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Hear The Call of the Poor

By Vicar Lisa

 As I continue down my Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) road, I have had the recent pleasure of reading a book called Faith-Rooted Organizing. It was interesting to me that I have very little experience in advocacy or organizing.   

One of the first steps in faith-based organizing is to “hear the call of the poor”.  “While societies ascribe status to specific groups, allowing higher status groups the right to define social reality and normative behavior, a consistent religious message is that the most accurate vantage point for viewing the world is from below.”   I had never really thought of it that way.  

Marshall Ganz, a Harvard professor, and long-time organizer compares the poor to the canary in the coal mine.  From the lack of adequate health care to rampant inflation to the housing crisis, the impact of social problems on the poor is evident long before the rest of us have to deal with it.   

Another step in the process is to identify the common lies perpetuated in and by our society.  Common lies are: 

  1. those who are rich deserve their wealth and those who are poor deserve their poverty, 
  2. we are not connected with or responsible for one another’s well-being, 
  3. the “threat of the other” which is the root of much anti-immigration sentiment, or 4) each person should pull themselves up by his/her own bootstraps.  The book points out that the church has been complicit in spreading these societal lies.

It also pointed out that those who are raised with privilege receive the message that they are more worthy of a blessing than others. This hit me hard as a person who was raised as solidly in the middle class.  The status quo that protected my way of life growing up was the same status quo that perpetuated racial segregation and prejudice in Memphis in the 60s and 70s.  

The status quo that benefitted and protected me, oppressed others. The author points out that privilege strengthens the spiritual sickness of our society and that our society teaches us to be dissatisfied with what we have instead of being satisfied with what we are. Ouch!

As you go through the rest of this week, do some self-reflection.  Have you viewed the world from below lately?  Are you holding fast to one or more of the common lies?  Do you have some deep-seated biases you need to let go of? 

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Living a Christian life sounds simple but that doesn’t mean it is easy!  Pray for help in loving God and loving all others.  Amen!


This week (other meetings/gatherings will be taking place as well but here are some things to note):

Sunday, Oct. 16, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

  • 8:30 a.m. Sunday Morning Bible Study — We will be having a study on Galatians led by Carol Smith.  Note:  This will be the same study she has been leading for Women’s Bible study, so if you missed any or just want a repeat, please join us in the fellowship hall downstairs in the Blue Room or via Zoom. Join the Zoom Meeting:, Meeting ID: 884 2586 4750, Passcode: 651890, or dial +1 719 359 4580 US.
  • 10 a.m. Worship with Holy Communion
    Please join us in person OR via Zoom ('hybrid' worship). If you will be worshiping via Zoom, log on or call in using these links:, Meeting ID: 815 3517 4862, Passcode: 155280 or dial +1 719 359 4580 US.
  • Fellowship time at approximately 11:15 a.m., join us for a favorite Lutheran tradition – potluck!  Please bring something to share.

Other Information:

  • The installation ceremony of Lisa Rygiel as Vicar has been postponed to Oct. 30 due to illness. Potluck will proceed as planned!
  • The Flower Chart has been replaced by the Flower Book.  This will be located in the back of the sanctuary on the bulletin table.  There are several weeks still available this year.  If you wish to sign up, you can use an envelope in the book and place it into the offering plate.
  • The Transition Team meets at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 in the Blue room.
  • Women’s Bible Study will continue a study on Galatians on Oct. 14, 9:30 - 11:00 am in the blue room, downstairs of the Fellowship Hall.  You can also join by zoom:, Meeting ID: 896 6540 0942, Passcode: 905229.  Or Dial in at +1 719 359 4580 US. Questions can be directed to Carol Smith.
  • Paula Little will lead an Art & Wine Workshop from 1-4 in the Fellowship Hall on Saturday, Oct. 15.  No artistic talent is needed! Email Paula to sign up at  No Charge for the event but you can give a donation on behalf of JLM (Jesus Loves Me — Diane Hagen’s Missionary Work in Panama).
  • As a reminder, we are no longer sending out a Worship/Bulletin email each Saturday.  That information (link and bulletin) are available every Saturday on our webpage under the Sermon & Bulletin tab — Oct. 16 is ELCA World Hunger Day.  You can join in for a World Food Day celebration with Rick Steves and special guest Mark Jansen, CEO of Blue Diamond Almonds. This event will be streamed online, so you can celebrate with ELCA World Hunger wherever you are! Join the celebration at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Registration is not required; simply visit the ELCA's Facebook or YouTube page to attend. Can't stream it live? The recording will be available on Facebook and YouTube after the event is over. Watch on Oct. 16.


In the gospel for this coming Sunday, a widow so pesters an unjust judge that finally, she gets the justice she seeks. We know in our world people like this widow who must plead and beg for justice. Come to worship and join the assembly to pray to God for justice in the world.

Luke 18:1-8

Believers are called to keep faith in God’s justice. Come, Lord Jesus, the church prays! By contrast with the unjust judge of the parable, the Son of Man will judge us all at the end. Luke’s focus on the needy widow is held next to the depiction of Christ as the judge.

Genesis 32:22-31

Jews far more than Christians have been attracted to this picture of the faithful having to wrestle with God. The Psalms are filled with just such wrestling with God. In the end, God blesses Jacob, along with all of us who are on the run. The narrative is set next to the parable of the unjust judge since both imply that believers must tangle with an inscrutable God. If your God is easy, it probably isn’t God.

2 Timothy 3:14—4:5

This third selection from 2 Timothy contrasts the inspired Scripture and its correct interpretation by church leaders with self-serving heterodox teachers who attract “itching ears.” This passage became central to Christian fundamentalists who argue that divine inspiration implies inerrancy. With a wide variation in what is meant by divine inspiration—variations that might be upsetting to the author of 2 Timothy—all Christian churches say that they proclaim the inspired word of God. At weekly worship, we “proclaim the message.”


Zion's Lutheran Church



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