For where two or three are gathered in my name,
I am there among them.
Bless the World: be God’s Grace!
Rally Day! September 10, 2023
Back to two services this Sunday.
9:30 a.m. Traditional – 11:30 a.m. Contemporary
(Jesus said) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.—Matthew 28:19-20
I was baptized on 21 June 1970 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Fremont. Ray and Margey were my baptismal sponsors, and it was a duty they took very seriously. They had been friends of my mother’s family for years, and it was Ray who walked my mother down the aisle the day she and my dad were married, as her father had died a few years before.
Each year on or around 21 June, I would receive a card or letter from Ray and Margey with a Bible verse or a quote intended to nourish my faith and as they put it, “grow into your life of faith.” They were involved in my life in other ways, including birthdays and some school events, but it is those baptismal anniversary moments I remember best.
When my father died, Ray served as a pallbearer. 21 years later when my mother died, he served in the same way at her funeral. On that day, they both came to me in tears, and Margey said, “Remember what Baptism means—that God loved us so much Jesus died for us? Your mom understands it completely now.” Even then, they were helping me to “grow into my faith,” and to lean into the promises of Baptism.
This Sunday, 10 September, is Rally Day. On that day, we will have the opportunity to grow into our faith. We will take time to recall our own Baptism through a Remembrance of Baptism rite, and we will live out our congregational promises to the children of Grace as we bless them with a new way of marking their growth as followers of Jesus and as they begin a new Sunday School year.
How do you nourish your faith? How do you find ways to recall what it means to be a baptized child of God, who is loved so much that Jesus died for you? How does your Baptism shape who you are? How can you continue to “grow into” your faith?
Meditation on Matthew 18:15-20
By Vicar Dave
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
I use this phrase to open Wednesday services a lot. We don’t get many people at those services. Four or five. Sometimes more, occasionally less. But it really doesn’t matter. When we gather in the name of Jesus, He is there! That’s a powerful statement and I say it with confidence.
It’s a powerful statement from Jesus as well. It illustrates how Jesus is really divine and omnipresent. He can be anywhere at anytime (I’d say He is everywhere, all of the time). It’s also a very encouraging statement, especially for the disciples. After Jesus had ascended into heaven, they knew that He’d still be with them, in spirit at least, whenever they gathered together in His name. This shows me the importance of gathering together as the community of believers, communing and praying together. It doesn’t matter if you gather in person or via internet. The church cannot function apart from abiding in Christ, and he has made a way for his presence to be more assured than if he had stayed in bodily form, but human and limited to one place at one time. It is a powerful truth that Jesus reveals in this statement.
But this promise isn’t limited to the church. When we gather at the supper table in the evening, and say a blessing over our food, we do so in Jesus’ name, and we know He is present with us and giving us His blessing. Sometimes, people gather at their homes with friends and family for Bible study and prayer, and they do so in His name. Jesus is with them. I have the distinct feeling that people in my workplace are praying all the time, as am I. We may not vocalize that we are praying at the same time, but I’m still confident that Jesus is there. This is especially important to me in that sometimes the job I do can be dangerous. I frequently find myself praying for my co-worker’s safety. I do the same thing when I hear a siren in the distance. I pray for the safety of the responders, the victims, and the perpetrator. I think others do as well and I know that Jesus is with us as we pray.
Sunday Fellowship Time
September 10th – Contemporary Team
September17th- Sue and Sean Melchert
Operation Christmas Child
In the month of September we are asking for donations of pencil sharpeners. They can be dropped off in the Giving Grace Room or to the office during the week.
A post Labor Day reminder that God directed us to labor to provide support to the Levites (including our Pastor) living among us.
At the August Council meeting there was a discussion that an unidentified person made comments that Grace’s financial situation would be better if Grace had a “part-time” Pastor. While it is important to look at ways to live within our means, I would ask the person who made the comment to reflect on the book of Numbers in the Bible. Read about the Levites and the other tribes of Israel and think about how supporting our pastor aligns God’s plan for his people.
Our Pastor, being called by God to Priestly ministry could be considered a member of the “Levite” tribe. Even before entering the Holy Land the Levites were set aside by God. God decried that Levities (which included the Priests) would not be given their own land nor toil in the fields to support themselves. Instead, they were tasked with the sacred duty of taking care of God’s temple full time. Although they were unable to support themselves through manual labor, God provided for the Levities and Priests’ human needs by asking all the other tribes to support them through the sharing of tithes.
Tithing meaning giving the gift of 1/10th of what you earn to God, established a form of equality among the members of the tribes of Israel. Although some of the Israelites were wealthy and others were poor, God asked everyone to give an equal share of what they received. Even the poorest of the poor were expected to contribute from what they had. And yes, the Priests were charged by God to tithe from what they received from the others.
Supporting a Pastor whether on a full time, part time or shared basis is costly. In our letter of Call to Pastor Brenda, the members of Grace committed to supporting her financially. As members of God’s people, we all bear the responsibility for sharing what has been provided to us to support our Pastor and all the ministries of Grace. I ask each of you to consider what you are giving to God through your contributions to Grace and ask yourself, how does the amount I give compare to what God charged the Israelites to give in order support the Levities?
David Charvat, Treasurer
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!