Hello all and welcome to Fall!
With the official date of Fall came high winds and trees literally falling on power lines causing electricity outages in many parts of the county. I am grateful for all the power company workers and public safety officials who worked diligently to restore power to residents. As the students, teachers, parents and churches fall into regular schedules I think it is also time to consider new ways of being the church, the presence of God's unconditional love in the world. Let's be creative, Let's think outside the box. Let's utilize everyone's gifts to share the good news. I am thinking of things that we can do from the comfort of our homes, any time of day or night (some of us sleep more than others) and still be contributing members of the church. I am thinking of a prayer ministry. I remember when I would visit Lorna Javenkoski when she was homebound and I would bring her the names of people on our prayers list. She took very seriously her responsibility to pray for everyone on the list, one by one. She, despite her immobility, was able to be an active member of the church. We can also do as First Lutheran, Gladstone, does. They have an email prayer service.and when a prayer request are referred to the church, an email is sent out to all who wish to participate in the prayer group. St. Anne's in Escanaba has a ministry of knitting prayer shawls. Members of this ministry gather together at the church once a week for an hour and knit prayer shawls. They share patterns, they help each other to learn to knit or crochet, they fellowship. I have had a request for prayers shawls that will be distributed through a retail establishment that serves cancer patients. We currently only have one prayer shawl completed. I'd be happy to have a planning meeting for people who are interested in this sort of ministry. The beauty is that you can knit or crochet as you are watching television or enjoying the beautiful fall weather on the deck. We could even get a Thrivent Action Grant to provide materials for making the prayer shawls. Another few ideas are a book club that reviews Christian books, Lutheran theology or a bible study. So, let me know your thoughts. Let me know if you are interested in participating in any of these possibilities. If you are interested in learning new hymns or just want to get together to sing, please contact our Music Director, Mark Hannon. We will set up a time that is convenient for everyone. Check out our information sheet on our website. Did you know that Trinity Lutheran Church has a cemetery, Lakewood, located on 513 in Stonington? One of the wonderful benefits of being a member of Trinity is that you can have your final resting place in a beautiful setting right down the road from the church. For more information, check out our website. Upcoming events:Women of the ELCA Fall Cluster meeting: Immanuel, Escanaba. Registration begins at 9:15 a.m. (EST) on Saturday, October 6th Bethany Annual Rummage Sale: Perkins Lion's Club on Saturday, October 6th from 9 until 3. If you are interested in donating to this fund raiser, please bring your marked items to the Perkins Lion's Club on Thursday, October 4th beginning at noon or Friday, October 5th beginning at 3:00 p.m. and make sure to visit us on Saturday. There's going to be lots and lots of really good stuff and it's a fundraiser so it helps the church. Conference Six "Walking Together" event will take place at Immnauel Lutheran in Escanaba on Thursday, October 11th from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Dinner will be provided. Bishop Katherine would like 10 people from each congregation to attend this new event. Please prayerfully consider participating in this event. We are still in need of attendees. Thank you to those who have volunteered already. Check out Trinity's website: www.stongintonchurch.org.If you are looking for a daily devotion, check out prayfaithfully.org. This is a devotion that is written by members of the Northern Great Lakes Synod.If you want to know what's going on in the synod, check out nglsynod.org.If you want to find out things going on churchwide, check out elca.org Projects that are in the works at both congregations:Bethany raffle tickets are currently at the printers. We will soon have raffle tickets available for purchase. Cost is $1 per ticket. Winners will be selected at our Christmas Family Night Celebration on December 9th. There are a LOT of prizes and this is a fundraiser so your participation is greatly appreciated. Trinity Ladies' Aid will meet at my house on Tuesday, October 9th at 2:00 p.m. If you need directions, let me know. My address is 9065 Minnewasca Q Drive, Gladstone. We are currently in the process of updating our constitution to be more in line with the practices of our congregation. We will bring the final revision to our annual meeting for approval after it has been reviewed by the synod secretary Thank you to our council members for participating in this project. Ok, so I think that is enough information for one Monday, so here's your "Daily Discipleship" to deepen your understanding of our gospel.
Sunday, September 18-24 (B) – Mark 9:30-37
Living in Christ: Welcome Others
Focus Question: Whom might I welcome today as Christ?
word of life
“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:37 (NRSV)
Read Mark 9:30-37
Jesus continues his travels through Galilee. At this point, he does not want the crowds to know of his presence. His focus is on the disciples as he prepares them for his own death.
