Death Transformed – Pastor Trina

I came across this recently (April 26, 2019 reading) in my “Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation” email, which was looking at JesusResurrection. It made me stop and think about my life. I hope it gives you some perspective on your life and happenings as it did mine.

Death Transformed

Christianity—as well as Buddhism, other religions, and natural systems—suggests that the pattern of transformation, the pattern that connects, the life that Reality offers us is not death avoided, but death transformed. In other words, the only trustworthy pattern of spiritual transformation is death and resurrection. Christians learn to submit to trials because Jesus told us that we must “carry the cross” with him…

Death and life are two sides of the same coin; you cannot have one without the other. Each time you surrender, each time you trust the dying, your faith is led to a deeper level and you discover a Larger Self underneath. You decide not to push yourself to the front of the line, and something much better happens in the back of the line. You let go of your narcissistic anger, and you find that you start feeling much happier. You surrender your need to control your partner, and finally the relationship blossoms or ends. Yet each time it is a choice—and each time it is a kind of dying. It seems we only know what life is when we know what death is.

The mystics and great saints were those who had learned to trust and allow this pattern, and often said in effect, “What did I ever lose by dying?” Or try Paul’s famous one-liner: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Now even scientific studies, including those of near-death experiences, reveal the same universal pattern. Things change and grow by dying to their present state, but each time it is a risk. We always wonder, “Will it work this time?” So many academic disciplines are coming together, each in their own way, to say that there’s a constant movement of loss and renewal at work in this world at every level. It seems to be the pattern of all growth and evolution. To be alive means to surrender to this inevitable flow. It’s the same pattern in every atom, in every human relationship, and in every galaxy. Indigenous peoples, Hindu gurus, Buddha, Moses, Muhammad, and Jesus all saw it clearly in human history and named it as a kind of “necessary dying.”

If this pattern is true, it has been true all the time and everywhere. Such seeing did not just start two thousand years ago. All of us have to eventually learn to let go of something smaller so something bigger can happen. But that’s not a religion—it’s highly visible truth. It is the Way Reality Works.

Yes, I am saying that the way things work and Christ are one and the same. This is not a religion to be either fervently joined or angrily rejected. It is a train ride already in motion. The tracks are visible everywhere. You can be a willing and happy traveler. Or not.

Happy Easter all may we all continue to be transformed.

New Life in following the Lamb, Pastor Trina

Easter Renewal – Pastor Trina

In the Moravian Baptism liturgy the pastor asks, “Those of you baptized into Christ Jesus, how were you baptized?”  The congregation responds, “Into his death. We were buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glorious power of God Almighty, we too might be raised to live a new life.”

We often wander through Lent wondering if this time is really any different than any other Sunday. The hope for Lent is about making changes. Where have I wandered, where am I ignoring God, where have I refused to follow the Holy Spirit. Sometimes making the unpleasant decision to say, “Not my will but yours [God] be done.”

 Holy week becomes that turning point, we rejoice with Jesus at the passover meal and are given a gift of remembrance. On Friday we nail all those issues, sins, problems, etc. to the cross letting Jesus carry the burden we ought to carry. It’s hard to leave stuff from our life at the foot of the cross but Jesus invites us to and reminds us that he is a God that forgives and loves.

From there we go to the excitement of Sunday when the women go to the tomb and become the first proclaimers of a risen and living Christ. They and the disciples are renewed and energized to carry on the work that Jesus taught them. They (and we) are not left alone. The Holy Spirit lives in us giving us the strength to love and be loved, to sacrifice and maybe even give our life for another.

Be bold this Easter – Shout Hosanna wherever you go! See Christ in others and show that Jesus is alive in you. You never know how your renewal might lead to the renewal of another, which will lead to the renewal of more. We have been raised to new life and God wants that for the world. Celebrate love and watch the world begin to change.

Happy Easter everyone and may you be blessed to be a blessing.

Pastor Trina

Lent 2019

We are entering the season of Lent which is often called a season of repentance. A time when you are supposed to give something up in order to get closer to God. A time of examination and moving from a sinful path to the one God wants us on. For some it might seem like a depressing time or a time of more church. But there is nothing wrong with taking time to examine the road behind as we look at the road ahead.

In February the church held its yearly church council. One of the items was a discussion about the future of Edmonton Moravian Church. Where are we in our life cycle. All churches have one. We begin, we grow, we decline, we…often end up dying, however, it is also at this point that a church can find rebirth and renewal.

The question is “What work does God have for the congregation of Edmonton Moravian church?” As you have been praying what is God whispering in your ear?

