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
Bible Reading: Psalm 111:1-5
Praise the Lord.

1 I will extol the Lord with all my heart
    in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the Lord;
    they are pondered by all who delight in them.

3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
    and his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and compassionate.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.

Writer's Corner: Boxes of Matzo
Every Passover festival season (and during our Lent) the grocery stores stack Matzo cracker boxes at the edges of aisles to make it easy for people to find their required unleavened bread options. I am personally thankful for the now gluten-free version (at Whole Foods) that I can enjoy with my favorite homemade chicken soup. For me, those stacked boxes are a reminder of Passover, yes, but also of God’s promise to us in Jesus. It is a fundamental reason why I get so happy when I see all the boxes on display. 

“On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce off the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.” Joshua 5:10-12

This passage in Joshua mentions the Passover before God stopped providing manna for the Israelites once they reached the land that had been promised to them. They were no longer wandering in the desert because of unfaithfulness to their covenant with God. And during those 40 years in the wilderness, God had still provided sustenance (in the form of manna) for His children every day of the week, but the Sabbath—which was around 12,000 times. Joshua also tells of that first meal of unleavened bread and produce from their new home in Canaan. God’s people were finally in the Promised land and could eat of all its bounty. What a blessing! God’s promise fulfilled. But actually, there are several levels of God’s fulfilled promises here. First, God delivering His people out of Egypt and the miracles of that journey. Then providing manna for their sustenance for four decades of wilderness wandering. Next, the arrival of God’s people finally into their new home. After which, the cessation of manna—because they had all they needed now in this new land. God provided, again and again. For us Christians, celebrating Easter, these promises continue further—with the Passover lamb: Jesus. This is fulfilled after the Last Supper in the Upper Room where Jesus tells his disciples that the wine and bread they consume is a symbol of the sacrifice He is about to make. Then He dies on the cross for our sins and to conquer death. Fulfillment of prophesy, fulfillment of God’s covenant with His people.


In college, my first year dorm floor was (remarkably) entirely Jewish except for two of us from Minnesota. I lived in off-campus housing dorms with many students from out east and Chicago because I was out-of-state and registered too late for all the regular student housing. I was blessed with an apartment of three other roommates (and a teeny-tiny kitchen and bathroom), but even more blessed to have the opportunity to experience celebrating unfamiliar religious holidays with new friends. This is when I also learned all the things you can do with Matzo crackers, and matzah flour—how creative you can be. My roommates scrambled it into eggs, layered crackers into sandwiches. Made a couple odd, but tasty, casseroles and even lasagne “crackery” meals (layers of crackers instead of noodles). We would snack on them at midnight while studying: mini Matzo cracker pizzas. Our entire kitchen was filled with matzah. Now, at the time, I didn’t really know much about why we were eating unleavened bread only. Why we gave up the toaster. As I rarely talked about what Passover meant to my new friends or how the traditions came about. I was most familiar with the Passover supper where Jesus washed the feet of others, and recited the communion rites I’d long since memorized: “This is my body broken for you…this is my blood, shed for you.”

Occasionally, some of my floor-mates attended church with me to “see what it was about.” They’d listen to the hymns about the resurrection, the foundation of the church, God’s amazing grace, and Jesus’ love for us all. They’d hear sermons about forgiveness, and loving thy neighbor. In turn, I’d go to their impromptu Friday shabbat “dinners” (often brought up from the cafeteria) in friends rooms with added candles and wine. And I was honored to go home with my Chicago roommate for a festive Passover dinner with her family. I also fasted when they fasted, during Yom Kippur, and feasted when we broke our fasts. I thought about things I needed to atone for. And that year, in the spring, I went home for Easter; by the time I came back we no longer were eating Matzo crackers. 


