Virtual Bulletin – 5/22

May 22nd, 2022 – 6th Sunday of Easter

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 23rd – May 29th

Monday……………….. .           6:00PM            LAF

Tuesday……………….            Esther

Wednesday…………….           Bede the Venerable

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

Sunday: ………………….          10:00 AM        Worship

                                                 11:15 AM        Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

I’m not sure what they were looking at, but on the pastor’s wives retreat Ellen texted me and asked “What would you write or teach about if Esther was the subject?” I replied two things: 1) the virtue of courage and 2) God working through means.  Esther is on the commemorations calendar this week.  It’s a short fun book in the Old Testament.  You might sit and read it in 20 mins on Tuesday.  If you do, tell me what you take away. I’d love to hear.

The other commemoration this week is one of those long middle-ages “names.”  Bede is early enough (672-735 AD) he is often the “End of the Church Fathers” but late enough he’s not part of the Mediterranean world.  Bede was born in Northumberland England and never went further than 100 miles from his place of birth. He was sent to a monastery by his parents at age 7. At age 14 plague swept through killing the entire monastery except the Abbot and Bede. His commentaries on scripture are still consulted today. He was also a prolific poet and Hymnwriter.  LSB 493, the Ascension Hymn “A Hymn of Glory Let us Sing” is Bede’s.  But what might be his most enduring work is an early History of the English Church which gives us much of early English history.  He died on Ascension Day working on a translation of John’s Gospel into Saxon, apocryphally completing it, singing a Glory Patri, and expiring.   

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

The world always seems to be on fire.  What is causing the flames seems to always be new, as one internet personality calls it “the current thing”, but the flames persist.  And like the old Billy Joel song recounting a list of past current things insists, “We didn’t start the fire.” Billy says he tried to fight it.  The Joker just likes to watch the world burn. But all of these things keep the focus on the fire. The purpose of Apocalyptic, like the book of Revelation, or you could say the Bible itself, is to learn to walk through the fire without being burned.  To learn to ignore the fire because that is the death pangs of a world already judged, a world that you have been rescued from.

Hear Jesus’ from our gospel lesson this week (John 16:22-33).  “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.”  Is the world on fire? Yep. It is a place of tribulation. Is it our job to put out the fire? No. Christ overcame the world.  Is it our job to feed the fire? Even less so. “God judges those outside (1 Corinthians 5:13).” So what is the Bible about if it isn’t about how we can save the world or defeat it? It is about peace.  “I say these things that you might have peace.”

And how might we have peace in the midst of flames, maybe even flames that we have caused?  First, know that you have caused the flames.  Denying it like Billy does no good.  Instead, confession is good for the soul.  “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”  And that is the fire on this old earth, sin.  It has been burning from the day Eve took the apple, probably prior, for where did that old snake come from? But if we broke it, doesn’t that mean we have to pay for it? Normally, but God loves his creation, enough to rescue it. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son (John 3:16).” But what if God changes his mind?  All those old pagan gods and even our new gods do that constantly.  Capricious is the world applied to them most often. Have peace in your hearts, “the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children (Ps. 103:17).” The word that most describes The LORD is steadfast love.  It is the Hebrew “Chesed” which can also mean faithfulness or covenant obligation or even grace.  When God makes a promise, he’s good for it.  Always has been.  Far from being capricious, The LORD is steadfast, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Read the entire story and tell me that isn’t true.

But why doesn’t he stop the fire?  Well, he has for those who will look up to the cross.  “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the son of man must be lifted up (John 3:14).”  That story is in Numbers 21.  “Fiery serpents” plagued Israel who were healed by looking up.  And we are likewise saved by looking to the cross. This is the peace that Jesus desires us to have.  He’s defeated the world and saved you.  Not that he’s taken you out of it.  You are his ambassadors of peace.  But you no longer need to fear the fire.  This world might destroy this body or this home, but you have the resurrection body and a better home.

Revelation shows us the fire in all its fury. The dragons and the beasts, the powers that be.  The four horsemen and the bowls and the trumpets.  These things continue.  They are the great tribulation.  But in the midst of all this, it shows us the sealed.  It shows us those who have come out of the great tribulation. And especially it says, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the lamb (21:9).”  And we are shown this great cube city (1380 miles wide, long and high) having the glory of God and made of only the best stuff. This is our home, the Holy City Jerusalem that comes down from heaven to earth.  This is the place that has been prepared for you.  Have peace, take heart, the bridegroom comes.  

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Exodus – the Plagues
  • Confirmation: Completed Year 1, return in the Fall
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 23rd, 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: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer

Virtual Bulletin – 5/15

May 15th, 2022 – 5th Sunday of Easter

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 16th – May 22nd

Monday……………….. .           6:00PM             LAF

Wednesday…………….           7:00 PM           Church Council

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

Friday: ………………….           5:00 PM           Confirmation

Saturday……………….           Constantine & Helena

Sunday: ………………….          10:00 AM        Worship

                                                 11:15 AM        Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

In a supposedly post-Constantinian age it might seem strange seeing Constantine and his mother Helena show up on the list of commemorations.  There are plenty of educated despisers of various words like Ceasaro-Papism or Dan Brown conspiracy theorists around the Council of Nicea.  There are even many sincere advocates of a church purified of secular power.  But I think they miss the general good of a Christian ruler.  It is part of the Small Catechism in fact.  What is meant by daily bread includes “…devout and faithful rulers, good government…”.  The Edict of Milan in 314 ended the on and off persecution of the church.  After Constantine won the battle of the Milvian Bridge under the sign of the “Chi-Rho” which He had seen in a vision, it was no longer a crime to be a Christian.

