“Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want but what you want.” (Mark 14:36 Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane)

We are a small, vibrant church serving Serra Mesa, Mission Valley, and all of San Diego, where people from all walks of life worship and are always welcome!

In addition to our regular worship services, we have other enriching opportunities available for anyone who wishes to participate.

We are a small,vibrant church serving Serra Mesa, Mission Valley, and all of San Diego, where people from all walks of life worship and are always welcome!

In addition to our regular worship services, we have other enriching opportunities available for anyone who wishes to participate.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Gethsemane Christian Preschool are entirely self-supporting, funded by our members, participants and partners (such as our preschool parents). Together we pledge to continue to do God’s work, always looking to both our past traditions, our present calling and our future service to God via being a blessing to the world. We are willing to respond with faith and courage as new twists become necessary. All we ask is that you do your best so we can to do God’s work together, in our daily work, with our finances, in our relationships, in our lives.

What’s So Special About Being Lutheran?

Lutherans believe God is love. We believe God’s power is love.
God’s purpose is love. God’s presence is love.

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Lutherans emphasize God’s saving grace. God comes to us with salvation. Salvation is God’s work, not ours. It is a gift. There is nothing we can do to earn it. Salvation is about God’s love for us, not a measure of our love for God. So rest. There is no endless treadmill of trying to be good enough to get to God. You are already good enough for God. God loves you. Period. Our place is to stand by expectantly, looking for God, trusting that God is already present and active. Our confidence in God’s grace makes us hopeful that God will be gracious with all people, not just people who believe like we do.
GETHSEMANE LUTHERAN CHURCH
Speaking of all people, Lutherans believe that all people have direct access to God. No intermediary needed. The churchy way to say this is that all people can be priests (people who are particularly suited to speak for God and act as God’s representatives on earth) for each other, because you see, sometimes we need someone to stand in God’s place for us. We often get in our own way when it comes to recognizing God in our midst. This is when we need someone to be the priest for us. Some other time it will be our opportunity to be the priest for someone else.
GETHSEMANE LUTHERAN CHURCH
Lutherans have a long history as a Bible based church. One of our slogans dating back to the reformation is sola scriptura. It means ‘scripture alone.’ We take the Bible seriously, but we don’t take it literally. And we believe that some parts are more important than other parts. We understand the Bible as a conversation. There are many points of view expressed, and sometimes they compete with and contradict each other. One way to look at it is that the minority view is expressed along with the majority view. We always have to look at the context as well as the content. Some stories in the Bible are included as stories about what not to do as well many stories of examples of faithful living that we might imitate.
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Lutherans consider the Bible as the Word of God. It is the ‘first word’, starting the conversation about God, encompassing all the oral tradition that was shared before the Bible itself was written down. It is an ongoing conversation. The Spirit is still speaking God’s truth into the world today through the people of God inside and outside of the church. We believe we can come to recognize God in action today through the expression of God in the Bible. If we don’t know the Bible, we might not be able to recognize ‘God With Us’ at any given moment.

There is hope for you.

There is so much more I could say about what makes Lutherans special, but why don’t you come find out for yourself? You are welcome in our midst, no matter who you are, no matter where you have been, no matter what you have done. Besides, no perfect people are allowed. They would show the rest of us up.
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Lutherans are sacramental people. What does this mean? It means we believe God is present in earthly elements. We have two sacraments, baptism and communion, but frankly, all life is sacred. All water is holy water. All food is a gift of God and therefore sacred. And so is the air. So is the soil. So is your neighbor, regardless of who they are. We are born with a gush of amniotic ‘waters’ and we are born anew in the waters of baptism. We believe the bread is bread and the wine is wine, but in taking it in in faith, they convey the body of Christ and we are what we eat. We are the body of Christ in this post- resurrection world. There is no magic in this. It is the mystery of God incarnate that we can never fully understand. In these sacraments we are made one with Christ and with one another, not only those present with us when we participate in the sacramental rites but also all who went before and all who will come after. We are made one church, answering Jesus’ prayer that his followers would one day show the unity that was between himself and God in the power of the Spirit. We know the church is divided and not yet One, but we also trust that the reality of our Oneness is already true too.
Worship is important to Lutherans. Worship is not a time when we are trying to get God’s attention. We believe God is always paying attention, even that God is actually among us already. Worship consists of Word and Sacrament. Both are expressions of the presence of God. Both are ‘the means of grace’ as we say. They are the way the gift of grace comes to us most efficiently. Worship is a time for us to come together to acknowledge and celebrate God’s presence in our midst; to dedicate ourselves to seeking ever greater awareness of God’s presence and to show gratitude and praise for all that God has done for us. Can we do all this on our own? Of course. But we do it better when we do it in community. The Spirit moves in a different way when we are all singing and praying together. When we hear the word proclaimed together and then discussing it after worship we encounter it twice and it feeds us more completely.
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Lutherans believe faith matters. Faith is not something we have to do, is not a result of believing the right things. Faith is a gift from God that helps us trust God’s love for us. We believe all people have a place in God’s reign. Even more importantly, we believe all people have something to contribute in the good world God designed. The fancy word for it is ‘vocation.’ Our Christian vocation is to do our daily work in a way that honors God’s will for goodness, justice and peace in the world. Martin Luther is famous for saying that every job can be a vocation; even the lowest garbage collector or milk maid can do their work in a way that fulfills God’s purposes of bringing blessing and goodness to others.

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Not all Lutherans are alike. We are Lutherans in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a progressive denomination in the Lutheran tradition. There are other branches in the Lutheran tree that take the scriptures more literally, that interpret passages more narrowly, that exclude certain people from leadership. We don’t put any limitations on who God can call to be leaders in the church, but we do have expectations our leaders have to live up to; in particular of education, credentialing and standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.