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I love a "feel good" story. You know the kind -- someone does something for someone else not expecting anything in return and all sorts of blessings come into 2 lives. It's probably one of my favorite clickbaits on Facebook.

Sunday's Gospel is such a clickbait story. Jesus took what he had available to him (5 loaves and 2 fish) and made a banquet of overflowing proportions of it for over 5,000 people. How do we put 5,000 in perspective? Kinnick? No, that's over 70,000. Carver Hawkeye? Around 15,000. Xtream Arena? Yes, about that size. We see how big that is and the amplification that is necessary to speak to a group there. Now imagine Jesus preaching to a crowd in a space like that or more likely over a larger area since I doubt they were packed in like sardines as we do for sporting events. We get the impression that the people were hanging on every word. They followed him; they let time pass and their stomachs growl away to hear this speaker in the wilderness.

The realists (disciples) panicked and urged him to send them away. Jesus had a cheeky answer (as far as I'm concerned), "You feed them." Something is afoot when Jesus challenges you. You know the rest of the story.

Jesus still speaks to us. He told our bishop, "Feed my lambs." So Amy Current and Lorna Halaas (Western Iowa Synod) and Kevin Jones (Northeastern Iowa Synod) put their heads together and raised money for hunger programs across the state with the Bishops' Ride for Hunger during RAGBRAI. Holy Trinity Visioning Council gave $100 and members of the congregation have given another $190 through the congregation toward the Bishop Ride. No final numbers have been announced yet, but we can expect the Holy Spirit has been working across the state.

To preach in the wilderness, I would imagine you need a stentorian voice. But remember that God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. How is God speaking to you? As the hymn says, "Listen God is calling, through the Word inviting, offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy." And like Samuel, may you be able to respond, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

Click. Another great story to read!

Go Red for Pentecost? Who came up with that title for the e-news???

The liturgical color for Pentecost Day is red. Some churches encourage members to wear red on the Sunday of Pentecost. The paraments will be red on the altar. The pastor wears a red stole. Why red?

Red is one of the colors of fire. Red is one of the colors of life (as in blood). Red is used as the color of the Holy Spirit in the church. It is used to signify call, even the call to live out our Christian lives in community.

I recently wore a black and yellow smiley face tie to worship. My friend Phyllis asked, "How many obnoxious ties do you have?" I responded, "Not enough." But I do have a Pentecost tie in reds with tongues of flames on it. My wife, always a purveyor of good taste, allows me to wear it on Pentecost and on Pentecost only because it is one of my favorite "obnoxious" ties. But it does reflect the Spirit of God burning in my heart.

As we approach Pentecost, how are you fanning the Spirit's flames in your lives? Are you "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord!"? Or are you "they hid for fear of the Jews?"

The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and emboldened them to spread the Good News. In baptism, the Holy Spirit came to us to embolden us to live in God's ways and to declare his glory among the nations.

Go Red for Pentecost? I should say!!!

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Greetings, fellow disciples.

As you are likely aware, we are in the process of bidding godspeed to a valued colleague in ministry. We celebrate all of the energy, vitality, and vulnerability that Pastor Katie has shared with us over the past six years. I’ve truly appreciated her willingness to help us consider new alternatives, advocate for social justice, and engage the young people of our congregation with ministries to which they are can easily relate. We’ve been blessed by both her comfort and her challenging. Let’s give thanks for them as we wish her well in her new ministry! We will surely miss her presence!

The Visioning Council is planning a special farewell potluck and celebration for Pastor Katie after worship on Sunday, August 14th. Gilled burgers and hot dogs will be provided; members are encouraged to bring a dish to pass.

We’ll begin preparing for this event starting this Sunday; so come ready to contribute to a special hand-crafted creation that we can share with her on the 14th!

Meanwhile, the Council is looking to fall and the launch of a new program year. We are in real need of timely input into what we are all willing to invest. Hard copy surveys were recently mailed to all parents of Sunday School age children, “Club 56” (grades 5-6) youth, confirmation age youth, and high schoolers. Your feedback is sought by NEXT MONDAY (Aug. 8) if at all possible. Either complete and mail yours back when it arrives, complete a copy at church this weekend, or use this link. It is on our website on the children's ministry page, the youth ministry page, and on the Resource page. It should be very easy for anyone to complete this survey. It’s really critical that we hear back from all families involved as we can make the best decisions possible! Thanks in advance!

As for worship this weekend, we’re going to focus on the timely topic of being able and willing to step out in faith once again, following the examples of Abraham and Sarah, and so, so many of our ancestors in God’s family! The Letter to the Hebrews highlights their examples. We’ll use it as our “launchpad” for our joint exploration. Join us at 9:00 a.m.!

Remember to pray for both Richard and Pastor Katie, who will be each heading to Columbus next week to participate in our triennial churchwide assembly. We have been praying for the Assembly each week in the Pop-up Prayers using petitions prepared by the ELCA for that purpose. Safe journeys to all involved!

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Tim

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