Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good;
God’s mercy endures forever.
If you are at all like me, you have been pleased to see and feel some of the recent signs of Spring: the temperatures have moderated (a bit, anyway), the sky has been blue more often, the sun has been shining more frequently, crocuses and daffodils have lifted their heads.
We cannot help but get hit with some Spring Fever at this time of year. Warm days lie ahead, full of promise and potential. There is something new and fresh and exciting in the air, and we can begin to shake off the dreariness of the winter. There will be days outside … perhaps gardens … perhaps walks … perhaps outdoor sports (watching or participating!) … perhaps travel. The winter is leaving! Let the better times begin.
The coming of Spring and the celebration of Easter make me think of our congregation. Often, what I hear from members is something like, “This church isn’t what it used to be!” or “In the old days, we were always full … We did more … We had more programs, etc… This place just isn’t what it used to be.”
I would say those statements are both correct and incorrect. This congregation isn’t what is used to be, as is the case for many others. We all know that worship attendance and congregational involvement have declined just about everywhere. There are many reasons (COVID-19 being a major factor), but the predominant one seems to be that the culture we live in has changed. The local congregation—and perhaps the faith itself—is not a center point in many peoples’ lives.
And yet, Grace Lutheran Church is also exactly the same as it has always been. Grace is a place that clings to the promise and hope of something new, of something different, of something fresh and exciting. We are here—still—because of the Easter promises of our God, who loved us enough to send his Son into the winters of our lives with the promise of grace and salvation. This makes everything new—over and over and over again, no matter what the world would have us believe.
Let’s not be Winter people, struggling through the shadows we see cast across congregational and faith life in the 21st century, and being bogged down in gloominess and cynicism. Let’s be Easter people, people who breathe in the newness of this holy time and who are inspired by the promise of warmer days ahead to be proclaimers of all that God has done and continues to do—in our lives, in our congregation, and in the whole world.
Sunday Fellowship Time
There will be fellowship time on Easter between services.
April 16th Brenda Holderman and Joyce O’Brien
April 26th- Barb, Beth, and David Charvat
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.
Thursday May 4th – National Day of Prayer
A BIG thank you!
Spotted out in front of the church the other day – someone (Connie) picking up the trash in the yard. Thank you to Connie for tackling this never ending job. Thank you to all who are behind the scenes helping with day to day chores.
Operation Christmas Child
It is time to begin collecting items for our Operation Christmas Child Project. Our goal this year is to turn in 150 boxes. That means that we need 150 of each of the items we place in each box.
This project has become a tradition at Grace Lutheran Church. The members of Grace have been in partnership with Operation Christmas Child for many years. Last year, we were able to send 125 boxes to Emmanuel Baptist Church which serves as a drop-off site for local donations. This year OCC reached a milestone: 200 million shoebox gifts packed since 1993. Every box that we pack is an opportunity for church partners to tell a boy or girl about Jesus.
Here at Grace, each month we ask for a different item. In April, we are collecting wash cloths. In May, coloring and/or picture books, in June, marbles and/or chalk. In July we are asking for markers, regular and/or fine line. In August we need crayons, regular and jumbo. In September, we need pencil sharpeners. In October, we need small notebooks and/or pads of paper, and in November monetary donations. It costs $9 to send each box.
Other suggestions include: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights with extra batteries, solar calculators, and jump ropes.
You may drop off your donations at any time. There is a box in the room we use for donations with the OCC label. Thank you to everyone who has supported this opportunity over the years and we hope you will continue to support it this year. If you would like to be a part of this project or you have questions, please see Linda Mason.
Fuzzy and Furry Friends
Poisons and them!
What can be poisonous!
Chocolate and Caffeine
These contain methylxanthines which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm and even death. So watch the chocolate Easter eggs!
Some people think it is cute to watch a dog or cat who drinks alcohol. Alcohol can cause vomiting and diarrhea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death – much like a human.
The fruit contains a chemical called persin which causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents (yes, Pastor Brenda “tree rats”) are very sensitive to avocado poisoning and have difficulty breathing and can have fluid develop around their heart.
Cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and high temperatures in dogs.
Grapes and Raisins
The toxic substance is not known but can cause kidney failure. If your pet already has health issues avoid these.
It can rise just like bread in an animal’s stomach causing gas which is not only painful but can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. The risk decreases once the bread is cooked.
Raw /undercooked meat, eggs and bones
These can contain bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli which are just as dangerous for animals as humans. Raw egg also contains a enzyme that decreases the absorption of vitamins that could lead to skin and coat problems.
Is a sweetener used in gum ,baked goods, and toothpaste. It can cause an increase in the release of insulin which could lead to liver failure.
Onions and garlic
Cause major stomach upset and can damage red blood cells. This affects cats more than dogs. A little bit in food is usually OK but not large quantities.
Pets do not have a large amount of lactase (which helps to break down the lactose in milk for digestion). Milk and ice cream can give pets diarrhea and stomach upsets.
Like in humans large amounts produce excessive thirst and urination. It can cause vomiting, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. So, watch the chips!
Our pets are very dear to us so please watch what kinds of things can be poisonous for them!
