Virtual Bulletin – 1/17

January 17, 2021 – 2nd Sunday after Epiphany

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

The Apostle Paul is probably quoting a common saying “All things are lawful for me” in 1 Corinthians 6:12. He quotes it again in 10:23 to start another segment. And it is a tempting reaction.  If you have been in a ditch on the legalist side of the road and someone lifts you out of it by proclaiming the grace of Jesus that forgives all sins, you might head immediately to the ditch on the other side of the road.  I can do whatever I want.  State of grace, oh happy, condition, “sin” as I please and still have remission.  The really deep parts of that ditch don’t even call it sin but justify every act as a living out of my gospel freedom.  “All things are lawful for me.”   And notice that Paul walks gingerly here.  He definitely sees the legalist ditch as the more troublesome one.  But he is addressing adults, not children.

With young children you simply tell them “no, don’t do that” or say “here, do this”.  The law is how we learn.  But as we get older those childish legalisms don’t cut it.  And they don’t cut it because the parent loves their child.  They want them to be able to make good decisions without parental training wheels.  In the gospel of Jesus you have been set free from your tutelage under the law.  What the Apostle wants his new adults to understand is that things were made for a purpose.  You have been released from your sins by the gospel for a purpose.  And that purpose is not to fall into the ditch of every distraction that alights on your eyes.  “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.”  Eating is necessary.  Hunger lets us know that we need something.  But giving free reign to the body’s hungers is giving oneself into a new slavery.  “God will destroy both one and the other.”  The body’s hungers are temporal things.  And the adult – the spiritual person in Christ – seeks to align temporal things underneath eternal things.  “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you.”

The way, the road, goes between the two ditches.  We cannot walk the path by checking off laws.  Neither can we follow Christ by confusing temporal desires for eternal ones.  We can only walk as we discern where the Spirit wishes to lead us.  “We are not our own.”  Both those ditches would shout back, “I’m going to do what I want to do.  Everything I do is lawful.”  The narrow way is realizing that God’s map is better, and he leads us beside still waters.  What a child might do because the parents say so, the adult should choose because it is good and right.  May we choose to “glorify God in our body” and not return to a slavery to temporal hungers that impoverish the spirit.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Jan 18th – Jan 24th

Tues. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Monday: ………………   6:30pm    Women’s Group Meeting on Zoom

Tuesday………………… 9:00am     Rochester Pastor’s Circuit meeting

Wednesday: ……………   9:00amConfirmation

                                           7:30pm     Church Council Meeting

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Ezekiel Chapter 19-20
  • Confirmation:  Start The Lord’s Supper
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  January 27th. See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary and on the zoom line.
  • Catechism Moment: How do the daily prayers and table of duties fit into the catechism? Next week.

RHAFT:  Collections for RHAFT are ongoing.  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.  These could include cereals, canned goods (protein items are always in need), flour, and sugar, cooking oil, hygiene products (i.e. soaps, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste & toothbrushes, feminine products) pet and cleaning products.  RHAFT can only accept food items that have not passed the expiration date.

CHRISTMAS ELVES:  Thank you to Jerry Gardner, Mindy, Nancy and Dave Goetz for filling in for Santa’s Elves.  They made quick work of packing up the decorations and storing them in the steeple room.

WOMEN’S GROUP:  Will be meeting on ZOOM on Monday, January 18th at 6:30pm.  Please contact Mindy if you are planning to join us and she will e-mail the Zoom invitation to you. 

2021 Offering Envelopes have now been tucked in your Narthex mailbox.   If you would like them, but are not venturing out, contact the office (585-334-4795).

Virtual Bulletin – 1/10/21

January 10, 2021 – Baptism of Our Lord

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Some of what is said below under the “catechism moment” is duplicated here, but I want to expand.  This week we completed part 1 of the catechism.  If you had a traditional confirmation instruction, that is probably where you stopped.  There are two further sections of Luther’s catechism: the daily prayers and the table of duties.  We will be covering those, but the end of our first cycle of the catechism is in sight.  If the numbers are right the email now goes out to roughly 80 people.  Of those 80, any given week 35 of you open the email.  And that has been pretty consistent.  Some weeks more, never less than 30.  I honestly don’t have an interpretation for those numbers.  What I do have is a sense that an opportunity should be offered, that the point of study and reflection on the catechism is a commitment to living the faith and making this faith mine.

