Lord, you have searched me out;
O Lord, you have known me.
Bless the World: be God’s Grace!
Yesterday (7 January) after worship, I distributed a star to each person who wished to take one. On each star, there was a word; such as “peace,” “sharing,” “prayer,” “listening,” “compassion,” etc. These “star words” are intended to offer a focus for the next year. I invited us all to put our star in a prominent place and to consider how we practice the concept of the word on it to other people … and how we notice it and experience it through our interactions with others.
My star word presents what I think will be a good challenge for me. I drew a star with the word “flexibility.” Hmmm. I tend to be a pretty orderly person … and a person who likes routine and predictability. Ironically, I have been called to a vocation that can be quite unpredictable. I never know what challenges, joys, and tasks each day may bring!
My challenge will be to see God at work in shifting and changing plans, and to learn a little about how to “roll” with these changes. I do often find that the Holy Spirit works powerfully in these moments, and I look forward to being more open to that.
What is your word? (If you did not get a chance to take a star, you still can.) How might it shape your focus for the year? What might you learn about yourself? About others? About God? Where might your star lead you on your faith journey?
Look for an opportunity soon to share—if you would like—your star word journey.
God’s blessings to you as we begin our 2024 journey together as the people of God at Grace!
The Readings for Sunday January 14, 2024
1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time
In Fellowship Hall
January 14 – Contemporary Team
January 21 – Deb Damschroder and Linda Currie
The Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, 28 January. There will be one worship service that day, at 10:30 a.m. The meeting will follow immediately after in the “big church.” The meeting will be followed by a potluck. Please mark your calendars now to join us for this important meeting where we will elect Council members and vote on the 2024 spending plan.
Meditation on John 1:43-51
By Vicar Dave
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?” I have to wonder where Nathanael’s negative opinion of Nazareth came from. What little we know about that town indicates that it was a mostly Jewish place. There were quarries nearby and craftsperson’s working in the village. Nazareth was small and far away from any of the centers of power in ancient Israel. So maybe Nathanael thought of it as sort of backwoods, or hickish. Maybe Nathanael grew up in a town which was a rival of Nazareth and still maintained some of those hostilities, sort of like some people from Ann Arbor and Columbus feel about each other. Maybe it had something to do with politics, after all, we tend to divide ourselves into red and blue states.
It makes me think about how many times we have discounted someone’s value, simply because of where they come from or some other irrelevant characteristic which they might possess. I remember a man who owned a farm in Georgia, who ran for president. Lots of folks made fun of him for his background, but he ended up winning. Then there was the man whose family were German refugees, who came to the US with his family to flee Hitler and the Nazis. He went on to be one of the most respected diplomats in modern US history. While I’m not trying to compare Jimmy Carter nor Henry Kissinger to Jesus Christ, the point I’m trying to make is that where you come from isn’t really that important. What’s important is how you use the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to you.
Being from a certain town or having a certain condition doesn’t mean that God loves you any less. God will still send the Holy Spirit to impart her gifts to you. Let’s give all of God’s children the opportunity to use their gifts. We will all benefit.
A big thank you to everyone that helped on Saturday,
January 6 to take down the Chrismon tree and other
decorations in the nave and then decorate for Epiphany.
Everyone’s help was very much appreciated.
Council members, remember that we will gather on Saturday, 3 February 2024 from 9:00 to noon at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg for our Council retreat. Please remember to read the book Unafraid by Adam Hamilton in preparation for the meeting.
The deadline for turning in articles for the newsletter is 10:00 a.m. Monday morning OR when the newsletter is full. 8 pages is the maximum we can send in the mail. Thank you!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!