mountaintop moments: seeing with new eyes

• February 26th, 2017

What are the mountaintop experiences in your life?  Where have you experienced God's glory?

On Transfiguration Sunday, the disciples have a vision of God's glory in Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9).  Pastoral Intern Allison describes how in situations like these, the truth of reality is revealed to us, and we see with new eyes.  


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creative resistance

• February 19th, 2017

Guest preacher, Rev. Red Burchfield, tackles a challenging passage in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-48), in which Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.  Far from being a call to passivity, Rev. Burchfield demonstrates how Jesus encourages us to break the cycle of retribution while also exposing injustice for what it is.  

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on walls, and climbing over them

• February 12th, 2017

Pr Joanne Engquist offers today's reflection with an awareness of the many walls being built (or proposed to be built) these days -- and asks us to think about how the teaching of Moses in Deuteronomy 30 and Jesus in Matthew 5 help us work toward what gives and supports life in the midst of these wall-building times. Have a listen, and give some thought to the challenging poem Pr Joanne shares an excerpt from at the end of her homily, the whole piece (in translation) is below.  

Walls or hugs

Build your wall.
We will climb over it
and embrace you like a brother, like a sister.

Dig your moat.
We will cross somehow
and share with you our bread and our wine.

Lock yourself in your little world of privileges.
We will open the bars and we will teach you the happiness that generates coexistence.

Widen the crack.
We will learn to build bridges and speak to you of diversity.

Get drunk on your fears.
We will not drink from that cup, but from one which overflows with solidarity.

Get high with more consumerism.
Perhaps someday you will discover that mere accumulation is not sufficient to achieve abundance.

Justify yourself in your religion.
We will invite you to sing songs of encounter, of freedom, of life, of justice, of peace.

Build a temple for your exclusive faith.
And we will tell you of the God of Jesus, of open paths and broad horizons.

Spit your xenophobic venom.
We will continue to believe in the richness of colors and nuances.

Build your wall.
Use your power, your strength, your money.
Make transparent your rancor, your fears, your soul empty of compassion.
Make evident your intentions of a world for few people.

Your hate won’t transform us,
We will not justify your violence,
We will not make your speech ours,
We will not return insult for insult,
We will not become like you…

Build your wall.
One, two, three. As many as you want.
And we will climb those walls, all the walls, every wall.
Over and over again.
And we will come to meet you and embrace you.
We will look for cracks and will persist in sowing in them
seeds of love and tenderness,
those able to make new worlds bloom,
where there is room for all of us.

Gerardo Carlos C. Oberman, 2017

This poem for the United States posted originally in Red Crearte by Gerardo Oberman. Translation by Muftiah Martin Kimiti.



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being salt and light

• February 5th, 2017

Pr Kari Lipke of The Garden reflects on the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:13-20 and the prophetic teaching in Isaiah 58:1-12. She urges us to work at life together in ways that will reinvigorate civic and religious rituals as we engage with one another in works that encourage and make for peace and justice. Have a listen, and let us know if there are ways Gethsemane can support your work to be repairers of the breach, to live as light-bearers and welcomers. 

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the net of god’s grace

• January 22nd, 2017

Guest preacher, Rev. Susan Burchfield, describes how even though we may feel we are lost, we are still caught in the net of God's grace.  In the gospel reading today (Matt. 4:12-23), Jesus comes to the disciples in the midst of their ordinary lives and in the midst of their darkness.  Like the early disciples, we are called to leave behind the darkness and follow Jesus in a new way of being.  As ordinary people, we are called to join in the extraordinary work of Christ. 

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come and see: following in the footsteps of MLK

• January 15th, 2017

On the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth, Pastoral Intern Allison Bengfort challenges us to follow in his footsteps as advocates for change.  Remembering the Charleston church shooting and Dylann Roof's connection to the ELCA, we cannot ignore the reality that racism is still alive in our culture and in our denomination.  While we may feel overwhelmed by the task of dysmantling the complex system of racism, Jesus offers us a path forward (John 1:29-42).  His invitation to "come and see" encourages us to step into the flow of the Holy Spirit by taking action and being open to change.  Through abiding in God and in one another, we join in a community of resistance.


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resilience and belovedness: the baptism of jesus

• January 8th, 2017

In today's gospel reading (Matthew 3:13-17) we hear the story of a great epiphany when Jesus-the-Beloved is proclaimed servant of God who will bring forth justice and be a light to the nations. Pr Joanne invites us to consider how we also are sent into a world as followers of a humble way, tending the needs of neighbors near and far.

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christmas eve

• December 24th, 2016

Gathered to sing carols, we stir-up new hope at Christmas because Light shines in the darkness. And we rejoice that Light has not been, and will not be, overcome.  Tonight, Pr Joanne Engquist invites us to think of the angelic song "Gloria in excelsis deo" and to consider the ways we are called to glorify God who is not only in the heavens, but here among us, God-with-us.

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Mothers of God

• December 18th, 2016
In a tradition whose central figure is male, it is crucial to lift up the female figures who also model our Christian vocation.  Today, we remember Mary and Elizabeth, who proclaim their joy in songs of praise to God (Luke 1:39-55).  Pastoral Intern Allison reflects on the difficulties of being a woman in our culture and demonstrates how like Mary, we are called to be mothers of God, giving birth to God's love and life in the world.  
In honor of her Catholic background, Allison offers a modified "Hail Mary," directed at the people of the church:
"Hail people of Gethsemane, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among humanity, and blessed is the fruit of your lives, which is Love.  Holy people, mothers ofGod, act on behalf of this broken world, now and in the darkest hours.  Amen." 
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Prepare the Way

• December 4th, 2016

PREPARE THE WAY is a cantata by Bruce Brolsma that beautifully presents words of Isaiah 40:1-11. Members and friends of Gethsemane Lutheran Church (Seattle) presented this in worship on Sunday, December 4. The cantata was commissioned by University Lutheran Church (Cambridge, MA) in honor of the 60th ordination anniversary of Bishop Krister Stendahl. The cantata will be reprised at Horizon House (900 University Street, Seattle) at 2:30pm on Sunday, December 11. All are welcome to the performance which will be followed by caroling and cookies.

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