This week we celebrate the importance of the forest. Trees are an essential part of the ecosystem. Trees are rooted in an underground network providing stability to the environment around them and connection to neighboring plants and trees. Above ground, they provide us with clean air to breathe, shade on a hot day, a source of fruit and nuts and a home for so many creatures big and small. Faith Lutheran’s mission statement reminds our church community that we too are like a tree – “Rooted and Reaching out in Love.” We celebrate our connection to the natural world, to God our creator and to one another.
On this second Sunday celebrating creation, we remember the land. Adam in Hebrew means mudman, and so from the beginning of scripture we are reminded we come from the earth. From the land, we are fed. From the land, all life flourishes. In scripture lessons we hear stories about ownership – who owns the land, whose responsible and who benefits.
Welcome to the wilderness! This week we embark on a four week celebration of Creation alongside the global church. Whether we are in the depths of the urban jungle or lost on the Appalachian trail – God promises to be with us in the wilderness and feed us along the way.
Another week full of identity questions – God reveals Godself in a burning bush and Jesus describes what the Messiah is here to do. In each story, God reminds us that God shows up in places of suffering and promises this will not be our full story. As Paul reminds us we are called to be patient in suffering, to celebrate with those who celebrate and weep with those who weep. In worship, we are renewed and fortified with all that we need so that we can show up in these challenging places too.
This week we blessed our backpacks and celebrated our vocations. God gives each of us unique gifts that are needed in the world. By showing up as our full selves, the spirit of God is also made visible. Just as Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom, we too, are asked to lift up and build upon this important foundation- feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, share what we have and rest in God’s beauty.
Today we are reminded nothing is permanent. Joseph is reconciled to his brothers in a powerful and surprising way. In our gospel story, a conversation with a desperate mother changes Jesus’ mind. In worship, we are reminded of the transforming power of forgiveness. Together as a community, we ask for forgiveness, we are offered forgiveness and challenged to do the same for those we are in relationship with.
In this week’s first reading, God invites all who are hungry or thirsty to receive food and drink without cost. Jesus feeds the hungry multitude and reveals the abundance of God. At the table we are all welcomed and fed and we call to mind all who are hungry or poor in our world today. As we share the bread of life, we are sent forth to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry.
It is an age-old question: why is there evil in the world? In the parable of the wheat and the weeds Jesus suggests that both grow together until the harvest. With Paul, we long for the day that all creation will be set free from bondage and suffering. Having both weeds and wheat within us, we humbly place our hope in the promises of God, and from the table we go forth to bear the fruit of justice and mercy.