On June 21st, 2015 Bethany Lutheran Church and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church chose to enter into a merger agreement with one another. We are excited, overwhelmed and anxious as we look ahead to the future of our new community of faith. We will welcome all to worship at the Bethany building on June 28th at 10am. The baptismal font from Holy Trinity stands now in the front of the sanctuary reminding us of our unity in Christ, but also of our unique qualities as members of that body. We now move into the future with the same faith that brought us to this point and with joy at the promises of Christ to never leave our side.
As we shared in a letter to members earlier this week, here are the words of Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a] Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
The following poem was written by the members of Bethany to commemorate 120 years of ministry. Rev. Beth Frigard facilitated the creation of the poem and beautifully wove together the comments from the community as we described the sights, sounds, smells and feeling of this faith community. Please select the image for a larger view.
Easter Sunday at Bethany - 9am-10:30am Breakfast/Egg Hunt; 10:45am Worship
Purpose and Place for Holy Week...On Sunday, March 29th we begin the
celebration of Holy Week. We process with palms waving high and voices joyful
as we recall our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Like the crowds we are
caught up in in the celebration almost forgetting how Jesus’ last visit to
Jerusalem will end. Although, in the Biblical account, the time from Jesus
entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion is not seven days, the church chose to
mark Jesus’ entry, death and resurrection with the significant number of seven
days. Not only do we think of the creation account in Genesis with six days of
creation and a seventh day of rest, but we also think to the ancient belief
that seven represented the holy or divine. And so, the church dedicates seven
days to commemorate Jesus’ final days. From Palm Sunday on the 29th we move to
Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday. On this day we remember Jesus’ final
gathering with his disciples over a meal and Jesus’ final instructions. The
mood suddenly changes as we, with the disciples, are struck by Jesus words,
“one around this table will betray me.” The wind is knocked out of us as Jesus
insists that he must die and on the third day rise again. As Jesus’ closest
friends and followers the unwillingness to believe or listen to Jesus’
difficult words is understandable. Who, when a dear friend says they are near
death does not feel a pang of disbelief or even defiance. But as Thursday draws
to a close we move from joyful meal to the tearful garden and Jesus’ arrest.
The disciples flee and we leave our worship in silence.
Then, the very next day, we gather again in sorrow at the
foot of a cross on which Jesus hangs. In a service of darkness we remember
God’s deep love for us. A love that taught us, a love that called us children
of the most high God and a love that was not welcomed by the world of power. We
sit in darkness holding on to what hope we have trusting that Jesus, this love
of God incarnate has not been defeated. Saturday we gather again and keep vigil
(watch) to see if the light will return. We will not be disappointed. From out
of the darkness comes light brighter than we have ever known it. Easter dawns
and we hear God’s reply to the world, “Jesus Lives! Alleluia!”