I lift up my eyes to the hills;
from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
Bless the world: Be God’s Grace!
I have an aversion to having my picture taken—just not in my comfort zone, I guess. Recently, however, there have been a number of “photo ops” due to all the activities around Grace, and in some other contexts. I have tried to grin and bear it!
One such opportunity occurred at an event I recently attended away from Grace. A couple of people were taking pictures. As one person tried to do so, a message popped up on her phone that read “Battery exhausted.”
It got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the ability to flash similar warning messages at certain times? How about “Patience exhausted,” “Energy exhausted,” or “Resources exhausted”? People would know that we just could not do anymore until we had the chance to re-charge whatever area was depleted.
What areas of your life feel “exhausted” or depleted? Is it your relationships? Is it your work? Is it your faith?
How blessed we are to know that God’s grace, mercy, love, and patience are never exhausted. God always stands by, full of power and promise. God is always willing to guide, support, and nourish us we go through our lives and all the challenges in them.
Lent is upon us, and it is a good time to remind ourselves of the blessings we have on account of our relationship with God. Lent is an opportune time to “re-charge” our lives of faith. It is an excellent time to be more intentional about prayer, study, and reflection, as we seek to strengthen our relationship with God and with one another. When we do this, all areas of our lives can feel re-energized and re-focused.
Opportunities for renewal abound at Grace in this season! Some gathered this past Saturday at church to talk about prayer, and to experience it in some new ways, The conversation was wonderful! In addition to weekend worship, our Wednesday Lenten services can help us to re-charge, as can the times for fellowship and food before each Wednesday service. We can re-connect with the scripture through opportunity we have been given through a synod resource to read through many of the great stories in the Bible about Jesus. (Copies of the reading plan are available in the back of the nave). The Prayer Vigil from Good Friday until Easter dawn is also a good opportunity for renewal—details to follow on this event!.
How might you open yourself to the presence of God in your life and in the world? How might you open yourself to opportunities for renewal and re-energizing this Lent?
Sunday Fellowship Time
March 5th- Sue Wagner and Janet Moore
We will begin taking orders for Lily plants, Daffodils and Tulips on Sunday March 5. The sale is sponsored by the Christian Education Committee.
Each plant costs $12. There will be order forms at the back of the Sanctuary. Orders must be in by April 2.
Soup Sale a big success!!
Thank you to everyone who supported our youth Soup Sale! We sold approximately 150 containers of soup. The money we raised is going to help fund our mission trip to Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana this summer. We will be doing home improvement projects, serving a meal and working in a food bank. We appreciate your continued support and are looking forward to seeing you at the Pasta Dinner on March 18th from 5-7pm. Your investment in our youth will help them grow in their faith.
A big thank you to my Grace Church family for birthday cards in the mail, phone calls, tasty cupcakes, lovely flowers and a songful Happy Birthday to make my birthday extra special. I am blessed. ~Miss Connie
Mid-week Worship Opportunities for Wednesday, March 8
During Lent, mid-week services are offered on Wednesdays at noon and 7 p.m. On March 8, Pastor Brenda will preside at the noon service and at the 7 p.m service Grace will welcome Pastor Peter Bowmer of St. Paul’s Lutheran as the presiding minister.
Both services have opportunities for fellowship prior to the service. Please join others at 11:15 a.m. for a soup luncheon and/or a potluck at 6 p.m. Members are invited to attend both if they wish.
If you would like to bring soup to the 11:15 lunch, please sign-up on the sheet on the bulletin board by the sanctuary or contact Cindy Wood.
Meditation on John 3:1-17
By Vicar Dave
Who was Nicodemus and why did he come to see Jesus? Knowing that he was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, it could be assumed that he was there to try to trick Jesus into saying something that could be used against him. That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense though. The Pharisees often came to challenge Jesus during the daytime hours, and they did this publicly. Nicodemus, however, came at night, perhaps hoping that his fellow Sanhedrin wouldn’t see him and his visit with Jesus might go unnoticed. I think that the better explanation is that he was curious about Jesus and wanted to know more about him. I think he was beginning to believe. Later in Jesus’ story, he helps to prepare Jesus’ body for burial by bringing “a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds” (John 19:39).