We will be starting afresh with the 10 commandments soon.  The catechism is inexhaustible in that way.  It is a springboard for prayer.  But I would like to offer the chance in worship for anyone who has been studying a chance to reaffirm that “yes, this is my faith”.  In one way we do this every week in the creed.  The smallest part of the faith holds all of it with in.  But it has always bothered me that we “confirm” folks roughly in the 8th grade and then that is it.  The life of faith doesn’t end in the 8th grade.  That should be a start.  And we should occasionally stop and ourselves formally say that “yes, I still confirm this faith and confession.”  So, if you have been following along with our study and would like such a chance, please let me know.  I’m thinking of two things.  Ritually, those who would desire we’d walk through the confirmation rite again, p272 in the hymnal. It is a chance to publicly confess the faith and one’s intention to live it.  Also, I don’t do this with 8th graders because I don’t think they have lived enough for it to be meaningful, but with adults I am of a different mind.  If there is anyone who would like to share a personal testimony of why this is their faith, please contact me.

I would like to incorporate this as a rhythm to our corporate life together.  We started this cycle Dec 4th, 2019, so it takes about a year to walk through the catechism one segment a week.  After each cycle, we will offer this opportunity.  In Matthew 10, right after telling the crowds “the divine duh” – to have no fear because you are worth more than many sparrows – Jesus says, “So everyone who confesses me before men, I also will confess before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”  I think that such a roughly yearly opportunity could be a valuable source of renewal and mutual strengthening.  So again, please let me know.

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

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Wednesday: ……………   9:00amConfirmation

                                           7:00pm     LAF

                                           7:30pm     Church Council Meeting

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Ezekiel Chapter 18
  • Confirmation:  Continue with “The Office of the Keys”
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Resuming January 13th (studying patience). See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary and on the zoom line.
  • Catechism Moment: We finished the “first part” of the catechism this week.  If you had a traditional confirmation, that is probably where you stopped.  But Luther’s catechism has two other sections.  They are both in the little booklet we’ve been using (you can still grab them, or contact us and we will send you one).  Daily Prayers & Table of Duties will be looked at next.  Then we will cycle back around.  The catechism is something that is inexhaustible.  But when we are finished, I have a question for everyone.  If you have been reading along and you would like to renew your confirmation, please let me know.  I’ve been thinking that every time we go through it completely, I would add something to our worship service to mark the occasion. Let me know.

RHAFT:  Collections for RHAFT are ongoing.  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.  These could include cereals, canned goods (protein items are always in need), flour, and sugar, cooking oil, hygiene products (i.e. soaps, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste & toothbrushes, feminine products) pet and cleaning products.  RHAFT can only accept food items that have not passed the expiration date.

CHRISTMAS ELVES:  Thank you to Jerry Gardner, Mindy, Nancy and Dave Goetz for filling in for Santa’s Elves.  They made quick work of packing up the decorations and storing them in the steeple room.

WOMEN’S GROUP:  Will be meeting on ZOOM on Monday, January 18th at 6:30pm.  Please contact Mindy if you are planning to join us and she will e-mail the Zoom invitation to you. 

2021 Offering Envelopes have now been tucked in your Narthex mailbox.   If you would like them, but are not venturing out, contact the office (585-334-4795).

Virtual Bulletin – 12/27/20

December 27th, 2020 – 1st Sunday in Christmas

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Joshua Gibbs – writer/teacher – compiled an interesting book of essays on Christmas called “The 25th”.  The first essay addresses “The Christmas Season”.  It posits a strange future where we are visited by aliens.  These aliens are nice ones, no Star Wars.  And they largely find earth to be an entire planet of the French Riviera.  They come to earth about the same time every year give or take a couple of days, and they collectively leave almost immediately at the end of a month.  They have their own music, dress and food.  And we earthlings collectively for that month adopt their ways.  First it pays to do so, and second their culture is different.  Ours is mostly about that first category, it pays.  How can we acquire things?  Theirs is a gift economy.  They live to give things away.  And they want to make people happy by what they give.

