Commentary Archives

Join us each week at Saint Paulus church and Facebook Live (10am pst) for Pastor Dan Solberg's service, where he elaborates, deciphers and chips away with us on each week's Bible portion.

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost Readings

Exodus 20:1-20

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.”

Philippians 3:4-14

Even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 21:33-46

“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? ” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is amazing in our eyes?’

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost Readings

The Old Testament reading from Genesis 32:3-31

Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have lived with Laban as an alien, and stayed until now; and I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves; and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.’”

The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies, thinking, “If Esau comes to the one company and destroys it, then the company that is left will escape.”

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children. Yet you have said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of their number.’”

So he spent that night there, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. These he delivered into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me, and put a space between drove and drove.” He instructed the foremost, “When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’ then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob; they are a present sent to my lord Esau; and moreover he is behind us.’” He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you meet him, and you shall say, ‘Moreover your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” So the present passed on ahead of him; and he himself spent that night in the camp.

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying,

“For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Peniel, limping because of his hip.

The Epistle reading from Romans 9:1-5

I am speaking the truth in Christ - I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit - I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

The Gospel reading from Matthew 14:13-21

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost Readings

The Old Testament reading from Exodus 3:1-15

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you:’

This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.

The Epistle reading from Romans 12:9-21

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Gospel reading from Matthew 16:21-28

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

 

 

 

From Pastor Dan Solberg - please tune into our Facebook Live Sunday Service, 10am.

Third Sunday After Pentecost Reading

The Old Testament reading from Jeremiah 20:7-13

O LORD, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. For I hear many whispering: “Terror is all around! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to stumble. “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and take our revenge on him.” But the LORD is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. O LORD of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.

Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.

The Epistle reading from Romans 6:1-11

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The Gospel reading from Matthew 10:24-39

“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. Not Peace, but a Sword.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Here is this week's Bible portion. We study the portions at our weekly Wednesday 12pm Bible Study class and Pastor Dan Solberg discusses it during his Sunday 10am worship service. Join us on Facebook Live for Sunday prayers.

READINGS FOR THE SEVENTH SUNDAY IN EASTER

The New Testament reading from Acts 1:6-14

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of[a] James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

The Epistle reading from 1 Peter 4:12-5:11

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory,[a] which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.[b] ….

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert.[f] Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters[g] in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel reading from John 17:1-11

17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people,[a] to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified

you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

 

From Pastor Dan Solberg - please tune into our Facebook Live Sunday Service, 10am. Last week's Easter Service attracted nearly 1000 people. The power of prayers in pajamas is working. Everyone is welcome to join in.

Acts 2:14-41

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 …. 22 “You that are Israelites,[a] listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, [b] a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death, [c] because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25 For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Fellow Israelites, [d] I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Foreseeing this, David[e] spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, [f] saying,

‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’ 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at [g] the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ 36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, [h] this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, [i] what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

1 Peter 1:3-9

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, [a] even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen [b] him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

John 20:19-31

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus and Thomas 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin [a]), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe [b] that Jesus is the Messiah, [c] the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

 

 

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

Delay, delay, delay…….But maybe there is a light at the end of our development process. It appears as if the architects, the church’s development committee, and the developer are finally getting on the same page. The last piece of the puzzle, that we experienced back in 2017, was how the exterior would look, in relation to the condos sitting besides our church. Now this is complete, we're at the final stages of development. It been a long trek since the fire that consumed the church building in 1995.

In the meantime, Saint Paulus is now in celebration mode as we're on the home stretch, returning back to 999 Eddy Street, 25 years after a fire engulfed our church to ashes. In 2017, we reached the 150th year of our ministry here in San Francisco, and today, we're at the cusp of the next 150 years growth.

We thank God daily for what we've achieved, and for giving us the strength, intelligence, faith and humanity for every future step of the way.

Here is what Saint Paulus will look like when we, hopefully, return back to 999 Eddy Street this year.

