Music Corner – April 10th, 2020

Jake Leibl performing Hymns for Holy Week!

April 10th, 2020

In Remembrance of Me – The Faith We Sing 2254
Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed – United Methodist Hymnal 294
Were You There – United Methodist Hymnal 288
What Wondrous Love Is This – United Methodist Hymnal 292


‘In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.’
– Kahlil Gibran Jr.

Exploring the Ideas of Incarnation during Lent 2020

March 29, 2020

Grace and peace friends,

I hope you are doing well during our Shelter In Place order. I was able to spend some of my week helping drop off supplies for others as they prepare for 2 weeks of being indoors. Amy was smart and created a dinner calendar, it reminds me of having a lunch schedule in high school!

This week’s aspect of incarnation that we are exploring is authenticity. I’ve always thought of authenticity as the real essence of a person. Someone can be a doctor, a father, a brother, a son, a grocery store clerk, a teach, or any number of things, but those titles do not get to the root of who they are as a person. Their authentic self is rooted deep in their soul. And when someone able to act authentically, they are showing their true character. I am finding my own true, authentic self during quarantine—I think Amy is too. There is something about being cooped up for days on end that makes a person’s true self show up. Whether that shows up in weird actions or irritable behavior, being at home with family for an extended period without the distractions of social identity tends to bring out a person’s essence.

Most of us have an idealized version of ourselves, an image of ourself that is in front of us, calling us to be better. We want to be smarter, kinder, more Christ-like. We spend our time and energy trying to be that way, and when we inevitably get stuck in traffic, or someone walks slowly in front of us, or we get awnry after two weeks in quarantine; then we slip up. We lash out, get mad, yell at anyone and everyone that gets in our way. We are human after all!

When those moments pop up in my life I’m reminded of Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman in Matthew’s gospel:

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. (Matthew 15:21-28)

In Mark’s version, Jesus actually compares the woman to a dog! I usually imagine Jesus is at his wits’ end when he runs into this woman. He has been traveling, teaching the disciples, debating with Pharisees and teacher; Jesus needs a break, he was only human after all!

And it was this authentic, human self that Jesus engaged this woman with. Jesus met people where they were at, not where he thought they should be. During this complex interaction, the Canaanite woman speaks her mind to Jesus despite the disciples urging and his remark. Then something authentic happens, Jesus hears her. People are rarely listened to, authentic engagement is rare. So when it happens, people notice.

I find this story comforting. It tells me that when I am chasing after my ideal self and fail, that it is okay. That whenever I am irritable, quick to judgment, or short-tempered that Jesus still hears me in those moments. That it is okay that my authentic, true self is imperfect. And even though I am imperfect, Christ still calls me toward perfection one step at a time. I pray that as we continue one this Lenten journey to the cross that we would be aware of the ways we are called to be authentic, the ways that Christ invites us to listen to the needs of those around us, and the acceptance of our own limits.

Pastor David Hodd


‘In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.’
– Kahlil Gibran Jr.

Exploring the Ideas of Incarnation during Lent 2020

March 22, 2020

Grace and peace friends,

As we continue to navigate what church looks like in the world since COVID-19, these posts will serve as one way to reach out and connect with you all on our shared spiritual journeys. Our theme for the week leading up to the quarantine was Intentional. I can think of nothing more intentional than the acts our leaders in the church, government, and service industry have had to make these last two weeks. Every decision from shutting down schools, enacting social distancing, making restaurants take out only, rationing toilet paper, cancelling concerts to the individual sacrifices we have all made. Practicing social distancing, reaching out electronically to people, and the simple act of staying home. We have had to act with purpose, with intention towards the goal of health.

I am reminded of the healing of the blind man in John’s gospel:

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. (John 9:1-7)

Several things jump out at me from this text. The first being Jesus was not very conscious of spreading his germs by mixing his saliva with dirt to put in a man’s eyes, but we’ll let him slide this time. Second, Jesus debunks the myth that this man or his parents have sinned to cause his blindness. This was a common understanding going back to Job’s plight, that when people are suffering it is a result from their sin. The man’s blindness is unfortunate, but God can use this situation to show the purpose of Jesus’ ministry.

Lastly, there is the connection between the light and work. There was a relationship between the ability to work and when the sun was up, especially in an agrarian society where most of the people worked on farms or shepherded animals. There was a safety in daylight that did not exist during the night. So when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” he is telling his followers that it is time to work. And that the type of work Jesus was talking about was giving sight to the blind—to heal. And after being healed, this man is then sent to be in the community with others, to be a witness and to be intentional about sharing his Jesus story. To sum up: Jesus is the light of the world, we are called to do the works of God which Jesus shows is the intentional healing of those who are blinded.

