Dear friends in Christ,
     In the midst of the Easter season, this Sunday's gospel reading creates a bit of a time warp effect, as it takes us back to a time before Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. The setting is the Last Supper. John tells us that Jesus knows he's about to be betrayed by one of his own and denied by another. Jesus also knows that his own death is imminent. Yet in his final moments on earth he doesn't dwell on these things. Instead, he strives to teach his disciples the most important things they'll need to know in order to continue God's mission of reconciling the world once he's no longer with them.

     Over and over, in many and various ways, Jesus tries to teach his friends that love must be at the center of who they are and what they do. They/we are to love one another as God has first loved them/us. Throughout the gospels, we see that Jesus always teaches by example and by word. So, the first thing he does here is model for his disciples what love looks like by performing the task of a servant and washing their feet. It seems Jesus wants us to understand that to love someone is to abide with them and care for them in all circumstances -- especially when life gets hard and messy. Sometimes love looks like sitting on the dirt floor and washing the tired, dusty feet of your companion. For you and me, it may look like lying on the floor next to the bed of your sick child or holding the hand of a loved one who is approaching death.

     Two chapters later in John's gospel, Jesus is still teaching his disciples the meaning of his new commandment to love others with the love that comes from God. He says to his friends, 
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:12-14).

     From where you and I sit, on this side of the resurrection, we know that through his death on the cross, Jesus embodied God's great love for the world. He laid down his life to show us that love ultimately conquers death, as well as all the powers that seek to divide and destroy. In the end, love wins because love abides. Always!... Love wins because "God is love" (1 John 4:8b).

     To sum up, Jesus calls his disciples -- including you and me -- to live in his way of self-giving love. He tells us up front that it won't be easy, but he also tells us our reward will be great. Indeed, our reward is the love that comes through abiding in relationship with God. To say it another way: Love is the beginning, love is the way, and love is the destination. Thanks be to God!


Pastor Michelle Manicke

PS -- This weekend I'll be out of town for a wedding, so Mel Kubik, Pat Parker, and Di Bernklau will be leading worship, which will be held in person and on Zoom. It will be Service of the Word (no communion). The sermon will be a video provided by Oregon Synod Bishop Laurie Larson Caesar, who is an excellent preacher. I'll provide a video for Children's Time.
Sunday Worship

May 15, 2022 is the Fifth Sunday of Easter.

The link and passcode to join our online worship service on Sundays at 10:30 am are below. (Note: This is the same link we've had on previous Sundays, and it will stay the same on future Sundays.)

You may need to enter the passcode 927071
  • For the Sunday worship bulletin and hymns (PDF), click HERE.
  • For a children's bulletin (PDF), click HERE.
  • You may also find the worship link, passcode, and bulletins on Zoar's website:
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Zoar Lutheran Church · 190 SW 3rd Ave · Canby, OR 97013-4142 · USA

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