Ok, even with my bad summary you can probably see the thin imaginary for the Christmas Season.  We are visited by something that starts give or take a day soon after Thanksgiving, and it ends every year on Jan 2nd.  (And yes, I’m a hold out, it shouldn’t end until Jan 6th, Epiphany.) We dress differently, we eat differently, our radio stations change formats, and we look for gifts.  Why?  Or maybe more insightful, why has our regular acquisitive culture not been able to commoditize and spread out the Christmas season? Why if I served Egg Nog for July 4th would people look like I’d done something terrible?  Everything else in our culture has been commoditized and spread out, why not Christmas?

Mr. Gibbs, I think rightly, does not jump immediately to Christ.  Because I think he is right, it is not like the birth of Christ has an exclusive claim to our Christmas season.  It is too paganized, and maybe always has been, for that.  But he doesn’t banish the Christ child either.  Why not Christmas year-round?  Holy things are things set apart.  A commodity can’t be holy.  And in the Christmas season, we recognize our last holy thing.  Serving Egg Nog, as good as Nog is, for July 4th would be stealing the holy things.  And no, Egg Nog itself is not holy, but we are talking poetically here.  There are always moments that we become aware that we are treading on Holy ground.  And even our acquisitive culture in full raucous commercialization realizes something Holy about the Christmas Season.  Something that we can’t have all the time, but that while it has been gifted to us, we should enjoy it.  And if we recognize the child whose Spirit comes down and blesses the time, so much the better.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Dec 28th – Jan 3rd

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…   NO Preschool

Wed……………………..   NO Confirmation (2 Week School Vacation)

Thursday: ……………….  NO Bible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Off for two weeks.
  • Confirmation:  Off for two weeks for school vacation.  Pick up with confession after.
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Resuming January 13th (studying patience). See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary and on the zoom line.
  • Catechism Moment: Watch your inbox.  The Sacrament of the Altar – part 3.

RHAFT delivery update:  We delivered 67 bags to RHAFT over the past six weeks! Thank you, members of St. Mark, for your generosity and willingness to help those less fortunate.

Virtual Bulletin – 12/20

December 20th, 2020 – Advent 4

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

It is a fancy word – covenant – that isn’t used much anymore.  We tend to use contract. Contracts are more easily broken. They are just contained within the four corners of the page.  A covenant, at least the old ones, were signed in blood. An English covenant may not have been signed with blood, but it came with a seal. The honor of the house signet stood behind it.

In the Old Testament there are technically four covenants. There is the covenant with Abraham where God promises him a land and descendants as numerous as the stars. There is the covenant of Sinai where God tells Israel keep these commandments and you will live.  Which of course Israel broke almost immediately making a Golden Calf. There is a covenant with Noah. That one reflects a bit of both. God promises he won’t flood mankind again. The seasons will continue in their course until the end.  But God also grants mankind meat in exchange for ethical slaughter of the animals. And the fourth covenant is the one with David.  “Your throne shall be established forever.”  The distinction that runs through all of them is if the covenant is one sided, God promises to do something, or if it is reciprocal, God will do something if Israel does something.  Abraham, David and the first part of Noah are pure promise of God.  Moses and the second part of Noah are conditional.

And why this is important is because when God creates a covenant, he keeps it.  The world has never again been flooded wiping out everything.  The seasons have continued beyond our human historical record.  God brought Israel, the descendants of Abraham, out of Egypt and gave them a land.  This was a miraculous fulfillment, although we would not hold it to be the final fulfillment.  As Hebrews says, “they saw the fulfilment from a distance. They desired a city whose builder was God. They desired a better country, a heavenly one.  So God prepared for them a city.” And long after the Davidic dynasty was a historical curiosity, God put an heir of David on the eternal throne – the one at the right hand of the Father.  “Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.”  And He sealed these covenants with His blood.

We are heirs of these covenants.  We have the advantage of having seen more of them fulfilled in Jesus.  The “mysteries that were kept secret for long ages have been revealed to all nations.”  But we are also like Abraham, longing for their final great fulfillment.  The mysteries have been revealed “to bring about the obedience of faith.”  God has given us his promise.  Unlike in the past where the questions might have been what kind of God is this and who his covenants are for, today those are answered in Christ.  He is love; they are for you and for your children.  The only question is do we receive them?  Do we say “Let it be to me, according to your word?”

