Tag Archives: St. John’s Lutheran Church

Monday, March 6, 2017

Psalm 59: 16 – “But I will sing of your might; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been a fortress for me and a refuge in the day of my distress.”

I have spent my life revolving around music. It has been there to soothe me, calm me, give me strength and ease my sorrow. How many of us don’t sing a little louder to “A Mighty Fortress is our God?” Luther wrote not of personal feelings, but his hymns were a confession of faith. They were written not to be read, but to be sung by the whole congregation. And Luther’s people learned to sing them. My hope is that as you listen to our choir on a Sunday morning that you hear the story we sing and our love of God who gives us guidance, strength, and eternal love.

Prayer: Let us forever sing your songs of praise. When we are down and troubled let the song we sing be one of your precious love. The trials of his people will end in joy and praise. When the night of affliction is over, they will sing of the Lord’s power and mercy in the morning. O come, let us sing unto the Lord! Amen.

Claudia Patterson

Saturday, March 4, 2017

“The Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost.” – Luke 19:10.

We do not seek Jesus out but Jesus seeks us out. He seeks the lost individually by name and calls them to come and start to have a personal relationship with him.

Do you see yourself as lost or a sinner? If your answer is yes, Jesus will come and find you and save you from your sins. That is what he was sent to earth to do. The forgiving love of God seeks us out when we have lost our way.
We are all sinners and if we listen carefully we will hear Jesus calling us to follow him and be saved.

Prayer: Lord, help us to open our ears and heart that we may hear you calling us to follow you. Amen.

Becky Keller

Friday, March 3, 2017

“When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace.¹” – Romans 5:20 (The Voice Bible Translation)

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. The debate went on for some time leading to no consensus until C.S Lewis wandered into the room, and asked “What’s the rumpus about?” They replied, “Oh, we are discussing what is unique about Christianity among world religions.” Without hesitation, Lewis replied “Oh, that’s easy . . . it’s grace.”²

Jesus showed grace in his ministry, and he clearly taught us it is for everyone….the tax collector, the prostitute, the unclean. And, just as he gives it to us with no strings attached, as Christians we are called to do the same; to offer grace to another.

The word “grace” is used often in our everyday world and when we stop and think about it, it can be a great reminder of God’s grace.  For example, who hasn’t breathed a sigh of relief at the bill paid a few days late, when remembering the gift of the “grace period.” The debtor is owed the money on the 1st of the month; those are the terms agreed upon; but the debtor says, even though I can enforce that, I won’t charge you the late fee if the money is received during the “grace period.”

Then there’s the “grace note.”  To understand that one, I called my daughter Jordan, who is a musician, and asked her, “What is a grace note, and how is it used?”  She replied, “It is very subtle, and it helps another note along in a musical piece.”  I was trying to get my head around that, when thankfully she said, “Wait, Mom. Let me put the phone on speaker and I will play you something with a grace note and then without a grace note.”

She played; I listened and by the third time– I heard it–ever so subtle, played just before the next note it was helping along…to make the piece a little more beautiful.

During the Lenten season, let’s reflect on the amazing gift of God’s grace to us, and share it with others.  Let’s ask each day, did I offer grace to another? Yes, the waitress got your order wrong, but maybe she is new and just learning.  Instead of correcting the error (which one could argue makes sense to do)–give her a “grace period”–tell her she is doing a great job, and say a silent prayer for her to be successful.

Or, maybe someone you know is a recovering addict, or is having a hard time rebuilding his or her life after making poor decisions. Grace tells us not to judge them but to love them.   Send a card of encouragement and let them know our God is one who loves, forgives and you believe that better days are ahead for them and you are praying or them. Be their “grace note”…every so subtly helping them along to the next note they are trying to play in their lives.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the gift of your grace to me, free of charge, no strings attached.  I didn’t deserve it, but that is how you love.  As a receiver of this unmerited favor from you, help me to have eyes that see where you are calling me this Lenten season to share your love and grace with others, and realize my actions towards them may be the only “Bible” they read.

Music Meditation: “So Much Grace” by Jonathan David and Melissa Hesler. “I heard about a sea where sin sinks like stones; there’s no floor there, just mercy down below. There’s so much grace.”