Helena, Constantine’s mother, had become a Christian much earlier, and after his victories they were responsible for many fine things.  She built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.  The same one you might catch on Easter broadcasts.  They also erected what is known as Old Saint Peters which stood over the tombs of Peter and Paul until the building of the present Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome.  Those are the big works, but Imperial favor helped in many ways throughout the empire. It was also Constantine who called the bishops to Nicea to make a clear statement about the Arian Controversy – what we know as the Nicene Creed.

We live in a “Two Kingdom’s World”.  Christ rules the gospel directly, but the kingdom of the law is ruled by the crooked timber of humanity. It is worth remembering those rulers who attempted to honor Christ as Lord and the good that they can accomplish.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

The largest chunk of the book of Revelation, roughly chapters 6 through 20, are the three cycles of seven: seals, trumpets and bowls.  Each cycle has at least one “close-up”.  The seal close-up is of the eternal election in Chapter 7.  The trumpets has two.  There is a close-up of the two witnesses in chapter 10 who represent simply the testimony of the prophets and the apostles which continue for the entire time.  If you are Lutheran you are tempted to say Law and Gospel, but that might be a little too far.  The trumpets also has an overview of church history from the incarnation to the end in chapters 12-14.  So you’ve had a close-up on pre-history, the eternal election.  You’ve had a close-up on the great span of history and the work of the church in that great span.  In the bowls section you get a close-up of the end, the fall of the beasts, the prostitute, Babylon everything meant to symbolize the devil, the world and our sinful nature. Christ has triumphed and reigns during the entire time which ends in the final defeat of Satan.  The purpose of the apocalyptic is to reveal to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. And what is revealed in all the cycles is that God is in control.  He knows who are his, and he saves them.  Whatever the enemies are doing, they can’t harm God’s elect.

But all of that is tough to preach on.  It is written for study and meditation. I think that is why the lectionary just skips to the end, to Revelation 21. Our epistle reading has 4 things to remind us of said clearly.  1) Our hope is a new heaven and a new earth.  This heaven – taken as space and the sky – and this earth are warn out, and God brings to completion his work of re-creation which was started on Easter morning with the resurrection of Jesus.  2) In this new heaven and new earth no longer will the highest heaven – the abode of God – be separate from the heavens and the earth.  “The dwelling place of God is with man.”  3) The dwelling of God with man is not to inspire fear or judgment.  Those things have been put behind when Satan and all of his were cast to the lake of ire.   The dwelling place of God is with man that he may wipe away every tear and death shall be no more.  The former things have passed away.  Behold, God does a new thing, he makes all things new. 4) And this salvation is placed in familial terms. “The one who conquers…he will be my son.” Not a slave or servant or a serf, but a son of the Household of God.

Each one of those things restores something that was originally lost: the goodness of creation not just its existence, the communion with God in the flesh, seeing God without fear, and a true fellowship with all.  There are lots of ways we try and create those things here, but they always end up rushing the not yet or slipping out of our grasp.  We have them instead by faith, because God has promised them, and He keeps his promises.  He is faithful to his covenant which He calls His steadfast love.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Exodus – the Plagues
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – Conclusion
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 16th, 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: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer

Virtual Bulletin – 5/8

May 8th, 2022 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Happy Mother’s Day 

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 9th – May 15th

Monday……………….. .           Job

                                                 6:00 PM           Men’s Group

Tuesday……………….            9:00 AM          Pastor’s Circuit Meeting

Wednesday…………….           Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries

                                                 6:00 PM           Women’s Group

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

Friday: ………………….           5:00 PM           Confirmation

Sunday: ………………….          10:00 AM        Worship

                                                 11:15 AM        Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

The Lutheran Service Book added a bunch of Old Testament personages to the commemorations calendar. I kinda get it.  My assumption is that with the declines in Sunday Schools and general Biblical Literacy they desired to inject something that would give a handle for a pastor to write a paragraph and encourage your personal study.  So on Monday, maybe read a chapter or two of Job.  The middle sections are slog without a group, but the beginning and ending (Chapters 1-2, 38-end) are graspable.  And the are relevant to concerns many have today about the faith in this world.

Cyril and Methodius were brothers in the 800’s. The lived in Thessalonica – the city of the Letter to the Thessalonians – which was part of the Byzantine Empire.  At that time a group of people known as “The Slavs” were often coming into the Empire and the brothers labored to teach the migrants the Christian Faith.  At the invite of a minor prince they would eventually be dispatched to the area of the Slavs itself to nurture and build the church.  They ended up creating the first alphabet and written language for this group of peoples.  We know it today as the Cyrillic Script of Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Turkmen and over 50 other languages or dialects. They translated the bible into this written language.  They also created the liturgy of the Slavic church. It is this bit of history that would create tension.  It was authorized by Pope Adrian II and they continued in the vernacular while the Western Church used Latin everywhere.  Eventually areas that bordered some of the Slavic places, like Jan Hus’ Czechia and Luther’s Germany, also wanted to use more of vernacular in the liturgy and have the scripture in their tongue. The acts of two brothers to preach the gospel continue to have implications to this day.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

The core of the book of Revelation has three great cycles of seven: seals, trumpets and bowls. There are various interpretations, but the one that I’d hang my hat on is that each cycle is a repeat of history from the Ascension to the Final Judgement.  Each cycle with a slightly different focus. In the first two cycles, between the sixth and the seventh happening, there is a pause.  And in that pause there are these passages of hope.  As the chaos of the end hurtles closer and the powers that be know their time grows shorter, the message pauses to remind Christians that they are good.  Our Epistle Lesson (Rev 7:9-17) is from the first of those pauses. It is the vision of the divine election.  No matter what else is happening there are 144,000 sealed. That 144,000 has caused a lot of mischief.  Think of it like 12, the complete number from the old testament, times 12 the complete number from the NT, times 1000 a large complete number.  As Paul would say in Romans, “all Israel will be saved.” They have been chosen by God.  And just to make this clear, that the number is not literal, the vision of the great multitude is given.  “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and languages.”