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

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…   NO Preschool

Wed……………………..   NO Confirmation (2 Week School Vacation)

Thursday: ……………….  NO Bible Study

                                            6:50pm    Special Christmas Eve Prelude

                                            7:00pm    Christmas Eve Service

Friday: …………………  9:00am    Christmas Morning Service

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Off for two weeks.
  • Confirmation:  Off for two weeks for school vacation.  Pick up with confession after.
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Resuming January 13th (studying patience). See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary and on the zoom line.
  • Catechism Moment: Watch your inbox.  The Sacrament of the Altar – part 3.

RHAFT delivery update:  We delivered 67 bags to RHAFT over the past six weeks! Thank you, members of St. Mark, for your generosity and willingness to help those less fortunate.

Virtual Bulletin – 11/29

November 29nd, 2020 – Advent 1

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Advent this year is going to be a little different.  We won’t be having the children’s program.  Instead, since Advent has all the best hymns, and we can’t typically get them all in, Advent 4 is going to be a special Advent Carols service.  The Old Testament lessons are all from Isaiah this year which I’m going to take as the sermon texts.  Which leaves the Gospel texts for this space.

Advent 1’s gospel text is always Palm Sunday.  Sorry for the physics analogy, but the themes of advent are like a quantum superposition waiting to be resolved.  The King has both come and not yet come.  The people of God have both seen the fulfillment of his coming and still wait with eager expectation.  We have seen the King come humbly riding on a donkey surround by people shouting hosanna.  We have not yet seen the King come in power riding the clouds with saints and angels crying out.  As Zechariah says he will have righteousness and salvation.  We have received his righteousness through faith.  We await his salvation when death will be no more.

The people of God – Israel – has always been a people of Hope.  He told them to go find the colt, and they went, and found it just as he said. They hailed the coming Kingdom of our father David, not knowing exactly what that meant, but hoping.  We are still a people of Hope.  He desired us to go and find His lost sheep, and the church has gone, and found them just as he said.  We hope for the coming Kingdom, not knowing exactly that means, but knowing that it is centered on Jesus – the one who comes in the name of the Lord, hosanna.  So much happens in this life that we don’t control or even understand.  We ride into this life humbly, and we are taken out as Luther said as beggars. Yet what Advent places before us in our weakness, is the strength of the promises of God.  Our Hope was never in the might of an earthly king, nor in an earthly temple with earthly priests to make sacrifice.  Our Hope was always in this one, rejected by the earthly Jerusalem but enthroned in the middle of the heavenly Jerusalem; convicted by priests of the old temple, yet made the cornerstone of the new, the great high priest.  Our Hope rests in his coming righteousness and salvation.  On the day when the true city comes down with mighty stride.  On that day when we can observe and see, and the superposition of hope is resolved in the fulfillment of all the ages.  May we see that day with Hosanna’s on our lips.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Nov 30th – Dec 6th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…   9:00am   Preschool

Tuesday: ………………..  7:00pm   Board of Elder’s Meeting

Wednesday: ……………  9:00am Confirmation

                                          7:00pm    LAF

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

Sunday: ………………….  10:00am   Worship

                                            11:00am  Congregational Meeting

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Will return this coming week in Ezekiel
  • Confirmation:  Return on Wed starting with the section on Baptism
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  is next meeting on Wednesday, Dec 2nd 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: Will return this week on the Sacrament of the Altar. Watch your inbox.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD Thank you to all who helped with St. Mark’s leg of the shoebox journey.  And Thank you to the congregation for putting up with the clutter for a week. We collected 1252 shoeboxes.  Slightly down from last year, but still more than two years ago.  Not bad for everything going on.  The entire region (basically Monroe County plus some) collected just under 16,000 boxes.

CHRISTMAS DECORATING:  Like most things during this year of Covid we need to rethink how to accomplish Christmas decorating at St. Mark.  After some discussion this is how we are going to attempt to safely proceed with this task …

Jerry (Gardner) and an Elf or two will bring the decorations down from the steeple room on Sunday (11/29) after service.

