Happy are all who take refuge in God!
Bless the world: Be God’s Grace!
“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”—John 1:9
It has always struck me as rather ironic that in the “bleak midwinter,” we find ourselves in the liturgical season of light, which we call “Epiphany.” The length of this season varies, depending on when Lent begins. This year, the season of Epiphany concludes 21 February, and Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on 22 February.
It is hard to find natural light at this time of the year; in fact, as I write this, we have had many gloomy days. The sun has not been shining very much, and I have had many conversations with others where we have lamented this fact. We long for the light. We miss the sun. Even a glimpse through the clouds would help. Everyday worries and national and global difficult issues seem even tougher to take when it is so grey and overcast outside. It would all be just a bit easier to bear if we could just catch that glimpse of light, wouldn’t it?
In the Gospel readings appointed for the season of Epiphany, however, the Light of God has been quite evident. In these stories, we read about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. We heard of his Baptism by John in the Jordan. We observed as he begins to call disciples to help spread the good News. We read of miracles. We saw the Light shining in the lives of the people and radiating with the power of God’s promises. This coming Sunday, we will be blinded by the brilliance of Jesus, as he is transfigured on the mountain top.
Perhaps these stories can be our biggest source of light in this rather dreary time of year. While there may not be much light to be seen when we look outside, we can still be illuminated by the Light of the Son, as his mission, love, and grace are revealed through the Scripture. Take the time in this Epiphany season to bask in that Light. Let is wash over you and warm you with the grace and love of God. Let it light your path. Let it shine … even in the bleak mid-winter. As we continue our faith journey in Lent, may the Light continue to shine … even as we head toward the brilliance of Easter.
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.
February 19th – Jan Dustman and Karlene Jaquillard
February 26th – Grace Peterson and Debbie Downs
Food for Toledo Update
In January 288 pounds of food was collected at Grace for the Food for Toledo program. This food is distributed at Aldersgate United Methodist Church on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from noon – 4. If you know someone who suffers from food insecurity, please give them this information. Aldersgate serves all clients that come to their food pantry.
Aldersgate has seen an increase in the number of clients they serve due to the high cost of food and the upcoming decrease in SNAP benefits individuals and families receive.
Aldersgate dispenses canned fruit, canned vegetables, peanut butter, jelly, cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, soup, canned meat, and other items that are donated to this project. Donations at Grace can be placed in the Giving Room in the bins designated for this ministry or brought to church on Mondays between 9 – noon.
On Monday, February 20, there will be no one at Grace to take food. If you would have any questions about this ministry, please contact Mary Schneider at 419.262.0730.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner
Tuesday February 21 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Free will offering
A Word from Pastor about Lenten Worship:
Lent begins on 22 February with Ash Wednesday. Two worship services will be offered that day, at noon and 7:00 p.m. Both will be in the nave (“big church”), and will offer the Imposition of Ashes for those who wish to receive them and Holy Communion.
We will offer two worship opportunities on each subsequent Wednesday in Lent; at noon and at 7:00 p.m. Each service will be preceded by a light (soup) meal.
The noon services on 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 March will be simple: scripture, song, prayer, and story. Each week, we will focus on a familiar Bible story. We will meet in the chapel.
The evening services on those Wednesdays will feature Holden Evening Prayer. We will be using a modified “round robin” concept, with myself and the pastors from Memorial, Glenwood, and St. Paul Lutheran churches taking turns sharing our favorite Bible story and a reflection on it. We will meet in the nave.
Behind the Scenes at Grace….by Gretchen
- There was a line-up this last Sunday in the parking lot! People were lined up to get their soup from the youth! Thanks to all who helped support the Youth! Money raised will go for their Mission Trip this summer.
- A hint of green! All the sun and the warmth has started to change some of the tips of the day lilies surrounding the church to a little bit of green! That is even though the crazy wood chuck says 5 more weeks of winter!
- Hold the Date! Tuesday February 21 is the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner. The famous flipper of cakes Ron Schneider will be flipping again this year!
