5th Sunday Offering Theme: Water
April has five Sundays and we will have a special offering. As Earth Day is April 22nd, we will celebrate water, one of God’s gifts to us, with a potluck. Join us after the service on April 22nd! Two agencies will benefit from our offering; Johnson Creek Watershed Council and ELCA Good Gifts with a share of a water well. Here are excerpts from the JCWC newsletter marveling over their recent success with the Watershed Wide Event: “20th Annual Watershed Wide Results! We are so excited about the results of our 20th Annual Watershed Wide Event on Saturday, March 3, 2018! It was a beautiful sunny day, with many community partners and groups joining together. Everyone got their hands dirty to leave a lasting legacy improving the health of the watershed from Boring down through Milwaukie. We did this through planting native plants, removing invasive species, and even salvaging native plants. Residents of our watershed love their urban creek-and the 20th Watershed Wide Event was an incredible testament to the spirit of grassroots community activism and ecological restoration.
Here’s what we accomplished together: -450 volunteers came to help! -6,400 native plants were planted -1.5 trailers of ivy removed (and acres of other invasives!) -100 plants salvaged (to be replanted after a construction project at next Year’s Watershed Wide) -Tons of great costumes-you rock! -40 pizzas eaten -Sunny weather and an all around great day!” (end of excerpt)
The ELCA Good Gifts has several options for helping villagers gain safe water. Traditionally it is the women and girls who get the water for the household. Walking for miles and expending energy and time on this important task limits the time spent on housework, study, and tending the crops. We can help build a water well for $250. Our council will have more information in April.
-Jean Whitford and Karen Ropar
By Pastor Jennifer Beil
Easter falls on April 1st this year. For the past several months I have been wondering what the secular world will make of Easter falling on April Fools Day. Will there be memes (pictures with captions shared on the internet) that say: “Christ is risen. April Fools!”? Will there be editorials espousing the foolishness of religion? We will know in a few days. I wonder what the secular world will make of Easter on April Fools day because for many who do not believe, faith in Jesus is foolishness. People say that religion is a fairytale that only weak people believe. People say that there cannot be a god because there is too much suffering and evil in the world. People say that it is a waste of energy to go to church, read the Bible, or pray because it does not make a difference. People say it is a waste of time to believe because “God” does not make a difference in their lives. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” There have always been those who believed it was foolishness to believe in Jesus and salvation through his death and resurrection. There are those who want miracles and others who want irrefutable proof. Without miracles and proof, it is foolish to believe in a God that would love the world enough to give his own son. It is foolish to believe in God-in-the-flesh sacrificing his own life to save the world. It is foolish to believe that love can conquer evil. If it is foolish to put my faith in Christ and his love for the world, then I will choose foolish love. I will choose the foolish love of God over the wisdom of this world. Foolish love for people who turned from his love and chose sin over obedience and faith. Foolish love that came into this world as a baby to be with us, to know our pain, longings, and joys. Foolish love that chose to suffer and die for the very people who rejected him. Foolish love that never stops loving people despite our rebellion, violence, and sin. Foolish love that conquers sin and death with love and sacrifice. I may be a fool but I will choose love every time. There is nothing in this world greater than God’s love. When the world says, “Look out for number one, bigger is better, you need more, the end justifies the means,” God says, “Lift up the poor, feed the hungry, be a servant.” When the world says, “Only losers ask for help, never sacrifice,” God says, “Walk together, share the load, lay down one’s life.” It is not always easy to choose foolish love. The world barrages us constantly with messages that Jesus was not real, that only weak people believe in fairy tales, that there is no proof of Jesus, that there is too much evil in the world to support claims of a loving God. Despite all this, one truth remains: God loved the world so much that he never gave up on us and came down as a lowly baby to be with us and to die for us. That is true love. That is the love that conquers hatred, fear, and selfishness. That is the love that saves. This Easter, remember that where the world sees foolishness and weakness, there is God’s wisdom and strength and love.