This year we will only be putting up the following decorations:

    1. Christmas tree in the Sanctuary, decorated of course

    2. candles on the window ledges

    3. Manger on the round table in the Narthex

We will NOT be having a decorating party or serving food.  We would like 3 teams (preferably two or three people on a team that live together or socialize together on a regular basis).  You may come in to decorate at any time during the week as long as the work is done by Saturday afternoon (12/5) so Jerry and his Elves can put the boxes etc. back in the Steeple room.  This is a first come first serve project, so if you would like to do a specific task please let Mindy know as soon as possible.  We are not using our traditional sign-up so it is necessary to contact Mindy by phone or e-mail.

CHRISTMAS POINSETTIA ORDERS:  Please contact the office if you would like a poinsettia this year.  We will have a sign-up sheet, but…taking the positive step of contacting us will be helpful.  The cost will be: $8.00

CONGREGATIONAL MTG:  December 6th/Final Vote

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.

Virtual Bulletin – 11/22

November 22nd, 2020 – Last Sunday of the Church Year

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

In our Thursday bible study we haven’t read to Ezekiel 34 yet, but our Old Testament text echoes many parts of what we have read.  The larger people of Israel don’t escape the prophet’s call for repentance, but throughout the Lord’s great problem is with the leaders of his people.  Their priests practice idolatry in the Temple.  Their prophets proclaim peace, when the destruction of Jerusalem is around the corner.  The King’s counselors are out to make a buck, along with every hustler hawking magic amulets and scarves.  And the King? Absent, a non-entity.  The result is that the people themselves are lost.  But the Lord promises a remnant.

And on that day, “Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out…I will rescue them from all the places they have been scattered.”  And the greatest promise?  “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep.”  The King will no longer be absent, but will be the good shepherd.  And the actions of the good shepherd?  “Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep.”

There is definitely good in such a judgement.  It is something to look forward to. Honest scales and true justice, there is a reason the next to the last words of Revelation are “Amen, Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”  And I think the lack of that true King, the good judge, is what often drives our discontents. There is a reason why the word “justice” is popular.  But maybe it is the Lutheran in me that pauses at outright rejoicing.  Looking for the judge is looking for the law. And the law always finds some way to condemn us.  We probably focus too much on the division of the fat and the lean, and miss what comes after.  The story doesn’t end there.  That is just beginning of the Kingdom which does not end.  “I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them.”  The wounds are bound and healed.  Justice is proclaimed.  And the work of the Kingdom continues into eternal life.  The Prince is among them, no longer absent or a non-entity.  The final words of Revelation aren’t that clear and good desire for justice; they are “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.”  May we all suffer here with Christ, that we might share in that Kingdom.  May we not tire of running the race as prey now, that then “we shall no longer be prey”.    

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

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…    NO Preschool

Monday ………………..  11:00am   O.C.C. Shoebox Collection closes

Wednesday: …………….  7:00pm   Thanksgiving Eve Service

Thursday: ………………  Thanksgiving

                                             NO Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….  10:00am   Worship

                                            11:00am   Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: No bible study on Thanksgiving
  • Confirmation:  Thanksgiving break.  We will pick up with baptism next week
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  is next meeting on Wednesdays, Dec 2nd 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: Finished Confession and the Keys this week.  Sacrament of the Altar next

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD as of Friday afternoon St. Mark has filled 57 shoeboxes and collected more than 700 boxes from the community to pack in cartons.  The cartons will be loaded onto a rented U-haul truck and taken to a location in Webster where they will be joined by other cartons and transferred to a semi-truck for the next leg of the journey.  Pastor Brown would appreciate assistance today (Sunday) in loading the U-haul. Thank you to all who helped with St. Mark’s leg of the journey.

CONGREGATIONAL MTG:  December 6th/Final Vote

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.

Week 4 – Nov. 22:  BOXES

(cereals, granola bars, oats, boxed potatoes, macaroni and cheese mixes, pasta, crackers,  “Hamburger Helper”, stuffing mix, rice…)

Virtual Bulletin – 11/8

November 8th, 2020 – 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom (NEW!): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Over the last year or so, the Thursday morning study has been reading the minor prophets – like Amos – and then moving into a long complex one, Ezekiel.  The themes of these prophets are all remarkably the same: repent for the Day of the Lord comes, rend your hearts and not your garments and do the things the Lord delights in.  And these prophets get specific about the sins and who is committing them.  They name names as it were, and nobody escapes.  The only difference is roughly where in time they sit.  The books in our bibles are arranged in presumed time order, with one complication.  The earlier books are not quite as strident in tone or as dismissive.  The later books are caustic with hope turning to some distant future.  The one complication is that Amos is a prophet sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel which falls more than a century before the Southern Kingdom.  So Amos is at the fever pitch well before the ones that follow.

