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Second Sunday in Lent -- sermon audio/service video -- Feb. 28, 2021

Second Sunday in Lent, year B -- "Trials and Temptations"

First Reading:      Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm:                  Psalm 22:23-31
Second Reading:  Romans 5:1-11
Gospel Reading:  Mark 8:27-38

Podcast -- Sermon audio only -- 2.28.2021

Facebook LIVE video -- 2.28.2021 service
"Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License # A-715845. All rights reserved.”

Today's hymns:
  ReC     218    Christ, the Life of All the Living
   ReC    140     Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross
  ReC 214      Give Me Jesus
   ReC    181    Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
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Holden Evening Prayer, Lent 1 -- February 24, 2021

First Wednesday in Lent, year B -- "Jesus is Our Sabbath Rest"

Scripture Lessons:
          Leviticus 23:3
        Matthew 12:8  (Sermon text)

"Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License # A-715845. All rights reserved.”
*Holden Evening Prayer text and music: Marty Haugen, b. 1950; (c) GIA publications,Inc.

Tonight's Hymn:
LBW 497 (tune of LBW 183)   I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
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Readings and Announcements for February 28, 2012

               Greetings from Living Word Lutheran Church
         Sunday Service each week at 9:00 AM, 2609 West Broadway, Moses Lake


+++
Second Sunday
 in
Lent


February 28, 2021
First Reading: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm:  Psalm 22:23-31
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11
Gospel Lesson:  Mark 8:27-38

THIS WEEK at a GLANCE: 
Sunday
   
February 28 Service of the Word, 9:00 AM in person and on Facebook live;
  followed by weekly Service of the Sacrament , (not on LIVE broadcast).  
Tuesday  March 2 Confirmation:  Blble class -- 6:00 - 7:00 PM, fellowship hall 
Wednesday March 3 Holden Evening Prayer Lenten Service -- 7:00 PM start time
    Also on FB Live  --  (No soup supper)

 (Wed. Bible study suspended until after Easter)

>> Keeping these in our Prayers:      
  For the healing of our country and all citizens during these times of unease, disease, and unrest;
    For those those who are fighting or recovering from infection by the COVID virus; healthcare workers;
 
the LeMaster family, at the passing of Bill's Gramma Helen (age 100); and safety as they travel to say goodbye;

  Paul & Holli., and friends adjusting to the loss of Sandy after a short but hard-fought cancer battle;
Family of DeAnne M (Deb's mom), who has finished the long fight with Alzheimer's and has her memories again;
  Michele B. and Dawn V., for continued improvement after back surgery
;

Hank Buchmann (local author), preparing to move to rehab (Idaho); that his lungs fully recover;
  Judy R,  (Charlene's daughter), neck & spinal disk issues; Jennifer, (Charlene's daughter), eye pressure issues;
    Jake, (Charlene's grandson), heart rhythm issues have returned, repeat surgery or even transplant may be needed;

Evie E., at home & Gordon E. at Brookdale-Hearthstone;
  Those who may be struggling with depression or loneliness during this extended isolation; 
Friends and Family battling cancer:       
      Wayne R.,
(friend of the Bensons, businessman & former ML mayor);
     
Jackie L. (wife of Stan's friend Mark --Basin Propane), needing a miracle after stage 4 liver cancer diagnosis;
       