The world’s eyes have been opened in these last few weeks. We’ve learned that grocery store clerks, delivery people, and healthcare workers are the lifeblood of our society. We’ve seen the distortions and unfair treatment of people in our healthcare system. We’ve become acutely aware of the things we touch, door knobs, light switches, our faces. We’ve seen people try to blame this illness on others, to shift responsibility, and try to exploit fear in a time of scarcity for personal gain. We are called to be a force of healing in this time. For every story I see of someone hoarding food, toilet paper, or hand sanitizer, I see other giving those supplies away freely.


We are not alone in this world. Christ is still shining. We need to be intentional now more than ever. About our own health, and about how we care for others. There is work to be done.

Pastor David Hodd

COVID-19 Update – March 19th, 2020

Update on COVID-19 Response

March 19th, 2020

Grace and peace friends,

I hope you are doing well and experiencing peace during this time of disruption and upheaval. I wanted to update you all on the current situation with the coronavirus and our congregation. In line with the orders of the CDC, the MN Department of Health, and the recommendation from the Bishop and the MN Annual Conference, I am suspending worship at Gethsemane UMC until May 17th, 2020. This is my decision in light of their recommendation to suspend gatherings of 50+ people for 8 weeks. I hope and pray that we can have a momentous, glory-filled worship on Sunday, May 17th!

That being said, we are working on creative ways for us to stay connected and in relationship through this time of uncertainty. So please, stay tuned to our Facebook page and as we work on offering you new ways to worship from the comfort of your own home!

Another important point is to remain informed. There are so many stories and misinformation being spread to create fear in people, here are some resources that offer reliable information:

Friends, these are unprecedented times. I am doing my best to protect and support our community. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns; please reach out. I am here for you. I also ask that you be there for each other. Check in with your friends, ask them how they are feeling, give them the space to express their frustrations.

I’ve been asking three simple things in my conversations with people:

  • Share a high and a low (or ask, “Where have you seen God lately?”)
  • Share a prayer request
  • Tell me about your experience

Please continue to keep our country and our world in prayer as we live into trhe resurrection this Lenten season.

Pastor David Hodd

COVID-19 Update – March 13th, 2020

Update on COVID-19 Response

March 13th, 2020

Grace and peace friends,

On Friday, March 13th, Governor Tim Walz issued a peacetime state of emergency for Minnesota. The goal is to limit large gatherings over 250 people. It is also recommended to limit, “events with more than 10 people where the majority of participants are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” The majority of our church body falls under people who are a high risk for severe illness. So in the interest of everyone’s safety and helping contain the spread of the virus I have decided to suspend worship for two weeks.

So we will not have worship on March 15th and March 22nd.

I have been wrestling with the reality of the coronavirus this week as disruptions in our world come closer and closer to home. Finally, a friend told me to “accept it,” and so I have. The Management Team and I have been monitoring the situation, and will continue to make decisions in the interest of our community in regards to worshiping together. I strongly urge anyone who is at a higher risk for severe illness to stay home!

On that note, I also want to offer help. As this pandemic continues to get closer and closer to home, being quarantined is a reality we may all have to face soon. If you need help getting food, toiletries, etc., please reach out! Call the church, call Pastor David, email Francine, leave a message, send smoke signals, connect in any way you need! I am hoping to have a list of people who may need deliveries and am looking for volunteers to help make these deliveries if necessary. If you need assistance, or are willing to assist, please contact the church.

When I think about the coronavirus and our Lenten theme of incarnation, I think this moment is a time when Jesus’ call to love our neighbor as ourselves can be lived out. For some, loving your neighbor may be staying inside. For others, loving your neighbor may be helping deliver food to those who are more vulnerable to the illness.

There will also be several disruptions to our regular worship service/style for the foreseeable future. We are implementing the guidelines recommended by the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health: 
– Keeping safe distances from people
– Covering coughs and sneezes
– Washing hands for at least 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer when needed
– Encouraging people to remain home if they feel ill or have flu-like symptoms
– We will not offer communion or coffee/snacks after worship
– Passing of the Peace will not be practiced with shaking hands or hugs, but instead a wave or hand on the heart to convey the message of welcoming.
– We will not pass the offering plate through the worship service, but will instead have it set up so people can make an offering without touching the plates, or we encourage people to give online!

We are all entering a new space of ministry together! I leave you with words of a fellow pastor that helped me this week:

Dear Everybody,
Since I’ve not pastored people through a pandemic before, I don’t know all the answers. But I’m paying attention to science and praying for wisdom. Together, we’ll take courage, be patient, consider the least of these, and press onward while loving our neighbors.
– Your Pastor
P.S. Wash your hands!!!!

I hope we can continue to move forward together, please check our website or our Facebook for updated information, call your fellow members of Gethsemane to share the news, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Reach out. I am here as your pastor, we are all here as the church.

Pastor David Hodd
March 13th, 2020