John, the visionary, gets asked “who are these?” John doesn’t claim to know so the Elder tells him.  ‘These are the ones coming out of the tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.” These are the full number that were sealed before eternity.  The chaos as maelstrom of history were paused so that God could seal his own.  Regardless of what the powers would do, these would be enabled to stand.

And how does this happen in history?  “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water.” Your Baptism in history is the sacramental reality of that election.  You have been lead to the spring of living water.  Likewise Christ has become your shepherd.  You have heard his voice and followed.  And the Father who has given you to the Son from before all time has made it sure that no one is able to snatch you away (John 10). Whatever judgments hit the earth from the seal and trumpets and bowls of wrath, you have been sealed.  The Good Shephed leads you beside still waters and restores your soul.   

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Exodus pt 1
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 16th, 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: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer

Virtual Bulletin – 5/1

May 1st, 2022 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 2nd – May 8th

Monday……………….. .           Athanasius, Confessor

                                                 6:00 PM           LAF

Tuesday……………….            7:00 PM           Elder’s Meeting

Wednesday…………….           Friedrich Wyneken, Missionary

Thursday……………….          Frederick the Wise

                                                 10:00 AM        Bible Study

Friday: ………………….           5:00 PM           Confirmation

Saturday……………….           C.F.W. Walther

Sunday: ………………….          10:00AM         Worship

                                                 11:15AM         Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

The commemorations this week fall into two groups: Those important to Lutheranism and Those to the entire church.  C.F.W. Walther is often called the founder of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.  If you don’t know that story, it really is a fascinating one, and his life is wrapped around it.  If you’ve ever seen his picture you know immediately that the 19th century is a different place. It has always struck me that Walther’s life is almost biblical in its ups and downs. This space isn’t big enough to capture it. Ask me and I’ll tell some of it. If Walther was the organizing force, Wyneken was the outward directed energy.  Arriving in Baltimore from Germany, the already existing Ministerium sent him “West”. He was a missionary to both scattered Germans and to the Native American tribes in Michigan, and he convinced key support in Germany to send more “emergency pastors”.  Again, the full story is beyond this space.  These two were the fist and second Presidents of the LCMS, which this year celebrates its 175 anniversary.  Frederick the Wise is the Prince who protected and probably saved Luther. When Charles V with the Pope had decided to kidnap Luther after Worms, Frederick learned of it and spirited Luther away to Wartburg Castle. His time there was miserable, but the German Translation of the Bible came from that time.

If Walther, Wyneken and Frederick are Lutheran figures, Athanasius is owned by all. The Athanasian Creed, recited on Trinity Sunday, isn’t by him but captures his confession.  When most of the Christian world had turned Arian, the first great heresy of the church contra the Nicene Creed, Athanasius refused to budge. It was Athanasius Contra Mundam – Against the World.  And the world would eventually crumble in the face of Athanasius’ implacable resistance.

What unites all four is a willingness to confess Jesus Christ in the face of worldly pressure and to do the hard things for the sake of the gospel.  Other than Elector Frederick we’d probably think of all of them as prickly. But it was their perseverance that produced character, and character hope.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

Reading through the letters to the churches, the book of Revelation moves the scene to heaven and specifically the Heavenly throne.  John gets a vision of the throne that looks like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) and Isaiah’s (Isaiah 6) visions.  And we are introduced to the “Holy, Holy, Holy” again.  The angels and the living creatures and everything around the throne is singing in glory to the Father, the one who sits on the throne.  “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created (Rev 4:11).”  But Revelation introduces a new movement.  There is a problem in heaven.  There is a scroll that is sealed and nobody is worthy to open it.  This is probably picking up on the scroll from Daniel 12:4 which is the knowledge of the end that Daniel is told to seal up.  The same book appears in Isaiah (29:11) and Ezekiel. You’ll notice the repetition of prophets.  The picture presented here is usually taken to be the end of Ascension Day.  If the first part of Ascension Day we hear in Matthew 28 and Acts 1, this is the picture of what happens in Heaven.  There is now one worthy to open the Scroll, the “Lamb who had been slain with seven horns and seven eyes.” What are those sevens?  That is the Holy Spirit.  This is the anointed with the Spirit Lamb.  And this Lamb in all boldness walks up to the throne of God the Father and takes the scroll from the right hand.  “He was seated at the right hand of the Father.”

And this is the new movement.  When the lamb takes the scroll at the right hand, all those in heaven who had been praising the Father now add a new verse praising the Lamb.  “Worthy in the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might…”. And it is not just the Heavenly realms, but “every creature in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth and in the sea.”  Why is this such a big deal?  Because only God is worshipped, especially in Heaven.  And Heaven is worshipping the Lamb. Our Epistle reading captures this new song of praise.

