Virtual Bulletin – 12/5

December 5th, 2021 – 2nd Sunday in Advent

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Dec 6th – Dec 12th

Monday………………..            Nicholas of Myra, Pastor (i.e. St. Nick)

Tuesday………………..           Ambrose of Milan

                                                 7:00pm             Elder’s Meeting

Wednesday…………….            2:30pm            Confirmation

Thursday……………….           10:00am           Bible Study

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

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

LEADERSHIP ENCOURAGEMENT

As a church we are all accountable to each other before God. When we know of someone who is finding it difficult to attend services because of age or illness, or maybe even someone who has distanced himself or herself from our fellowship here at St. Mark, we congregants, as brothers and sisters in Christ, should be willing to step up and help a fellow Christian who needs encouragement. An encouraging, hand-written note or an email or a quick phone call can go a long way to give someone a spiritual boost. Maybe, as the holiday season is upon us, we might consider adding some church folks to our card list. In particular, remember to pray for folks who we have not seen in a very long time. “Praying…begging and pleading for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18

We are in the process of updating our church directory which is a rather tedious process. Be patient, it will be published in due course. However, in the meantime, if you wish to reach out to someone and are not sure of his or her current information, contact me so I can get it for you. The information that I have is reasonably accurate. 

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

John Donne in our time is best remembered as a poet, maybe for the Holy Sonnets. In his time, Donne was a preacher. His most common pulpit was St. Paul’s cross, the open air pulpit outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Although he was also often a preacher to the Royal household of Charles I. I’ve been dipping into and out of his sermons for a while now, they are great works of meditation. But I read one recently that I wanted to share some from. It was preached to King Charles in April of 1625 on Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” England was still in the middle of Reformation which would eventually lead to Charles losing his head in the English Civil War. But already the foundations seemed to be quaking.

Donne’s first words reflected on the verse and those before it, such that “until the foundations are being destroyed, the righteous should be quiet…now this should not prepare, this should not incline any man, to such indifference, as that it is all one to him,” but that “we remain awake, active and diligent, in assisting truth and resisting all approaches of error.” It was a call to faith in God and clear charitable eyes toward our neighbors. “In a word, we charge them with uncharitableness that they will so peremptorily exclude us from Heaven, for matters that do not pertain to Foundations.” Luther would call it “putting the best construction on everything.”  Not everything is truly foundational.

But his second part addressed the Christian calling when foundations are being destroyed. Donne identified four houses, and four foundations, in which God dwells: Church, State, Family, Individual Soul. If the walls of one collapse, there remain the walls of the those inside. Of course THE foundation of all is Christ, who cannot fail, but David in the Psalm was speaking of the foundations we build on that rock. And Donne identifies each: the Scriptures, the law, peace, and conscience. When these foundations are falling, what does the Christian do?

There is lots of wonderful wisdom in his treatment of each, especially in the individual soul portion where Donne sounds like Luther in reminding us that God has pardoned many greater sinners then ourselves “don’t think that he made you because he lacked someone to damn”, but this brought tears as it is the heart of the gospel. “All this then the righteous can do, though the foundations be destroyed. He can withdraw himself if the duties of the place make not his residence necessary. If he must remain, he can pray, and then he can suffer, and then he can rejoice in his sufferings, and he can witness that God is able to deliver us, and he will, but if not, we will serve no other gods. For the righteous hath forevermore this refuge, though the foundations be destroyed, all cannot be. He is safe in God, and then he is safe in his own conscience.”

The church might betray the scriptures, the state might adulterate the law, the family peace might be ripped apart, but by grace through faith in the work of Christ, we have a clean conscience before God Almighty. Rock of Ages, Cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. And while there, pray. It is not beyond the Father’s care.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Starting a New Series – “The Bible Stories Everyone Should Know”. Come Join!
  • Confirmation: Work on memorizing the commandments and read the 9th/10thth commandment questions.
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Next Year!
  • Sunday Morning: During Advent we will be looking at the OT/Gospel reading that is not the sermon text. Come Join!
  • Catechism Moment: In hibernation

RHAFT CHALLENGE ADVENT

The season of Advent is quickly approaching, and so is a RHAFT challenge for giving to our local food pantry.  You will find an insert in your bulletin which lists some suggestions for items to give during each of the four weeks of Advent.  (Of course, any donations are welcomed any week, but this method helps us give a variety of items to RHAFT.)  There are many who are “in need” in our community, especially during this time of job losses and rising prices. We thank you for your past generosity in giving, and we pray that you will accept our challenge to help once again!