When Jesus first told of his future suffering, death, and resurrection in Mark 8:31-34, Peter took Jesus aside to rebuke him. You might recall, Jesus responded with strong words, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Mark 8:33 NRSV)
His second prediction does not go much better. In describing his own death, Jesus does not soften his words or change the prediction. Someone will betray him into human hands, and he will be killed. But that is not the end of the story. Jesus will be raised from death. It is not surprising to hear that the disciples still do not understand.
1. What will it take for the disciples to understand the words of Jesus?
2. What makes it so difficult to grasp?
The disciples are afraid to ask Jesus to explain. Although Jesus is their teacher, the disciples are hesitant to pursue their rabbi’s teaching.
3. How do you explain their hesitancy and fear?
After the prediction, we hear of arguing among the disciples. Unfortunately, arguing seems to be all too common. In chapter nine of Mark, the scribes, crowds, and disciples were arguing when Jesus asked someone in the crowd, “What are you arguing about with them?” (Mark 9:16 NRSV) In that case, the argument concerned the disciple’s inability to heal. Jesus became provoked and responded, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19 NRSV)
In the safety and comfort of a home in Capernaum, Jesus asks the disciples to explain a second argument among the disciples. (Mark 9:33) The disciples are silent and do not want to admit the reason for the argument. Yet, Jesus already knows the debate is over identifying the greatest among the disciples. Can you hear Jesus sigh?
4. If Jesus already knew the reason for the arguing, why have the disciples name the argument?
Jesus’ response is clear: “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35 NRSV) This is likely not the pecking order established by the disciples. To make his point, Jesus takes a child, one who is last and least in the first century society, and welcomes that child. In welcoming the outsider, poor, or disfranchised, one welcomes Christ.
5. Why does Jesus place such importance on welcoming?
word among us
The disciples of Jesus in the passage got caught in an argument about being the greatest. What a disappointment for Jesus. Jesus is trying to prepare for final things in life, including his own suffering and death. Sacrificing one’s own life is not the expected path to power and prestige.
1. How do people in our society strive to be number one?
2. What are typical symbols of being great?
The argument among the disciples is dealt with immediately. They have missed his instruction and preparation for the sacred days that lie ahead. Instead, the disciples are consumed with themselves.
3. If you had the opportunity to talk with the disciples, what would you say?
4. What do you wish Jesus would have said to them?
5. Can you relate to the disciples? How so?
Consistently, Jesus turns things upside down. The last and first change places. It doesn’t seem fair. But, then again, this teacher touches lepers, dines with outcasts, and stoops down to wash the feet of his students. He willingly picks up his cross of death and invites others to do the same.
6. How does Jesus turn things upside down for the disciples?
7. How does Jesus turn things upside down for us?
8. How is the teaching of Jesus radical?
Throughout his life, Jesus invites and welcomes. The disciples are recipients of those attitudes. So are we. In turn, we are invited to welcome others and not just those who are similar to us. Jesus is very intentional. He embraces a child to make his point. This attention to a child would have been a shocking visual illustration of his emphasis.
9. In order to make a similar point in today’s society, whom might Jesus take into his arms?
10. Who is God calling you to welcome?
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina turned the Gulf Coast upside down. Over a million people safely evacuated from the New Orleans area before the levees broke and flooded the city. A second wave of evacuation followed. Some estimated Baton Rouge (60 miles from New Orleans) doubled in population, especially as FEMA, Red Cross, volunteers, and media moved into town. A survey by the sociology department of Louisiana State University shows 50% of Baton Rouge homes became shelters.
Likewise faith communities and public facilities opened their doors for those destitute by the hurricane and flooding. With Hurricane Katrina, people stayed in the shelters of churches, synagogues, and homes for weeks and months.
11. What would motivate someone to open their home to a stranger?
12. When might you extend hospitality in the name of Christ?
Gentle Spirit, shake open our hands and hearts so we might welcome Christ and others. Amen
This week, be intentional about
welcoming those around you.
And now, if you have read through this entire email, congratulations! High five. I am proud of you.blessings on your week.Hope to hear from you soon and more importantly, I hope you will join us for worship. You will be so glad you did.
Pastor Diane Our next council meetings will be:Trinity: Sunday, October 21st following worship