But the new movement, the new theme, isn’t just that Jesus is God.  That’s important, but it’s the praise of every creature. In Christ God has acted to reclaim and judge his entire creation. And even those under the earth, those whose praise would be grudging, must join in the praise.  Christ has triumphed.  The Lamb sits at the Right Hand of the Father from whence He will come to judge.  And what does that judgement look like?  That’s what’s on the scroll with seven seals that the Lamb is about to open.  The whole purpose of Revelation is so that you know who has won.  It is your brother Jesus. There is no question in this.  All the Kingdoms of this World have become the Kingdom of Our Lord. All the Kingdoms of men and of the powers and principalities that be. You have a champion in a very high place whose “blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe, language people and nation.”

All theology ends in doxology. Everyone joins the praise.  “Amen! And they all fell down and worshipped.”

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Finishing Joseph – End of Genesis
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 2nd, 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: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer

Virtual Bulletin – 4/24

April 24th, 2022 – 2nd Sunday of Easter

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  April 25th – May 1st

Monday……………….. .           St. Mark, Evangelist

                                                 6:00PM             Men’s Group

Wednesday…………….           5:00PM             Confirmation

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

Sunday: ………………….          10:00AM         Worship

                                                 11:15AM         Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

You are supposed to count your blessings, but I usually end up counting failures.  There are enough of those I might get to sleep before I’m done.  One of the big one’s is not booking April 25th for some church activity yearly.  April 25th is the Feast Day of St. Mark the Evangelist, this congregation’s namesake. If I remember right all the St. Mark’s in the area are “daughter churches” of the old main St. Matthew’s in Rochester. The area never got to a St. Luke, or the naming fad has changed to Epiphany or Peace by that time.  But if your church has a Patron Saint name, his or her day should be remembered. Anybody got a good idea?

St. Mark has a lot of interesting stuff. The Lion, that guy up in the corner, is the animal icon associated with Mark.  Why? The “four living creatures” in Rev 4:7 were assigned to the four evangelists, the winged lion to Mark.  There is also an apocryphal story of Mark being fed to the lions, like Daniel, but the lions refusing to eat him.  His gospel starts with “the voice of one crying in the desert” which was analogized as a lion’s roar.  Like with most mascots, if you are early, you get to pick a cool one. And Mark was early.  It is possible he was there in Gethsemane.  The naked young man running away, not very lion-like, is often taken as the author signature. Mark went on the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas, which didn’t end well for him as he quit (Acts 13:13).  Whatever happened, when Paul and Barnabas were preparing to go our the 2nd time, Paul refused to take Mark and the fight was bad enough that Paula and Barnabas split (Acts 15:39). Mark ends up being a helper to Peter (1 Peter 5:13).  His gospel is said to be how Peter told the story.  Compare Peter’s sermon in Act 10:34-42 to Mark’s outline.  And by the end of Paul’s life he is requesting Mark come to him (2 Tim 4:11).  The end of Mark’s life is told as the Bishop of Alexandria and a martyr, the founder of the church in Africa.  Lots of stuff to spark the imagination.  From a mouse that scampered away to a Lion.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

Revelation’s letters to the seven churches (Revelation 1-3) are something that I go back to quite a bit.  Our Epistle lesson (Rev 1:4-18) is the introduction to all of them. You have a longer form of the apostolic greeting.  When I start a sermon I use the short form, “grace to you and peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” We say it so often that the claim in there slips by. If you use a form of the Apostolic greeting you are claiming that what follows is the Word of God.  Now we have all kinds of theology that has placed limits around that.  An Apostle like John was truly sent by Jesus to the world.  We pastors are called to a specific location. But in that time and place, for those gathered in the name of Jesus, that is what the sermon is supposed to be – a personal letter to the congregation in West Henrietta (or Gaspump or Millrun or Springfield) from Jesus.  Sermons float around.  I publish them on our church website.  But absent that invocation of the gathered body, they aren’t quite the same.

John gives us a picture of the Glorified Jesus. And that picture should be both comforting and fear inducing.  Christ standing in the midst of the seven gold lampstands.  The lampstands are the churches.  Christ is always in the midst of his church.  That should be the comforting part.  The fear part is the description.  “His eyes as flames of fire.” I can’t read that anymore with thinking of “laser eyes”. The rest of the description is one full of power and glory.  And this one still has words for us.  Which is why when John sees him the reaction is no longer his friend but “I fell at his feet as though dead.” When we contemplate the power and glory that is an appropriate reaction, and that is the reaction throughout the bible to seeing the holy ones. But The Holy One lays his right hand on his friend and says “fear not.” That is the ultimate message of the entire book of Revelation: Fear Not.  It is not that the future isn’t scary, but that we know who wrote it.  “I am the first and the last…and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Everything we might rightly fear is the hands of the one Crucified for us.

I would be worth you while this week to read the individual letters.  Take one a day.  Is there anything described in any of them that is not still common?  Is the message of the church fundamentally different that what Jesus tells them?  Has the promise changed?  There have been lots of schemes places on the sever letters.  There seems to be a downward drift. But none of them are perfect.  Even the first one, Ephesus, which if you read it will sound like the perfect church, but even Ephesus has “abandoned the love you had at first” and receives the call to repent.  And they receive what might be the scariest warning, “do the works you did at first, or I will come and remove your lampstand.” I’ve often wondered if they get that not because it is not true for everyone, but they just might have the faith to hear and bear it.  Ephesus is not the bruised reed that Philadelphia is.  “I know you have but little power” but Christ is true to his word “I have set before you an open door that no one can shut…hold fast to what you have.”  The Word of God to the churches is different.  The LORD knows our frame.

