Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.
Fall is not my favorite season. Even though the trees are beautiful as they change colors, the falling of the leaves makes me a bit sad. I lament the bare trees, and anticipate the cold months ahead with little enthusiasm.
Recently, however, I read something that spoke to me. An unknown author wrote, “The trees are about the teach us the beauty of letting things go.” There is some wisdom there, I think. After all, don’t we tend to hold on to things? We cling to grudges, difficult conversations, hurt feelings, pain, and anger. Long after the other person may have forgotten an incident, we sometimes hold on … and the effect continues to be felt—often not just by us, but by others in our lives.
Trees drop their leaves as a part of their natural life process. The dying leaves drop and disappear, so new things can take their place in due season. And when the first green buds appear in the Spring, there is joy and anticipation over what will be. New growth cannot happen until the old has fallen away.
What if we could take this Fall process to heart? What if we could let go of the things which don’t promote new growth and life in us, but rather leave us stuck in anger, fear, or pain? This would not mean we lose the lessons we may have learned, but it might mean that something new and beautiful could emerge from what has died.
I know I need this lesson as an individual … and as a child of God. There are things which I hold on to which are better let go, so that something new can emerge and I can engage in the world in a new way. We need this as a community of faith, as we move on from old hurts and debates, and grow into the new fellowship God has called us to be as Grace Lutheran Church. We need this as humans living together in this world, as old and hurtful ways of being must give way to compassion, kindness, justice, peace, and love.
We will not lose part of ourselves if we drop the things which hold us back. We will only make space for the new that God is calling forth. And whatever drops away, we live confident that “Faith, hope, and love abide; these three; and the greatest of these is love.” –1 Corinthians 13:13.
All Saints’ Day will be observed at Grace on Sunday, November 6. As in the past, the Altar cloth will list names of deceased loved ones which have been added by members. This year a new cloth had to be purchased as our previous cloth was completely filled. The cloth will be at the back of sanctuary on a table starting October 23 so that names of members’ loved ones can be written on it.
Thank you to all who help!
On Sunday, October 23rd we would like to celebrate Fall and Halloween during Fellowship Hour. I would like to have a variety of Fall (think apples and pumpkins) and Halloween treats. They can be homemade or bought. Some examples are cakes, pies, cookies, breads, cupcakes, candy, fruit, etc. It should be something that can serve 8-12 people. If you would like to donate, please email or call Sue Wagner at Suegrade@aol.com or 419.475.8972. Thanks in advance!
Operation Christmas Child
October – Coloring books, small notebooks, pads of paper and small books. You can drop off donations in the Giving Grace room or the church office.
I have been a member here at Grace for a long time. It was sometime before Pastor Jacobs came to Grace. We started looking for a church when Corey was little and wanted to know about what a church was when he heard church bells playing. We had friends who were members and so we started attending Grace.
I am Single. My kids and their spouses, significant other Corey, Heidi, Kellie, Randy Hammaker, Sean and Valerie. They have blessed me with 12 grandchildren. I say they keep me young. I also have a dog, Rudy and a cat Oliver. Some of you have met Rudy when I am able to bring him to Grace. I work for Best One Fleet Service aka Jam Best One Fleet Service as an administrator controller. If someone asks, I say I do whatever needs to be done. My second family is my Jam Fam, the people I work with.
I enjoy serving and or helping when I am able at Grace. I am the “Secret Shopper” for our Personal Needs Ministry. That keeps me busy on a weekly basis. I am also involved with Altar Guild, Youth Group, Coffee Hour, Outreach, plus probably some other things. I am not really involved in anything else, except for Church or family.
My favorite Bible verse is 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 may have eternal life.” Must be a Sue verse, I saw that was Sue Wagner’s favorite verse.
I like giving back to people. There was a time when I could not afford to give a lot financially, but I always tried to give my time and talents. There are many ways to give at Grace for those who are looking for something to do. I am thankful that Pastor Brenda has joined us in Blessing the World be God’s Grace! I can’t wait to see what the future brings. During COVID I started walking to keep busy and get out of the house. I have gotten at least 10K steps for 773 days. I also drink warm water with Vinegar every morning. I just recently booked my flight to Italy to see Sean, Valerie, Jude, Leo and Vivian. I have never been to Europe so looking forward to my trip.
Thanks to everyone who make things happen at Grace!
And thank you, Sue, for all you do!
The Moore Family
I think everyone knows the Moore family here at Grace. Here is a little bit about them.
They have been here at Grace “unofficially” 17+ years as Ryan and Janet were married at Grace in 2005. They officially became members a few years later.
Ryan is a pilot who sells aviation insurance. Janet is a pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in infectious diseases.
Callie is in the 8th grade in junior high and enjoys all things theatre and music. She plays alto saxophone and sings in the choir. We have been blessed to hear her sing here at Grace.
