Voices for Creation
Christian voices will resound in our worship services as the Bethel Choir premieres Suite Prayers for Our Earth, a new composition by our Minister of Liturgical Worship Zach Busch and Minneapolis songwriter Bret Hesla. Their text is the beautiful “Prayer for Our Earth” that concludes the groundbreaking 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis. It’s a compelling call for all Christians to join in rescuing all creation ‒ our damaged environment and “the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in [God’s] eyes.” Pr. Mike’s sermon and the liturgy will echo and amplify these themes and help us respond from our hearts.
November 20 lifts up the wisdom of Native American voices with their deep understanding of the unity of land, people, and Spirit. A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and ELCA Lutheran pastor, Joann Conroy, travels to join Bethel on November 20 as guest preacher. Pastor Joann was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota during a time of great unrest and transition nationally in reservation communities. Her grandmother gave her a Sioux name, Winyan Wakan, meaning Holy Woman, when she was only 13 years old, years before she followed a call to pastoral ministry. She earned a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, and is active in numerous faith-based organizations that seek to build bridges and connections within the faith and beyond. Pastor Joann believes that her people have much wisdom to share with the wider church for sustainable environmental practices and a spiritually based stewardship for our planet.
The Sacredness of Creation
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
November 20, 2022
Pastor Mike Brown
The Beauty in God’s Eyes
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”