That is not to say that the law changes.  His words to each church in those regards are blistering.  If a modern day preacher would stand in the pulpit and say things that way “our ears could not hear it.” What it does say is that the Christ of Glory is still the Christ of grace.  It is the devil’s work, the way of the powers and principalities, to have an inflexible system.  It is the glory of God to be gracious. And part of what revelation tells us is that one day we will be delivered from those systems of the powers that be and enter fully into the Kingdom of our Lord.  “Behold, he is coming, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail.”

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Continuing with Joseph Gen 39-41
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – 4th Petition
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 2nd, 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: Promise this will return this week.  (Lord’s Prayer – 4th Petition)

LENTEN CHALLENGE THANK YOU & RESULTS

THANK YOU to all for your generous giving during our Lenten RHAFT Challenge.  We contributed a total of 37 bags full of donations to our local food pantry during the season of Lent!  

Virtual Bulletin – 4/10

April 10th, 2022 – Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  April 11th – April 17th

Monday………………..            6:00 PM           Men’s Group

Tuesday………………..           7:00PM             Elders Meeting (Reschedule)

Wednesday…………….           5:00PM             Confirmation

Thursday……………….          Maundy Thursday

                                                 10:00 AM        Bible Study (Canceled)

                                                 7:00 PM           Maundy Thursday Service

Friday…………………..          Good Friday

                                                 7:00 PM           Good Friday Service

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

Sunday: ………………….          Easter

                                                 8:30AM           Easter Breakfast

                                                 10:00AM         Worship

                                                 11:15AM         Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

This week is Holy Week, the heart of the Christian Calendar. Holy Week starts today with Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem with crowds waving Palms which culminates in the Cleansing of the Temple.  Monday through Wednesday are given to Jesus’ habitation and teaching in that cleansed Temple where he takes on all questioners and ends with his prediction of the Temple and Jerusalem’s destruction.  The glory of God leaves the temple with Jesus Wednesday evening. Going on in the background is preparation for the Jewish Passover. Thursday is Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples from which the church receives its standing observation, the Lord’s Supper. Thursday evening into Friday morning are the arrest, trials and Passion of Jesus ending at Golgotha.  Saturday is something of the forgotten day.  It is captured in the Apostle’s creed as “He descended into Hell.” Tradition calls it the Harrowing of Hell. This requires a more Jewish or ancient understanding of Hell. We take that word merely as the place of punishment which after Holy Week Saturday it is.  But at the time, it was also “Sheol” or the abode of the dead.  Christ in triumph “bursts the gates of brass” and leads out the saints of old to paradise.  All of which leads up to the triumph over death itself on Sunday morning.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

In my sermon prep for the past few weeks there has been on observation by my favorite commentator that I just haven’t been able to fit in.  It is one of those observations that is true and witty but it just didn’t go anywhere.  Jesus probably spoke Aramaic in his daily life.  Aramaic was the universal language of the Near East which was in the process of being supplanted by Greek.  Aramaic is a close cousin of Hebrew and there is pun that the Jews liked.  “Ben” in Hebrew was Son – Ben Hur is Son of Hur. “eBen”, where the “e” is a very quick breath “eh” so it sounds the same, in Aramaic meant stone.  So, when Jesus asks the Chief Priest’s last week about “the stone the builders rejected,” he also asking them about the son the builders rejected.  And remember that Jesus’ favorite term for himself is “The Son of Man”.  Building your life on the rock is also building your life on the son.

So when the Pharisees get mad at Jesus at the Triumphal Entry and tell him to rebuke his disciples, Jesus answers, “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” It hits again.  If “The Sons,” the sons of Abraham, the gathered Jews, are not willing to give praise, then the stones, or the sons will cry out.  God always has his sons, even if he has to make them out of stones.  There is a reason Cephas became Peter, the Rock.

Between Rocks and Sons the Bible maintains a two way metamorphosis. Originally it is our hearts that are hearts of stone and not hearts of flesh.  Originally Christ is the Eternal Son.  The Eternal Son becomes the stone.  Whether that stone is as Paul said a couple of weeks ago the one that followed Israel which Moses struck and water pours fourth, or that stone is the foundation stone, the Son of God has been placed in our midst as our Rock in whom we trust. And we are able to trust in this rock because he has turned our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. He has removed the rock on the grave that stood between temporal us and eternal God. Standing on the Rock we have become sons of God and heirs of eternal life.

Praise is always the proper end of any theology. All theology ultimately breaks down into simple wonder. How does God make sons out of stones? It happens all the time. When the stones cry out.  The Hosannas to the King will be sung, may they also come from our lips.

EASTER BREAKFAST (8:30 AM, Easter Morning)

The Easter Breakfast is coming back this year.  Bring a dish to pass. The Church will provide Coffee, Juice and Bagels.

EASTER LILLIES

Easter Lilies will be ordered from Chase’s Greenhouse. The cost is $9 each. Money can be placed in the Blankenbush mailbox. There is a sign up sheet on the board in the hallway.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Come to service in the evening
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – Third Petition
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  April 18th, 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: In your inbox, look for the email. (Lord’s Prayer – 4th Petition)

RUMMAGE SALE – April 23.

The preschool will start collecting stuff for the rummage sale Friday, April 15th. You can drop anything, except TV’s or Computers, any time that week.

