Be still, and know that I am God!
Bless the world: Be God’s Grace!
It is nearly 14 February—St. Valentine’s Day. Love, as they say, is in the air.
Do you know how it feels to love and be loved?
Have you experienced that Valentine’s Day kind of love, the love expressed through flowers, candy, lyric verse on fancy cards, words of affection—the love that is sweetness and light? Have you experienced this wonderful side of love through the efforts of a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend?
Have you experienced the deeper and perhaps harder realities of human love, the love that sits at a hospital bedside … the love that forgives harsh words and inconsiderate deeds … the love that stands by someone in a time of need or struggle … the love that stays out of the way when necessary and steps up when needed? This love is not all sweetness and light; it can be difficult, and is quite often best seen and felt in unglamorous acts of devotion and care.
And have you experienced the deepest love of all, the love that is completely selfless … the love that bears our sins and burdens … the immeasurable love that led our Lord to suffer and to die on the cross for us—the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ? Have you experienced it through worship, through prayer, through the presence of God at your side, through the words and deeds of others—words and deeds that were beautiful at times and words and deeds that at other times may have been unglamorous but profound nonetheless?
It is nearly 21 February—Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days that we call Lent, 40 days of reflection and mediation on the life and love of Jesus Christ.
Do you know how it feels to love and be loved? Love is in the air. What better time to consider the love of our gracious God and how we respond to that love?
Some things to think about >>>>
In the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)
Lasting joy is found not in what you get but what you give (Unknown)
Fellowship Hour- February 12th – February is the month of LOVE and everyone LOVES CHOCOLATE. If you would be willing to bring a chocolate treat to Fellowship Hour on February 12th, Please call Sue Wagner at 419.475.8972 or e-mail at Suegrade@aol.com.
The treats can be made or bought but they should have chocolate in them. Some suggestions are cake, candy, brownies, cookies, donuts, pies, breads, etc. It should serve 12 people. Thank you in advance. We are all going to become chocoholics on that day!
The church speaks a language that the world does not know.
When you’ve been a church member all your life, you’ve grown up using church speak. But to the unchurched this speech is often like a foreign language. Even the older traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer uses words that no longer mean what they once did.
The same is true in our churches. Words like sin, incarnation, advent, and countless others are foreign to the unchurched. Our hymns often use words that are completely unfamiliar.
That being true, we must work to find ways to communicate the promises of the gospel to our contemporary world. The issue at stake isn’t a lack of intelligence but a lack of experience with the language the church and Bible often uses. God communicates through the power of the Holy Spirit using infinite ways of speaking and explaining God’s abundant love for us.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Webster, SD
God Pause for Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner
Tuesday February 21 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Free will offering
Have you ever wondered about different ways to pray? Prayer can be more than our words; it can also involve our breathing and all of our senses.
Join us at church on Saturday, 25 February from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. to learn a bit more about prayer and to try some different ways of praying.
There is a sign up sheet in the back of the nave. Please indicate if you are coming, as well as if you are able to bring something light to share for breakfast.
Lent at Grace
Lent begins at Grace with Ash Wednesday services on February 22 at noon and 7 p.m. The noon service will be held in the Chapel and the evening service will be held in the sanctuary.
Then on the following Wednesdays of Lent, services will be held at noon and 7 in the Chapel. At the noon services Pastor Brenda will be presiding. A soup lunch will precede the service at 11:15 a.m. If you wish to bring soup or a dessert a sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board by the sanctuary.
Then on Wednesday evenings Grace will be joining with Memorial Lutheran, Glenwood Lutheran, and St. Paul’s Lutheran with services at Grace (in the Chapel) and Memorial at 7 p.m. The Holden Evening Prayer will be sung at all services. Five pastors of the four churches will be presiding at the services. The schedule for Grace follows:
March 1 Pastor Mary Adelsburger of Memorial
March 8 Pastor Peter Bowmer of St Paul’s
March 15 Pastor Chris Hanley of Glenwood
March 22 Pastor Rebecca West-Estell of Memorial
March 29 Pastor Brenda
Pastor Brenda will be visiting Memorial Lutheran on March 8 to preside over the evening service there.
