News

Making space for hope, love, support

The following was published in the Valley News on August 16, 2019 and written by Pastor Kyle Seibert. The article can be found here.

* * *

Anger. Fear. Grief. Lament. Sadness. Despair. Anxiety. These are emotions that we have all labeled within ourselves or others from time to time.

These are some of the emotions that I have felt recently with news of more mass shootings. These are some of the emotions that the congregation I pastor, Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry, have felt these past days, months, and years. Our “thoughts and prayers” led us to action, and we hosted a “Community Vigil for the Victims of Gun Violence (And the Rest of Us)” last Friday evening.

I spent much of the week speaking with and interviewing with news outlets about the vigil. They were all interested in the voyeuristic aspects of a church engaging violence. They wanted to know if we would have security present and what active shooter training was like. The articles, news clips and photographs that were published all framed our vigil as a political movement against legislative actions by President Donald Trump and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

They all ignored the realities of death.

Not one mentioned our Upper Valley community coming together to share in their lament, to support one another in their grief, and face the human realities of violence and death — forming a space rooted in love.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Our culture avoids uncomfortable emotions. But we as a church decided to sit with them and face them head on with a diverse group from the Upper Valley. That is what is newsworthy: Diverse peoples, supporting one another in their humanness, in their tears, and in their mourning.

The Friday vigil was not a cheap, partisan charade to make those in attendance feel good about themselves. The vigil was about creating space to come together to grieve, find power in being together and hope for a future.

Hear me: We need sensible action. Absolutely. But we also need to really and truly face what disturbs our souls. While that might not sell news, it is a sign of hope in these troubled times.

REV KYLE SEIBERT

Hanover

The writer is the pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church and Campus Ministry in Hanover.

Readings and Psalm for Sunday, September 1, 2019, Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Invited and inviting—that is the nature of the church. By God’s grace in holy baptism we have a place at the banquet table of the Lord. When, by the power of that same Spirit, humility and mutual love continue among us, the church can be more inviting still.

Prayer of the Day
O God, you resist those who are proud and give grace to those who are humble. Give us the humility of your Son, that we may embody the generosity of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Readings and Psalm
Proverbs 25:6-7
Psalm 112
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14

First Reading: Proverbs 25:6-7

6Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great;
7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Psalm: Psalm 112

1Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord
and have great delight in God’s commandments!
2Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3Wealth and riches will be in their house,
and their righteousness will last forever.
4Light shines in the darkness for the upright;
the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.
5It is good for them to be generous in lending
and to manage their affairs with justice.
6For they will never be shaken;
the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.
7They will not be afraid of any evil rumors;
their heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8Their heart is established and will not shrink,
until they see their desire upon their enemies.
9They have given freely to the poor, and their righteousness stands fast forever;
they will hold up their head with honor.
10The wicked will see it and be angry; they will gnash their teeth and pine away;
the desires of the wicked will perish.

Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

1Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. 4Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Join the Conversation. Sunday Morning Study Group returns September 15th!

rohr book for CROur Sunday Morning Book Discussion Group return Sunday, September 15th at 9:30 a.m. in the Emmaus Room (the green room at the end of Cana Hall).  We’ll be discussing “The Universal Christ” by Richard Rohr.

Please read the brief introduction, “Before We Begin” before the first gathering.  You can read the intro online.  If you have any questions, please contact Wendy Manganiello or the church office.

Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence (And the Rest of Us), Friday, August 9th, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

In the stunning aftermath of the attacks this weekend in Texas and Ohio, we call the community to gather on Friday, August 9th, from 7-8:30 p.m., people of faith and of no faith, in a Vigil for the Victims of Gun Violence (and the Rest of Us), to be hosted at Our Savior Lutheran Church & Campus Ministry, 5 Summer St., Hanover. Come as you are able to during this time to stand together against gun violence.

Those who want to honor the victims with a reading, song, prayer, dance, reflection, exhortation or some other means are invited to do so. If possible, please give us advance notice of your intention by emailing PastorKyle@oslchanover.org so that we might provide appropriate space.

These horrific events continue to reveal intolerance and hatred for “the other”. The shootings manifest again our obsession with violence and our use of guns and of hateful rhetoric to feel powerful.

Our response must reveal another kind of power. That is the power of love and respect for our neighbor, whoever that neighbor is, and our fierce devotion to our nation as a safe and just place where all can live out their lives without fear.

Questions – email PastorKyle@oslchanover.org