Jamie Cannon

1 Grace- the free and unmerited favor of God. (Merriam- Webster.net) 
2 Philip Yancy, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” – Psalm 32: 8

I pray that God would open the mouth in me and the heart in you and that he would be the teacher in the midst of us who may in us speak and hear. -Martin Luther

What are the qualities of a great teacher? A great teacher will instruct and teach concepts to be learned, as well as watch/ guide a student in the application of the learned concepts. In Psalm 32:8, we can view God as our Heavenly Instructor. God instructs us to walk in his way and not stray from the qualities that are important to everyday living through his holy word: possessing integrity, believing in the Holy Trinity, providing counsel to others, finding peace, having views/feelings that are in favor with God, and seeking deliverance from sin/guilt. God teaches us to walk in his way and not stray from his way within our daily life and conversations. His instruction also becomes a practical teaching experience. God instructs us so we become capable of presenting his instruction to others. Those who are best able to teach others the grace of God have experienced it for themselves- in other words, “experience makes the best teacher”. God also guides and watches us with his “eye” upon us after our heavenly instruction. We are always in his sight and care. He observes us and will not let us go in the wrong direction. If we stray from his teachings, he will counsel, guide, advise, direct, and caution us with goodness until we are again “on the right path”- walking in the way of the Lord. Martin Luther believed that a life of faith is a complete submission that is taught, led, and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. God is a powerful God who rescues the faithful. He is willing to help and guide us down the pathway of righteousness; however, we must be willing to listen to and follow his instruction.

Prayer: God, our Heavenly Teacher, help us to follow the guidance of your wisdom. Open our hearts to your ways because your words are life to us. Rescue us if we stray from your pathway. Help us to be a great teacher of your word. In your name we pray, Amen.

Linda Tritapoe

Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Psalm 51:1 – “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgresions.”

David was begging God for forgiveness. He had done something that God was not pleased with. We all sin.  No one is perfect.  Even David, who had such a close personal relationship with God, sinned.  The love God has for us is steadfast, strong and never ending.  While he expects us to live our lives in a manner which pleases God, we all sin. Jesus came for all of us to die for our forgiveness of sins, so that we may have eternal life with him.  We must conduct ourselves in living Godly lives, working with God to spread his word. When we are making daily decisions, we should ask ourselves, would this please God? He should be put first, at all our decision making.  He should be first in our lives, always.  God is full of mercy; he will care for us and grant us forgiveness for all our sins.

Prayer: Please help me, Lord, to follow your path and lead a Godly life, doing your work.  Thank you, Lord, for forgiving my sins. Amen.

Laura Boos(Waeyaert)

Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016

Alleluia! Christ is risen
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Easter Message from Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and
they did not believe them.
Luke 24:10-11

Hmmm, an idle tale! There are lots of people nowadays who think that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is “an idle tale,” that it is a made-up story that couldn’t possibly be true. Fact is, even the apostles did not believe it when the women came running to report that the tomb was empty and that Jesus had risen from the dead. And can you blame them? The idea that a dead person has come back from the dead is simply preposterous.

But that is just the point, isn’t it? In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has done the impossible! God has raised Jesus from the dead and in so doing has won the victory over death once and for all.

Because Jesus has risen, our lives are now transformed; death no longer has the final say. This transformation affects our lives in the here and now, enabling us to live as God’s people: people who have been transformed in order to transform the world!

As Martin Luther wrote in his Easter Hymn of 1524:

So let us keep the festival
Whereto the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the Joy of all,
The Sun that warms and lights us.
By His grace He doth impart
Eternal sunshine to the heart;
The night of sin is ended.
Hallelujah!

With the sunshine of the resurrection in our hearts, let’s tell the world: Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Bishop Wolfgang D. Herz-Lane
Delaware-Maryland Synod, ELCA

Wolfgang

 

Easter Message from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Easter is early this year, and in many places across this church trees will still be bare and fields barren. It might even snow. But on Easter morning we will gather to greet the risen Son and give thanks to God for the new life we have in Jesus Christ.

Two things come to mind this Easter when there is still only the hint of spring: Jesus’ words to his disciples just before his crucifixion and a hymn.

Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus was talking about his death, but he was also assuring his disciples and us that death is not the end, that, though it might seem impossible and even terrifying to step into the void, God brings life out of death.

The hymn is ELW 379.

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been;
love is come again like wheat arising green.

The tune is actually a French Christmas carol. How perfect that, in the bleak midwinter, the promise of spring was planted.

St. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” We have already fallen into the earth and died. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” We will not remain alone. We will bear fruit.

The seed has been planted in all the barren places in the world and in our lives. That gives us the power and the hope – especially in the face of our brokenness – to see life where the world only sees death … in refugee camps and hospice units, in parched earth and in floods, in oppression and denied justice we are bold to confess. Now the green blade rises. Now love lives again. Now love comes again like wheat arising green.

Christ is risen.

Elizabeth A. Eaton
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

Easter message from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton 2016 from ELCA on Vimeo.