A potluck will be held beginning at 6 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. services during Lent. Please come early to join in fellowship before the service!
Information regarding other Lenten worship opportunities and Grace’s Holy Week services will be in future announcements.
Circle the words
Fishers of men
Meditation on Matthew 5:21-37
By Vicar Dave
Where I grew up, there is this really big river which has a great deal of pleasure boat traffic as well as commercial freighter traffic. As a teenager and a young adult, my friends and I would sometimes take some innertubes upstream and just float on the current back down to our end of town. This was a fun and relaxing way to spend a lazy summer afternoon. On one of these adventures, we weren’t paying attention and ended up in the middle of the shipping lanes. Suddenly, I heard the blare of a freighter’s horn and looked around to find one of these giant vessels headed straight for us. Needless to say, we all started paddling with all our might, trying to get out of the way. We had made the mistake of “going with the flow” to the point where we were in a fix. That’s kind of the way it is in life, isn’t it? We can float along, “going with the flow” of what society tells us is good and not sticking to the shore of God’s word, where there is safety.
As a parole officer, I like rules and policies. They help me to govern my actions, so I know what to do in certain situations. If I follow the rules, I can stay out of trouble. The problem is that rules are just general guidelines and don’t always apply the same way to each situation. I think that’s part of what Jesus is getting at in today’s Gospel. The Ten Commandments are easy to understand, rules that we should all be able to follow, even though I think we all fail at that sometimes. Don’t murder anyone. OK, that’s easy enough to understand. But what might lead us to want to murder someone? Most often, that would be anger, especially in the case of a crime of passion. So, if we become angry with our brother or sister, we place ourselves in a position of committing this sin. That’s the place where Jesus wants us to change, in our hearts. If we remain angry with our friends, it becomes damaging to our relationship. We have, in effect, killed that relationship at some point. I think that’s the big part that Jesus is talking to us about. Jesus says that the most important commandment is to love God with all our hearts and souls. Once again, it’s about relationships, this time with our Father in heaven. The commandment that Jesus says is the second most important is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Remaining angry with someone violates that commandment right from the start.
The sexual sins are the next category that Jesus talks about. Committing adultery is a sin. To look at someone with nothing but lust in our hearts is the first step towards committing that sin. But this also is about relationships. If I were leering at other women, reducing them to nothing but an object of sexual desire, I would be damaging my relationship with her as my sister in Christ. I’d also risk damaging my relationship with my wife as well. Then we come to divorce. I could easily spend an entire day writing about divorce and how it affects peoples’ lives adversely, having been through a divorce myself. But what happens in a divorce? It is the ending of a relationship. But when does that relationship really end? Is it by the filing of legal paperwork? Perhaps that relationship ended sometime before then, such as when one of the marriage partners becomes abusive. Or perhaps when they have been unfaithful. In either case, it is the breaking of that relationship that I think is the real problem, not when the judge signs the order granting the divorce.
Finally in today’s reading, Jesus talks about oaths and not swearing. If our answer to something is yes, then yes should be enough. The same with no. To do more, to swear by something, is to tell the person that we’re talking to that we don’t think they have any faith in us and our word. Again, it’s about relationships. I remember working in the prison and having the inmates denying that they did something by saying, “I swear on my mother’s grave” when I knew full well that their mother was alive and well. Heck, I had just spoken with her the day before in some cases. But when they said that they were telling me that they know I don’t trust them, and often it was for good reason.
I really think that what Jesus is talking about throughout today’s Gospel is relationships. We shouldn’t damage our relationship with our brother or sister in Christ by holding a grudge against them. Nor should we damage our relationship with them by taking away their personhood and reducing them to an object. We damage our relationships with others when we give them reason to doubt our sincerity.
