Virtual Bulletin – 3/6

March 6th, 2022 – 1st Sunday in Lent

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  March 7th – March 13th

Monday…………………          Perpetua & Felicitas, Martyrs

                                                 6:00PM             LAF (Zoom)

Tuesday .………………..         Pastor’s Circuit Meeting (@ St. Mark’s 9AM -1 PM)

Wednesday…………….           2:30 PM           Confirmation

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

Saturday………………..          10:00 AM        Women’s Group

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

                                                  11:00am           Bible Study

COMMEMORATIONS

Perpetua & Felicitas come to the church from the early (203 AD) persecutions. Those persecutions were an on and off thing, but when they were on, they didn’t care who they captured. Perpetua was a patrician and Felicitas was her slave/servant. Both of them were recent converts and both recent mothers. It is one of the rare stories that comes to us not just from books of the martyrs, but a first person account written by Perpetua while in prison leading up to their execution. Tertullian, a 3rd century church father, edited it slightly and published widely. A 19th century translation (i.e. wordy) is here: https://ccel.org/ccel/tertullian/perpetua_felicitas/anf03.vi.vi.i.html . Plough Quarterly has a more modern rendering: https://www.plough.com/en/topics/faith/witness/perpetua . It didn’t take long before a church was erected over their grave site. And they have remained on the list of martyrs for 1800 years. We might ask why these stories were collected and remembered. The simple answer is their witness. Here were two women with everything the world of the time might offer, but neither noble father nor nursing child was worth denying Christ. Likewise in life they were Lady and Slave, but in Christ they shared peace and martyrdom. The scorn of the world for the eternal crown.  

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

It strikes me how closely Perpetua & Felicitas embody the Epistle lesson for today (Romans 10:8-13). Paul connects the word in our mouth to that which is in our heart.  According to the story, when Perpetua’s Father attempted to get her to deny her faith to escape death – something he could arrange – her answer to him was a lesson in calling things rightly which ended with, “Neither can I call myself anything else than what I am – a Christian.” What was in her heart was also in her mouth.  And in that confession the Apostle Paul tells us is our salvation.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The Apostle continues to say that “everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” One might consider being stripped, trampled by a bull and then executed to be shame.  And there would certainly be some amount of temporal shame.  The real point of the Apostle is the resurrection to eternal shame or eternal life.  But even here the story of Perpetua has a note of that lack of shame. After witnessing the barbarity and the nobility with which the two faced it, the new legionnaire assigned to kill Perpetua could not do it. He stabbed her with shaking hand and missed the important parts. The story as told includes that Perpetua steadied the soldier’s hand and guided him to finish the job.  Whose is the shame?

And finally Paul writes “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” The other “ending” to the Perpetua and Felicitas story is how Lady and Slave were the comfort and equal of each other. This took place in the prison leading up to the martyrdom, but also in the arena. After their trampling it is recorded that they picked each other up and shared “the kiss of peace” as the soldiers came to deliver the final blow. That kiss of peace was a standard part of early Christianity. In this, those who were master and slave in life, recognized each other as equals in Christ.  Equally at peace in calling on the name of the Lord.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

What we confess with our mouth is what resides in our heart.  May we have a small portion of the faith of Perpetua and Felicitas.

NOTE ON UKRAINE

If you are looking for ways to support Ukraine, the LCMS has extensive missionary contacts in the country and is helping with displaced people.  If so moved, here is a link to the story and how we might help.

The LCMS Reporter story with links for support: ‘The list changes daily’: Help for Ukraine (lcms.org)

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story”
  • Confirmation: Creed, Article 3, Part 2
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  March 7th, 6PM, Zoom
  • Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
  • Catechism Moment: The Lord’s Prayer starts this week.  Look in your inbox

RHAFT CHALLENGE FOR LENT

During the season of Lent, which starts Wednesday, we have taken upon ourselves that 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 six weeks of Lent.  (Of course, any donations are welcomed at any time, but this method helps us give a variety of items to RHAFT.)  There are many who are “in need” in our community, and this is an opportunity for us to help them.  We THANK YOU for your past generosity in giving, and we pray that you will accept our challenge to help once again!