It’s interesting to me that a Pharisee had this fascinating conversation with Jesus. Nicodemus starts the conversation by acknowledging that Jesus is different, special, that He came from God. He and Jesus discuss the importance of “being born of water and Spirit”, but what does that mean? Water is used to cleanse. That’s why we talk about our sins being washed away in the waters of baptism. But there’s something else at work in baptism. Without the working of the Holy Spirit, it would be little more than a bath. That’s probably why our rite of Holy Baptism says that “by water and the Holy Spirit we are reborn children of God…” Is this the birth from above that Jesus is talking about? Makes sense to me.
So, Nicodemus came to Jesus seeking answers. Seekers are important. We all seek for answers to many questions. Jesus tells us to seek and that we will find. But sometimes, the answer can be right in front of us, but we aren’t able to see it because of our limitations. During their conversation, I think that Jesus got frustrated with Nicodemus when He comments to him about how he’s a teacher of Israel but still doesn’t understand what Jesus is trying to tell him. Jesus will have similar frustrations with His disciples when they fail to understand the things that He tries to teach them. But throughout His frustration with Nicodemus, His disciples, and with us, Jesus continues to love them and all of us. That point is driven home in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life”.
I think seekers are a blest bunch of folks. People who seek knowledge. People who seek for the lost. Most of all, people who seek God. Nicodemus falls into that last group. In our 21st century life, we are faced with several dilemmas that we seek answers for. There’s the issue of climate change, which could affect generations that come after us, or the issue of war and aggression. How to tackle poverty, hunger and homelessness is an issue that will likely be with us forever. Hatred and division make up another complex issue. Unlike a book I read once, we can’t just build a super computer to give us the answer to life’s ultimate questions, we have to seek the answers ourselves. The best place to start is to seek God. He will guide us to the answers we need. Trust in God and know that all will be well.
Thanks to all who contributed to tonight’s dinner! I enjoyed my food and the company.
Thank you to all who put the pancake dinner together and made it happened. Pictured – most but not all of the volunteers.
Dodoma Diocese invites Northwestern Ohio Synod and the NWOS Global Mission Board to the Consecration Services of Rev. Christian Ndossa
By Ron Hiatt
Northwestern Ohio Synod and NWOS Global Mission Board accepted the invitation to Consecration (Installation) Services. A delegation of 10 will be traveling to Dodoma, Tanzania, East Africa, representing the synod, the GMB, and companion churches.
In Tanzania, Bishop installations are a BIG deal, and state and church work together on many social issues. During the installation of the bishop in 2009, the Prime Minister of Tanzania spoke. Many government representatives, Non-government organization leaders, and religious leaders were invited to speak. A genuine feeling of unity and cooperation was on display. There were many High School Bands offering music, traditional tribe celebration song and dance, and other cultural performances were part of the celebration. The Consecration is a worship service with hymns, Bible readings, and a sermon, culminating with the installation of the new bishop. All told, this event can last 7 to 8 hours. It will be a big day in Dodoma, and a big day for the country of Tanzania, too.
Bishop Daniel Beaudoin, Rev Sarah Schaaf, Rev Ashley Rosa-Ruggieri, Rev Brenda Peconge, Sherry Krieger, Calla Gilson, Wellington Kamala, Megan O’Brien, Becky Seibert, and Ron Hiatt, make up the delegation. In addition to attending the worship service, a Women’s Clergy Retreat/Bible Study, visits to companion parishes, discussions about water wells, Aya School, Dodoma Lutheran College, and the future plans for the Dodoma Diocese will all take place. Pastor Brenda and Ron will be hosted by our church companion at Iringa Road, and hopefully we will be able to make the trip to the Mzogole Sub-parish where Pastor Brenda will offer the homily. More on that next week, stay tuned.
Grace Full Friends is back! Good turnout Tuesday night. Thank you Bob, JoAnne, Connie, Ann, Pastor and others for all you do!
Easter is on its way! And so is our Blood Drive on April 19!
What would happen if you had family or friends that want to give you an Easter basket filled with calorie loaded candy or 2 dozen hard cooked eggs that you really don’t need but graciously accept? Now, the candy sounds wonderful, but would it not be even a better feeling if someone donated blood in your honor!! What a wonderful way to recognize you, give back to the community and support the mission of helping others!