Jesus values His relationship with each of us. After all, the commandment He said was most important was to love God with all our hearts and all of our souls. So, Jesus desires that we love Him. And if we love Him, we will follow His commands, including the second one, which is to love each other. We can do this by not allowing anger, or lust, or deceit to creep into our relationships and tear them down from the inside. If we truly try to love one and other, we will at least work together to fight the things that can damage our relationship to each other and the entire world.
Behind the scenes at Grace ….by Gretchen
- Well, the ground hog saw his shadow so we will have 6 more weeks of winter … Although it is said that he is only 40% right . We will continue to watch the tipsy robins finish off the rest of the fermented crab apples.
- Our big red tail hawk has been cruising the parking lot and the squirrels (or Tree Rats as affectionately called by Pastor Brenda) are on the run when he shows up.
- Our squirrels are not hurting in the cold as they eagerly look at Cathy through the door waiting for their treats. This past Sunday they were seen looking in the window!
- Don’t forget to bring your treasures in for the Youth Rummage Sale. The Rummage Sale supports the Youth Mission Trip.
- Don’t forget to check out the Community Bulletin Boards for all sorts of interesting activities at Grace and out in the Community.
- Sunday Children’s Sermon was wonderful! Thanks to Sue Wagner for sharing the story about the young boy and his 100 friends that he was giving 1000 Valentines!! If you have an opportunity, check out the YouTube video! Thanks Sue!
- Remember : Grace is not the building but the people of Grace.
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Check yours out between services on Sunday in February! We will be checking Blood Pressures in Room 3. Start a Blood Pressure Record. You will even get a healthy treat!
The other name for high blood pressure is hypertension. High blood pressure means that the pressure in the arteries is consistently above the normal range. Blood Pressure is the force of the blood pushing against blood vessel walls. It is written as two numbers such as 120/80. The top number or systolic number is the pressure when the heart beats. The bottom number or diastolic number is the pressure when the heart is at rest.
Blood Pressure can vary during the day and also with activity, but current guidelines say that normal blood pressure that is consistently under 120/80 is normal and that blood pressure that is consistently 130/90 is considered high blood pressure.
What can high blood pressure due to our body?
High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart. the heart has to pump with more force and the arteries carry blood that is moving with greater pressure. If this continues for a long time the heart and arteries may not function as well as they should. Not only does this affect the heart and arteries it increases the risk of heart attack and heart failure. The kidneys and brain can also be affected.
Who is at risk?
People with close relatives that have hypertension.
People over the age of 35
People who overuse salt
People who use too much alcohol
People who are not active
Many people do not know they have high blood pressure until it is checked!
So, check your out on Sundays!!!
Are you a salter??
So, you have decided or been told to cut down on salt. You may have questions about sodium and salt.
Ordinary table salt is sodium chloride.
We still need sodium is for good health.You must have a balance of sodium and water in your body fluids and tissues all the time. Sodium and water work together to maintain this balance – a certain amount of salt maintains the right amount of water in the body and vice versa.
Too much salt or too much water will upset the balance.
So how much salt do many of us take in a day? We typically take in 6 -18 grams of salt a day which is roughly 1- 3 teaspoonfuls. The American Heart Association recommendations for most people is not more than 1500 mg a day which is about 2/3 of a teaspoon. What a difference.
Check out the display of salt in Fellowship on Sunday! There may be some hidden salt!
It’s great to celebrate your birthday! How about sharing the joy of another birthday with 3 other people?
Think about having friends and families honoring your birthday but donating blood at Grace at the Spring Blood Drive on April 19th!!
We have Birthday Cards outside the church office. This is a reverse birthday card -you give your family and friends a card with the information. When they donate ask them to bring the card with them and we will let you know that a wonderful gift was given to honor you!
Valentine’s Day or Just thinking about you!
Dark chocolate is wonderful but you can only eat so much so why not ask a family member, friend, neighbor to donate a unit of blood to honor you! It is another way to let someone else celebrate Valentine’s Day! Cards are on the desk outside the office with instructions.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!