Virtual Bulletin – 4/11

April 11th, 2021

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

The Gospel is first a story.  I don’t mean a story as in a fairy tale.  Neither do I mean a story as in a modern novel.  I mean a story as in a narrative of things that actually happened.  The Gospel is the story of God’s interaction with men.  It is the story of God creating Adam and Eve.  It is the story of the depravity of sin growing until the Flood.  It is the story of God’s selection of Abraham, and Abraham believing this God.  It is the story of the creation of a nation, Israel, from that one man.  It is the story of the failure of that nation, of her prophets, priests and kings.  It is finally the story of Jesus, the prophet, priest and king. There are lots of tributaries and side creeks alongside that main channel.  All of our stories, to the extent that we are living the Christian story, flow into that stream.  And there are lots of things in life that make absolute narrative sense, we actually lived them, that make no logical sense. 

Many of Paul’s letters are based on his story.  That is how John’s first letter begins.  “we have heard, we have seen with our eyes, we looked upon and touched with our hands – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it.”  The meaning, the theology that John is going to preach, is based on this gospel story.  “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you.”  The Apostolic witness is first to God’s story.  These things happened.  That Apostolic witness is then to what does that mean.  Do you want your story to be part of this one that flows to eternal life?  Here is one Spirit inspired ways of thinking about it.  Paul and Peter and John are all proclaiming the gospel, and so ultimately agree, even if their ways of preaching are different.

John is the dualist, which is funny.  John has this reputation as the hippy apostle, he’s Godspell and the summer of love.  But if you listen carefully it is John that makes the harshest distinctions.  Paul understands personal failure.  “I was the chief of sinners.  The very thing I do not want to do, I keep doing.” John makes clear divisions. “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”  Please, find for me in there the simultaneously sinner and saint.  There is light and there is darkness, figure out which you stand in.

I’m not setting John against Paul. There are ways (beyond the confines of this meditation) to reconcile them.  But the way that John and Paul and all the apostles would agree that they reconcile is the story.  “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our only but also for the sins of the whole world.” The Gospel is first a story, the story of Jesus Christ for all of us.  And we will all as Paul would say “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”  How do our stories conform to Christ?  Are we Johannine, coming out of darkness into the light?  Are we Peterine? Being built as living stones into a spiritual house, a holy people?  Are we like Paul, running the race set before us?  Or maybe like James, seeking to live by the wisdom from above.  The body of Christ is many stories, conforming themselves to the One Story.  May we be blest in this divine fellowship.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  April 12th – April 18th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Wednesday: ……………   9:00amConfirmation Class

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Ezekiel – Chap 37
  • Confirmation:  Back on this coming Wednesday 4/14. Elder questions 5/4
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  April 21st. See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the gospel of Mark – the one read in this year’s lectionary.
  • Catechism Moment: Sorry for a couple weeks off here.  You will see the Catechism Moment this week.

UPCOMING EVENTS (please contact Ellen or Mindy if you would like to lend a hand with any of these projects)

  • April 22nd (Thurs.) … Brownie baking and Beef cooking for Beef on Weck
  • April 23rd (Fri.) … Potato salad & Cole Slaw Prep day for Beef on Weck
  • April 24th (Sat.) … Spring Drive-Thru BEEF ON WECK Fundraiser Dinner
  • June 24th (Thursday) … collecting begins for our Rummage Sale
  • June 28th (Monday) … sorting and pricing begins for our Rummage Sale
  • July 10th (Saturday) … RUMMAGE SALE
  • July … week after the 10th … delivery to SAVERS

THANK YOU to Mike Bayer, Nick DiFonzo, and Wayne Warriner for cleaning up the tree limb that fell on our fence at the back of our parking lot.