The other wrinkle is that Amos was not one of the club.  He was “neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but a keeper of fig trees.”  So when God calls him, you can feel the passion underneath.  He has no family or conflicting motives in what he says.  He might even “want to watch it burn.”  And at least for me reading these books, the great discomfort has been how much I can associate with them.  With many biblical books, there is distance between our situation and those they address.  These prophets feel like contemporaries.

Amos’ preaching in Chapter 5 is focused on the status of the heart versus the exterior life.  The Day of the Lord is coming, and as our Church year turns toward its end, we turn to contemplation of that.  So did religious life in Israel.  Sukkot, the end times festival, precedes Rosh Hashanah, the new year.  And the Northern Kingdom of Israel was rich.  Their wealth covered all the external needs of the religion.  They had their solemn assemblies.  They went to temple and made all their burnt offerings.  Their psalms were sung with gusto.  They were sure of their status.  The Day of the Lord would deliver them.  But Amos tells them “you abhor the one who speaks truth, you trample on the poor and exact taxes from him, to build houses and vineyards – you shall not dwell in them.” Their outward piety belied inward unbelief, and unchanged heart.

“Woe to you who desire the Day of the Lord, why would you have it?  It is darkness not light.”  And in a very funny quip, “it is as if a man fled from a Lion and a bear met him.” We expect God to provide comfort.  And this he does in Jesus Christ.  But have we welcomed Him?  Have we sought the Lord where and when he may be found?  Or have we just assumed he’s there for us, and done what we like?  This is not works righteousness.  You will not be saved by what you do.  But it is a question, who do you fear, love and trust the most?  The Day is Coming.

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

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…   8:00am   Preschool

Monday: ……………….   1:00pm   O.C.C. Shoebox packing

                                            6:00pm    Men’s Club meeting

Tuesday: ……………….   6:00pm   O.C.C. Shoebox packing

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

Sunday: ………………….  10:00am   Worship

                                            11:15am  Budget Presentation

BIBLE STUDIES

  • 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 18th 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 Office of the Keys and Confession

WOMENS GROUP:  During our meeting this week we agreed to spend some of our Spring Beef on Weck profits in the following ways … 

    $400 … donation to the Organ Fund

     $200 … Community Lutheran to assist with their holiday endeavors

     $200 … direct Congregational support

     $100 … Calvary Food Cupboard

    ? … looking into adopting a RHAFT family for Christmas

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. 

MEN’S CLUB MEETING:  The Men’s Club is meeting at St. Mark in person on Monday, November 9th at 6pm.  Please sign up on the bulletin board if you plan to attend.

Operation Christmas Child Collection Week:  Collection week is Nov. 16-23.  Please sign-up and volunteer to “man the booth” which will be open for 3 hours a day.  I’m putting up volunteer sheets for 1-hour slots.  Please consider helping in this.  (You may bump ‘Mindy’ on any day.)

CONGREGATIONAL MTGS:  November 15th/Budget Presentation  &  December 6th/Final Vote

Virtual Bulletin – 11/1

November 1st, 2020 – All Saints

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom (NEW!): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

