Hello dear people of God!
I pray this finds you well after celebrating the Birth of our Lord!
Many of you have traveled or have loved ones who are so we pray for safe travels for all during this busy season. I would like to express my GRATITUDE for the extremely gracious and generous Christmas gift you gave me!
Thank you!! I love being your pastor and am so blessed to be here, in our family of faith, doing the work of God together with you. And speaking of generosity, thank you for the gifts you purchased, wrapped and gave to the 20 seniors, the five Thompson family grandchildren and the 32 kids from the Trinidad Youth Club. So many people were blessed by your generosity! I also heard about 25 people received home cooked Christmas dinners from Norine, Peggy, Kathy!
Sharing out of God's abundance is a spiritual practice that creates joy in us as well as those who receive the gifts. So thank you for spreading JOY!
And now we are about ready to open a new calendar and enter 2022. It's hard to believe isn’t it?
Sharon Sorenson shared the following with me and I loved it so decided to share it with you! Enjoy the journey dear friends! Have a great week and much love.
~ Pastor Andrea
This week (other meetings/gatherings will be taking place as well but here are some things to note):
Prayer List: It is a privilege to pray for one another and to bring those who need healing to Jesus. Send prayer requests to Carol Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-477-7531.
"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:12-13).
In prayer, we ask in His name: Comfort for those in mourning, including the Nyzer family whose mother died on Christmas Day.
We pray for and surround with God's healing touch all those impacted by the recent tornados in our country as well as those ill from Covid-19.
We also pray for Lynn Chase; Mary McKenna; Jeff & Carol Smith; Cindy Rodriguez; Dale Krueger; Pastor Clay with emergency retinal surgery; Brent Kapling; Mike Blackmore; Cora Warrick & son Tyler; Carol Schulzkump, her son Kris & daughter-in-law Ana; JoAnn's sister Beth; Steve Karspeck's sister-in-law Deena; Floyd Gumke; Wilmae & Sherry Gartside; Lisa Rygiel's parents; Loren Eigenburg; and the Sandstead family.
We surround with prayers those battling cancer, including Gary Miller; Marci Guard; Lynn's brother Kenny; Nancy Wilhelm (Ernie & Sharon's family member); Linda Bounds; Norine's stepdaughter Sherry; Jo Moss' cousin Virginia; Kimber Begano; Dr. Mark Jacobson; Linda Theige's brother-in-law Pastor Bob; and Max Phillips. We also pray for those affected by COVID, including the Pearson family; the Ramirez family; Natalie Lugan.
Our prayers continue for Wal-reat (missionary in Sudan we support financially through Global Missions); The Way ministry; ACTS ministry; and the prison congregation New Beginnings and Pastor Schjang.
Other announcements/dates to put on your calendar:
The lectionary continues the medieval idea that Christmas lasts twelve days, and so in some years there are two Sundays of the Christmas season before Epiphany. These twelve days are the appropriate times for Christmas concerts and church parties. Each Sunday can focus on yet another aspect of the mystery of the incarnation. Christmas is not “over”—Christ is born in the hearts of believers each day. For those of us who live in a cold climate, the psalm for the day is for us!
The Readings in the Bible
As was customary for a piece of Hellenistic literature, the Gospel of John begins with a prologue that indicates the direction of what follows. Perhaps a hymn sung by the Johannine community, this poetic introduction relies on the Greek philosophical category of Logos, Word, to describe the being of Christ. This Word of God is the very God whose arrival, as at creation, brings light into the world, who manifests God’s grace, and who makes God known. Today’s reading from John 1 includes several verses not appointed for Christmas Day. “Grace” is here not a prayer said before meals, but is the undeserved love of God embodied in Jesus Christ. We call the sacraments “means of grace”—the vehicles through which we receive the love of God. In word and sacrament we join John the Baptist in testifying to the presence of God in Christ.
Most of the biblical book of Jeremiah comes from about 600 bc and represents the poems and sermons of the prophet Jeremiah, as well as narratives about his sometimes-bizarre behavior. According to Jeremiah, all the sufferings that the nations of Israel and Judah were experiencing were just punishments for their unfaithfulness to God. Today’s citation is a message of hope: God will save the people, bringing them back to the land and turning their mourning into joy. With this magnificent poem about the love of God the Father, the care of God the Shepherd, and the plenty and joy of life in the church as if it were a watered garden, we celebrate the birth of Christ among us. In the sacraments we “walk by brooks of water,” and we know the fullness of “the grain, the wine, and the oil.”
Ephesians, probably written in the late first century by a disciple of Paul, is a general sermon about the meaning of Christ and life in the church that includes both Jews and Gentiles. This introduction to the essay focuses on the author’s primary themes: the divine will, the mystery of Christ, our adoption as God’s children, and the holiness of the redeemed life.