Virtual Bulletin – 4/3

April 3rd, 2022 – 5th Sunday in Lent

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  April 4th – April 10th

Monday………………..            6:00 PM           LAF

Tuesday………………..           7:00PM             Elders Meeting

Wednesday…………….           Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Durer, Artists

                                                 2:30     Confirmation

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

Sunday: ………………….          Palm Sunday/Beginning of Holy Week

                                                 10:00AM         Worship

                                                 11:15AM         Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

The saints the calendar points at this week were artists. Both Cranach and Durer were artists working during the reformation.  If you google their names, up will come several images that you are familiar with. Cranach was a portraitist mostly. Durer was a painter but is probably more famous for his woodcuts which adorned many of Luther’s Works in his lifetime and have continued to show up in books like the Lutheran Confessions ever since. But the point of the saints as those confessions hold is that “we might follow the example of their faith and good works according to our calling (Augsburg Confession 21).” Every vocation or calling is an opportunity to serve both God and our neighbor.  Those vocations are usually the means whereby God gives us and our neighbors our daily bread. The vocation of artist is an odd one. If you are famous, there probably isn’t one more esteemed. Yet parents hearing “I want to be an artist” from their children probably often council otherwise. Yet is there a way more people have received their daily bread than by an artists work? Or what parts of the artists calling might we follow in ours?

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

Philippians 3:8-11, our Epistle lesson, which is presented as a paragraph in our English, is one sentence in the Greek, which is a language that preferred complex compound sentences, like this one. The bad news is that you can loose track of what the writer is talking about.  The good news is that if you are willing to follow the entire argument is laid out.  In this case the Apostle Paul’s prime argument is “I count everything as loss.” That is a radical statement.  How many of us would count everything as loss? We are Americans and even in the midst of loss we usually attempt to spin it as a win.  But the Apostle is clear, it is all worthless.  Why?

First because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.  Anything that is temporal as everything in this world is, is inferior to the eternal.  Knowing the eternal is of surpassing worth.  So what does it mean to know Christ? To know Christ is to be in Christ.  Being in Christ is Paul’s shorthand for a lot of things but here he defines it specifically. To be in Christ is to have His righteousness.  And how does this righteousness come to us?  It comes not by works of the law, but by faith.  Paul doesn’t say that we might not have a temporal righteousness. We are constantly making temporal righteousness judgments.  We call it status. But worldly status is nothing compared to eternal righteousness that comes only by faith.

But why would I want this righteousness?  If it is given by grace could it not be taken away in spite? We all know that one minute we can be in favor and the next minute we are out of favor. Could not God work this way?  The short answer is no, God does not work this way.  He doesn’t work this way because it is tied to his honor.  He has promised his grace through faith in His Son.  To flake out on that would be eternal shame and division in the Godhead. That should be horrifying itself. But the way the Apostle tells it is that he counts everything as loss that he “might know the power of his resurrection…that by any means possible I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.”  Christ is risen which changes everything.  Someone who shares our flesh has been given the eternal.  And the promise is that this life we have been given temporally in Christ we will be given it eternally.  What we today hold on loan, then we will be given as ours. That in Christ likely includes a “sharing of his sufferings, and becoming like him in his death.” The loss of all things is going to happen.  It might happen earlier from following Christ.  It might happen later.  But everything temporal is going to be lost anyway. Paul’s argument ends up being pure logic.  What has changed is that in Christ we are offered something eternal.  Before Christ, sure, rack up as much temporal stuff as possible. It is better than the alternative. But in Christ we might know the resurrection.

I count all things as loss, because Christ is risen, and I too will rise. May the power of the resurrection so capture our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

EASTER LILLIES

Easter Lilies will be ordered from Chase’s Greenhouse. The cost is $9 each. Money can be placed in the Blankenbush mailbox. There is a sign up sheet on the board in the hallway.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Jacob, Leah and Rachel
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – Second Petition
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  April 18th, 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: In your inbox, look for the email. (Lord’s Prayer – 3rd Petition)

RUMMAGE SALE – April 23.

The preschool will start collecting stuff for the rummage sale Friday, April 15th. You can drop anything, except TV’s or Computers, any time that week.

Virtual Bulletin

March 27th, 2022 – 4th Sunday in Lent

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  March 28th – April 3rd

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

Thursday……………….          Joseph, Patriarch

                                                 Beef on Weck Workday

                                                 10:00 AM        Bible Study

Friday…………………..          Beef on Weck Workday

Saturday……………….           Beef on Weck

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

COMMEMORATIONS

The lone commemoration on the church calendar this coming week is Joseph.  Not Joseph from the nativity story, but Joseph from the Old Testament, the son of Jacob and Rachel. The full Joseph story is found in Genesis 37 – 50 and outside of the gospels is the fullest story about a single character in the scriptures. Joseph’s life serves as one of the most complete types of Jesus.  He own family did not accept him.  They sold him into slavery.  Joseph descended into a hell of sorts spending a long time in prison for something he did not do.  But God raised him out of that pit and placed him at the right hand of Pharoah.  The purpose of God in everything that Joseph suffered was so that his family and many family would be saved from a famine.  The Old Testament saints are given to us for our understanding.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

“You will say in that day…”. That is how the Old Testament lesson this week (Isaiah 12:1-6) begins.  What day is the prophet talking about?  You’d have to turn the page back a chapter to chapter 11 which is about the reign of the righteous branch.  In the day that the stump of Jesse shoots forth.  In the day that the Spirit of the Lord rests upon Him.  In the day the wolf dwells with the lamb and the little child leads them.  In the day the lion eats straw like the ox.  In the day that He raises a sign for the nations.  In the day when the remnant comes out as they came out from the land of Egypt.  That day.