Yesterday, I went to the store and sure enough the boxes of Matzo crackers were already stacked eight shelves high. I thought about my freshman dorm friends and how much more I’ve learned about their Jewish traditions since our days with midnight Matzo pizzas. Unfortunately, the store was out of my gluten-free brand, but I know that I will find them another day. And even though this gluten-filled unleavened bread was not something my body could digest, I was still reminded again of God’s promises. The promise of the bread of life that sustains us through any wilderness, as God sustained the Israelites long ago. I am reminded that even in times when we feel like we’re wandering; feel like we’re struggling; feel like we’re losing faith that we will make it out of tough times—to think of the boxes of Matzo boxes and the last Passover before a fruitful meal. To remember the faith of a people who were fed manna by God in the wilderness, a people who found the Promised land; to remember all the promises fulfilled by God. To remember the continuation of God’s promises in the Passover lamb, and Jesus’ love for us all. How much God sacrificed for us in Jesus. And of course, the resurrection and promise of life eternal, in Him. 

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: Luke 13:1-9
1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 

2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 

3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 

4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 

5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 

7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 

9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Sermon Notes: A Call to Bear Fruit
How many of us are deeply concerned about those in Ukraine and hearts broken by the many children loosing their lives? How many of us were saddened and disturbed by the injustice and death brought onto George Floyd? How many of us were broken by the pandemic and all of the loss that has occurred over the last couple years? Truly, so much has happened within all of our lives and we have experienced hardship, some more than others. We are deeply saddened by all of these things. 

In moments like these, we find ourselves needing to find a way for these injustices to be made right. As situations get worse, we look outside of ourselves and towards Jesus to deliver us. What better way to solve our own problems than to enlist Jesus into doing something about them right? Surely if we asked Jesus, He would be in our world healing those during the pandemic, or walking on the highway blocking traffic when we protest, or would even be there to protect those poor woman and children in Ukraine. 

In moments of crisis, we ask Jesus to do what we think is right and needs to be done. We expect Jesus to do that which we think Jesus should be doing, yet we fail to look at ourselves and what we can do. We act like the Galileans in this weeks text, going to Jesus and asking if He has heard of all the injustice that has occurred in the world. We ask Jesus if He has heard how Putin has killed innocent people and allowed blood to be shed in this terrible terrible crisis. You see the injustice and evil in our neighbor hood, so surely you can do something about that right Jesus? 

Jesus has an unusual response, one that I could barely believe when I read it myself. Jesus responded by stating that those who had experienced such pain were no more likely to experience the same fate as any other person. Jesus’s response makes it clear to those who hear; unless you and I repent, we will suffer the same fate as those who have come before us. What an unusual response and thing to say, especially when we think about our perception of who God is and what we want Him to do for us. 

In our world, when we see injustice and terrible things, we expect God to step up and do something about them. Instead, in this instance, Jesus turns the conversation around on us. Jesus calls us to be those who respond. Jesus calls us to repent and make a change. Jesus calls us to bear fruit. 

Our perception of what Jesus is to be for us is all wrong. Jesus explains the lie to us in the story of the farmer who grew a fig tree. That fig tree was meant to blossom and produce bountiful fruit. In a world made by God for us to enjoy, we are meant to bear fruit and be fruitful in His world. When we bear no fruit, and do not take action, we are nothing more but a tree intaking nutrients from the soil God plants us in.  

What kind of tree are you in God's world? Are you producing fruit? Are you just suckling up nutrients from the soil and produce nothing? 

We are meant to produce fruit that becomes a part of the beauty and change in the world. In this way of thinking and acting, we can make change. It may even be enough to start the conversation about important issues and help us to make big changes. The suffering of the world is not fixed by the wave of a magic wand, but by the change we make through our actions, love, and call to bear fruit. 

Our prayer today is not to pray for the strength to be better, but to get on our knees and pray for God's deliverance and to Jesus to show us love and protection. May we all recognize God’s love, mercy, and call for us to bear fruit during times of uncertainty, hardship, and loss. 


The Prayer Corner
A Prayer For Spring
God, thank you for Spring and the hope of warmer, longer, brighter days. Thank you for the coming of growth and life and birth. We remember the greatness of Your Son, and appreciate the change of season so that life might grow and bloom again. 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