortly follows, believing the same lie the serpent told Eve. Right there in that story is the recipe for temptation. The three ingredients: opportunity, need, and a lie that you believe.

As people of God, what are the things that tempt you? Where do you think opportunity, need, and even rationalization collide so you simply tell yourself some lie that justifies what you are about to do? What lies do you tell yourself? Each of us are tempted in different ways, and to know who we are, and what tempts us allows us to discover how we might resist the same results that came from Adam and Eve’s original sin. 

Fast forward many years later, Jesus was also tempted by the serpent, in the wilderness for 40 days. Just like in the garden of Eden, the serpent tempts Jesus to use the relationship he has with His Father, as well as the divine ability he may have, to save himself. In order to do this though, Jesus would have had to succumb to the serpents lies and fall to sin just as Eve and Adam did. Jesus, knew this, and because of the relationship between Jesus and the Father, there was no room for the lie the serpent tried to plant. 

That is our lesson for today. In our relationship with God, through Jesus, the tighter the relationship is, the less room there is for a lie (or the rationalization for a lie) to form. You may have the opportunity and the need, but if you do not believe the lie you tell yourself, then you will not succumb to the temptation. 

Each of us wants to be “tight” with Jesus and believe in the love of God through Jesus. However, just like it might be easy to tell where your heart is in love and relationships, it is that easy to tell how your relationship is with God and how it is going. We can tell by looking at the temptations that cause you to fall.

Opportunity and need are everywhere. Succumbing to temptation is willingness to believe a lie versus the well-being God has given to you. 

Look at the ways you are being tempted, and ask yourself why you need what you need. What are you willing to leave in order to not be tempted and maintain your relationship with Christ? 

In these 40 days of Lent, spend more quality time deeply engaging in your relationship with the God. Spend more time in God’s word, in prayer, and in Christian community. Spend more time in a loving relationship with a God who loves and cares for us all so much. The deeper in relationship we walk, the less likely we are to believe the lies that stem from the original sin. 


The Prayer Corner
A Prayer For Ukraine
Loving God,
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world
that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways
so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world.

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