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

Our nearly 10 year pursuit of a secure future development to house and reestablish a physical presence of Saint Paulus was finally put on the fast track on the last day of June.  On that day the officers of the congregation signed the final documents deeding the long held property of Saint Paulus at Gough and Eddy Sts. in San Francisco into the hands of a capable and well financed development firm, Maracor Development.  This “closing” is bringing to a conclusion the laborious and time consuming approvals of the City of San Francisco including an Environment Study, a Shadow study, multiple reviews and studies made by the San Francisco Planning Department, required code reviews and adjustments, and on and on.  The construction of an eight story housing complex with the new home of Saint Paulus claiming the corner of Gough and Eddy, a 10-12,000 square foot space, deeded in perpetuity for the church’s mission work will rise out of the historic site on which the famous, iconic Saint Paulus Lutheran Church building stood for over 100 years before being consumed by fire in 1995.

Construction awaits the final “master building permit” at which time ground breaking and full scale construction will begin, hopefully by year’s end.  The construction phase will be between 18 and 24 months.  During these next couple of months the people of Saint Paulus will be giving shape and identity to the interior of the future Saint Paulus Church center. 

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

We welcome Bonnie Hestand as our new Saint Paulus Church Secretary. Bonnie began on March 2, and will be providing ministry support for Saint Paulus from lOAM-2 PM Monday through Friday. As a result, most church business will be confined to these four hours a day. Access to the church at other times will depend on either church activities going on or volunteers available to keep the place open, particularly in the afternoon from 2 until 5PM. The Church Council is presently looking at options available to extend the access to the church facilities. Please drop by and get acquainted. The development project at our homestead at Gough and Eddy streets. is approaching the end of the entitlement period, the time during which all the legal issues, the city regulations, and environmental reviews are examined and resolved. One of the final steps is to provide the opportunity for the neighborhood surround the proposed building site to comment and/or dispute the plans that have been approved by the Planning Commission. This step will be taken on Monday, March 9 in a hearing room at the San Francisco Planning Department. In addition to the Maracor Developer, representatives of Saint Paulus, and our architect, Dana Merker, will be in attendance to respond to any questions. A report on that meeting will be forthcoming.

This year our celebration of Palm Sunday will be quite different that in year's gone by. Usually the Sunday that begins Holy Week is observed at a combination of Palm Sunday (the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem- with the distribution of Palm branches) and the reading of the Passion story which describes the events leading up to Easter Sunday. This year, however, we are going to stick with Palm Sunday and forego the reading of the Passion Story. This we are doing because the drama of Palm Sunday is too often overlooked and gets eclipsed by the Passion story. In addition, our Pastor-intraining, Ashley Moore will be with us as the preacher of the day and along with (hopefully )the newly re-energized Singers of the Street providing music to our worship. The only downside of this change is that many of you will not hear the entire gospel account of what happened during that Holy Week. It will be important for you to include in your activities during that week, March 29- April 3, participation in the Maundy Thursday Seder meal and the Good Friday worship. In any case, see you on Palm Sunday, March 29.

 

GOINGS ON on Polk Street:

On Tuesday, March 3, the MTA Commissioners gave final approval to a major alternation to life on Polk St. The plan approved for Polk Street, in addition to beautification, safety upgrades, and sewer and water main replacements, provides for a heavier emphasis on bicycle lanes and removal of parking in the southern stretch of Polk from McAllister to Pine Streets. The stretch of Polk from Pine north to Union will include a mix of bicycle lanes, some removal of parking, and restrictions on parking. Parking restrictions in Middle Polk will be in the form of a tow away zone from Pine to Broadway on the east side of Polk, from Monday through Friday from 7AM to 10AM. This will not be without significant consequence to our neighborhood. The loss of parking, the proposed Van Ness Ave project and the construction of the new Sutter hospital at Geary and Van Ness will impact our neighborhood with lots of traffic, confusion and detour. Batten down the hatches!