Emma, (14 yr old daughter of Norm's friend Bob Tatum); 
      Angie, (Judene's sister), stage 4 lung cancer continues various treatments & new medical trials;
      Carol G., (friend of Ila and Charlene), multiple myeloma; Emily, (friend of Kelli), brain cancer, frontal lobe;
     Aliyah  (Ila's 3-yr old niece) and Bill, (brother of John Schafer), both withy glioblastoma brain cancer.       
  Those who mourn the loss of loved ones; 
          especially the LeMast-rs, Hess-s, Blaz-rs, Tuck-rs, Neust-ls, & Ell-stads;
    Friends and family members who struggle with addictions of various kinds,
    Active military & law enforcement, & fire fighters & their families: for safety and peace in the line of duty:
        esp (military)  Jonathan P,  Riley C,  Olaf M,  Brady E,   Jordan M,  Luke S,  Logan H,
        and (law enforcement) 
Justin E, Scott N, Jeff W, David H; 
  Expectant mothers (and fathers!) -- and for those who would like to be;
         especially Sara & Chris F.; Sarah & David H; Jake & Annalise C.;  Jessica & Fred A.; Lars & Alyssa O; Chris & Jen H.; Kyle & Heather R;

  Engaged couples preparing for marriage, especially Darby & Talen; Gaige & Danielle;

>>> Thanks, Blessings, and Praises
    -- Happy Birthday this week to Caleb and Ellie (28th); Pam R. and Derek (3/1); and Lily N. (3/2);
      -- Thankful that after effects of covid shot #2 were brief for Pastor Lou;

>>> Continued prayers for:
              -- Julie Reyn-lds (Laurie O. sister, breast cancer) --  Danette, Kyle E.,  Loren, Josh -- Mary  & Gordon at Brookdale/Hearthstone;   Rev. Steve My-rs (in Spokane) -- the people of Ethiopia and farmers of South Africa.

THANK YOU -- (a note from Debbie) -- To those who sent cards, kind words, thoughts and prayers for me and my family after the loss of my mother, I apprecite you!  We will be traveling to Oregon to attend her services Thursday/Friday and do plan to be back here for Sunday, but due to the full schedule this week, Tim T. will conduct Sunday's service.  THANK YOU, Tim!

the Season of LENT -- Schedule at LW
  
>>Due to virus precautions, we will forego the tradition of gathering before the Lenten services for the simple soup & bread suppers at the church for now.  You might consider a smaller gathering of 2-3 families at someone's home instead, as far as you are comfortable.
Lenten theme 2021:  Hebrews 12:2 --   "...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..."
   We will examine prominent ancient Jewish rituals, and how they foreshadowed Jesus' own life and work.  Sabbath; Passover and unleavened bread; Pentecost; Day of Atonement; and the Festival of Booths are filled with meaning in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Come and hear!
Wednesday Services continue at 7:00 PM, in person and by Facebook LIVE -- March 3, 10, 17, & 24
Agnus Day                                   "Agnus Day appears with  permission of agnusday . org"


Attendance:  last Sunday, 2.21.21 --  29   *    Lent Wednesday, 2.24.21: unk
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A Note from Pastor Lou -- Truly # 43 -- Take a Look at the Signs

Take a Look at the Signs                                                                                                                                                                           2.25.2021  

       

Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.

Luke 21:32

          This is the second time we have the opportunity to ponder this special promise from Jesus. We first heard it in Mark 13:30. It must have made quite an impression on the disciples, because all three of the synoptic writers report it. Matthew (the apostle Levi) heard it. Mark reports what Peter taught and preached, so Peter was there. And Luke was the traveling companion and close reporter/historian of what Paul would have taught. The narrative was clearly verbalized and remembered in apostolic circles.

           A question arises as to what "all" means in the quote from Jesus.  Jesus had been talking about the coming destruction of the Temple and signs of the end times.  He says "all" will take place before "this generation passes away."  No wonder the disciples believed that Jesus would be returning shortly after he ascended into heaven.

           Take a look at the signs.  By most scholars' analysis, Jesus died in the year 33AD.  The Temple was destroyed in the siege of Jerusalem in the year 70AD, a mere 37 years after Jesus' resurrection.  There were then, as there is now, wars and rumors of wars.  This particular sign is simply true no matter when one looks at human history.   Famines and pestilences (pandemics) and great signs from heaven (comets, meteors, and the like) are always with us.  Persecution of Christians is always happening somewhere in the world.

