January 16th, 2022 – 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Jan 18th – Jan 23rd
Monday.……………….. 6:00PM Women’s Group – Canceled
Tuesday.……………….. Confession of St. Peter
Wednesday……………. 2:30 PM Confirmation
7:00 PM Church Council
10:00 AM Bible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
The confession of Peter can be found in Matthew 16:13-20/Mark 8:27-29/Luke 9:18-20. Each one of them captures it a bit differently, but Matthew is probably the fullest. What is the confession? “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” What are the effects of that confession? There are two connected things: 1) that confession is the message of the church and 2) through that confession and that church the sins of mankind are forgiven. They are the means of the gospel. And that is still true today. The church confesses Jesus as the Christ, the son of God, and the forgiveness of sins is had only in His name.
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
The Epistle Lesson this week starts a continuous reading from 1 Corinthians for the season of Epiphany. And where we pick it up in chapter twelve (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) nicely dovetails with the commemoration this week of Peter’s Confession. Paul’s discussion of Spiritual Gifts starts with that foundation. “No one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, the giver of every gift, starts with the gift of confession. And the gift of confession is also the most basic gift of discernment. If someone is minimizing Jesus, don’t bother listening. They are not from God. The church is founded on the confession of Jesus.
But the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives are not limited to confession. Faith expressed in confession is the first and greatest, but there are many and various gifts given to the members of the church. And the Holy Spirit is neither democratic nor egalitarian. “The Spirit apportions to each one individually as He wills.” But “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Individualistic Americans may not like it, but in the church we are bound together because we need each other. If we withhold our gifts from the church, the common good is made that much poorer. If we despise the gifts of others we ourselves will be made poorer.
If you read Paul’s list of the “manifestations of the One Spirit” you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Pentecostal church is probably where we should all be at. The Corinthian context can help think about that. They were fighting with each other over everything, but especially over worship. Paul’s list here has the effect of saying, “hey, why don’t you let that guy who is good at preaching do that, and that gal who is quite wise offer advice, instead of everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.” Romans 12:6-8 offers a slightly different list that might be more recognizable amongst us. And there are other lists. LAF has been studying the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 which read more like virtues. The One Spirit gives many gifts, but they are all for the common good of His people.
Usually associated with each listing is an apostolic exhortation to “examine yourselves” or to “think with sober judgement.” On the Corinthian side that encouragement might have been taken as cool your jets a bit. In Galatians you have the encouragement to “keep in step with the Spirit.” May we in faith soberly examine ourselves and make the common good richer.
I was forced into doing some long-delayed church website maintenance which included changing the method of keeping the church calendar. It is now all on google calendar. You can add the church calendar to you calendar list from the church webstite (www.saintmarkslutheran.org) by clicking on the +GoogleCalendar in the lower right corner. And while I’m at it, do you know, besides the calendar, everything else that is on the church website? A recording of the lessons and the sermon is posted every Sunday. Sometimes a hymn or two is included. There are links to add the feed to your favorite podcast player. (I joke that the feed reaches 3-5x our in person attendence. Now if I could only get them here.) This newsletter (in shortened form) is posted weekly, along with notes about other events. Most of the people reading this are connected enough to never look at the website, but that site is the first thing anyone else sees about St. Mark’s. Take a look.
A COUPLE OF LONGER RANGE EVENTS
- Spring Beef on Weck is going to be on Saturday, April 2nd. There will be a couple of workdays prior. Please put it on your calendar, consider helping, and picking up a meal.
- The Elders would like to have a Potluck & Mission presentation following service on Sunday, March 13th. There are several things that happen in the church. This is an opportunity to fellowship over some food and to learn something about a few missions and how you might be able to get involved.
- Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story”
- Confirmation: Creed, Article 1, part 3
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): I think I was told Mondays on Zoom for a bit. Jan 31st Next?
- Sunday Morning: Psalm of the Day for the Epiphany Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
- Catechism Moment: In hibernation