June 19th Congregational Meeting

Details: Please join us for a Congregational Meeting on June 19th immediately following the second service (around 11AM). Please find the details below. The meeting will be in-person with a Zoom link for those who would prefer to join remotely (invite to come).

Mark Eickhoff, President

On behalf of St. Tim’s Council

To St. Tim’s Congregation:

Greetings in Christ. This letter is to inform you of a Special Congregational Meeting called by the St. Tim’s Council to be held on June 19, 2022 immediately following the indoor service, about 11:00 AM, in the sanctuary. This meeting is called regarding the hiring of a ¼ time pastor who would concentrate in the following areas of ministry: outdoor worship development, Sunday School, Bible study, and preaching once/month. This pastor would be hired on contract, not by call, and the hiring would be for a three-year term. St. Tim’s council has identified an appropriate source of funding for this hiring, drawn mainly from our accumulated savings. The motion to hire a ¼ time pastor is the only agenda item for this meeting.

For those of you who wish to attend virtually, a laptop computer will be set up in the sanctuary and a Zoom meeting invite link sent out to the congregation beforehand. COVID-19 is still with us, so if you plan to attend in person, please remember that masks are still strongly encouraged indoors at St. Tim’s and to maintain social distance as much as possible.

The hiring of another pastor, even part time, is certainly a big step in St. Tim’s spiritual life together. A letter dated May 2, 2022 from the Personnel Team to the congregation explains the reasons behind this hiring. Summarized briefly, Pastor Rachael has chosen to share her gifts of preaching and teaching by accepting an (online) adjunct faculty position at Luther Seminary. To give Pastor Rachael sufficient time for those professional duties, a team approach to the full ministry at St. Tim’s with a new ¼ time pastor is needed. Given that a pastor with experience in several areas beneficial to St. Tim’s has relocated to Albuquerque, it seems as if the Holy Spirit is presenting us with a wonderful opportunity.

I encourage all of you to attend and be part of this conversation. May the Holy Spirit guide us in this.

I don’t get it.

Our family loves jokes. No one can survive in our family without a sense of humor! Sometimes, however, the jokes fall flat. Truth be told, they fall flat because I can be slow on the uptake. My exceedingly kind husband never makes me feel bad about missing a punch line. He always says, “It’s not a good joke if you have to explain it.” Yeah, it’s the joke’s fault. What a great guy!

I admit, sometimes I feel the same way when it comes to the Bible. I’ll read a passage and after much thought I’m left with those four awful words, “I don’t get it.” Of course, those words feel awful because I have this completely false notion that I’m supposed to get it all! When the initial sting subsides, the Holy Spirit wakes me up and reminds me: God gave us each other!

At St. Tim’s, we’ve started a six week immersion in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. When it comes to Paul, I just don’t get it all. His letters contain run-on sentences galore, assumed information about community events, and he’s forever coming across as having all the answers. So, here’s my question: What do YOU hear God saying through Paul in 2 Corinthians?

It’s an extraordinary gift, isn’t it, exploring God’s Word together? And, perhaps, that’s the biggest takeaway for me from Paul’s work. I’m reminded that admitting, “I don’t get it,” is not a failure of my faith but a triumph of the Holy Spirit at work in me! This beautiful gift of God’s Word is not given to us in a vacuum it’s given to us in COMMUNITY! So, help me out, people of God! What’s God’s word saying to you?

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Ever been the new kid?

new kidIt can be tough to be the new kid. I remember new kids arriving at school in my small town where they remained the “new kid” for at least a few years. There was always a difference, named or implied, between them and the locals. It wasn’t until I grew older that I experienced the new kid phenomenon first-hand. I’ve moved a number of times as an adult, and feeling like the one who is on the fringe of the community is tough to shake.

In our reading from Exodus this Sunday, we are told in no uncertain terms that God is never a newbie in the unfolding story of humanity. The God who comes to liberate God’s people from oppression in Egypt says, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (3:6). God has been actively involved in creation from the beginning. God knows us better than we know ourselves. God’s continuing presence in, with, and through all of creation is an incredible gift! I wonder, what if we could live that gift and reality every day?

By the power of the Spirit we regularly welcome visitors to St. Tim’s. I can only imagine what it’s like to walk through the doors and feel very much on the fringe. But is anyone ever on the fringe when it comes to God? NO! We are all enfolded in the love and grace of God, and in that sense NO ONE is a newbie! What if we recognized the presence of God, a presence that has been at work in each of us from the beginning, in every person? What would our church, what would our city, what would our world look like?

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

Just a few drops…

dry landGod is good. After a time of drought in the high desert of Albuquerque, the rain has come, thanks be to God!

The last couple of years, I remember feeling a sense of glee and relief when any rain came. Standing out on the porch, our family would watch it with gratitude. Our son would get his Curious George rain boots out giddy to splash around.

Now, securely in the monsoon season, we’re ahead in rainfall. Rain has been in the forecast for days. Last night when it rained I noticed it for a moment and immediately fell back asleep. It’s still a miracle, but I’m used to it.

For me, the Gospel can feel the same way. When I’m feeling emotionally, physically and/or spiritually parched, unsure if I’ll ever hear good news again, a few drops of God’s grace are enough to bring me to my knees. Other times, I can hear God’s gift of love for me and smile for a moment, quickly moving on. Like the rain, the Gospel seems so much more glorious when it falls in parched places.