           In terms of other signs Jesus mentioned, scripture reports the sun was darkened as he was crucified.  People are always fainting in fear and foreboding (v.26) of what might be coming.  Some are saying now that we only have nine years left before a catastrophe confronts us due to climate change.

           Clearly mankind has been living in the end time since the time of Jesus.  After the things mentioned above begin to take place,  Jesus says we "will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."  All the signs began at that time and remain with us today.  The word from the apostolic witness is thus the same for all succeeding generations -- watch and be ready, because we do not know the day or the hour of Jesus' coming again.

           All has taken place.  A thousand years are as one day to God, and a day as a thousand years.  Give thanks God wants a fully populated heaven.  He has not returned yet, so we are included in those chosen for eternal life with him.

           The next line in the text is a wonderful promise for us:  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." There you have it.  We have the beginning of the signs and their continuing relevance, and the promise from Jesus that his promise will outlive heaven and earth itself.

          That generation long ago witnessed Jesus in the cloud and in glory when they were taken to the mountaintop for Jesus' transfiguration, a small preview of his final coming.  The signs were all there before that generation passed away.  He can come anytime.  It's up to the Father.

           Remember Whose you are,

           Pastor Lou

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First Sunday of Lent -- sermon audio/service video --Ash Wed + Feb. 21, 2021

Ash Wednesday, year B -- "For He is Gracious and Merciful"
Podcast -- Sermon audio only -- 2.17.2021
(No FB live broadcast of the Ash Wednesday service).
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First Sunday in Lent, year B -- "Trials and Temptations"

First Reading:      Genesis 22:1-18
Psalm:                  Psalm 25:1-10
Second Reading: 
James 1:12-18
Gospel Reading:  Mark 1:9-15

Podcast -- Sermon audio only -- 2.21.2021

Facebook LIVE video -- 2.21.2021 service

"Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License # A-715845. All rights reserved.”

Today's hymns:
   ReC      178    Lord Jesus, Think On Me
    ReC      195   How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds        
       ReC      249    Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me
    ReC      243   My Faith Looks Up to Thee
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Readings, announcements for February 21, 2021

                                    Greetings from Living Word Lutheran Church
          Sunday Service each week at 9:00 AM, 2609 West Broadway, Moses Lake


+++
First Sunday
 in
Lent


February 21, 2021
First Reading: Genesis 22:1-18
Psalm:  Psalm 25:1-11
Second Reading: James 1:12-18
Gospel Lesson:  Mark 1:9-15

THIS WEEK at a GLANCE: 
Sunday
   
February 21 Service of the Word, 9:00 AM in person and on Facebook live;
   
followed by weekly Service of the Sacrament ,
(not on LIVE broadcast).  
Tuesday  February 23 Confirmation:  Blble class -- 6:00 - 7:00 PM, fellowship hall 
Wednesday February 24 Holden Evening Prayer Lenten Service -- 7:00 PM start time
    
Also on FB Live  --  (No soup supper)

 (Wed. Bible study suspended until after Easter)
Feb. 25-27 Pastor Lou and Debbie out of town
Sunday Feb. 28 Tim T. will lead the service

>> Keeping these in our Prayers:      
   For the healing of our country and all citizens during these times of unease, disease, and unrest;
    For those those who are fighting or recovering from infection by the COVID virus; healthcare workers;
 
Helen Meyer, (Bill's gramma, age 100), hospitalized, but improving;

   Paul & Holli., and friends adjusting to the loss of Sandy after a short but hard-fought cancer battle;
 
Family of DeAnne M (Deb's mom), who has finished the long fight with Alzheimer's and has her memories again;
   Michele B. and Dawn V., for continued improvement after back surgery
;

  Hank Buchmann (local author), out of sedation, preparing to move to rehab (Idaho); that his lungs fully recover;
   Judy R,  (Charlene's daughter), neck & spinal disk issues; Jennifer, (Charlene's daughter), eye pressure issues;
    Jake, (Charlene's grandson), heart rhythm issues have returned, repeat surgery or even transplant may be needed;

