and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Attention Sunday School Parents: To allow families and Sunday School teacher to attend Easter Sunday Sunday,
there will be NO Sunday School class on Easter Sunday, April 9.
Sunday Fellowship Time
April 2 Palm Sunday – Debbie Fallon and Wendy McCall
There will be fellowship time on Easter between services.
Friday April 7th – Easter Sunday – Prayer Vigil.
We ask you to join Pastor Brenda and the Grace Prayer Team for an Easter Prayer Vigil from Friday April 7th at 8:00pm through Saturday April 8th at 12:00 pm ending at 12:30 am EASTER MORNING April 9th.
A sign-up sheet will be available.
A person can sign up for one 30-minute time or one hour time.
A person may sign up to pray more than one or two times.
A person may sign up to pray at Grace or at home.
For security purposes, special arrangements are being made for those wishing to pray at Grace.
We hope to offer live prayer via FB at certain times throughout the Vigil.
Special resources will be available for prayer whether a person is praying at Grace or at home.
Thursday May 4th – National Day of Prayer
Worship Opportunities for Holy Week
Pastor Brenda and the Worship and Music Committee invites members to services during Holy Week that will end with Easter Sunday services at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
A Maundy Thursday service will be held at 7 p.m. on April 6. During the service you will be introduced to the disciples at the Last Supper and the altar will be stripped in preparation of Good Friday. Communion will be served.
On Good Friday services will be held at noon and at 7 p.m. The Passion Story will be read at the noon service and the 7 p.m. service will be a Tenebrae service.
We can prepare our hearts and minds for Easter by hearing about the events in Jesus’ life leading up to his resurrection.
The study of scripture, almsgiving, prayer, fasting, and Christian service are some of the traditional pillars or disciplines of the Lenten season.
The goal of these disciplines is to strip away spiritual flabbiness in preparation for a renewal of our commitment to Jesus Christ and the Church made when we celebrate the resurrection and its promises at Easter, promises given to each of us in Baptism.
The vocation to which we are called when we are baptized is to do the will of God–nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. The residual effects of original sin—things such as pride, envy, greed, anger– constantly threaten to undermine that vocation by taking our focus away from where it should be. Lent calls us to conversion, a radical reorientation of one’s life away from sin and evil and back toward God.
Almsgiving can be a part of this conversion. Almsgiving is money or goods given to the poor as an act of faith and trust. It orients us away from ourselves and toward others, and it can help turn us back in trust to God.
Almsgiving helps others, and that effect can be easy to see and understand. But the greatest benefactor of almsgiving is the person who does it. It takes faith to let go of our safety nets. We are protective of our time, how we use our energy, and we hold on to our hard-earned money. While the desire to do good prompts many to be generous, there is a difference between giving from one’s surplus and the trust in God that genuine sacrifice demands.
Trust in God was once described in these terms: A man is climbing the face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Near the top he slips. None of the safety devices work. He plunges toward the valley floor more than a thousand feet below him. Somehow he manages to grab a small tree, little more than a stump, growing out of a crack in the rock face of the mountain. Clinging to that root, and desperate, he thinks of God. He begins to pray: “Lord, save me, please, save me.” He hears the voice of God. God says, “Do you really want me to save you?” “Yes! Yes! Please save me.” “OK,” God says, “Let go of that root and I’ll catch you.”
That is trust. It is the quality of trust that marks the difference between giving out of our surplus and true sacrifice. Trust is an essential part of almsgiving. It orients us away from ourselves—toward others and back toward God, trusting that God will continue to provide for us even as we seek to help provide for others our of our abundance.
Almsgiving is one of the disciplines of the Lenten season precisely because it demands that we put our trust in God rather than the most basic safety nets we have: our money, our time, and our energy. Almsgiving is the root sticking out of our El Capitan.
Opportunities to show our trust in our God in this way abound. The poor and disadvantaged are in every community, urban as well as rural. Governmental agencies make some provisions for these people. It is our taxes that fund the governmental agencies and many of the programs that provide for the poor and disadvantaged. So, the person who pays taxes, if they spiritualize it, could claim they are meeting the call for almsgiving, at least in some minimal way.
As Christians, we have been schooled—to various degrees–in opportunities to exercise the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The spiritual works of mercy include instructing, admonishing, consoling, comforting, forgiving, and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.
