God’s Work. Our Hands. That is how we are known through our ELCA church body’s slogan. As slogans go, I love the image. The broken piece of bread placed on our hands in the Holy Meal is God’s holy work in us, transforming us to become the body of Christ. Our hands are the sign of God’s gracious presence in the world. As we say in Zion’s slogan, we are connecting through grace.
Summer is often a time to step back and give our hands a rest. Still, God continues to be at work and thankfully, our hands are not all resting at the same time. See how God is working through us in this month’s Sunday worship.
Sunday, August 4
God is working through the life-giving waters of baptism, for Eva Elizabeth Gebhard.
And, for those who gather at the Guinavah Unita-Wasatch-Cache-National Forest for Zion’s annual camping weekend, the Spirit is at work, calling us to open our hands in gratitude for God’s good creation.
Sunday, August 11
We will celebrate how God has been at work through our Vacation Bible School music camp, nurturing and teaching children, as well as encouraging the leadership gifts of our camp counselors.
On this Sunday, we will celebrate some of the music camp’s songs and stories.
Sunday, August 18
God will be at work as we welcome Rev. Monica Dobbins as our guest preacher. She is the Associate Pastor, First Unitarian of Salt Lake City. Pr. Monica recently led their youth in a trip through Alabama, exploring African American/slave history and civil rights landmarks. “Monsters in the Closet” is her sermon theme.
I hope you can join us for the forum, which follows worship, 11:15-12:15. We will roll up our sleeves to do the hard work of confronting the sin of racism. Pr. Monica suggests a subtitle for our forum:
“Moving Forward from Racial Terror in Alabama and Utah.”
Sunday, August 25
We pray the blessing of the Holy Spirit, to be at work among Sunday School teachers, helpers, and for faith coaches in Faith Formation Development (which used to be called “confirmation”). The installation of teachers will also call to mind God’s blessing with those who head back to school.
These are just a few of the ways God will be at work in our lives.
Remembering Christ’s saving work, speaking, “Peace be with you” --- and the blessing of our hands in worship, “Go in peace. Serve the Lord.”
Thanks be to God!
--Pastor Steve +
Prophets were notoriously humorless characters. You would never want Jeremiah, Obadiah, or Ezekiel at a party. But I have invited Jonah into our Sunday worship in July. Maybe it would be easier to swallow his message with some alleged humor, offered in the following story.
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, couldn’t keep from sticking her nose in other people's business. Most members did not approve of her vigilante activities but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an irresponsible drunk after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only tavern one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone who saw it there knew full well what he was doing.
Frank, a man of few words, merely listened, looked Mildred in the eye, turned and walked away.
He didn't explain, defend, or deny.
Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house... Walked home... And left it there all night.
In the person of Jonah the writer holds up a mirror in front of us and asks, “Do you by chance recognize yourself?”
Come and meet Jonah. Come and see yourself in this recalcitrant prophet. Come and explore God’s relationship with you in this twisting story. And, come and see God’s relentless compassion --- “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”
In 2011 Lisa Mensinger walked into Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and moved into our hearts. It didn’t take long for us to see how the Spirit walked with her or, perhaps, the way the Holy Gust blew her into our life together.
It is said that the Holy Spirit loves company. Well, so does Lisa. Together they explored more and more ways to draw people into the web of God’s grace. Youth ministry morphed into expanded relationships with parents, faith coaches, mentors, and adult partners in service events and ELCA youth gatherings. The Spirit and Lisa couldn’t leave our worship well enough alone. Youth led midweek Lenten worship. Then, Lisa became fully involved in worship planning. All along the way, she continued to develop abiding relationships.
Then it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to Lisa, that she should heed the call for public ordained ministry. She walked with mentors, spiritual directors, and with us, discerning her way. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, her heart burned as Jesus appeared in the scriptures for her. Later she walked as a student chaplain into hospital rooms and waiting rooms, learning to be Christ for those in distress. Now, her training calls her into a new walk in ministry, serving an internship with Elim Lutheran Church, an urban congregation in Ogden.
We share in Lisa’s Holy Spirit-ed walk. Long before she entered seminary (which means, “seedbed”) I believe that our community of faith was Lisa’s seedbed. The Spirit was planting, cultivating and nurturing Lisa’s call among us. We are in mission together, in a different way and in a very personal way. We have provided scholarship assistance through our mission support. We pray for Lisa. All of this has proved to be mutually bene˜cial. Together, we have grown in our faith. We have learned that mission support goes beyond “what we are doing for another.” In church language, this is called “accompaniment.” It is accompanying one another, a walking together, learning and supporting one another. In Tanzania we say, “bega kwa bega,” °- hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder.
When you think on all of this, we are walking on holy ground, with Christ.
Pastor Steve Klemz
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
CONNECTING THROUGH GRACE
We are a Reconciling in Christ community. All are welcome!
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
1070 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Every Summer Sunday:
10 am Worship