- Our “Wrap Our Heart with A Warm Blanket” campaign is on in recognition of Heart Month. All blankets ,quilts, Afghans, etc. that are collected will be going down to Tent City in the fall. We also give out blankets, etc. as needed to people the rest of the year. We have the blanket chest across from the office and it is slowly filling up. Last year we sent approximately 50 blankets – let’s see if we can beat that number this year!
- We are putting out some interesting information on the table across from the office – check it out. Don’t forget to check out the Community Boards for Information, too!
- Remember: Grace is not the brick and mortar but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!
According to W.O. Avery, A History of Stewardship:
– Early methods of fund-raising included renting or selling pew space, church suppers, raffles and lotteries;
– The enthusiasm for mission collapsed with the loss of idealism in the United States.
– Many congregations took to erecting new church buildings rather than giving money to benevolences or missions.
The “Jesus Treasures You” tokens were placed for each of you by the Sunday School children as part of our Sunday School lesson on kindness and gentleness. Miss Connie had intended to communicate this to Fellowship Ministry.
The thing to hold onto in life is each other
Kindness is just love with its work boots on
( K. McCullaah/ K.Smith )
Circle the words
A Group Effort:
If you were at Grace for worship on 12 February, you probably noticed the puzzle set up on the table in the back of the nave. Wondering what it is all about?
Our church Council met for a retreat on 14 January at the Lial Renewal Center in Whitehouse. We talked about goals and dreams for our congregation for the upcoming year and beyond. One of the thoughts was to help all of us join together through our four new mission emphases; worshiping, nurturing, witnessing, and facilitating. The puzzle was an idea that was generated, offering an interactive way for us to join in a small activity together, even as we plan for and dream about bigger plans and broader mission as the people of God at Grace Lutheran Church.
We hope that when you are at church, you will take a moment to find a piece and add it to the picture! As we complete one puzzle, we will begin another, working together to make the picture come alive… even as we work together to “Bless the World: Be God’s Grace.” Each piece of the puzzles is vital, as is the presence and ministry of each person in our church family.
Our first puzzle is made from one of our own Cathy Holewinski’s photographs. Cathy is a talented photographer, and we are delighted she permitted us to use some of her work.
Meditation on Matthew 5:13-20
By Vicar Dave
Every now and again, most people have an event in their life that is so profound and full of joy that they want to hang onto it for a while. For some, it may be the birth of a child. For others, it may be their wedding day. For still others, perhaps it was the day they graduated. For someone like Robert Perry, it could be the day he reached the North Pole. Perhaps it could be the first time that someone found their faith and realized that they are a beloved child of God. Sometimes it can just be a day when you find yourself at a profound peace with the world.
In today’s Gospel, Peter, James and John find themselves at a moment that was so profound, they probably didn’t have words to describe it. Peter tries to tell Jesus how excited he is, but the best he can do is propose to build a shelter for each of the people he sees, Jesus, Moses and Elijah. This is kind of a bumbled attempt to say that he’d like this moment to last forever. Who can blame him? After all, it’s not every day that you see your teacher and friend transfigured into a luminescent being. Nor do you normally see the most important historical heroes of your faith, let alone ones that have long since died, standing in front of you, talking to your friend. Think of all the commotion that goes on when a presidential candidate comes to town. I can’t blame Peter for being excited. I know I would be. I’m also certain that I would have a hard time containing my excitement. I’d want to share what I just saw with everyone I knew, and even some I didn’t. If they had cell phones back then, we’d probably have seen tik-tok videos from all three of the disciples.
As they leave the site, Jesus tells them something that has always confused me. “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” Particularly in Peter’s case, that was a hard task. So why did Jesus tell them not to share what they’d seen? Knowing how people are to each other, and how competitive we can be sometimes, perhaps He didn’t want the other disciples to be jealous or hurt over the fact that these three got to see this wonderful vision and they did not. After all, you may recall that the disciples became upset when James’ and John’s mother asked that, in Jesus’ coming kingdom, they be seated, one at his right and the other at his left. Perhaps it was because some would see the tale as being too incredible to believe and it would become a stumbling block for the people who needed to come to Jesus while He was still here. Once He had risen from the dead, the story would have some more credibility. It would certainly be more believable given the miraculous nature of His resurrection. After His resurrection, there could be no doubt that Jesus Christ is God, and the story of the transfiguration would no longer seem incredible.
