Lord, I love the house in which you dwell
and the place where your glory abides. ~Psalm 26:8
Bless the World; Be God’s Grace!
The church office will be closed Monday September 4 for Labor Day
Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”—Matthew 16:15
A number of years ago, wristbands with the letters WWJD written on them were popular. The letters stood for “What would Jesus do?” and were intended to prompt Christians to consider how Jesus would act in a given situation as a way to think about what a follower of Jesus ought to do in that circumstance.
I think anything that gets us thinking about how we live out our faith in the world in the world is beneficial. For me, though, when I saw one of those wristbands, I could not help but think, “But I am not Jesus! Sometimes I can’t forgive—at least not right away. Sometimes I don’t share as easily as I ought. Sometimes I put my own interests before others …and I know Jesus never would!”
For me, the question Jesus asked the disciples in yesterday’s Gospel reading helps me to frame my life and my interactions in the world. Who do I say Jesus is? Who is he to me? How does that shape how I interact with others and how I make decisions in my life?
For me, words that come to mind as I think about who Jesus is are merciful, Lord, inviting, God, patient, teacher, forgiving, loving, Savior, kind, judging, Messiah, compassionate, faithful, strong, present. Having a sense of who Jesus is and what he means to me and for my life helps me to remember how much I am loved and forgiven—even when I fail to be kind, patient, merciful, or loving. It helps me to remember that through our Baptisms, we are welcomed into God’s family and called to share the love and promises of God we see in Jesus in many ways, each and every day.
We learn who Jesus is through worship, prayer, reading the scripture, and engaging in fellowship and service with others. Sometimes these things raise more questions—about ourselves and about our world—but they also help us to know that Jesus walks with us when we ask questions and even when we doubt, just as he is present when we feel confident in our faith. We learn more and more about Jesus as we journey through our lives of faith, and as we open ourselves to learning more about him.
Who do you say Jesus is? What might people come to know about God through how you live your life and how you live out your faith?
Adventures with Jana!
Hello guys! How are you? Hope everyone’s okay. I’m great, but I miss you guys so much.
Well, as you know, this is my last month being in the USA and now I’m staying in Fremont. I’m living on the farm with amazing and generous couple, Becky and Henry Seibert.
The whole farm is enormous and really beautiful. They have two houses, one at the beginning of the property and the other at the back of property. Both of the houses are nice and really big. I’m staying in the separate apartment above the garage. It’s not too big but it’s cute and cozy. I really like it. Landscape outside is breathtaking. Every morning birds and sun wake me up.
Here, I don’t have so much things going on. I’m resting, which is also good. However, you always have work when you live on the farm, so every day we find something to do. I help Becky and Henry with chores and cleaning outside. I canned tomatoes and learned how to drive mower. So cool. Henry likes to make all sorts of things out of wood, so Becky and I are also helping him. We made three benches so far, two for outside and one for inside.
I went to my first county fair, here in Fremont. It was interesting seeing competition for good looking pig. And I tried spiral potato too. Little more greasy but tasty.
Henry is retired pastor but he is involved with Synod stuff so he sometimes goes to different congregations like supply pastor. This Sunday we went to Hamler, because pastor Barb had her last service. She is retiring also, so pastor Henry was honored guest. It was nice seeing another congregation and new church. I met new people too and I had chance to talk also a little bit more about myself. We had great time.
Becky and Henry are really kind and nice people, the are reminding me of my grandparents, so I’m really enjoying here too.
Last but not least, this week on Friday I went to German American Festival. I went there with Nancy and Tony and we met up there with pastor Brenda and Gail. I also met there pastor Kevin and his wife Janice and pastor Kristin.
We had so much fun at the GAF. Music was amazing and the whole program was cool. I had sauerkraut balls and potato pancake. It was delicious.
On Saturday we had Burrito blessings. We hand out more burritos than last time so we did a great job. After that, we celebrated Izzy’s first birthday. My little friend is now one year old and it was my pleasure to be there and celebrate it with people who mean a lot to me.