New Creation Day

Biblical Text: Mark 16:1-8

This Easter Day sermon picks up from the Good Friday one. One of Good Friday’s ponderings was on the Cry of Dereliction – “My God, Why have you forsaken me?” We probably all hear that in a certain way. This sermon attempts to point out the history of why we do, and why that history is wrong. Easter is the answer to the challenge of that cry. Easter is the eschatological inbreaking of the Kingdom, the first day of the new creation. This sermon proclaims what that means and what it asks of us.

Virtual Bulletin – 4/4 – Easter

April 4th, 2021 – Easter

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Of the Easter readings I find the Apostle Paul’s touching.  We know Paul by his letters.  Or we think we know him because of His distinctive authorial voice. A voice that even seems to survive translation.  Paul even addresses this in scripture.  Apparently, the physical Paul didn’t jive with the authorial. From 2 Corinthians 2:10, “For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.’”

Paul knows his gifts.  He also knows his deeds. “I worked harder than any of them.” And as they say it isn’t bragging if you can back it up, which Paul could.  Such things might easily lead to envy or splits.  Peter walks right up to that line in scripture.  From 2 Peter 3:15-16, “Just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand.” Ultimately Peter’s words are a defense of Paul.  It is one part of the body of Christ giving honor to another quite different one.  Likewise that is Paul’s purpose in the Easter Epistle.  We all believe and preach the same thing: Christ, crucified and risen, for you.

Not Peter nor Paul, nor any of the 500 the risen Jesus appeared to, nor his brother James or any of the apostles, preach something that elevates them.  By the grace of God “I am what I am.” And Paul is what he is so that” the gospel which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved” might be held fast by you.  He worked so hard so that his preaching might not be in vain, so that the grace of God might be displayed.  He is jealous for success, he runs the race, but he runs the race not for himself, but for Christ.  Which is why he can say “whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”  And he says it roughly after reciting the creed that we all recite.

We all stand, not because of the one doing the preaching, but because of the Word that is being preached.  “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, and he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” This is the Word that I preach, it is the Word we all preach, it is the Word you believed.  Stand firm and rejoice, Christ is risen.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  April 5th – April 11th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  7:00pm    Board of Elders Mtg

Wednesday: ……………   9:00am     NO Confirmation Class

                                            7:00pm    LAF

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Ezekiel – Chap 35
  • Confirmation:  Two weeks off (3/31, 4/7), back 4/14. Elder questions 5/4
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  March 24th. See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the gospel of Mark – the one read in this year’s lectionary.
  • Catechism Moment: 7th Commandment.  If you are not receiving and want to, drop me your email.

UPCOMING EVENTS (please contact Ellen or Mindy if you would like to lend a hand with any of these projects)

  • April 22nd (Thurs.) … Brownie baking and Beef cooking for Beef on Weck
  • April 23rd (Fri.) … Potato salad & Cole Slaw Prep day for Beef on Weck
  • April 24th (Sat.) … Spring Drive-Thru BEEF ON WECK Fundraiser Dinner
  • June 24th (Thursday) … collecting begins for our Rummage Sale
  • June 28th (Monday) … sorting and pricing begins for our Rummage Sale
  • July 10th (Saturday) … RUMMAGE SALE
  • July … week after the 10th … delivery to SAVERS

Good Friday

The recording is of the full tenebrae service. The sermon is by parts between the readings. The theme would be the dual apocalypse or revelation of the cross. The first is what the passion says about us, the second is what it says about God. And the day ends with the challenge, waiting for the Day of the Lord.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the night of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The celebration of the Supper is, if not the central focus, one of only two in Christian Worship. Christian worship has since its beginning been divided into Word and Sacrament. The Word portion typically includes lessons and the sermon, but it can include things like the confessional address here which leads into corporate confession and absolution. The Word is where were hear both the teaching and the proclamation. The Word invites us to the sacrament, where God gives us himself. This particular sermon focuses on two pictures in the text. First, two unnamed characters that are necessary to prepare the meal, and second the table itself and what it tells us about this meal. How we are invited to be free members of the household of God. And the responsibilities of freedom.

Holy Week Services

Maundy Thursday & Good Friday Services

Worship is at 7PM (Special Maundy Thursday Prelude 6:50).

