Hallelujah! Happy are they who fear the Lord
And have great delight in God’s commandments!
Bless the world: Be God’s Grace!
This past week, we heard about mass shootings in Iowa and in California. We also heard details around the death of a young man named Tyre Nichols at the hands of several Memphis police officers.
These stories grieve my heart, as I know they do yours. I am further troubled by the politicizing of these events, and the arguments around gun safety, mental illness, and the role of the police. How do we combat not only the violent acts themselves, but also the tensions and anger around them? How do we begin to discuss systemic causes? How do we look to the interests of all, not just our own?
Jesus offers some exhortation and encouragement in the Beatitudes, which we heard yesterday in worship: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled … Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5, verses 6 and 9).
These verses are both a call and a promise. The call is to be about tough work, working for peace and working on behalf of those who suffer injustice. The call is to know that God desires a better world for us, and to work to be those who help bring that world about. The promise is that Jesus is always with those who are about this work, blessing it and those who engage in it.
This is not easy. The world calls us to curve in on ourselves, looking out only for our interests. But the words of the Beatitudes offer us the assurance that no matter what they world says, we belong to God: the God who came among us in the person of Jesus to be the hope of the poor, the mourning, the misunderstood, the meek, the merciful, the ones who thirst for righteousness, the ones who long for peace, and the hungry. We, then, have a responsibility to align ourselves with the ones Jesus came to love. When we do that, we become one with them, and we become blessed.
We are called to be those people. We are called to be in solidarity with all those whom God loves. We are called to imagine a better world and to work for it. We are called to be hungry for justice. And we are blessed because God is among us … and for us .. and with us. Perhaps that is where we must start to change the world, one piece and one person at a time.
February 5th – Brenda Holderman, Joyce O’Brien, Janet Moore
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 Bible in Fifty Words
Adam and Eve bit
An anonymous letter writer sent this letter to the local newspaper editor saying that attendance in church and sermons made no sense. “I’ve gone for thirty years,” he wrote, “and have heard some thousand sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I am wasting my time, as are the preachers for even bothering to deliver a sermon at all.”
This letter started a serious controversy on the op-ed page. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I’ve been married for thirty years. In that time my wife has cooked some thirty-two thousand meals, but for the life of me, I can recall the menu of few if any of those meals. I do know, though, they all nourished me and gave me the strength I need to do my work and be healthy. If my wife had not provided those meals I’d be dead today.
No further comments about sermon contents have appeared on the op-ed page.
The best vitamin for a Christian is B1.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner
Tuesday February 21 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Free will offering
Meditation on Matthew 5:13-20
By Vicar Dave
Who are you? How do you answer when someone asks you that question? The most common answer is to give our name. We might also tell a bit of family history and the connections that help identify us. For those of us who are parents, we might find ourselves answering that we’re our children’s parent. Often, we’ll tell something about our work, the things we do, and how we spend our time. But even that can vary. Depending on the setting, I’m a parole officer, or I’m a Vicar, or even a hockey fan. I cannot, however, think of a single time when I ever answered that question by saying, “Oh, I’m the salt of the earth. I’m the light of the world.” How about you? Have you ever answered that way? Has anyone ever answered you that way? Maybe, but I’m guessing probably not.
Why not? Even if we’ve never said it aloud, do we ever think of ourselves that way? Do we know that about ourselves? Jesus knows that about us. Jesus thinks that about us. Jesus even says that about us. “You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14) Don’t think this is about somebody other than you. Jesus isn’t talking to any one person or to just His apostles. He’s talking to the crowds that had gathered to hear Him. This still part of His Sermon on the Mount which we talked about last week.
What does it mean to be the “salt of the earth” or “the light of the world”? Until the invention of refrigeration systems, salt was used as a food preservative. It was, and is, one of the primary seasonings as well. So, salt preserves food and helps to make it more palatable. In the ancient world it was highly valued. In ancient Egypt, it was more valuable than gold. In Rome, if someone had done their job well, the were “worth their salt”. I’ve heard that expression used before also. But what about light? David said that “the lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27) and in John 8:12, Jesus proclaims that He is the light of the world. So from this, it can be said that the light of the world is God. He illuminates all of our lives and all of our doings. Without light, it becomes impossible to see. Without God as our light, we are blind. Funny thing about light is that it casts no shadow, and it will always defeat the darkness. Something has to be in its way to do that. If, as Jesus says, we are also the light of the world, that means we are here to shed our light onto everything and to banish the shadows and the darkness.
There are profound implications to being named salt and light. It means that we are to flavor the world. We are to season and transform human activity in such a way that it reveals God in this world. It means we are to help people better see God’s life in theirs. It means we are to enlighten the dark places of the world. You and I are the means by which God flavors and illuminates life and the world. Christ has given us the salt and light of his divinity not just for ourselves but that others might eat and see better. The salt of divinity that was poured into our hands we are to sprinkle onto the world. The light of divinity that fills our hearts and minds is to shine on and brighten all of life.
