Please join us for our annual, fun-packed yard sale…something for everyone! We have toys, books, clothing, kitchenware, tools, paintings, and much more. Great prices! All proceeds will go directly to the Promotion of Maternal and Infant Health in the Congo (PROSAMI). The Yard Sale is Saturday, June 17, 7 am – 1 pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, on the corner of Alderman Road and Ivy Road. If you are not able to come, but would like to donate money or items, please contact David Strider .
This week the Singers and Choristers lead worship together. The Choristers will sing a traditional song, Rejoice in the Lord Always with lively movements. The Singers and Choristers together will sing Look and See, an arrangement of a Korean folk tune by Hal Hopson. The Singers conclude the confirmation service with a beautiful anthem by Mark Miller, Child of God.
We celebrate the return of our organist, Jonathan Schakel from his time of study at Cornell University. He will play Prelude on Land of Rest by American composer, Richard Proulx. Land of Rest is the tune name for the hymn Lord, When I Came Into This Life which will be sung in the worship service. The closing voluntary will be Praeludium in C Major fürs volle Werk by German composer J.W. Häßler.
My favorite among Paul’s letters was sent to the church at Philippi. Paul gives thanks for them and their gift to him in prison, and asserts his well-being and bond with them in Christ. His emphases are ‘joy’ and ‘grace.’
Joy?—given his imprisonment and an undercurrent of opposition from fellow Christians? He rejoices in “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus”, and feels assured of God’s love, through faith in the risen Christ. Paul’s greeting and benediction commend grace: God’s love undeserved and unreserved, both received and extended. He is not basking in self-assured spiritual achievement; he is on a faith-journey that calls for perseverance:
…One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward
to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward
call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14
Like Paul and the Philippians, we are a post-Resurrection people. We claim to serve a risen Christ, yet admit how far short we fall from Christ-like living.
Lent is a pause in our faith-journey, to remember Jesus’ self-giving love and our own resentments and failures to love, to seek anew “the power of his resurrection” into new life.
Every Lent, I feel this challenge. How can I “press on” toward becoming a more faithful image of Jesus, a more authentic human being? Can I find ways in my church and community to extend respect and justice to the marginalized? For grace is also a collective offer, not just God’s private gift.
Do we recognize the opportunities for grace?
These days we witness acts of grace: a Jewish household hosts a Muslim refugee family; a church offers sanctuary to undocumented immigrants; demonstrators support Dakota Indians’ rights. Several years ago, a Palestinian boy of 13 was mortally wounded by Israeli soldiers. His family decided to donate Ahmed’s organs to Israeli children who needed them. “We want to send a message of peace to Israeli society”, the father said.
Two societies did not heed an act of grace. Often, we do not. Lent calls us to “press on,” “enabled by, and offering, Christ’s undeserved, unreserved love.
~ David Warren