In Lent we will read of Jesus’ final walk to Jerusalem. In the gospel of Luke there is a lot of teaching and miracles that happen along the way. Jesus is not walking with head down dreading the end. No, he is making the most of every moment. No opportunity is too big or small for Jesus to ignore. We know how this part of the story will end, but so does Jesus. He moves ahead full of love and caring. Jesus knows that this life must come to an end in order for a new one to begin. Whether it is morning or evening there is work to be done. Work that will affect today and the future.

Maybe this Lent you may choose to give up some time to sit, pray and listen to God about God’s plans for our buildings and our congregation. Talk with one another and listen to hopes, dreams and worries. Share them with the Future Visioning committee. Whatever the decision whether allowing life to take its course or finding some kind of new life, we are in it together for the glory of God.

Sometimes God surprises us and gives us something too big for us but not so big that it can’t be accomplished with God and people’s help.

May Lent bring new life to your spirit and to those around you.

“Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”  -St. John of the Cross

Pastor Trina

New Year’s Resolutions

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions? Are they easy or difficult?

I gave up years ago. I decided if I really wanted to change something I would start then and not wait for the “magical day.” It’s made January much more pleasant but I’m not sure I have made the changes I really wanted to either.

It got me to wondering about why we so often fail to make those good and healthy changes. Then I started thinking about the word transition, I thought at first that it was interchangeable, but it just didn’t seem to sit the same way.  So I turned to Pastor Rebecca’s library to see if there was some help. Guess what? There was a book about managing transitions. I quickly discovered the “change” and “transition” were very different and yet related.

It seems in order to change you have to manage the transition if you want success.  It is taking time to grieve the loss of what was and work at letting go. Then, sitting in the middle ground where you are not quite to the new but you have let go of the old. Finally, making the new beginning, finding new purpose or reward in the change that you have made.

So often we take something, for example, getting healthy and jump right into the exercise or new food regime. For some this may work but for others maybe we need to look at a transition period. The need to take time to say good bye to some of those comfort foods, and couch potato times. Life will look different, we hope better but the fear that it may not turn out as good as we hoped can work at eroding the ability to really change. Then we can move into the change and begin claiming the good things that come from the change until we have found we are on a new and better path. Lasting change may be the result.

As a church we are looking at what changes may help us to better minister in our community, renew the congregation, and give us new life. We can talk about all kinds of ideas but we also need to share with one another what a transition may be like. What do we fear losing? How will a change affect me, our community, etc.? In the midst of dreaming let us also take time to be sensitive about the letting go and endings that may happen.

Please continue to pray for the church and all the possible ways we can change. What are the good things we can look forward to, what are the things we may need to grieve letting go. God is good and leads us on a path that is ever changing. “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.” (Psalm 143:10)

Blessings, Pastor Trina

A Little about Pastor Trina

It is good to join you on your journey for the coming year. Life has been and continues to be an adventure in following the Lamb. Alberta and British Columbia have been home for most of my life. From a young age I have been involved in a church at least for part of the year (my mother seemed to stop sending me in the winter and never started again until we moved). A long time ago churches sent out buses to pick up children for Sunday school, thus began my journey in earnest toward belief. I loved reading scripture in church and people would say I should become a preacher. What did they know? Apparently, a lot.

I began attending the Moravian church shortly before my daughter was born in 1987. I am thankful for the journey that took me to the folks in Bruderheim. When Ken and I met in 2002 we talked of all the dreams and possibilities that swam in our heads. I shared a growing desire to become a pastor. In 2004 I began seminary in Edmonton. Deciding to stay Moravian we ventured to Bethlehem, PA to finish seminary.

We left our three daughters and five grandchildren. Since then we have added three more grandchildren to our family and they have spread out over three provinces.

My first call was to Michigan after graduation in 2009. Boy, did I grow a lot. I looked forward to a long pastorate but God had other ideas.

In 2014 we set off for Kathmandu Nepal to help our friends with the preschool and be a part of the growing Moravian church there. We experienced joy and how earthquakes can really change your plans. God also taught us about the Ministry of Presence. Sometimes just being willing to “stick it out” gives others who can do more the courage to stick around and help. It was a great 10 months.

What do you do when God doesn’t show you how to stay where you want to be? Well I placed my name back onto the list as we moved back to the USA and waited for a call. An interesting appointment to Redeemer in Dublin, OH came up and we began a new phase of ministry. While there we were able to go back to Nepal twice and I spent a month working in Labrador and was privileged to attend the Unity Mission Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Eventually Ken and I came to the decision that it was time to return home to Alberta. So here we are, God providing in interesting ways. I feel blessed to be here and I look forward to getting to know everyone as we see what God has for us to do.

Blessings, Pastor Trina