For those online the links: 

Maundy Thursday Service

Good Friday Service

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Special Prelude: The Maundy Thursday service will begin with Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata No. VI in D minor based on the chorale, “Our Father Who in Heaven Art”.  Music will begin at 6:50. Please use this time for quiet meditation as we prepare for Christ’s passion.

You Will Not Always Have Me

Biblical Text: Mark 14:1-10 (Mark 14:1-15:47)

As my daughter said this morning “Palm Sunday has the best hymns”. I’ve left a goodly amount of them in the recording. But this morning’s service is also “Passion Sunday” and it contains a full reading of the Passion account from the Gospel of Mark. If you have never simply listened to it read aloud, here it is. The sermon is based on the first part of the that reading, the anointing of Jesus by a woman at Simon’s place. Jesus calls he actions a “beautiful work” and promises that is will be part of the gospel proclamation forever. The foil in this scene if Judas. The sermon examines the conflicts brought to the service between the woman’s beautiful act and Judas’ reaction. And then it meditates on how Jesus’ words “you will not always have me” might motivate our own beautiful works under the cross. It was a very good morning. Blessings on your Holy Week.

Virtual Bulletin – 3/28 – Palm Sunday

March 28, 2021 – Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

HOLY WEEK           March 28th – Palm Sunday Service at 10am

      April 1st – Maundy Thurs. Service w/Communion at 6:50pm

      April 2nd – Good Friday Service at 7:00pm

      April 4th – Easter Service at 10am

Special Prelude: The Maundy Thursday service will begin with Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata No. VI in D minor based on the chorale, “Our Father Who in Heaven Art”.  Music will begin at 6:50. Please use this time for quiet meditation as we prepare for Christ’s passion.

Devotion & Prayer Thought

One of the things that we do in confirmation instruction is attempt to demonstrate an intentional prayer life.  We demonstrate four different methods and ask the confirmands to attempt using two of them for a couple weeks each.  After each week we spend some time simply asking what worked and what didn’t?  What was hard?  What stood in the way?  The four systems we walk through are: The Treasury of Daily Prayer which is an industrial strength daily prayer book, Luther’s Simple Way to Pray (ITCP, instruction, thanksgiving, confession and prayer) which might be something like our midweek catechism moment, the litany or the Prayers of the Church ordering which we do on Sundays, and a from the heart method loosely called ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication).  Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, I have yet to have an 8th grader return from the assignment to say “this really worked, I now get it, and I am started on my prayer life.”

The easiest answer would be a poor teacher and I’m sure that is in there.  I’m teaching a process and method without full buy-in on the purpose.  But if you demanded buy-in from 8th graders on spiritual things, you’d just stop.  I don’t think the entire burden falls on the poor teacher, even though I will have to answer for it.  Part of it is our default skepticism.  We have stripped every last bit of mystery and wonder out of almost everything.  This is a problem for religion but honestly it is also a problem for science.  There is a reason people like Tyler Cowen talk about “the great stagnation” even if they just recognize the effects of the problem.  Science and religion are both creatures of wonder. Prayer springs from “the fear and love” of standing before the Almighty God.  Science springs from the fear and love of observing His creation.  Wonder in our 24/7/365 acid bath of skepticism, irony and dunking is punished brutally.

As expert as I can be at swimming in the acid bath, I’ve been attempting especially in my prayer life to instill a bit more wonder or enchantment.  One of the things that comes up studying the gospel of Mark as we have been on Sundays in bible study is “The Perpetual Virginity of Mary”.  All of Jesus’ “brothers and sisters” are named in the gospel. The vast majority of protestants reject this, although Lutherans always have to be careful as Luther himself and our confessions if not outright teach it, they make room for it. (If you want to know where Smalcald Articles 1.4 and Formula of Concord 8.24.)  And it came up this week on a note of wonder around March 25th in the week prior to Holy Week.  Something ultimately as unprovable as the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, but worth pondering.  March 25th is the date of the Annunciation, when Gabriel came to Mary, 9 months prior to Dec 25th.  But March 25th claims a lot more. The ancient tradition is that the 25th is the day of creation. It was the first day of the year under the Julian Calendar and the vernal equinox. And March 25th is asserted also to have been on a certain Friday around the year 33 AD.  Good Friday changes dates because Easter does, but the first was March 25th.  Creation, Annunciation of a New Creation and the end of the old one all on the same date.

