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
We are still in Easter, called to be Easter people. And what are Easter people? We are like those first women who “go and tell” that Jesus is risen! When people ask what I believe about Christianity and the Gospel, they often temper their request: “Please, keep it simple.” While in Tanzania, a Peace Corps volunteer asked me to describe my belief, “in ten words or less.”
My response? Not if/then but because/therefore --- Because Jesus lives…..
A pastor friend who accompanied me, chimed in: We’re all jerks. God loves you anyhow.
I have put some members in our community on the spot. “In ten words or fewer,” I asked, “how would you proclaim the gospel?” “If need be, you may include a clarifying sentence.”
Here’s what they had to say:
Throughout the Bible, God empowered ordinary, reluctant sinners to do extraordinary things. -Kathy Foulks
Selfless, unconditional grace, love and forgiveness for all – at all times and places. -Lisa Mensinger
Thank you for what I have been given. May it be enough for the road ahead. Onward. -Louise Nelson
Grace: "Apathy is perceived poorly, it doesn't matter because of Jesus" -Christian Mogren
Could you have asked a more complex and yet simple thing? -Chandler Bursey
“Nevertheless [Luther’s “dennoch”], God IS real. Resurrection IS. Grace IS. The Music goes on — so, get with it.” James Gardner with some clarification:
And it continues to baffle me why Jesus said that it is now “better” for us that the Holy Spirit is now within in new depth and clarity — I would have asked Jesus to be right beside me (a walking Wikipedia of “answers” and an ATM — Santa Claus — for any needed goodies).
Instead, we walk a walk of Faith, in Grace, because of Christ, as conveyed in Scripture, to the Glory of God.
And your response?
“Always be ready to share the hope that is within you,” writes the Apostle Paul.
In the meantime, it is enough to proclaim:
Christ is risen!
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
8:15 am | Awakening Worship
9:15 | Sunday School
10:30 | Traditional Worship