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

Sunday afternoon, hopefully after a nap and some football, I usually take out the bulletin for the following week.  The hymns, liturgy and the like have usually been planned at least a few weeks prior.  Long standing tradition in the church is that the Gospel reading is the text of the sermon, so that is usually the hymn key.  But my work on that Sunday afternoon is to start thinking how would I preach each of these texts: Old Testament or First Reading, Epistle or Gospel.  I usually try and take in each lesson in one of two ways.  The first to me is a Lutheran Theology way in four parts.  What is our human trouble that the text is presenting?  This is the law teaching.  How does the scripture tell us Jesus addresses our trouble?  This is the gospel teaching.  And then, how do those law and gospel teachings become reality in our lives?  My second method is something much older, but also something that I’ve found to be maybe not quite as reductionistic.  What does the literal text say and do?  That is the field the sermon will play on, the boundary lines.  How is Christ taught in this or what is the Christology?  The scriptures teach that all the law, prophets and writings spoke about Him, so we need to find Christ in it or we have missed the meaning.  This is usually the good news for right now.  Then that boundary and Christology lead to the question: How shall we live?  There is usually a moral teaching or in preaching what becomes the exhortation.  The final question is one of eschatology.  How fulfilled is the promise of this teaching?  What is now and what is not yet?

Preachers of past centuries would have often had other services such as a Vespers or Sunday evening or a Wednesday Service or even a daily service at which their work in preparing for Sunday prime could be used.  If the Gospel was given pride of place in Sunday morning, the Epistle might be for vespers and the OT reading for Wednesday (or just a catechetical service, a reading from the catechism).  COVID’s changes to our regular rhythms have afforded a chance, if a modern twist on it, to bring some of that back.  The Catechism moment which I try to email out on Wednesdays is that the midweek catechetical service.  And this expanded weekly meditation I have been using to address one of the texts that is not the Sunday sermon text.  Since most of you get it on Friday in the email, it is something of a Vespers for the work week.  Or if you take the paper copy home after Sunday it might be the evenings Vespers.  At the same time I’m pondering next week’s texts, you could be putting this weeks to bed.

This week, All Saints Celebration, I’m leaving the beatitudes for your consideration.  Sunday morning you’ll hear Revelation from the pulpit.  Which leaves the epistle, which is one of the sweetest short readings in the scriptures.  What is the trouble in the text?  The World does not know us, because it did not know Him.  The world works according to its own laws, or it tries to.  The best mourners can hope for is acceptance.  The meek shall get an eternal boot to the face.  The merciful will get stabbed in the back.  But the Kingdom of God does not work that way. And those who attempt to live in the Kingdom of God, the world just doesn’t recognize other than as fools.  But Christ has overcome the world and all its rules – the greatest of those rules being that the dead stay dead.  Christ is risen, “and when he appears we shall be like him.”  For this reason, that we have been joined with Christ in baptism into his death, and so shall also rise with him, we are truly the Children of God.  He is the Son of God and we shall be like Him.  And so children, “see what kind of love the Father has given to us.”  The Kingdom is yours. “We are God’s children now, but what we will be has not yet appeared.”  Now, we live in the midst of the world that does not comprehend. It didn’t comprehend Him, neither does it recognize his brothers and sisters.  But, you are his brothers and sisters.  And soon we will all “see him as he is.”  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  And you have been purified in your hope.  “Everyone who thus hopes in him is purified.”  The Holy Spirit has taken residence in your heart and made is a quiet chamber kept for him.  You shall see Him as he is.  In our flesh we shall see God.  

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Nov 2nd – Nov 9th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…   8:00am   Preschool

Tuesday: ……………….   7:00pm   Board of Elders Meeting

Wednesday: ……………   7:00pm   LAF

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

Sunday: ………………….  10:00am   Worship

                                            11:15am   Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • 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.

WOMENS GROUP:  During our meeting this week we agreed to spend some of our Spring Beef on Weck profits in the following ways … 

                                                            $400 … donation to the Organ Fund

                                                            $200 … Community Lutheran to assist with their holiday endeavors

                                                            $200 … direct Congregational support

                                                            $100 … Calvary Food Cupboard

                                                              ? … looking into adopting a RHAFT family for Christmas

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.

MEN’S CLUB MEETING:  The Men’s Club is meeting at St. Mark in person on Monday, November 9th at 6pm.  Please sign up on the bulletin board if you plan to attend.

Operation Christmas Child Collection Week:  Collection week is Nov. 16-23.  Please sign-up and volunteer to “man the booth” which will be open for 3 hours a day.  I’m putting up volunteer sheets for 1-hour slots.  Please consider helping in this.

CONGREGATIONAL MTGS:  November 15th/Budget Presentation  &  December 6th/Final Vote

Virtual Bulletin – 10/25

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 (NEW!): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

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

BIBLE STUDIES

  • 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