May God give us blessing, and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe.
Bless the World: Be God’s Grace!
There was excitement back in June knowing that a student named Jana Marek from Serbia would be with us this summer. Little did we know what a treasure Jana would be! These weeks have flown by quickly, and Jana has had a lasting impact on us here at Grace. She has jumped right in getting to know us and sharing her faith, her gifts, and her enthusiasm. Jana has experienced everything from worship … to a cruise on the Sandpiper … to Council … to Burrito Blessings 419 … to the Toledo Zoo …to committee meetings … to the Toledo Museum of Art …to VBS … to Grace Full Friends … to a Mud Hens game …to Cedar Point … to Adult VBS … and more.
Many thanks to Grace Peterson, Nancy and Tony Lockard, and Gretchen and Ron Hiatt for opening their homes to Jana while she has been here. And thanks to all those who have taken her on special outings and to special events. What a gift of hospitality!
On Sunday, 20 August Jana heads to Fremont, to spend her last month in the United States there. While we will still see her on occasion and will have the chance to say a “big” goodbye in September, please do plan to be at fellowship this week after worship to send her off to the next part of her journey.
One of the great gifts for me has been hearing about our Jana’s home congregation in Serbia and how the Gospel is proclaimed there in many ways and through many people. Knowing that we at Grace are connected to these siblings in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit reminds me of the vast and deep love of God!
I have also been moved by Jana’s deep commitment and understanding of her faith. Knowing that in Serbia, as here, there are young people inspired to be strong witnesses to Jesus has given me renewed hope for the Church. We must always strive for ways to engage these people here at Grace in the Church around the world; both to nurture their faith now (through worship, education, service, and fellowship) and to equip them to be active workers in the kingdom of God for their entire lives. I hope and pray that Jana’s faith has been deepened by her time with us.
Please continue to pray for Jana, for her congregation in Pancevo, Serbia, and for the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession. Thanks be to God for the gift of these relationships!
Sunday Fellowship Time
August 20 – Sue Wagner and Janet Moore
Highlights from August Council meeting:
- Security cameras have been installed.
- Handicap ramp has been installed.
- Community Garden has taken root, thanks to Kathleen Hunter. The fruits of her labors have been shared with Personal Needs clients, beautiful cherry tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplant.
- All are invited to the Pride Parade on August 19. We have a beautiful banner to carry.
- Rick Sharp and David Charvat are working on a new facilities-use brochure.
- We will start interviewing for custodian position in the next week or two.
Food for Toledo and Blessing Box Update
Food continues to be donated for both the Food for Toledo program and the Blessing Box. Thank you to everyone who donates to these ministries. The food for the Food for Toledo program is picked up by Aldersgate United Methodist Church and distributed at their food pantry twice a month. Anyone is welcome to food at their pantry which is held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. If you or someone you know suffers from food insecurity, call Aldersgate for more information.
The Blessing Box is stocked twice a week with food, water, socks, and other items. Food items in cans in the Blessing Box have flip top lids so that users can eat the food without a can opener and with plastic ware provided in the box. In the winter items such as gloves, hats, sweatshirts, coats, etc. will be placed in the Blessing Box. When you are cleaning out closets and have cold weather items, please consider donating them for the Blessing Box.
Questions regarding the Food for Toledo Program or the Blessing Box can be directed to Mary Schneider.
Operation Christmas Child
In the month of August we are asking for donations of Crayons. They can be dropped off in the Giving Grace Room or to the office during the week.
Meditation on Matthew 15:10-28
By Vicar Dave
I recently had a guy on my case load who had gotten into a fight with a woman who was living with him. He got arrested and she did not. When I took his violation paperwork over to him, he wanted to know why he was in trouble for this and she was not, after all, she had started the fight. I had to explain to him that as far as I’m concerned, the only person that I can do anything about is him, because he’s on parole and she is not. My jurisdiction only extends to persons who are under my supervision.
In a sense, that’s like what Jesus was saying to the woman in the second half of today’s Gospel reading. She has a big problem in her family. A demon has possessed her daughter, and she will do just about anything to free her. Having heard how Jesus has handled demons in other encounters, she is confident that He can take care of this one for her. But there is a problem. Jesus is a Jew, and she is a Canaanite. To say that these two groups didn’t like each other very much would be an understatement. As she is begging for His help, Jesus’ at first ignores her but then tells her “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. He is essentially telling her that this problem is outside of His jurisdiction to resolve. She persists, even after Jesus uses an analogy that compares her people to dogs. After Jesus remarks on her great faith, He grants her request and frees the daughter from the demon.
In both of these cases, mine at work and Jesus with the woman, it almost sounds like the “it’s not my job” excuse is being employed. In my case, there is literally nothing that I am able to do due to my limited jurisdiction. In Jesus’ case, I think He was trying to make a point. We humans want to limit those who are able to benefit from God’s favor. In today’s Gospel, it may have been a racial or a class thing that kept her separate. Jesus demonstrates that while He was sent first to the Jews, He also came to bring salvation to all of God’s people.
We still try to limit God’s grace. In some cases, we try to say it’s only for those who are of the correct faith, even excluding other Christian denominations. In other cases, we might say that salvation isn’t for some folks we might consider sinners or people who aren’t living right. I’m reminded here about the time Jesus said that the righteous have no need of a savior. That’s why He came for the sinners of the world.
Who are we to try to tell God who He can save and who he cannot? I believe that God’s grace, and His love, is without limits. It extends to people who make use of our blessing box, to all of the guys on my case load, and to the folks who are sitting in prison for whatever crime they have committed. God loves all of His creation just as much as He loves you and me. May we also show God’s love to everyone we meet this week.
Adventures with Jana
Hello guys! I hope everyone’s doing okay.
Last week was pretty normal week with usual things and meetings during the week.
On Wednesday I went with Linda to the Boyd’s Candy shop. I’ve never seen so many candy and sweets in one place. Amazing! I bought some of the sweets that we don’t have in Serbia and I can’t wait to share them with my friends and family.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were days for going out and having nice time with friends. On Friday I went out with Milena and her friends in Detroit. We went to the Fillmore for the Taylor Swift party. It was amazing and we had so much fun. After party, we went to IHOP and had something to eat.
On Saturday in the evening Gretchen and Ron took me to a concert of an awesome rock band. It was marvelous. I really enjoyed it. Sunday was low-key day until I went mini golf. Pastor Brenda and Gail took me to my first mini golf. That was just outstanding. I learned more about golf, rules there and I’m definitely more interested in it. When I return to Serbia, I need to see where I can learn more and play golf there. After mini golf, I went with Ron and his friend Joe, to the driving range. I got a couple of lessons how I should do that. It was pretty impressive and funny to watch people who know what they are doing and then me who has no idea how to do that, but I’m willing to learn definitely.
We finished the day with nice dinner, chatting and laughing together. We had a great time.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. In the next one I will say more about my last week here and how is everything going on in Fremont. I will continue to write, while I’m there too, so stay tuned.
Have a blessed week!!!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!