The disciple’s vision was possibly intended to support their faith when they were witnessing Jesus being crucified. This vision could confirm to them that Jesus was the Messiah! While Jesus was with them, it was not necessary for them to relate what they had seen. They would need it later in order to testify as to Christ’s rising from the dead and that He was the Messiah. Telling the Jews about this vision before Jesus’ resurrection would have further enraged the Jewish authorities and prematurely endangered Jesus’ life. It was not yet time for Jesus to die and then be resurrected from the dead.
Today, our news media are always trying to be the first with a story. Quite often, they don’t take the time to look for the real story and they end up getting it wrong. It’s not that they’re lying about it. It’s just that all the facts aren’t in. Often the first impression isn’t the most accurate one, and people can end up getting hurt as a result.
The Jews were expecting the Messiah to be some military leader, who would help them throw off the Roman government, and liberate the Jewish people from their oppression. If word had spread about Jesus’ transfiguration, people would more easily identify Him as the Messiah and perhaps they would start a revolution against the Roman authorities. This would have cost many lives and wasn’t in the furtherance of the kingdom that Jesus intended to establish. We know now that the oppressor that Jesus came to free us from was our sin, something that oppressed all people, not just the Jews under Roman occupation.
For us, in this post-resurrection world, we are not only free to discuss Jesus’ true nature using the transfiguration as one element of proof about it. We are encouraged to do so. The type of revolution that could start by people know of Jesus would not cost lives. It would save them.
Let’s go out and share the news of Jesus’ transfiguration and of His resurrection and of the saving grace that He brings!
Lenten Worship Opportunities
Grace will be offering two worship services on Ash Wednesday – noon and 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. Then the following five weeks, services will be held at noon and at 7 p.m. at Grace. The noon service will be held in the Chapel and will be led by Pastor Brenda. A soup lunch will be served prior to the service beginning at 11:15 a.m.The evening service will be held in the sanctuary at 7 p.m. and pastors from St. Paul’s, Memorial, Glenwood and Grace Lutheran Churches will lead the Grace services, as well as services at Memorial. The Holden Evening Prayer will be sung at the evening services at both churches. A potluck dinner will precede the 7 p.m. service at Grace beginning at 6 p.m. Please feel free to bring a dish to share and join in fellowship during dinner.
Memorial Lutheran Church on Douglas Road will hold a morning prayer service at 9 a.m. each Wednesday in March, another opportunity for Grace members to worship during this special season in the church year.
Holy Week worship opportunities will be highlighted in future announcements.
Heathy People! Healthy Parish!
A Raktivist is a activist for kindness! February 14th – February 19th is Kindness Week 2023. Thursday February 17th is Random Act of Kindness Day!
Random Acts of Kindness should be an every day event not just one day or a couple of days. God’s teachings have told us to be kind to all, every day and all the time even in the tough times.
It is hard sometimes especially if we are having a bummer day but a smile, helping someone with a small task like even just helping someone put on a coat not only helps others but also helps us.
Being Heart Month – what does kindness have to do with your heart?
Research has shown that acts of generosity (not just money) can boost your happiness and wellbeing and lead to a lowering of blood pressure!!!
So being a RAKTIVIST is a very good thing! Try practicing for a day or even an hour and see how you feel – it might become a very good habit!!
Due to our Chocolate Extravaganza on Sunday the Salter’s Guess was moved to this next Sunday!
Come and check it out this next Sunday in Fellowship!
Blood Pressure and You!
Cindy and Gretchen will be doing Blood Pressures in Room 3 Sunday. So, come and find out your highs and lows. If yours was running high when we checked it please come back and let us check again this week.
Veggies and the Heart
Tomatoes – are filled with Lycopene which can help lower bad cholesterol.
Onions – contain some sulfa which help with preventing heart disease.
Broccoli – has a chemical called Sulforaphane that helps keep blood vessels strong.
Beets – great antioxidants to help with keeping a healthy blood pressure.
Spinach – helps with lowering bad cholesterol and is loaded with antioxidants.
Garlic – has a chemical name allicin that helps with maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
** The other part of the veggies is to enjoy the natural taste and not loading with salt or tons of butter.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!