Evie E., at home & Gordon E. at Brookdale-Hearthstone;
   Those who may be struggling with depression or loneliness during this extended isolation; 
  Friends and Family battling cancer:        
       Wayne R.,
(friend of the Bensons, businessman & former ML mayor);
      
Jackie L. (wife of Stan's friend Mark --Basin Propane), needing a miracle after stage 4 liver cancer diagnosis;
       
Emma, (14 yr old daughter of Norm's friend Bob Tatum); 
       Angie, (Judene's sister), stage 4 lung cancer continues various treatments & new medical trials;
       Carol G., (friend of Ila and Charlene), multiple myeloma; Emily, (friend of Kelli), brain cancer, frontal lobe;
      Aliyah  (Ila's 3-yr old niece) and Bill, (brother of John Schafer), both withy glioblastoma brain cancer.        
   Those who mourn the loss of loved ones; 
          especially the Hesses, Blazers, Tuckers, Neustels, & Ellestads;
    Friends and family members who struggle with addictions of various kinds,
    Active military & law enforcement, & fire fighters & their families: for safety and peace in the line of duty:
        esp (military)  Jonathan P,  Riley C,  Olaf M,  Brady E,   Jordan M,  Luke S,  Logan H,
        and (law enforcement) 
Justin E, Scott N, Jeff W, David H; 
   Expectant mothers (and fathers!) -- and for those who would like to be;
         especially Sara & Chris F.; Sarah & David H; Jake & Annalise C.;  Jessica & Fred A.; Lars & Alyssa O; Chris & Jen H.; Kyle & Heather R;

   Engaged couples preparing for marriage, especially Darby & Talen; Gaige & Danielle;

>>> Thanks, Blessings, and Praises
     -- Happy Birthday this week to Genevieve J. (24th);
      -- Praise and Thanksgiving that Hank B. has come out of his sedation this week and is responding;
      -- that Dawn is feeling better each day after back surgery;

>>> Continued prayers for:
               -- Julie Reyn-lds (Laurie O. sister, breast cancer) --  Danette, Kyle E.,  Loren, Josh -- Mary  & Gordon at Brookdale/Hearthstone;   Rev. Steve My-rs (in Spokane) -- the people of Ethiopia and farmers of South Africa.

'SOUP'er Bowl Collection for the  ML Food Bank
With the big December holidays behind us, the food supplies at the food bank start becoming depleted;  February's big game is one way to be reminded of this need.  Please bring a can or two (or more!) of soup to church any Sunday in February.   Other non-perishable foods are welcome as well, to be donated to the food bank in March.
the Season of LENT -- Schedule at LW
   
>>Due to virus precautions, we will forego the tradition of gathering before the Lenten services for the simple soup & bread suppers at the church for now.  You might consider a smaller gathering of 2-3 families at someone's home instead, as far as you are comfortable.
Lenten theme 2021:  Hebrews 12:2 --   "...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..."
    We will examine prominent ancient Jewish rituals, and how they foreshadowed Jesus' own life and work.  Sabbath; Passover and unleavened bread; Pentecost; Day of Atonement; and the Festival of Booths are filled with meaning in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Come and hear!
Wednesday Services at 7:00 PM, in person and by Facebook LIVE -- Feb. 24, March 3, 10, 17, & 24
Agnus Day                                   "Agnus Day appears with  permission of agnusday . org"
 

Attendance:  last Sunday, 2.14.21 --  24   *    Ash Wednesday, 2.17.21: 39
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A Note from Pastor Lou: Truly #42 -- No Other Way

No Other Way                                                                                                                                                                                        2.19.2021  

   


Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife
or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,

who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.