The Middle Polk Neighborhood Association meets here at our Saint Paulus facility on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 PM. This is the defining group for policies and developments in the mid-Polk district. Drop by and take in a meeting, and get involved with our neighbors as we work to improve our community.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

  • Jason Lind — freedom from addiction
  • Ruth Ballard — relief from pain and return to health
  • Barbara Torrey and family — health and harmony
  • Pastor Paul Theiss — healing from cancer
  • Berneda — health and secure living arrangements
  • Jeremy Dubois — strength in recovery
  • Philip Gibson — new employment and new facility
  • Ana B — housing issues and strength in daily living


DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • March 8 — 3rd Sunday in Lent, Worship at 10 AM with fellowship following.
  • March 9 — Public hearing on Saint Paulus building project (Planning Commission)
  • March 11 — Community Night- Bible Study 6:30 PM
  • March 15 — 4th Sunday in Lent, Worship at 10 AM with fellowship following.
  • March 18 — Community Night- Bible Study 6:30 PM
  • March 19 — Church Council meeting
  • March 22 — 5th Sunday in Lent, Worship at 10 AM with fellowship following.
  • March 29 — Palm Sunday- First Day of Holy Week- Pastor in Training Ashley Moore preaching
  • April 2 — Maundy Thursday- Seder Communion at Grace Lutheran Church
  • April 3 — Good Friday- Worship 7 PM

AA meeting at the church on Friday night beginning at midnight.

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

On the afternoon of February 26, from 2-4 PM, Saint Paulus will throw an Open House in Thanksgiving for Carol Rivers, our outgoing Parish Administrator. She will be leaving her position as Parish Administrator as of March lst. Carol has faithfully served Saint Paulus over the past 14 years, through some very difficult time, in times of transition, in times of celebration and rejoicing. She has been a steady presence in the church office and over the past years has become the central figure in the management and operations of the church. She has been a support to many in physical and spiritual distress, she has provided assistance and counsel to a vast number of people both members and nonmembers, she has laughed and cried and prayer with most of you. She will be sorely missed. But the Spirit has opened new doors for both Carol and Saint Paulus and bids us enter, and in obedience to her will, take steps into our individual futures. Please come on Thursday afternoon and bring a greeting, a thanks, a blessing to Carol for all she has been and done for Saint Paulus. The Property Team and other members of the congregation are putting their collective heads together with the intention of drawing up some basic sketches of what we anticipate will be our new worship/church space at Gough and Eddy. Together with our architect, Dana Merker (who has worked with us for better than a decade), the Team will be listening to you the members of Saint Paulus, discussing what is possible in terms of design, and develop a "picture" of what we would like in our new church surroundings. Of particular interest at this stage of development is what the exterior of our church facility will look like and how it will be seen by the public as they pass by. You will be given opportunity to add your ideas and get feed back on the evolving designs over the next couple of months. Stay tuned.

The anniversary celebration of the l5Oth year of Saint Paulus' ministry has now been put on the front burner. Even though the celebration (which will last all year long in 2017) is two years away, the logistics and expanse of the effort is daunting. Saint Paulus has been a spiritual, educational, physical, musical, social center/home for literally thousands of people across 150 years. There have been countless baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials. There have been significant historical events which have happened in the old church. There have been mission church starts for which Saint Paulus was responsible. There have been many organizations, community groups, and associations that were sponsored by Saint Paulus. And the list going on and on. In short, for this anniversary celebration to do justice to the extensive work and ministry of Saint Paulus, it will need to be well planned and organized. If you are interested in helping out, let someone on the Council or the pastor know. The Church Council has reorganized itself to enable the work of the congregation to be spread among the membership of Saint Paulus. The centralization of the congregational life among just a handful of people is precisely the reason the Council decided to act to establish "Teams". These teams are the vehicles by which the ministry of the congregation will be done and by which issues and concerns will be addressed. Please familiarize yourselves with these Teams and approach the Council members assigned to the Team with your ideas and concerns. Executive Team: Barbara Solberg; Financial Team: Mark Jackson; Property Team: Jon Hart; Community life Team: Gwen James; Music and Worship Team: Stephen Camarata.

Just for fun: Chris Enquist put me on to a story that tickled my fancy. I pass it along to you for our enjoyment. Check out the following link: from The Slate Blog.

 

GOINGS ON on Polk Street:

District 3 in San Francisco, the political district which represents the area in which Saint Paulus ministers, has a newly appointed Supervisor: Julie Christensen. She appears on the scene right in the middle of some of most serious and tension filled times faced by the Polk St. corridor. Issues involving massive parking changes, the construction of a huge new medical facility at Van Ness and Geary, and the redevelopment of Van Ness with a new bus lane are just some of the matters Supervisor Christensen will be dealing with, and not from scratch, but with aggravation and tensions already in high gear. After a very tense initial meeting with the Supervisor this past week, she has asked for another meeting to be scheduled with the members of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association to hopefully smooth things out. That meeting is planned for the 3rd Monday in May and will be held right here at Saint Paulus.