This Sunday the Gospel reading takes us to a parched place, the palace of Herod Antipas. In Mark 6:14-29 we are brought into a horrific drama ending in death. Yet in that parched place, the Good News of God’s love begins to drip down. It’s slow at first but it doesn’t take long for the heavens to open and the grace of God to pour.

If you’re feeling parched, unsure if you’ll ever hear Good News again, come to worship. God’s grace, love and mercy will flow. By the power of the Holy Spirit, a few drops may just fall on you.

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

What if they run out?

long lineI have a distinct memory from kindergarten about selecting my beverage for “milk break.” We had three options: chocolate milk, white milk and orange drink. Everyday my anxiety would build as I waited to see if there was enough chocolate milk and then white milk so I could escape the dreaded orange drink. Many days I was able to enjoy my break, other days I wasn’t so lucky.

In our Gospel reading for Sunday Jesus describes a group of people getting in line to receive God’s grace. As the line develops, Jesus explains that in the kingdom of heaven “the last will be first and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). With good reason, this statement can cause a great deal of anxiety about who will get what when it comes to Jesus. Will I be first or last? Put another way, “Will Jesus run out before he gets to me?”

The Gospel makes it clear that with God in Christ there is always abundantly more grace, love and mercy to go around than we can possibly fathom. God’s grace extends beyond our wildest imagination. Even the last in line finally receives the same as the first: the complete, perfect, unconditional love of God. So the next time you’re wondering where you are in Christ’s grace-giving line-up, remember, he never runs out…ever.

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

God and my personal space bubble…

personal spaceMy son’s first grade class has been talking about “personal space bubbles.” The teacher wants to be sure that the kids are not popping each other’s bubbles by getting uncomfortably close. I appreciate that life lesson. It will serve the kids well in life if they learn to respect others’ bubbles.

However, every once in a while, I wonder if God ever learned about personal space bubbles. Sometimes, I feel like God gets a little too close. God gets in my space and starts to stir things up. For example:

  • A friend calls wanting to talk about a situation she’s dealing with and it triggers an old regret I won’t release.
  • The readings in worship speak directly to what’s been going on in my life or to my own particular failings.
  • Someone offers a prayer that reminds me of a grudge I still hold from years past.

Have you ever experienced that? I admit it, I don’t like it. It would be so much easier if God let me leave that stuff where it is – safe inside my bubble, just under the surface. So much easier…right…

If you’re like me and at times you feel God getting uncomfortably close there is good news waiting. God wants to do something in your life. God has no problem popping our bubbles so God’s love can pour over us. You can bet it’s uncomfortable at first, but just wait. It doesn’t take long for God’s love to make it just under the surface.

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

“Kneel? I don’t kneel for anyone.”

man-praying-in-pewThis Sunday will be the first time I experience a “Healing Worship” with the people of St. Tim’s. I’m excited to gather in the healing presence of Christ with everyone the Spirit sends, especially as we are invited to kneel before God.

Not many Lutheran congregations, including ours, kneel as a regular part of Sunday morning worship. But one man’s story (not a member of St. Tim’s) opened my eyes to how powerful it can be. The man had been away from the church for a number of years and through his wife’s invitation he felt God’s call to go back. On his first Sunday back he was encouraged, with the whole congregation, to kneel in preparation for worship. He has a very vivid recollection that as he began to kneel, these words ran through his head, “Alright God, here I am kneeling before you. And I don’t kneel for anyone.”

The act of kneeling displays a complete surrender to another’s power. Kneeling before God removes all illusions that we have the power to fix everything, to be in control and to determine our own fate. Thanks be to God that the call to kneel at the feet of Christ is a call to surrender ourselves to complete, perfect love. God in Christ has given us this unconditional gift and has called us in the waters of Baptism so that we may know we kneel as God’s beloved children. I’ll get in line to kneel for that.

See you Sunday…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

“Coming out of the woodwork”

vacation‘Tis the season for getaways and road trips, postcards and frequent flyer miles. It’s summer vacation! Wherever it may take you, to the other side of the world or the other side of Albuquerque, I hope you take the opportunity to visit another community of faith.

I love vacation for all sorts of reasons: uninterrupted time with family, new experiences, and lots of ice cream. But one of the greatest joys of time away for our family is the reminder that God is working EVERYWHERE! Pick any town anywhere and, if you open your eyes, you’ll see God at work in worship, in service, in justice, and in love. The evidence may be obvious in thriving houses of worship and well-stocked food pantries, or it may be beautifully subtle in the act of someone offering a smile and welcome in a language you barely understand. When it comes right down to it, wherever you go the love of God is coming out of the woodwork. Take a moment and look for it, enter into it, and then grab some mint chocolate chip. Trust me, you can find that almost everywhere, too.

See you Sunday or whenever you get back…

God’s Peace,
Pr. Rachael

It stinks in here. I love it.

Paint CansMy office at St. Tim’s is a few feet from the “community room” where countless gallons of coffee have been consumed and countless spirits have been lifted through loving conversation in Christ’s name. St. Tim’s members, visitors, folks from the community, friends, family, and more have filled that space in love for God and one another. At present it stinks because the ceiling was just painted by a group of kind and capable painters. We’re sprucing things up…reaching out, inviting and hoping. In God’s grace we trust that space will continue to be filled with a love that comes from God and spills over out of each of us to others. We trust that God, through us, will continue to invite joyful, broken, addicted, despairing, successful, uplifted, questioning, and rock-solid- faith-filled folks to St. Tim’s to experience community together in Christ.

It stinks in here. I love it.

See you Sunday…

Pr. Rachael