Luke 18:29-30
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

          This is the second time we are hearing a version of this promise from Jesus.  The story of the "Rich Young Ruler" is told in all three of the synoptic Gospels with slight variations among the three narratives.  Luke's telling is somewhat shorter with a slightly different emphasis.  The conclusion of the narrative is the same in all three versions, "What is impossible for man is possible with God," with the final promise to Peter and the disciples being virtually the same -- to paraphrase, "Don't worry, you who follow me will receive very much more than what you give up in this time and in the age to come eternal life."

           At times, we have a sense that this cannot be true.  We all know of someone who seems to have made a lot of sacrifices for God and ended up unrewarded for their efforts.  Maybe some of us are harboring secret resentments along these lines.  "I could have been XYZ, or I might have done ABC, except the Word of the Lord drew me in another way."  These are natural human responses consistent with Peter's question to the Lord in these narratives, "What about us who have sacrificed all to follow you?" We can point to Peter and his disciples and ask, did this really come true?  From all appearances they led rough lives, traveling around, being persecuted, arrested and beaten, and finally martyred for their confession of "Jesus is Lord."  But if we truly look at their lives and our own, would they not say -- should we not say, does Jesus not say -- that it is completely worth it?  Jesus has his own family -- brothers, sisters, and mother -- come and try to get him to stop what he is doing.  They think he is crazy and risking his life.  His response is "These are my true brothers, sisters, and mother,"  pointing to his disciples.  He stays on course, because to deviate from it is to violate his Father's will -- to see all those who could be saved, not be saved.  Was the cost worth it?  Evidently he and his Father think so.

           So it is with a believer.  Whatever the costs may be in terms of house, relatives, and material comfort, they simply fade away in comparison to what is promised and what is experienced.  To travel together with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on the path to the eternal destination that our big brother Jesus laid out for us is far better than being on any other road.  Family life without Jesus is no fun.  Material blessings without Jesus is just one darn thing after another, never enough.  Spiritual life without Jesus ... I don't even want to contemplate what that would feel like.

           This promise from Jesus, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers, parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life,” is simply true and valid, without question.  Would you have your life any other way?

          Remember Whose you are,

           Pastor Lou

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Transfiguration Sunday -- sermon audio/service video -- February 14, 2021

Transfiguration, year B -- "Can I Get A Witness?"

First Reading:      Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm:                  Psalm 50:1-6
Second Reading: 
2 Corinthians 3:12-13,  4:1-6
Gospel Reading:  Mark 9:2-9

Podcast -- Sermon audio only -- 2.14.2021

Facebook LIVE video -- 2.14.2021 service

"Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License # A-715845. All rights reserved.”

Today's hymns:
ReC       40       Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
     WoV    728     O Light Whose Splendor Thrills
     WoV  651     Shine, Jesus, Shine
     ReC      212   Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
     
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Readings, announcements for February 14, 2021

Greetings from Living Word Lutheran Church
          Sunday Service each week at 9:00 AM, 2609 West Broadway, Moses Lake


February 14, 2021
+++

Transfiguration Sunday

First Reading: Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm:  Psalm 50:1-6
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:12-13, 4:1-6
Gospel Lesson:  Mark 9:2-9

THIS WEEK at a GLANCE: 
Sunday
   
February 14 Service of the Word, 9:00 AM in person and on Facebook live;
   
followed by weekly Service of the Sacrament ,
(not on LIVE broadcast).  
Tuesday  February 16 Confirmation:  Blble class -- 6:00 - 7:00 PM, fellowship hall 
Wednesday February 17 Ash Wednesday Service -- 7:15 PM start time
       --
with the Lord's Supper and Imposition of Ashes
       (no FB Live;  audio recording of the sermon will be posted here)

 (Wed. Bible study suspended until after Easter)

>> Keeping these in our Prayers:      
   For the healing of our country and all citizens during these times of unease, disease, and unrest;
    For those those who are fighting or recovering from infection by the COVID virus; healthcare workers;
 
Helen Meyer, (Bill's gramma, age 100), hospitalized, but improving;

