Refurbished sign

Beloved Friends,
Rejoice with me that a mundane but very important task was accomplished with gusto! Wendy Berry, Pat Fritz, and Dietrich Biemiller, sanded and vanished our beautiful wooden sign that stands on the corner of 40th and Meridian. This sign has not had this much love for many years and it was in need. It has stood at its post faithfully for about 20 years, inviting the neighbors to worship. 
 
Now that it is sanded and varnished, the wood grain stands out remarkably, reminding me of when it arrived from Ecuador all those years ago. At that time Gretchen Cohan sketched a picture for the sign on a regular piece of 8 ½” X 11” copy paper. The paper was taken to a village of wood carvers in Ecuador and a few months later the sign arrived here. It looks exactly as Gretchen sketched it… except bigger… and wooden. The sign was paid for by the Northwest Washington Synod. Thanks be to God for all the hands that brought this sign to us. And thank
s be to God for the willingness of Pat, Wendy and Dietrich to steward this valuable tool for lifting up Christ.
 
Peace and power to you from Christ,
Pastor Jami Fecher  
BEFORE                                                                        AFTER
              

BEFORE                                                                                                AFTER

 

Jesus’ “gotcha” — Pentecost 20 sermon, Matthew 22:15-22

The first thing that stands out in today’s story is that Jesus pulled a really good “gotcha” on the Pharisees’ disciples & the Herodians. Don’t be smug about Jesus’ gotcha on these religious leaders. It is for your sake — intended to getCHU! To call you to repentance. To call you to invest yourself, your heart, your concern, in the valuable things of God, rather than in the urgent, pressing things of this world, which seem so important, but are truly nothing but vanity and vapor.  The coin used to pay taxes to the emperor is imprinted with the emperor’s image, but your heart is imprinted with Christ’s image at your baptism.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUS6de-7f6WZmVldUdMZmk2WE0

Pentecost 19 sermon, Matthew 22:1-14, the marriage of Christ – the happy exchange

Whatever else this difficult passage says, know for certain that we are here today at the wedding banquet, celebrating our Lord Jesus’ marriage to the church. This marriage is called the happy exchange, in which Christ marries himself to all our weakness, misery, and shame, while marrying us to all his grace, love, forgiveness and joy. Let your faith cling to this reality above everything else. Let it guide your heart as you look at the other, more violent and scary images in this parable. Because God’s Word never wants to say anything else to you than Jesus Christ crucified for the justification of the ungodly. Everything is in service to that.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUS6de-7f6WSUI1TzY2V3oxb00

“Hear and believe that his gift is for you.” Pentecost 17, 2017 Sermon, Matthew 21:12-32

When Jesus reveals Truth to us at the exact same time that Truth judges us. It shows us not only that we are wrong, but also that because we are convinced we are right we dig in & rush more & more intentionally toward what is wrong. The only way out of this hopeless mess is Jesus. He poured himself out for you & me not because we are any more whole or any closer to what God wants us to be than the chief priests and elders. He did it because we are sinners and we need him to save us from the wrath of God’s righteous judgement.  As the beautiful hymn says, “When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, … beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.” Hear and believe that his gift is for you.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUS6de-7f6WNDhxN0xkS1FzdUU

Send financial relief to the Mexican hometown of 2 pastors in our synod — damaged by the earthquake.

Beloved Friends in Christ,

With all the natural disasters in the past month there is a great need to share extra money with the victims. 3 Hurricanes and an earthquake. I have sent a small amount of money through the ELCA disaster relief for each event and I encourage you to also send some money. I know there are ELCA people on the ground, people whom the ELCA has sent these areas, who live there and who know what relief is needed. I also know they have only the goal of providing proper relief. The most recent earthquake in Mexico has caused terrible damage to the hometown of 2 pastors serving in this synod: Pastor Esau Cuevas (who has worked with Pastor Kari Reiten) and Pastor Emilio Benitez. We have the opportunity to provide direct financial support to the people of their hometown. Please do so now. Your offering is matched dollar for dollar.
 
Relief often goes to the big cities. This appeal is for support that will be used for assistance in Jojutla (our pastors’ hometown).  All funds will go to Lutheran Disaster Response, who is working with its Mexico partner AMEXTRA. You can give following this link (https://www.amextra.org/index.php/en/)
Or you can send a check to the address below and the synod will send a big fat check from all the money sent.  Make a check payable to “NW WA Synod.” On the memo line, write “Mexican Earthquake.” Send to:


Northwest Washington Synod
5519 Phinney Ave. North
Seattle, WA 98103
 
Here is a link that tells about the damage of the quake in Jojutla.  http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/from-terror-to-grief-for-people-of-jojutla/.
Peace and power to you from Christ
Pastor Jami Fecher.

Trouble with the God of mercy

God’s mercy is a problem for us because God is merciful even to those whose behavior is so egregious that only a fool or a liar or a callous person would fail to be outraged by what they do. There is no sense in which God’s grace encourages us or allows us to be indifferent to outrageous behavior. God knows how to be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. We do not know how to be either. So, we crucify the God of mercy and the God of mercy sacrifices the One and Only Son to have mercy on us.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUS6de-7f6WR0h1QjBmaE5PQTg

For sinners, forgiveness is complicated.

For sinners, forgiveness is complicated. It can easily work to further victimize the one who was wronged & shield or even empower the wrongdoer to do more wrong. The Bible calls it healing the wound lightly (Jeremiah 6:14 & 8:11) In America we could call it “healing the wound whitely.” when you look at how quickly white America wants to get past the horror of slavery & its fallout. “Let’s not dwell on the past etc…” Across the board, regardless of race, when we are the wrongdoers ALL of us want to shift the focus to forgiveness, ASAP! That is why Peter asks Jesus the question…

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzUS6de-7f6WdjRVSVZhdDNLcVU

Sinners get together and sin against each other. Then what?

Pentecost 14 sermon, Matthew 18:15-17, Ezekiel 33:7-11

Jesus welcomes sinners. Sinners get together and sin against each other. When this happens Jesus directs the concern of his followers NOT to the sin that was committed, what it was exactly, or how egregious it was. Jesus does not direct our concern to our pain and how to cope with it. Jesus directs our attention to taking the initiative in restoring the brother or sister. Jesus offers no process for rejection.?
 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzUS6de-7f6WdGNXbFNLNllfOXc/view?usp=sharing