Happy Monday everyone! The sun is shining and my thermometer says it is almost 40* in the sun that is! I will take it. Yesterday when I was doing my devotions, it was -2*. I love the sunshine, even if it is glistening off the still present snow. All in good time, the snow will melt and we will experience spring and new life.
As we begin the first full week of Lent, let's continue our journey toward the cross with intention and diligence. Let's be kind to one another, let's do something nice for someone who doesn't ask or expect it, smile and greet people with genuine interest, pray for someone, fill up your barn for world hunger, make plans to attend mid-week Lenten services (6:00 p.m. at Bethany in Perkins soup supper and 7:00 p.m. worship-Holden Evening Song.)
The world hunger barns have been passed out so I hope you are all willing to fill them up so that our delegates can bring "lots of money" to synod assembly. If you haven't gotten your barn yet, let me know and I would be happy to deliver one to your home. I am hoping to have every family participate. Please bring your barn back to church by Mother's Day, May 13th so we can bring all the money to the bank and write a check for synod assembly which is in Marquette from May 17-19, 2018. Thank you to our delegates who are willing to attend the assembly and thank you congregations for supporting their attendance.
There will be a Women of the ELCA planning meeting for the spring cluster on Thursday, March 22nd at 10:00 a.m.at Christ the King in Escanaba . The co-chairs would like representation from every congregation so please let me know if you are interested in attending this meeting. Detail will follow! This gathering is always informative and fun and allows the women of the conference to worship together, eat together, pray together and learn from one another.
Trinity Ladies' Aide will meet at Carol Mosher's home on April 10th at 2:00 p.m. There will not be a meeting in March.
Here's this week's "Daily Discipleship" Brew a cup of tea or coffee and open your bible and study God's word.
Fourth Sunday in Lent (B) – John 3:14-21
The Path of Discipleship: Within the Light
Focus Question: What does it mean to walk in the light of Christ?
word of life
But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God. John 3:21 (NRSV)
Read John 3:14-21
The third chapter of John begins with the story of Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews who comes to Jesus at night to ask questions. The assigned verses are part of the answer by Jesus to the questions raised by Nicodemus. Jesus is challenging Nicodemus to grow in his faith. (To understand the context of these verses read John 3:1-13.)
Jesus draws upon Nicodemus’ knowledge of Scripture by referring to Moses. Jesus uses the image of Moses lifting up the bronze serpent for the healing of the people (Numbers 21:4-9), but gives new meaning to it by expanding this image to include the Son of Man being lifted up in crucifixion and resurrection. Belief is critical. Healing occurs as new life is given.
1. How does Jesus offer healing through eternal life?
John 3:16 is a well-known verse emphasizing God’s love, a love revealed through the sacrifice of God’ own Son so everyone might have eternal life. This love is a gift for all people.
2. What does John 3:16 mean for you?
God desires for the whole world to be saved and not be condemned; yet John’s Gospel asserts that not everyone desires God’s salvation. Believing in God is critical.
3. Why do some resist the goodness of God?
4. Why do some have difficulty trusting and believing in God?
Jesus returns to the theme of darkness and light as it relates to Nicodemus coming in a dark night to seek Jesus. Light exposes sin and secrecy. It’s hard to hide when light comes into a room or life. Jesus puts it this way, “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
5. What does it mean to “love darkness”?
Jesus speaks about people coming to the light and to God’s love. Obviously, when a pathway is lit, traveling becomes much easier. Dangers are exposed. The same is true in our faith walk. Staying close to the light of Christ helps a person walk in the path of discipleship, following the teachings of Jesus.
The goal is to live in the light of Christ. Then, deeds are done in God and for God’s pleasure. Hopefully, those actions invite others to come to the light.
6. Describe possible responses from Nicodemus to the words of Jesus.
word among us
The counselor at a summer church camp was to coordinate Night Camp, a new program in which campers would sleep during the day, eat their breakfast at 6:00 pm, do a variety of activities throughout the night, eat lunch at midnight, and have supper at 7:00 am. The campers would explore nocturnal life, hike the woods at night, call owls, and reverse their typical daily schedule.
In preparation for the week, the camp counselor began looking for a key theme verse in the Bible on darkness. Not much was found. Consistently, the Bible affirms living in the light of Christ. It is one thing to voluntarily spend a week wandering in the woods at night, but living outside the light of Christ is not recommended for every day living.
1. What good can be said about wandering in the dark?
2. Why do people “love darkness”?
3. Describe a situation in which you longed for light.
God’s love is intended for all people. Jesus was sent to save the whole world. John 3:16 is a powerful reminder of God’s immense love. This passage is a favorite for people to hold up at sporting events. Many times a television camera will focus on a sign with just these words, “John 3:16.”
4. What do you think the person holding the sign is trying to convey?
5. What might be a more effective way to share God’s love?
Not all the world wants to live in the light of Christ. Sometimes there is resistance. It is helpful to be aware of this from the start. Otherwise, it can be discouraging to share faith with someone, only to meet resistance and rejection.
6. Recall a time when you tried to share the love and light of Christ only to be rejected.
7. What do you advise someone who experiences rejection because he or she tried to share the love of Christ?
When you consider your own life as a disciple of Christ, think about what it means to walk within the light of Christ. Ponder things that have helped you stay within the light of Christ.
8. Share the story of someone who models walking in the light of Christ.
9. What are daily patterns of living which are helpful to disciples of Jesus who want to walk in his light?
Help me to walk in the light of Christ. Guide my choices to reflect your love. Amen
Find a candle and light it
during your daily devotions.
Blessings on your week, hope to see you in church. Pastor Diane
Palm Sunday is March 25th. Sue Young is once again organizing a Trinity Palm Sunday breakfast. Thank you Sue! There is a sign up sheet to fill in what you would like to bring to the breakfast. It will begin at 10:30 a.m. Join us for breakfast and stay for worship.
There will be a council meeting at Trinity on Sunday, March 18th following worship. Council members, please let me know if you are unable to attend.
Bethany council will meet following mid-week Lenten worship on Wednesday, March 21st.