   Friends & family of Madeline Erickson, (ILC friend);
   Paul & Holli., and friends adjusting to the loss of
Sandy after a short but hard-fought cancer battle;
 
Family of DeAnne M (Deb's mom), who has finished the fight against Alzheimer's;
   Michele B. and Dawn V., for continued improvement after back surgery
;

  Hank Buchmann (local author), hospitalized with Covid, that his lungs fully recover and comes out of sedation;
   Irene, (Deb's aunt), convalescing after fluid in her lungs;
Judy R,  (Charlene's daughter), neck & spinal disk issues; Jennifer, (Charlene's daughter), eye pressure issues;
    Jake, (Charlene's grandson), heart rhythm issues have returned, repeat surgery or even transplant may be needed;

Evie E., at home & Gordon E. at Brookdale-Hearthstone;
   Those who may be struggling with depression or loneliness during this extended isolation; 
  Friends and Family battling cancer:        
       Wayne R.,
(friend of the Bensons, businessman & former ML mayor);
      
Jackie L. (wife of Stan's friend Mark --Basin Propane), needing a miracle after stage 4 liver cancer diagnosis;
       
Emma, (14 yr old daughter of Norm's friend Bob Tatum); 
       Angie, (Judene's sister), stage 4 lung cancer continues various treatments & new medical trials;
       Carol G., (friend of Ila and Charlene), multiple myeloma; Emily, (friend of Kelli), brain cancer, frontal lobe;
      Aliyah  (Ila's 3-yr old niece) and Bill, (brother of John Schafer), both withy glioblastoma brain cancer.        
   Those who mourn the loss of loved ones; 
          especially the Blazers, Tuckers, Neustels, & Ellestads;
    Friends and family members who struggle with addictions of various kinds,
    Active military & law enforcement, & fire fighters & their families: for safety and peace in the line of duty:
        esp (military)  Jonathan P,  Riley C,  Olaf M,  Brady E,   Jordan M,  Luke S,  Logan H,
        and (law enforcement) 
Justin E, Scott N, Jeff W, David H; 
   Expectant mothers (and fathers!) -- and for those who would like to be;
         especially Sara & Chris F.; Sarah & David H; Jake & Annalise C.;  Jessica & Fred A.; Lars & Alyssa O; Chris & Jen H.; Kyle & Heather R;

   Engaged couples preparing for marriage, especially Darby & Talen; Gaige & Danielle;

>>> Thanks, Blessings, and Praises
     -- Happy Birthday this week to Sharon F. (14th) and Happy Anniversary to Tom & Dayna (14th);
>>> Continued prayers for:
               -- Julie Reyn-lds (Laurie O. sister, breast cancer) --  Danette, Kyle E.,  Loren, Josh -- Mary  & Gordon at Brookdale/Hearthstone;   Rev. Steve My-rs (in Spokane) -- the people of Ethiopia and farmers of South Africa.

'SOUP'er Bowl Collection for the  ML Food Bank
With the big December holidays behind us, the food supplies at the food bank start becoming depleted;  last Sunday's big game is one way to be reminded of this need.  Please bring a can or two (or more!) of soup to church any Sunday in February.   Other non-perishable foods are welcome as well, to be donated to the food bank in March.
ASH WEDNESDAY and the LENTEN SEASON
    Ash Wednesday Service: Note: Time change:
7:15 PM -- Since so much of the service is the Lord's Supper and the imposition of Ashes, we will not have a FB Live broadcast of the Ash Wednesday service.  The sermon audio recording will be posted on our page at Buzzsprout, however.
>>Due to virus precautions, we will forego the tradition of gathering before the Lenten services for the simple soup & bread suppers at the church for now.  You might consider a smaller gathering of 2-3 families at someone's home instead, as far as you are comfortable.
    Wednesdays during LentFeb. 24, March 3, 10, 17, & 24 -- Lenten Services at 7:00 PM, in person/Facebook LIVE.
    Palm Sunday:  regular Sunday service (Palms distributed on Saturday like last year).  Palm Sunday Brunch is an option for us if the county remains in Phase 2.
     Holy Week:  Maundy Thursday Service, with the Lord's Supper, April 1, 7 PM;  Good Friday Service, April 7, 7:00 PM
    Easter Sunday:  April 3, 9:00 AM  -- if you are willing/able to supply special music (vocal, instrumental), let us know!