Mallory is in the 4th grade and spends her time running and playing soccer. She always has a smile on her face!
Collin is in kindergarten and plays all the sports he can! Ask him about sports. He knows a lot and will tell you all about them!
Puppy Oliver rounds out the family.
A favorite Bible verse is “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Thank you Janet, Ryan, Callie, Mallory and Collin (and Oliver)!
Sunday, October 30 is Reformation Sunday with one service at 10:30 a.m.
Remember to wear red!
Everyone is encouraged to attend on-line or in person on Reformation Sunday. The Worship and Music Committee would love to see YOU at church. This would be a good day to come to Grace and rekindle your relationship with Grace and its members. We hope to see YOU there!
Meditation by Vicar Dave
When I worked at the prison, there was a definite social structure. On the one hand, there was the staff, which included the Warden and management, medical & social services, and of course, security, i.e. the guards. On the other hand, there were the inmates, who had their own social structure within their ranks. Often, it was easy for staff members to look down their noses at the inmates, thinking that they were better than the inmates. Never mind the fact that plenty of these staff members had a number of issues themselves. Infidelity and divorce, alcoholism and drug abuse, to name a few. I found that some of the staff members that gave the inmates the hardest time were often the ones with the most problems in their personal lives, all the while thinking that they were better because they weren’t criminals, like the inmates. (The truth for some of them was that they just hadn’t been caught yet.) On the other side of this equation, there was plenty of tension coming from the inmates. I can easily imagine that if you are repeatedly being told that you’re not as good as someone else, with whom you have daily contact, it would tend to annoy you. On the other hand, there were also inmates who had repented of whatever crime they had committed. A lot of these guys attended Chapel every week and did things around the prison to make life better for everyone, including the staff members who looked down on them.
Our Gospel reading from today, about the Pharisee and the tax collector, made me think about this situation. A social hierarchy regarding the two of them is even built into our language. The word Pharisee is a title and is capitalized, whereas tax collector is merely a description and is in all lower-case letters. The Pharisee comes into the temple with the attitude that he is better than the tax collector. It seems like he thinks that he’s more entitled to salvation than the tax collector as well. The tax collector, on the other hand, is humble and acknowledges his sin and asks for forgiveness. The tax collector left the Temple justified, whereas the Pharisee did not, “for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” To me, at least, this is reminiscent of the time Jesus talked about the angels in Heaven rejoicing over the repentance of one sinner out of more than 99 just persons who think they don’t need to repent.
The problem that the Pharisee had wasn’t that he was grateful to God, but because his gratitude was based in the idea that he was better than others, and therefore more deserving of God’s blessings. That’s a trap that’s easy to fall into. We look around us and we see so much suffering sometimes. When we’re doing ok, and even when we’re not, it’s tempting to compare our situation to others to try to lift ourselves up. It’s not that we shouldn’t be grateful that we have enough to feed our families, or that we live in a nice neighborhood. But it becomes a problem when we start to think that we must be better than those less fortunate than ourselves BECAUSE God has blessed us with these things. One of the things I’ve often tried to remind myself of when I see someone who’s situation is worse than mine, particularly while working corrections, is that it wouldn’t take much for me to be in the same situation. We should always remember that our relationship with God is ours, not someone else’s. Nor is anyone else’s relationship with God our business nor something we should try to compete over. There are so many little things in my life that could have sent me down a darker path. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I’ve made choices that have led me to where I am. That shouldn’t be a source of pride or arrogance for me, but rather a cause for humility and genuine gratitude.
- Council members will be attending a morning retreat in Whitehouse on January 14, 2023.
- Pastor Brenda is looking into options for acquiring the capability to send out mass texts for weather-related issues and other emergencies.
- Council received updates from Gretchen Hiatt, Parish Nurse, regarding recent activities at the Church including a blood drive and active shooter training. Gretchen also reported on the status of efforts to donate clothing and blankets to Tent City.
- Pastor Brenda is investigating a possible prayer and video partnership with the Lutheran church in Stara Pazova Serbia.
- Bob Haaf, President, indicated the Church’s governing documents are being reviewed and updated.
- David Charvat, Treasurer, did a comparative study of attendance and giving using year-to-date figures through September 2019 and September 2022, respectively. Attendance and giving are down, and there is a current budget deficit. David identified possible options to address the deficit.
- A date was established for the annual congregational meeting – January 29, 2023. There will be one service that day.
Did you know?
- Did you know Martin Luther originally studied to be a lawyer?
- Did you know Luther nailed his “95 theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517?
Thank you, God, for fall, for falling temperatures and morning chill. For beautiful red, orange and gold trees – for falling leaves. Thank you, God, for the cold days and the warmth of inside – with blessings of sweaters and blankets. We praise you, God for the beauty of the seasons changing – of endings and new beginnings – for the wonder of winter and the hope of another spring and summer yet to come. Thank you, God – we praise your name.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!