If you want to know more about my staying here, stay tuned.
Please take care of yourself. Be safe and have a blessed week!!! See you soon!
Meditation on Matthew 16:21-28
By Vicar Dave
I don’t know how many of you read the meditations I put into the newsletter or not, but the other week, I closed it with a statement about how I know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and that He came to us, as one of us, and sacrificed Himself on the Cross for all of our sins. Today’s Gospel illustrates that point once again. Jesus is talking to His disciples about how He is going to suffer and die at the hand of the Jewish authorities and as is often the case, they just don’t get it. In this instance, it’s Peter who verbalizes his lack of understanding. Peter is aghast at the idea of Jesus having to die a horrible death. I can’t think of anyone who would want to see their close friend suffer and die like that. However, Jesus had just finished telling them that these things must come to pass so that He can be raised. Jesus must have gotten very frustrated with Peter because He rebukes him in the strongest of fashions, calling him Satan. This after only recently telling Peter that he would be the rock upon which Jesus will build His Church. This isn’t the only time that Jesus became frustrated with His disciples. In another recent reading, when Jesus was talking about that which defiled coming out of the mouth rather than going into it, the disciples ask Him to explain the parable to them (it was Peter again). Jesus responds by asking if they are “still without understanding?’. I can almost see Jesus letting out a big sigh as He says, “you still don’t get it, do you?”.
In today’s Gospel, I can understand the frustration that Jesus must have felt. Here He is, telling His disciples about something that He’s going to have to do, but He’s not looking forward to it at all. In fact, I’d say it was difficult for Him to think about. I remember that just before His arrest, Jesus was praying to His Father for a way out of it. While telling His closest friends about what He has yet to do, one of them tries to talk him out if it. Jesus is having a hard enough time facing this as it is. He doesn’t need to have Peter acting as a nay sayer. So, Jesus gets frustrated. Wouldn’t any of us? I think Jesus’ frustration as well as His fear of the pain of crucifixion both show how He had become fully human along with being fully God.
I think it’s good to know that God came down to us in the form of Jesus Christ and became one of us while still retaining His divine nature. It tells me that God understands our struggles, our fears, and our pain. When we struggle with being tempted to sin, we should remember that Jesus was tempted, and because of that, God understands. When we are afraid, we should remember that Jesus knew fear and understands. And when we are in pain, Jesus knows pain too. He understands and is there for us. God fully understands what it means to be human, and yet He loves us anyway. Not because of who we are, but because of who God is.
Sunday Fellowship Time
September 3rd – Sue Wagner and Mary Schneider
September 10th – Contemporary Team
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.
The Christian Education Ministry Team has become the Christian Life Formation Ministry Team in an effort to educate, celebrate and commemorate the ways we are transformed and united by Christ’s example, teachings and sacrifice that stand as those milestones uniting us in our personal and communal Christian walk.
We are asking that some of you consider joining us in this Ministry and efforts. We need help, helpers and/or another teacher or rotation of teachers for the Children’s Sunday School and additional members for the Ministry Team, also.
Please contact Connie Thomas at 419.242.9340 or Bob Haaf at 419.475.0374 for questions and intentions. Thank you.
The following is a list of those ways that Christian Life Formation Ministry with Pastor Brenda, Bob Haaf, and Connie Thomas and numerous other members of the congregation have been and continue to work and study to follow Christ’s example and teachings in the activities of Grace Lutheran Church:
- Information and instruction to parents and the sacrament of baptism
- Sunday School for children age 3 – grade 6
- The children’s sermons during service
- Vacation Bible School for children age 3 – grade 6
- Catechism instruction classes and confirmation
- Youth group activities and teaching
- Adult Bible classes on Sunday morning and midweek
- Thursday morning theology study
- Saturday afternoon Zoom Bible Study
- Adult Vacation Bible Study
- Women at the Well
- Ruth Circle Women’s group
- Grace Full Friends group
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!