Prophetic fulfillments can be talked about as nearer and further fulfillment.  They can also be talked about as lessor and greater.  The most famous prophetic pronouncement is probably from Isaiah 7:14, “behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  If you read that in chapter 7 and imagine the scene, Isaiah is probably pointing at a young woman of the Royal court.  That one, that virgin, will bear a son and that is your sign King.  And that is the nearer or lessor fulfillment.  The further or greater is Mary with Jesus.  This one is the sign that is given to the nations who shall lead the remnant out as he once lead Israel out of Egypt.

In poetic language we get the sense of what that day is in chapter 11, but chapter 12 makes things concrete.  That day is the day the Lord turns from his anger.  That day is the day the Lord comforts me.  That day is the day we give thanks.  I hope that in your life there have been such lessor fulfillments, days the Lord is no longer angry and we know it, days the Lord draws near and comforts.  Days that thanksgiving comes easily from our lips.  There was one day that secured this for the entire world – Good Friday.  There is a day yet to come where it is brought to its fulfillment. And we live in between those days.  We live in days where the reality of that day pokes though the veil that yet covers it.

But even though we live by faith and not yet by pure sight we can be sure of some things of that day.  God is my salvation so we should not be afraid. Christ has triumphed.  The worst the devil and the world can do is send us to be with Jesus.  Today we draw water from the wells of salvation.  Jesus promised to us the living water that bubbles up to eternal life.  Today we receive that living water drawn from the rock pierced for our transgression.  Today we call upon the name of the Lord.  Today we make known his deeds among the peoples. Today we sing praises to the Lord.  We do all these things because today “great in your midst is The Holy One of Israel.” Every Sunday is a lessor fulfillment of that day. Every Sunday we say, “I will give thanks to you, O Lord.”

BEEF on WECK

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.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Continuing with Isaac
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – Introduction & First Petition
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  April 4th, 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: In you inbox, look for the email. (Lord’s Prayer – 2nd Petition)

RUMMAGE SALE – April 23.

The preschool will start collecting stuff for the rummage sale Friday, April 15th. You can drop anything, except TV’s or Computers, any time that week.

WOMEN’S GROUP: Made a donation to the Lutheran World Relief fund for Ukraine Refugees for St. Mark’s.

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!

Virtual Bulletin – 3/20

March 20th, 2022 – 3rd Sunday in Lent

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  March 21st – March 27th

Monday…………………          6:00PM             LAF Zoom

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

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

Friday…………………..          The Annunciation

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

                                                  11:00am           Bible Study

COMMEMORATIONS

Friday, March 25th, is 9 months until Christmas. Why am I thinking of Christmas and 9 months?  Because that is also the date of the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will bare a son and call his name Jesus. The 4th Sunday of Advent tends to be a mini-Annunciation because it fits thematically with that season better.  We are prepared to think about the baby Jesus in December, but the church placed the actual festival day in the roughly real spot.  Being true man it took roughly 9 months to gestate the savior. Luke 1:26ff is the biblical basis, but that is confusing.  It starts “in the sixth month” by which Luke means the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. I’m fascinated by how we reckon time and the theme of the eternal entering the temporal, but the annunciation is full of paradoxes: the angel of the Lord sent to Nazareth, the highly favored one one that would have been the least in the society, a King born to a peasant reclaiming a throne, not to mention a virgin conceiving, and the Son of God becoming the Son of man. Silicon Valley thinks they are chasing the singularity when it has already come.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

The Epistle Lesson for today (1 Corinthians 10:1-13) has a reference to one of the strangest realities in the Old Testament.  And Paul just states it as if it were obvious.  “They drank from the Spiritual Rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”  If you aren’t reading slow what is said is so strange you will just read past it.  The Rock followed them.  Now I suppose if you are being led by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day some rock following you isn’t all that interesting.

The Rock first appears in Exodus 17.  This is right after the Exodus.  Israel has not been to Sinai yet.  But already the demands of this life are causing strife.  We are hungry.  Why have you led us out hear to die when we had everything we ever wanted in Egypt (Exodus 16:3)?  And God provides the manna, the bread from heaven.  Then they have no water and they quarrel. God commands Moses, “I will stand before you there on the Rock, and you shall strike the Rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” How did God stand before them? Theoretically, that pillar of cloud.  And so Moses took the staff and hit the cloud standing before the rock, and then hit the Rock.  God took the punishment Israel’s quarrelsomeness deserved and the water of life flowed. Deuteronomy 32:4 becomes something of a Mosaic refrain as God becomes Israel’s rock, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”

So what happened?  There is a pattern across the books of Moses, especially the book of Numbers.  Israel sins, God pronounces judgement, Moses intercedes for them, and God pardons.  (Take a look at Numbers 11, 14, and 16.) By the time you get to Numbers 20 it has been 40 years in the wilderness.  And for some reason the Rock is no longer giving water and Israel is again grumbling. But the pattern is broken.  God does not pronounce judgment. He simply makes a promise.  Speak to the Rock and it will give its water (Numbers 20:8). But Moses was in no mood to plead for Israel.  He’d had it.  We all do.  That’s when we most need to speak to the Rock.  But he doesn’t.  Moses lifts up his hands and beats the Rock twice. But the Lord’s judgement is not a legalistic point about Moses striking instead of talking.  God says, “because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel (Numbers 20:12).” Moses prior had always had faith in the mercy of God to plead for Israel, to speak to the Rock. And the Rock forgave their iniquity.  But here he lacked the faith to do so. In Deut 32:51 Moses repeats his problem, “because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people.”