There are those among us who engage in these “works of mercy” in inspiring fashion. Sometimes we volunteer for these activities; sometimes they are simply thrust upon us. They are part of our vocation. If spiritualized, they too are expressions of almsgiving. I am deeply moved by those among us who volunteer their time and energy to work with the homebound, the elderly, and the sick. Many give to the food pantry or other worthy agencies. Others are engaged in hands-on efforts. Grace Lutheran Church has many people wo give of themselves in this way, living out both our congregation’s mission and our call as followers of Christ.
During Lent, we are called to take a look at our life of faith. Taking that look and taking it seriously makes Lent more meaningful; it gives it depth and gives our Lenten journey the potential to have a lasting effect on us and on our relationship with God. Given that, it is easy to see that almsgiving needs attention. The corporate offering we take during worship is a liturgical form of almsgiving. Perhaps a person could say that the weekend or Wednesday Lenten offering fulfills their obligation to give alms. But there is a need to rise above that minimal level. Various Grace offerings provide an opportunity to engage in direct almsgiving; for example, bringing food for the pantry or supplies for personal needs, or money for a specific effort.
Monetary offerings are often the most difficult to talk about. Our money and how we use it is deeply personal, and open discussion of it can be off-putting to some. However, the reality is that this aspect of almsgiving plays an integral role in the mission of the Body of Christ and the mission of Grace Lutheran Church. Without gifts of money, mission and ministry suffer. Without mission and ministry, the Gospel cannot be proclaimed as robustly in the world.
Gail and I believe our monetary offerings are a vital way we give back to God and show our trust in God. During Lent, we increased our financial offerings by 50% as part of our Lenten discipline. When Lent is over, we will return to our “regular” amount, but with an additional 10%. I share that with you only out of sense of fellowship and community. How you and your family choose to give is for your prayerful consideration, but I would encourage you to consider how even a 1% or $5 additional weekly offering might enable us to engage in the mission and Gospel proclamation that is Grace’s rich legacy.
May God give us the grace to see that what we do is a response to what has already been done for us … and may we give reflectively and joyfully of our blessings!
Peanuts and Blood
We are talking the REAL Peanuts!
The theme for Blood Donations in April is “Give Blood -Be Cool” from Peanuts (the cartoon).
We are fast approaching Wednesday April 19th and our Spring Drive!
The Red Cross will be giving out a T-shirt with the Peanuts theme on it that day.
So come and join the COOL PEOPLE GIVING BLOOD AT GRACE!
The time is 1-6 and we have openings! You may schedule on the Red Cross Web or call Gretchen to schedule 419-944-5166.
Behind the scenes at Grace!!!! By Gretchen
- The daffodils are open in the courtyard!! So sunny warm days are not far off!
- Have you ever found the most wonderful “thing” at a Garage Sale?? You may not want your “thing” anymore but just imagine how perfect that “thing” may be for someone??? So don’t forget to bring those “things” in for the Youth Rummage Sale! These rainy days are the perfect days to go through “things”!
- We shall have no more roof leaks due to it being fixed and our gutter man was here to clean this last week! The recent wind has contributed to gutters full of pine needles and twigs. However if you should witness or experience any water that is more than what a few paper towels to wipe up -there is a hugeamongous (but not heavy) industrial vacuum in the basement across form the office that can be used to sweep up.
- The “Yellow Box” is back. Pastor’s Yellow Box was given to Turner Sattler to bring back with his treasurers. There are some rules about the box per Pastor – “no slimy things, no stinky things, no live things including baby sisters or brothers or pets, nothing that bites, and nothing that pops out”. Can’t wait to see what Turner treasures?
- Remember : Grace is not the pine needles, roof , or plumbing but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!
Security Camera Update!
We are fast approaching the halfway mark! For the safety of all -visitors, staff, and the building we hope to be able to schedule installation the end of April or beginning of May. Special gifts for the cameras can be designated on your offering envelope or sent into the office. If you have any questions please see or call members of the Task Force.
Thank you to all who have given for recognizing the importance of keeping Grace a safe place to be!
Task Force: Gretchen Hiatt, Rick Sharp and David Charvat
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Could these be a different kind of Poison!! HMM?
WOW – every color of the rainbow and these are not M&M’s or Skittles!
Medications can become poisonous if not taken correctly.
Are you taking yours properly?
- Check that you’re taking the correct medications. Double check your instructions.
- Check that the medication has not expired especially if this is one you do not take on a regular basis. As medication ages it can become weaker so that inhaler may not work if you need it, or it can change and become harmful.