Call your vet or the emergency vet if your pet is in trouble!
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
We humans can have a very short memory at times. Especially when things seem to be at their darkest, we often forget about the promises of God. That must have been the case with Mary Magdalene and the other disciples in today’s reading. Mary is going to the tomb where they had laid the body of Jesus just two days ago and, finding it open, presumes that someone has stolen the body of Jesus. In Matthew’s telling of the story, this is something that the leaders of the Jews thought the disciples would do as a way to claim that Jesus had risen and further agitate the people. But in John’s telling of the story, Mary believes that the Jewish leaders had taken the body of Jesus and hidden it.
It’s interesting to me that she leaves to get some of the male disciples to check things out. They come to the tomb with Mary and, finding it empty except for some linens, return to their home. After they leave, Mary looks into the tomb and sees two angels sitting where Jesus’ body should be. She is so grief stricken that she still doesn’t get it, not even when Jesus speaks to her. She still wants to know where they’ve taken the body. When faced with loss, we often forget important things. The loss of a job can often be devastating, and we can forget all the great things we’ve done to that point, all of our qualifications for employment, and let our insecurities and self-doubt paralyze us when we need to be confident in our abilities and get back into the job market. Loss of a relationship can also cause us a lot of distress. We can forget that we are worthy of being loved by another and sink into a depression. Loss of a loved one to death is probably the worst loss anyone can suffer. It would be easy for us to forget about God’s promise of life eternal after death and simply think of that person as gone. But Christ has redeemed us, through His death and resurrection, and He has promised that we will be with Him in heaven. That includes the loved ones we’ve lost to death. If they will be with Christ in heaven, and we will also, that means we will all be together again.
Finally, when Jesus reveals himself to Mary Magdalene, she believes that Jesus Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Jesus instructs her to carry a message to His brothers. That message, that Jesus is ascending to His Father and our Father, His God and our God.
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” In this small phrase, Jesus is saying quite a lot. He’s expressing His kinship with all of us! If His Father is also our Father, then we are siblings. He is telling us that He is one with us and that His victory over death is our victory as well, because He had conquered death both as God and as man. His ascension into heaven will be the ascension of His human nature as well as His divine nature. It goes as a package deal to the Father. And that’s really the good news in a nutshell. Because Jesus is our brother, and because He has ascended to His Father and ours, we are all eligible to ascend to our Father in heaven!
In a very short time, Jesus will come among His disciples and then send them to share the good news of His death and resurrection with the entire world! And now it’s our turn to go and tell the world that Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! And now the world has hope for life eternal because of His grace!
Have a happy and blessed Easter Season!
Behind the scenes at Grace ….by Gretchen
- How awesome were the adults waving their palms as the kids walked down the main aisle of church imagining they were on donkeys like Jesus. Thanks to Janet Moore for the children’s sermon this week. The choir was awesome this week with Nancy leading and Debby accompanying!
- A member of our family animal menagerie made the passage to heaven this last week. Even though it is part of nature it is really difficult. One of our squirrels and we are not sure the name of this one provided a meal to the great red tail hawk. In spite of a number of people wildly flinging their arms around to scare it off the hawk continued on its mission. Our other squirrels seem to be very nervous come – they come down for their treat and then head back up in the trees ASAP. The chipmunk has come out of hibernation, and he too is running fast between peanut grabs.
- With Lent we have had an abundance of garbage. If we overflow the dumpster and the lid is up over an half inch we will be hit with an extra charge. The big green truck visits us every other week. If you have garbage and are unable to take home and the dumpster is full please put in the basement. We will take out when the dumpster is emptied.
- The daffodils are making headway in the garden next to the office – a couple of warmer days and sun and they should be beautiful!
- Gems are seen as very valuable – you know diamonds, rubies, emeralds! Do you have Gems hiding? What if the Gems were not rocks but that certain items that you think look more like a piece of Gravel but are Gems to another person?? Yep, those pieces of gravel can be Gems to others! So, bring your “Gravel” in for the rummage sale so others can find the Gems! Put any “Gravel” in the back storage room in Brenner soon as the preview date and rummage sale are fast approaching.
- Thanks to Grace Peterson for being our paper recycling person!
- The building is “alive with activities that involve food”! Please remember to mark food items with the date opened and the group’s name. This is not only to have available space but also a food safety issue. There are stickers on the refrigerator and Brenner freezer doors. Food that has expired will be tossed and food not labeled that looks questionable will also be tossed. Gretchen checks refrigerators and freezers at least once a month.
- Remember: Grace is the people of Grace and we do include our menagerie in the family but is not the building or even the dumpster.
Candid Camera and Grace !
No, we are not on television or at least not yet.
What we want is to see are security cameras that help to keep members, visitors and staff as well as the building safe. We are slightly over halfway towards reaching our monetary goal. We consider this to be very important in view of the unfortunate things happening in the world and even our own community.
Please consider a Special Gift for the Security Cameras. Any questions please see the Task Team (Gretchen Hiatt, Rick Sharp and David Charvat)
Thank you again to all who have helped the fund!
We would love to be on TV for special events at Grace but NOT for an unfortunate safety event!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!