Come and be a concerned citizen.

 

REFLECTIONS:

I worry sometimes that the announcement that Jesus makes at the beginning of his public ministry, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel", has been relegated to a "long ago" Bible verse with very little, to no relevance to our current day and age. When Jesus made his announcement, the only kingdom that was known was the one owned and operated by the Romans and by those who either collaborated with or supported the awesome power of the Roman Empire. The kingdom of "this world" was a totalitarian reality that invaded every dimension of a person's life- making the rich richer (at a price), the poor poorer, the weak frightened, the strong looking over their shoulders, the marginalize unhuman. This was a locked down kingdom, a culture which did not give an inch, a domination that was unmoved. And it was enforced by military might, by terror and persecution, by taxation and exploitation. In short, the arena into which Jesus appeared was like a prison house of fear and despair. And Jesus announced "the kingdom of God is at hand". Was he out of his mind? Was he just a pipe dreamer? Was he naive? The whole of the life and ministry of Jesus bears witness to the reality of the kingdom of God- the lame walk, the blind see, the dead are raise, the subversive parables and stories he taught, the violations of unjust laws, the creation and cultivation of an alternative community of disciples willing to live in the reality of this kingdom of God, this alternative to what surrounded them. This alternative to what is, this kingdom of God is the reality that Jesus taught, lived, witnessed to- and it is the same kingdom of God which is present with us today. The problem is that we have fallen back into the clutches of the kingdom of this world, dominated by its values and distortion, its control and power. The Roman Empire has given way to domination of more subtle, but equally effective, forces which finally spawn only fear and despair, except maybe for those who collaborate or support the current empire (hopefully not us). We are the descendants of those who heard and celebrated the reality of the kingdom of God despite the world's oppression. This kingdom is not crazy man's concoction, no pipe dream, no naive illusion, it is as real as God's presence, his rule, his blessing, his victory (in Jesus). We in this alternative community called the church are commissioned to make the kingdom known, to expose the deadly effects of the forces in the world (the empire) that seek to control our lives, and to celebrate among us and in our ministry in the world, the life giving kingdom of God.

Pastor Solberg


PRAYER REQUESTS:

  • Sheryl Davis — healthy recovery
  • Jason Lind — freedom from addiction
  • Ruth Ballard — relief from pain and return to health
  • Barbara Torrey and family — health and harmony
  • Pastor Paul Theiss — healing from cancer
  • Berneda — health and secure living arrangements
  • Jeremy Dubois — strength in recovery
  • Philip Gibson — new employment and new facility
  • Ana B — housing issues and strength in daily living


DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • February 21 — Crab Feed Fundraiser with the Lions Club (Vision Event) @St. Anne's - Judah&Funston
  • February 22 — First Sunday of lent- Worship 10 AM
  • February 25 — Community Night- Bible Study
  • February 26 — "Thanks and Farewell" Open House for Carol Rivers- 2-4 PM
  • February 27 — Vision Event- Project Homeless Connect
  • March 1 — Pulpit exchange among SF lutheran churches, Pastor Kerstin Weidmann preaching
  • March 2 — First day of Church Secretary
  • March 4 — Community Night- Bible Study
  • March 5 — SFCARES Board meeting 5:30 PM

An AA group is now meeting here at Saint Paulus on Friday nights at midnight, 12 AM.


NEW MEMBERS:

On Sunday the 15th, Saint Paulus was blessed by adding three new members to our congregation.

  • Warren Olson comes to us by a transfer from St. Francis;
  • Brian Herman declares a common faith with Saint Paulus; and
  • Pastor Doug Merritt joins us as an associate member.

We are delight that the Holy Spirit has drawn these brothers into our fellowship. Please greet them as you have the opportunity. If there are others reading this "Keeping Up with Saint Paulus" would are moved to seek membership here at Saint Paulus please contact Pastor Solberg with your interest.