Worship Time: Sunday Morning 9:30 am
We’ve been spending a lot of time in Romans, if we've been hearing the scripture readings in worship. I personally love Romans. Some of it is too lofty and stuffy for me to understand. Yet, sometimes it gets me where my heart is and it changes my mind. Paul says to the Romans “the Spirit helps us in our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we ought but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”We lost our pastor at the beginning of this year due to unexpected circumstances. Pancreatic Cancer took Pastor Jean from us and her love towards the whole world. Her wife is still struggling with lung cancer and she is back in Minnesota. We hold Jan in our prayers too deep for words. Then, the pandemic hit; Coronavirus or COVID-19. We were stuck in our houses. Church was canceled for the foreseeable future. We were lost. But we still pray not knowing when this virus is going to be gone in this Unexpected circumstance with sighs too deep for words.Finally George Floyd, Who has turned the focus of our country, raised questions about police systems, and our pride in our marches for equality and in the middle of a pandemic, people were on the streets proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” I was reading a quote from Doug Williford, he says“If my wife comes to me in obvious pain and asks “do you love me?” an answer of “I love everyone” would be truthful, but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. If a co-worker comes to me upset and says “my father just died,” a response of “everyone’s parents die,” would be truthful but also hurtful and cruel in the moment. So when a friend speaks up in a time of obvious pain and hurt and says “Black lives matter,” a response of “All lives matter,” is truthful. But it’s hurtful and cruel in the moment.” In this age, it’s hard and uneasy to have this unfortunate circumstance here, among us. But we pray with sights too deep for words.Yet, Paul writes to the Romans, “We know that in everything God works for good."(RSV) Every time we say “God, Why?!” That Spirit helps us in our weakness, our sadness and in our grief. The passage goes on to say “If God is for us, who is against us” and “Who can separate us from the love of Christ”As we come back to worship, with our masks on, socially distant and outside we remember how special we are to God and how we can have communion with nature and how we can be blessed and be a blessing to others even when these unexpected circumstances happen. We can be the church, even if we can’t be in our church building. We can feed the hungry, heal the sick and welcome the stranger.I’ve been sending out bulletins to those who can’t come to outdoor services and you have had this blessing in your bulletin. It’s from Romans 8. The last part of the Reading says "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”Take that with you. Cherish that in your hearts. So when those unexpected circumstances pop up in our lives we can believe with confidence that The Spirit intercedes for us with sighs to deep for words and that the love of God Has our back and won’t let us go.
The people of Bethlehem Lutheran Church welcome you, to our site, to our community.
We've been here in Billings since 1949 - We took the name "Bethlehem" because, like Jesus, the church was born in a barn. Many renovations later, the church has a lovely sanctuary, education wing and fellowship hall.
We are a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. To us, "evangelical" means gospel-centered. We are all about sharing the good news (the gospel) of what God has done and is doing in the world. To say we are "Lutheran" means we are grounded in the understanding that we are saved through faith by grace (Ephesians 2:8).
Bethlehem is also a Reconciling In Christ congregation. All are welcome, no exceptions. You are invited to view our welcome statement.
We gather around the sacrament of communion once a week, because this bread of life and cup of salvation, strengthens and nourishes us to be people of God. We, you, me and the whole human family are the beloved people of God. Our Lutheran understanding of grace reminds us that nothing we do, or fail to do, can change God's love for us. But we forget.
Come. Be reminded of God's love. Be re-membered in community with others.