Grace and Peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ!
Welcome to Tree of Life Lutheran Church, located in suburban Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We are a congregation of over 900 baptized members, diverse in our membership and welcoming in our ministry. If you don't know us, please browse around to learn who we are and what we believe. And if you are seeking a family of faith, we hope you'll visit us in person. We are rooted in faith and growing in love. We'd love to have you as a part of our faith family!
Pastors Message for August
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of our Lutheran partners, "Old Lutheran," is selling a T shirt that reads Love>Hate. To which I say, AMEN. Seriously, what a tough few weeks. The bible says what our parents taught us, God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (1 John 4:16) It's pretty clear that it's a lesson that lots of us failed to learn.
The world categorizes us - black and white, young and old, straight and gay, police and thug, rich and poor. To the world, we are what we look like or what language we speak or where we were born. Those who are different from us are also "other" than us. And the "other" in our lives is a category that is often diminished in our eyes.
God categorizes us too - Child of God. God names us. God claims us. God calls us. God sends us. But the world's categories continue to define us and the world's categories often diminish us in the eyes of others. But not God. God just calls us child of God. The bible also says, Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. (1 John 5:1)
Did you notice that there is no compromise here? Everyone who loves the parent loves the child! In the end, shootings in Orlando, in New Orleans, in Minnesota, in Dallas, in Michigan - they all come down to one thing - broken human nature or sin. None are "of God." They all represent our need to assert ourselves over someone defined by the world's tired, old, broken categories rather than God's one true category - You are a child of God!
Friends, we can't change the world. We can change ourselves, though. We can stop categorizing people. We can stop defining everyone by false categories based upon the color of our skin or the uniform we wear or the person we love. We can stop giving in to those who falsely divide us by bearing false witness against others. We can choose to not be part of the lies and the hate being perpetrated by others. Love>Hate.
While some Christians believe that the only way to practice their faith is to remain apart from the world, Lutheran Christians believe that God sends us into the world so that we can bear public witness to Christ. It's a big reason why I'm a Lutheran Christian. As much as I'd like to move to a small island at times, my faith compels me to follow Christ who walked to the cross rather than away from it. We practice a public faith. I hope you will join me in publicly saying what the world so desperately needs to hear and to make choices in your own life that authenticate your words. Love>Hate.
Give it some thought...
LobsterFest 2016, September 17th!
Oh yeah! It's that time again... LobsterFest at Tree of Life! We'll be serving complete dinners featuring fresh Maine lobsters, with corn, baked potatoes, and drinks for just $16. If you've priced lobster this year, you'll know that's a pretty good deal. Extra lobsters can be had for just $12 and, if lobster isn't your thing, we can offer two hotdogs with the corn, potato and a drink for just $5! Our youth wil also be holding a bake sale throughout the day, so even if you only want dessert, we have you covered.
Dining will be from 11:00am until 2:00pm, and again from 4:00pm until 7:00pm on Saturday, September 17th in Fellowship Hall. If you can't stay, meals can be wrapped for carry-out. So either way, order your meals now and get ready to wrap up your summer at LobsterFest!