Look for the Easter Cards on the table outside the office this Sunday. The person who is donating in honor of you can bring the card on April 19 so we can let you know how many units of blood have been given in your honor!
Behind the scenes at Grace…..by Gretchen
- The Shrove Pancake dinner was excellent! The “flippers” were chef Ron Schneider and assistant Walter Schulisch for the second year! It was hard to resist the excellent pancakes with all the toppings and the sausage!
- The season of Lent is here and Wednesday soup luncheons with worship service to follow and evening potlucks with service to follow are starting. Please come for fellowship with great food and wonderful worship to follow.
- We sprung a leak this last Wednesday! The wolf (actually the wind) huffed and puffed and blew water under the roofing by Brenner Hall in the hallway. So we had a small waterfall in the hall and the women’s bathroom. Thanks to Connie the roofing company will be out to check what happened with the winds huff and puff! We also lost a storm window by the chapel which looked like a 100 pieces of ice shreds but was glass! No one was hurt and we did not lose power so all other is good!
- We think all of our menagerie took cover, but the squirrels were out in force Thursday looking for treats! Perhaps all the stress of the weather made them hungrier? Sorry Pastor Brenda and Ernie Deutschman the rest of us love our pudgy “tree rats”!
- The border on the puzzle in the back of the big church is almost complete! Stop and see if you can help complete it!
- The very tip of a hyacinth can be seen in the planter next to the office! Spring????
- Our “Warm a Heart” collection of blankets, afghans, and quilts continues even if the trunk is not by the office. If you have any to contribute you may leave in the office or let Gretchen know and she will make arrangements to pick up.
- Have you checked the Community Bulletin Board lately? There are lots of interesting programs and information !
- Remember: Grace is not the bricks, sidewalk, carpet, and ceiling panels but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!!
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
What did you say?
Hearing is an important sense! March is World Hearing Month!
It is estimated that 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss and this was in 2021 by the Hearing Health Foundation. That is a lot of folks! Hearing loss ranks just behind arthritis and heart disease as a leading cause of disability!
We can lose our hearing from many different causes including being older to working in areas that were nosy to listening to loud music. Viruses ,frequent ear infections, some prescription and some over the counter medications can cause a hearing loss. Sometimes there is no known cause.
When you can’t hear as well as you used to, you miss a lot. Some research indicates that there is an increased risk for dementia. Not being able to hear can cause social isolation as you cannot or will not participate in conversations. Some people start avoiding social activities like going to church, going out to dinner or family events because they cannot hear.
Hearing loss is not just a “Seasoned Persons Disease”. Research shows that there is a 6-8% hearing loss in adults age 45-64, 26% in adults age 65-74 and nearly 50% in adults age 75 and over.
So you have a hearing loss or have a family member or friend with a hearing loss -what do you do?
- Be honest about your hearing loss – don’t fake it. Let people know.
- At events sit away from the noise with back to the wall so less competing ambient noise.
- If in a large group of people take turns speaking.
- Get the person’s attention and speak directly at eye level. No mumbling.
- If the person with the hearing loss does not understand try rephrasing it to give them the ability to hear again or ask the person to rephrase if you have the hearing difficulty.
- Make sure there is good lighting. Dim lighting makes it hard to see faces and read lips.
- Turn off the radio or TV or lower the volume.
- If there is singing or music wait till it is over with to talk.
- Let people know how listening can be less stressful.
- If you wear hearing aids, make sure you carry a spare set of batteries – just in case!
So, everyone tells you that you can’t hear, they are tired of being blasted out of the room or car with the loud TV or radio but you do not think you have a hearing problem or maybe won’t admit to it??
So, first step go ahead and get an appointment with a licensed audiologist to have your hearing tested.
There are all sorts of hearing aids and including one that you can now buy from the store but it is a good idea to be officially tested and get recommendations from an audiologist.
A word on hearing aids from a well-known, well-respected person “Hearing Aids are just that – aids to hearing”. They may not completely solve your hearing issues but can greatly improve you listening ability.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!