- Follow the label Instructions. Some medications are to be taken with food, some not, and some at specific times of the day.
- Do not mix different types of pills in a bottle to save time and space.
- Do not leave bottles with their lids off or loose. This will be the time when one or more fall on the floor or down the sink or a child can get into it . If having trouble with lids talk with your pharmacy about easy to remove lids.
- Check that all the pills in the pill bottle look the same. Sometimes a Pharmacy may change a manufacture for your medication and the color, size or shape may change -check with your pharmacist if you see this.
- Never take medications in the dark.Turn on the light and check it is the right medication and right dose. If you need glasses to read put them on to double check! Remember the thing about a person not wearing their glasses and not paying attention and brushing their teeth with arthritis cream instead of toothpaste! That was yucky tasting, but the wrong medication could cause serious harm.
- Never! Never! Take another person’s medications no matter how tempting. If it was not prescribed for you, it could have serious consequences. Take only the medications prescribed for you!
- When kids are around make sure medications are out of reach. Pain medications , medications for anxiety and depression should be kept in a cabinet or place that is secure.
- Avoid taking medication in front of little kids as they often what to mimic what adults do. Never call medicine “candy”.
- Review your medications with your MD at least once a year or before taking any new medication.
Over the Counter Medications (Also called OTC drugs – these are medications that you do not have a prescription for)
- Always list these with your prescription medications as they may have an interaction with new medications or possibly with anesthesia if you are having surgery.
- Over the counter medications like pain medications (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, etc.) antacids (Tums) laxatives and cold medications can have serious reactions with prescription medications.
- It is also important to list CBD or related medications as they too can interact with prescription medication and even anesthetic if you need surgery .
- Herbal medications like St. John’s wort or Ginkgo should be listed on your medication list as they may also have a reaction with your prescription medications or anesthesia.
- Check the label on over-the-counter medications as you may be taking two different kinds, but they have the same active ingredients. You could be doubling the dose which may be dangerous.
- Get rid of expired medications!!
It is important to understand labels or information sheets that come with medications!
Reading the label or information sheet will tell you: (Oops don’t forget to put glasses on if needed)
- What the medicine is for -also called indications
- How to take the medication
- What are the unusual effects?
- What activities or food or other medications you should not take while taking the medication. It will often tell you if you experience certain symptoms or side effects what to do.
If a medication was not taken as directed, or if too much medication was taken call Poison Control 1-800-222-1222.
**** CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY if someone is having trouble breathing, trouble waking up, seizures or other life-threatening signs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Calling all used cell phones! Looking for used eyeglasses!
Collecting colored pencils, paper, coloring books,
children’s Bible stories and children’s Bibles.
The Grace Outreach Ministry is asking for donations of used cell phones, eyeglasses, and children’s school supplies to send with Pastor Brenda and Ron to Tanzania. Collection Boxes are in the Grace Giving Room.
It is custom for these types of trips, that various gently used and working items will be taken to be given to our companions. On this trip we will be collecting used working cell phones and chargers (unlock, delete passwords, and reset to factory specs), unwanted prescription eyeglasses, and new or used reading glasses and sunglasses, school supplies including colored pencils and paper, coloring books, children’s Bible stories or Bibles, (in English and with a variety of skin tones), and any tee shirts, denim or shoes in good shape. English is taught in schools, so coloring books or Bible story books for elementary school age children are extremely valuable.
Other valuable items are gently used shoes, sandals, tee shirts, and denim items. Please drop off any of these items by Wednesday April 19. If you have any questions, please contact Ron Hiatt. Thank you in advance for helping us help others.
Meditation on Matthew 21:1-11
By Vicar Dave
I’ve always enjoyed the processional Gospel that we read today. The thought of the crowds gathered around Jesus as he enters Jerusalem, singing His praises, excited to see Him. It brings a smile to my face.