Agnus Day                                   "Agnus Day appears with  permission of agnusday . org"


Attendance:  last Sunday, 2.07.2021 --  31
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A Note from Pastor Lou: Truly #41 -- Like A Child

Like a Child                                                                                                                                                                                   2.11.2021  

             


Truly, I say to you, whoever doesn't receive the kingdom of God
like a child shall not enter into it.

Luke 18:17


          Jesus is in the midst of his final journey to Jerusalem.  He has told the disciples he is going there to be persecuted and die.  The disciples have not grasped the full import of what he has said, but they know their Lord must be feeling weary and burdened as he contemplates the coming trouble in Jerusalem.   The crowds continue to press on Jesus and the disciples.  Lepers, the sick, the demon-possessed, and just people who wanted to see what was going on keep the pressure on Jesus to the point the text tells us "they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them." This was simply too much for the disciples; after all, everyone deserves a little space, a little peace and quiet occasionally, right?

           Infants and children were thought of differently in Biblical times.  There was no vaccination programs preventing childhood diseases, little medical care generally, and little in the way of contraception.  There were lots of children who were often seen as somewhat of a burden and, sadly, quite expendable.  Whether children lived or died seemed much more random and unsure.  A pandemic could wipe out whole generations of children, so it was best, in some sad ways, not to get too attached to them.  Besides, there always seemed to be more children where those came from.  The command to "be fruitful and multiply" and fill the earth seems to be the one command from God that people were good at keeping.  So we should not be too hard on the disciples for their attempts to keep the children at bay.

           Jesus, however, will have no part of it.  "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of God."  Then he pronounces a promise we all need to ponder, "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."  What exactly does this mean?

           Small children live to learn new things and gain new experiences.  They listen intently.  Their eyes scan everything.  If they can, they grab at something new and do their best to roll it in their hands or put it in their mouth to taste and smell whatever it may be, often times much to the consternation of alert parents and grandparents.  "Don't put that in your mouth!  No, don't touch that!  Be careful.  Spit that back up."  The wonder of the world is open and fresh to new minds.  I have seen little children stare at something adults would consider mundane, as they try to grasp what this thing is all about.  If only we had the same sense of freshness and wonder to receive the good gifts of God that a young mind has to receive the experiences of life.

           Little children also have a strong sense of personal bonding and need for their parents.  A newborn's eyes are initially focused only at the distance from their mother's breast to their mother's face.  That initial bond between mother and child is immensely powerful.  Children often show an amazing capacity for forgiving and forgetting, setting aside and not remembering the mistakes their parents made in parenting them.  This grace and resilience is again a quality that is part of the kingdom of God.  Only when we get older do we develop the skill of holding grudges and resentments.  These have no place in the kingdom of God.

           A young child oftentimes simply lives to please a parent or adult.  "See the picture I drew, Mommy?"  Everyone recognizes the tragedy of a child who does not get to hear "Well done,"  "That is beautiful," "You really helped me today," or a simple "I am so glad you are my child"  from a parent or mentor.  Again, this pleases God.  He wants nothing more than for his people to live according to what pleases him and has even promised to bless those who are a blessing to others.

           A childlike faith is the open hand that receives from God His good gifts, that trusts the Father in all things, that wants to please, and is easily able to move on, forgiving and forgetting the wrongs done to them.  Lord, give me such a faith...

          Remember Whose you are, as a child remembers,

           Pastor Lou