Coronavirus Message – January 14th

An invitation to next Sunday’s Annual Meeting, and more thoughts on “repairing the world”


Beloved community,


The work of the Annual Meeting includes the reception of reports from all the congregation’s ministries, the election of Council members, Synod Assembly representatives and Nominating Committee members, and the adoption of an operating budget for the new fiscal year which begins on February 1. The Annual Meeting will be a meeting in a Zoom format on January 17 at noon – your Zoom invitation follows:

Access the Annual Meeting by following this Zoom link:

Time: Sunday, January 17, 2021 at noon 

Meeting ID: 847 6883 0778
Passcode: TLCGRAM


The 2020 Annual Report is now available electronically HERE and hard copies are available for pickup in the church office during office hours.  Please review the agenda, biographical profiles of those nominated for leadership, the reports of the congregation and the proposed 2021 budget. Plan now to join us for the Annual Meeting via Zoom on Sunday, January 17 at noon.


On Monday I wrote on the Jewish theology of tikkun olam, which translates ‘repairing the world.’  We enter this new year with a fervent prayer for restoration and reconciliation, renewal and hope in our world.


My old friend and teaching pastor Dan Erlander completed a text most of 30 years ago entitled, Manna and Mercy; A Brief History of God’s Unfolding Promise to Mend the Entire Universe.  An overview of the entire Bible in 93 pages, Dan brings a light heart and a holy hope to the biblical story of God and God’s people.  Writing on ‘the wilderness school,’ the 40 years that God led his Exodus people through the Sinai wilderness,teaching them a way of covenant life before their entry into the promised land, Erlander wrote:


Yahweh dreamed of a world where there are no big deals and little deals,

no rich and poor, no oppressors and oppressed 

– where humans live in harmony with all creation, 

each part living for the good of the whole. 

Yahweh dreamed of SHALOM, a mended universe.  

(Manna and Mercy, page 9)


Shalom is the Hebrew word for ‘peace,’ but its full meaning is much larger.  Shalom is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is bound up with the notion of shelemut, perfection.


The significance of shalom is not limited to the political domain — to the absence of war and enmity — or to the social — to the absence of quarrel and strife. It ranges over several spheres and can refer in different contexts to bounteous physical conditions, to a moral value, and, ultimately, to a cosmic principle and divine attribute.


Wikipedia defines shalom as word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility, and notes that shalom can be used idiomatically to mean both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’  As one travels through Israel, the greeting shalom is both common and extraordinary, a word that carries both common salutation and rich, hope-filled meaning. In Erlander’s study, God’s shalom dream is of tikkum olam, a repaired world, a mended universe.


Evoking God’s dream and celebrating the love that binds the faith community together, Erlander offered this paraphrase of Ephesians 1:9-10, God’s ongoing dream for God’s people:


I have even more to teach them.  

I must help them to see that they are called to abundant life 

even beyond living in friendship with me and with one another.

They are called to live in a new reality where everything in all creation is reconciled 

– where plants and animals, earth and water and sky, planets and stars

live together as one universal household united in love.

(Manna and Mercy, page 71)

Shalom haverim.  Shalom, my friends.  


Blessings to you, O people of Trinity, as we journey together to bring peace and wholeness to our lives and to all of creation.  May you be safe, may you be well, and may you be held in love.


It remains a privilege to serve as one of your pastors.


Grace and peace,


Pastor Robert Linstrom



2700 Fulton St. E
Grand Rapids, MI 49506


Our Mission

Trinity Lutheran Church is a dynamic family called by God to nurture each other in our daily journeys of faith and to joyfully increase our response to all people in need, sharing God’s gifts of love and grace.