Prove it? No.  Does it feel like the God of Creation who embedded fractals into so many things?  Sure does.  There is so much more going on in every bit of creation than the eyes can see.  As we enter another Holy Week, may we see revealed before us just a bit of the love of God for his creation. Enough to inspire some wonder. Amen.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  March 29th – April 4th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00am    NO Preschool

Wednesday: ……………   9:00am     NO Confirmation Class

Thursday: ……………… 10:00am    NO Bible Study

                                            7:00pm    Maundy Thursday Service

Friday: …………………  7:00pm    Good Friday Service

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship/Easter Sunday

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Ezekiel – Chap 35
  • Confirmation:  Two weeks off (3/31, 4/7), back 4/14. Elder questions 5/4
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  March 24th. See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the gospel of Mark – the one read in this year’s lectionary.
  • Catechism Moment: 7th Commandment.  If you are not receiving and want to, drop me your email.

UPCOMING EVENTS (please contact Ellen or Mindy if you would like to lend a hand with any of these projects)

  • April 22nd (Thurs.) … Brownie baking and Beef cooking for Beef on Weck
  • April 23rd (Fri.) … Potato salad & Cole Slaw Prep day for Beef on Weck
  • April 24th (Sat.) … Spring Drive-Thru BEEF ON WECK Fundraiser Dinner
  • June 24th (Thursday) … collecting begins for our Rummage Sale
  • June 28th (Monday) … sorting and pricing begins for our Rummage Sale
  • July 10th (Saturday) … RUMMAGE SALE
  • July … week after the 10th … delivery to SAVERS

EASTER LILY:  LAST DAY to order your Easter Lily to be placed next to the altar on Easter Sunday.  Please see sign-up for details.

Covenants Kept

Biblical Text: Jeremiah 31:31-34

The text is Jeremiah’s invoking of a new covenant. The sermon attempts to think about what we are talking about when we say the word covenant. What a covenant is is the Hebrew answer to the question: “How does God interact with man?” There are a bunch of other answer to that question. The sermon starts out cataloging some of them and how they came about. But the Hebrew answer is unique. And the Christian answer is the Hebrew answer.

The trouble that Jeremiah is experiencing is similar I think to what we might be experiencing today. Just how good does the answer of the covenant fit with how we experience God? A big part of the word covenant is simply a way that God binds himself. If the covenants appear to be failing, as they could appear to Jeremiah, in what way is the God who bound himself actually God? Jeremiah’s prophecy is “the new covenant”, not a breaking of the old ones, but their fulfillment. And that fulfillment is in Jesus Christ. Christ has always been the fulfillment, but in the new covenant we have the greater revelation written on our hearts. It is no longer blood on the external posts and lintels, but blood taken in. The fulfillment is no longer an external obedience, but the obedience of the heart through faith.

By Means

Biblical Text: Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-21

We talk about the sacraments as “the means of grace”, in the everyday world we might refer to someone as a person of means, but I don’t think we really know what that word – means – means. Nor do we really plumb its depths. We don’t for two reasons. The first is that most of us are secular. We have buffered ourselves from what what Nicene Creeds calls the invisible creation. Not that it isn’t there and doesn’t effect us, simply that we deny it, usually with some fantastical pseudo-science. Although for me the best denials are the straight up “didn’t happen, who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes.” The second though is a spiritual reason. We think we want God to act immediately. We think we want the lightning bolt. This sermon is an exploration of God working through means and or reactions to that fact.