October 25th, 2020 – Reformation
WORSHIP & Bible Study
Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.
This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here
Zoom Info Update: As of 9/27/20 Zoom made either passcodes or a waiting room mandatory. Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles
Bible Study after service or 11:15ish. I’ll keep the zoom line on. We are going to walk through the biblical stories on pestilence in Israel. Numbers 11, 16 (Korah’s Rebellion) and 2 Samuel 24 (David’s Census). Everyone is encouraged to stay or to jump in online. (I think I have even figured out a way to get online voices through the main church speakers.)
Devotion & Prayer Thought
I’m something of a natural contrarian and have a rather low tolerance for propaganda. So, the reading from Revelation for Reformation Sunday always put me off. It is not that I don’t appreciate the Gospel according to Luther or the Reformation, which I do believe are part of that eternal gospel that the angel proclaims. But maybe the problem isn’t the claiming of it, it is the stopping where it does in the reading of Revelation 14. There are three angels with messages that proclaim one right after the other. The first one is the clear trumpet of the Eternal Gospel which in this reading is the “fear God and give him glory…worship him who made heaven and earth.” The Eternal God is “worthy of blessing and honor and glory and might and wisdom and strength forever and ever.” The second and the third angels remind us of those who obscure us from that fact. The World warns the second angel – “fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all the nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.” And the third points out the power of Satan, “if anyone worships the beast and its image and receives the mark on his forehead or hand, he also will drink the wine of the God’s wrath.” The eternal Gospel is true – Christ Reigns – but his rule in this life is always contested and often contested violently. It is contested in each of our souls when the call to worship God comes to us. It is contested by the rulers of the World who offer ease in exchange for no brooking of their authority. And it is contested by the powers and principalities – the beasts – that stand behind this dark realm.
John comments after hearing the messages of the angels, “here is a call for the endurance of the Saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” We Christians have often truncated the message of the eternal Gospel, and of the Reformation. We want to hear of the free grace, but we disdain or ignore the call to endurance in faith. Luther’s Reformation, or any Reformation in the church, is always a return to the eternal gospel, the steadfast love of the God for sinners. At the same time is it turning away from all the vain things that have caught our eyes. We can’t have both. As Lot’s wife longing for Sodom, or the Israelites longing for Egypt didn’t understand. Christ would turn his back on the temple not to return but be lead outside the city, for the joy of the cross. He would tell his followers that when they see the abomination to flee Jerusalem, and history (Josephus) tells us they did. Just as Abraham left Ur to go to where God promised. Or Noah built the Ark to leave the world as he knew it. Or Saul left his course of Jewish honor to be the apostle to the gentiles, to the ends of the earth as Acts would say. “If they had been thinking of the land from which they had gone out, they would have had the opportunity to return. But they desired a better country, a heavenly one. (Hebrews 11.)”
Reformation Day is a rehearing of that eternal gospel which starts us out on our journey. It is also a renewal of our endurance in that faith. May the Lord provide for us food for that journey, that we might see that heavenly city.
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Oct 26th – Nov 1st
Mon. – Fri. ……….….… 8:00am Preschool
Thursday: ……………… 10:00am Bible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:15am Bible Study
- Thurs 10am: We are reading the book of Ezekiel, at least parts of it. The strangest book in the bible, but also one keyed to the anxieties of the moment. Everyone welcome, including on zoom.
- Confirmation: Practical Unit on “how to have an intentional prayer life.”
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): is next meeting on Wednesdays, Nov 4th at 7 PM. We will be on the Zoom line.
- Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary on the zoom line.
- Catechism Moment: We’ve started on the sacrament of Baptism and the sacraments in general.
Pandemic Challenge for RHAFT : Food collections for RHAFT are ongoing and in urgent need as we all struggle to weather this Pandemic. We would like to implement a weekly collection of items like we have done during Lent in previous years. A list has been posted on the bulletin board as well as attached to this bulletin. If you would like to contribute to the Rush-Henrietta Food Pantry, a box is located under the round table in the narthex for non-perishable items. Please remember that the items donated cannot be past their expiration date.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD shoeboxes are now available for you take home and fill.
If you would like someone to shop for your box, the sign-up is on the bulletin board. We are still only charging $30 to fill and pay postage for a box; cash or check accepted (please make checks out to St. Mark Women’s Group). The deadline to have someone else shop for your box is Sunday, November 2nd. Your name must be on the sign-up and payment turned in to either Ellen or Mindy
CONGREGATIONAL MTGS: November 15th/Budget Presentation & December 6th/Final Vote