The phrase they use to welcome Him sticks in my mind. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” The greeting is joyful and glorious, but for those of us who know what’s coming, it can also be tragic. Had I been there, I’d like to think that I was one of those celebrating his arrival, but we also know where this is going for Jesus and for us. In less than a week, an angry mob will cry out to Pontius Pilate, “Let Him be crucified.” (Matthew 27:23)
Commentators like to make a distinction between the crowd that welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday and the crowd that called for him to be crucified on Good Friday. Richard Donovan writes,
“Matthew says that it is the crowds who shout Hosanna (Matthew 21:9), and Mark implies the same (Mark 11:8-9). John also says that it is the crowd (John 12:9). Luke, however, specifies that it is the disciples who offer praise, rather than the people of Jerusalem. ‘This distinction anticipates the hostile reception of the Pharisees and, perhaps, also clarifies why a crowd that so joyfully welcomes Jesus would in a few days’ time cry out for his blood (23:18, 23) (Evans, 293-294).” (SermonWriter, Volume 14, Number 31, ISSN 1071-9962)
I’ve also read that the enthusiastic crowd that greets Him are not the same people that called for His death. This was the weekend of Passover, a Jewish celebration of how the angel of death passed over the Hebrew slaves in Egypt while punishing their captors by killing their first born. It’s a key part of the Exodus story and a fundamental part of their identity as Jews. Jerusalem, being the site of their main temple, would have been a destiny for pilgrims wanting to celebrate Passover. The crowds that greeted Jesus, outside of the city gates, were likely those who had come from the remote areas of the region, and not the residents of Jerusalem. These people were most likely not very wealthy and probably camped outside the city for the night. The people who shouted for Christ’s death were likely the residents of the city, whom the chief priests had more sway over.
Jesus’ condemnation comes in the morning hours, possibly before the gates were opened to those staying outside or before they had had a chance to make their way into the city. So, it’s possible and maybe even likely that the people who welcomed Him to the city with praise and adoration were not the same ones that shouted, “Let Him be crucified!”
That’s not to say that Christ wasn’t betrayed by the people of Israel. These were the folks he’d come to save, and they were clamoring for His death! Additionally, the apostles, while not calling for Christ’s execution, had abandoned Him. Jesus knew they would do this. He even told Peter that he would deny even knowing Jesus three times before the cock crows. (I had to ask my parents what that meant when I was young, being a city boy.)
It’s kind of strange to me how the most faithful of Christ’s followers could turn out to be very fickle friends to Him. But it’s like that with us still, isn’t it? Each of has the capacity to be true to the teachings of Jesus Christ – and the capacity to speak and act as if we’d never heard of him before.
I used to watch Mister Roger’s Neighborhood as a child. He used to ask us if we had “ever noticed how the very same people who are good sometimes are the very same people who are bad sometimes?” That’s a good way to explain to a child the point that Martin Luther was trying to make by saying that we are both saint and sinner, both at the same time.
We’re created in the image of God, yet forever marked by the stain of original sin. The bad news is we can never measure up to the righteousness of God. The Good News is we can choose to be more God-like and, by God’s grace, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
Our fallen nature can lead us to be fearful. I’m certain that’s what happened in the apostles’ case. When Jesus was arrested, they fled, because they feared that they would be arrested and executed as well. That’s probably what was going on in Peter’s head when he denied even knowing Jesus.
In a few weeks, we’ll read about how the apostles, even after receiving news of Jesus’ resurrection, were still in fear of the Jewish authorities and locked themselves away in order to hide from them. Self-preservation can be a powerful motivator and can cause us to act in our own self-interest when we should speak up regarding some injustice.
I think about some of the violence I’ve witnessed in my career in corrections. Some by the inmates and some by those in authority. Inmates can be reluctant to come forward out of a very real fear of being labeled a “snitch” by the other inmates and being beaten or killed themselves. “Snitches get stitches” is a common saying about the inmates. Gangs in some of our communities use that phrase as well, to discourage citizens coming forward as witnesses. Staff in prisons or law enforcement organizations may not want to come forward out of similar fears for their safety or for their careers. How many of us have gone along with our friends when they were doing something wrong, in an attempt to preserve our status with them? Peer pressure can be a very persuasive tool of the devils.
It might be easy to look at Peter and the other apostles and think that they were very fickle friends to Jesus, and that may have been true at the time of His passion. It would also be easy to say the same things about the crowds that first praised His coming and then called for His execution, even though they may not have been the same people. Before we condemn these folks, we might want to take a hard look at ourselves and ask if we would have acted differently. Our pride might lead us to say we would, but that’s another bit of human nature that can get us into trouble. I have never been put to that test and I pray that neither I, nor any of us ever will.
As we journey through Holy Week, knowing what’s coming on Thursday evening and Friday, we should keep in mind our fallen nature, remembering that we are both saint and sinner at the same time, and be grateful that Christ came to sacrifice Himself so that we could receive His gift of grace and be redeemed. We shouldn’t look past Thursday & Friday, but we should also be anticipating Christ’s triumph over death next Sunday.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!