Paul says that the Rock was Christ.  He also says that these things took place as examples for us. Christ has born our punishment and from his side flowed the waters that cleansed us in baptism.  There is no sin that he has not atoned for. When we speak to the Rock the waters flow.  Jesus sinners doth receive.  Let us not find ourselves outside of the promised land because we lack the faith to call on Jesus in a dry time.  We all eat the same spiritual food and drink the same spiritual drink. We have all sinned and fallen short.  The Rock of the Church provides for all in abundance.  When we call on him in faith.   

BEEF on WECK

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.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Continuing with Isaac
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer – Introduction & First Petition
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  March 21st, 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: In you inbox, look for the email.

RUMMAGE SALE – April 23.

The preschool will start collecting stuff for the rummage sale Friday, April 15th. You can drop anything, except TV’s or Computers, any time that week.

WOMEN’S GROUP

Made a donation to the Lutheran World Relief fund for Ukraine Refugees for St. Mark’s.

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!

Virtual Bulletin – 3/13

March 13th, 2022 – 2nd Sunday in Lent

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  March 14th – March 20th

Monday…………………          6:00PM             Men’s Group

Tuesday .………………..         7:00PM            Joint Council & Elders

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

Thursday……………….          St. Patrick, Missionary

                                                 10:00 AM        Bible Study

Saturday………………..          St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus

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

                                                  11:00am           Bible Study

COMMEMORATIONS

The St. Patrick that most of us know is the one of Green Beer and an excuse to drink it. And I’m not knocking an excuse to drink a good beer. But, Patrick deserves more than that, because his actual story is as deeply Christian as you can get. Patrick was the son of a British Christian family in the late Roman Empire. Like the Arthurian legends Roman Christian Britain was opposed by the Celtic Irish Pagan.  Patrick was enslaved by a raiding party and for 6 years sent to herd pigs in Ireland. He eventually escaped, returned home and found his way into the priesthood. Patrick then set about returning the island of his captivity to set its residents free from their slavery to idolatry. One of the strongest prayers of the church that we occasionally pray together I’ve always thought was, “bring all transgressors and those blinded and bound in the devil’s kingdom to know Jesus Christ…that the number of Christian might be increased.”  It is a literal praying for our enemies.  Bring these people who are probably against us to faith where I must accept them as my brother.  Patrick didn’t just pray that, he lived it.  The people who enslaved him, he determined to set free, and did.  The saints are staggering.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

The Introit (Entrance) Psalm this week comes mostly from Psalm 74.  In our worship service it cuts off at an interesting and troubling place.  In the midst of the start of our worship the last line is “the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.”  The second week of Lent moves a little deeper into the season’s themes.  If the first week was about temptation and testing, the second week is about confronting the crisis of the Gospel.  The sanctuary has been destroyed.  The specific example that the psalm is contemplating would be the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and David’s City Jerusalem.  But the larger sanctuary would be all of creation.  God made it all “very good.” And the enemy destroyed that goodness in sin.  The greatest thing he destroyed was us.  All of us were born blinded and bound in the Devil’s Kingdom.  I’d encourage taking the bible out and reading the entirety of Psalm 74.  It is a lament both for what we – the natural foes of God – do to this sanctuary.  It is also a cry for remembrance.  God, remember who you are.  Remember the people you have claimed and made promises to, and remember your might from of old that fixed the boundaries of the earth. 

The Gospel is God’s response. God gave us the incarnate Sanctuary of his Son Jesus.  Yes, we tried to destroy that one too, but the Father would not let it. In his might he recalled Jesus from the grave.  Likewise He will recall everyone.  There will be a new Heavens and a New Earth.  A New Jerusalem with Christ as its Temple, a temple made with living stones built on Christ. And already today God has erected a new sanctuary.  One enters this sanctuary through baptism which frees us from Satan’s bondage.  In this sanctuary we hear of God’s gifts for us and how he does remember us. “The downtrodden do not turn back in shame, the poor and needy praise his name (Psalm 74:21)” because in this sanctuary they are given victory over that old enemy who will not prevail against it. 

And yet that Gospel is a crisis. Because you do not earn it.  It is given by grace; it is received by faith.  We sinners who have destroyed every other sanctuary are completely dependent upon the steadfast love of God remembering not our sins but his promises. Promises like what even the prophet of doom Jeremiah says, “Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the LORD your God, and the LORD will relent of the disaster that he has promised. (Jeremiah 26:13).”  God surely does this, but have we received it.  Do we find ourselves in our baptism?  Do we like St. Patrick’s great hymn, “bind ourselves today to the strong name of the Trinity (LSB 604).”  Or are we destroying our own sanctuary that God has swept clean?  It is a crisis because we must walk a road.  We walk “according to the example we have in the apostles and saints (Philippians 3:17)”.  Or we walk as “enemies of the cross of Christ (3:18).” Choose your path wisely, only one has a sanctuary built by God.

POTLUCK/ELDER’s MISSION PRESENTATION

Join us for the Potluck immediately after service

BEEF on WECK

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.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Birth and Sacrifice of Isaac
  • Confirmation: Creed, Article 3, Part 3
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  March 21st, 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!