So what does that mean to us? How to we fulfill our roles as salt and light of the world. There are some pretty simple things that we can do every day that will make life more flavorful to others and to help them see the light of God in their lives. Perhaps it’s looking someone in their eyes, speaking a kind word to them and acknowledging in your heart that they are a child of God. In my case, that could be one of the people that I supervise on parole. Perhaps it’s about being generous with our time and money, making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. Maybe we can be the light of the world by rebuilding a broken relationship in our own lives. Or maybe you can salt the earth by praying for those around us, including those we love as well as those who have hurt us in some way.
If we are salt and if we are light, then we ought to be tasted and seen by the world. If our relationships are bland and flavorless, if our world is dark and filled with shadows, maybe we’ve not been faithful to or trusting of our own saltiness and light. Maybe we’ve forgotten who we are. Maybe we never knew.
But if we can become aware of how we can be salt and light to others, if we can truly share of ourselves, then perhaps we can know ourselves better as children of God and see the wonderous things He has done in our lives. When we let the world taste our salt and see our light, we can become closer with God ourselves and then we’ll have more salt and light to share with the world.
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.
I would like to thank Tony Lockard for helping me go to the doctor and helping me at my house. I would like to thank Gretchen Hiatt for taking me to the surgeon and taking me around town and for help with my medicine. I would like to thank John Orozco for helping me get my new cell phone. And I would like to thank Cathy Holewinski for getting the picture of my dog Woody off my old phone and printing it out.
God bless everybody at Grace!
Behind the scenes at Grace ….by Gretchen
- Winter is finally here! We will find out this Thursday how many more weeks we have to go! Thursday is Wood Chuck Day!
- Treasures for the Youth Rummage Sale are coming in! Please put “treasures” in the storage room in Brenner. It is behind the solid double doors where chairs and tables are. We are filling up the back corner first!
- We had a great blended Sunday Service! Thanks to Nancy Stepleton for playing in Debby’s absence! The Praise Team provided a wonderful addition to the service.
- The robins have continued to be around so there is a small sign of Spring. However they seem to have a hard time sitting on the branches. Must be the side effect of the fermented crab apples!
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace!!
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Happy Birthday !!!
Birthdays are all about celebrating life! Our birthdays are wonderful! We blow out candles, eat cake, eat ice cream, have people sing (maybe even play a musical instrument like a Kazoo), eat cake, eat ice cream, and maybe even a delicious dinner with our favorite food and Shirley Temples! Of, if you have no clue what a Shirley Temple is – she was an actor, and it is a non-alcoholic drink!
You may even get some awesome presents or some gag gifts. Or maybe you are one of those people it is hard to find the perfect gift, or you have decided you do not want any gifts?
How about having family and friends donate blood in your honor!!! Have a “Sleeves Up” party and have family and friends donate blood in honor of your birthday!
Donating blood is an act of love, kindness and generosity that gives someone else the opportunity to celebrate another birthday!!
The next Blood Drive at Grace is Wednesday April 19th.
Check out the Birthday Cards we will have starting next Sunday. You may give these to family and friends to have them donate in honor of your birthday at the April Drive. The cards will have the date, times and how to sign up.
Power is Out!
Roads are covered with ice and snow 12 inches deep!
Knock on wood and other things we have been very lucky so far this winter to not have much of this.
We have had displays and written information on what you need in your car for winter but what about in your house?
Do you have?
Drinking water – 1 gallon per day for each person in your house. Not knowing how many days you could be without power and knowing that water does not spoil – 5 gallons might be good.
A bucket of water to use to flush the toilet.
Working flashlight and extra batteries (Check your flashlights when the time changes).
Blankets are great but having a sleeping bag is also good especially if it is down filled.
Heavy coats, mittens ,hats that cover your ears and scarves.
Candles /oil lamp – MUST BE AWAY from area that they can tip over, away from curtains, and flammable objects and you must keep an eye on them.
Fireplace /wood burner – need to make sure that they have been cleaned and there is not the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning (Have a carbon monoxide alarm -similar to a fire alarm)
Food that does not require cooking – tuna fish, crackers , peanut butter, SPAM , dried fruit, peanut M&M, juices.
Manual can opener.
Battery operated cell phone charger / emergency radio.
Is your snow shovel easy to get to and / or do you have someone to call who will shovel .
Do you keep an extra supply of you medications – 2 weeks minimum.
Is you cell phone charged up?
Be prepared and stay safe if the darn woodchuck says 8 more weeks of winter!!
Are you on the high end, normal side or low end ??
It is very important to know what end you are on!
Find out the Sundays in February between service in Classroom 3 .
Get your Blood Pressure Checked!! Come find us in room 3!!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!