Read these lessons for Sunday, Nov. 8
Amos 5:18-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
After Reading Them, Think on This:
As the darkness around us grows and the vegetation dies, Christians turn to think of the end of our lives and the end of time. All three readings today join in that thinking. Amos warns us not to imagine that the day of the Lord will be wonderful for us unless we have done justice to our neighbors. Matthew warns us to stay awake; without wisdom we could be excluded in the end. But Paul uses old cosmological imagery to assure us that the death and resurrection of Christ brings life to all, the living and the dead. In fact, for Christians, the wedding feast has already started. Though we have often slept, Jesus Christ has stayed awake for us and has shared with us his oil. In Christ’s death and resurrection God’s marriage with the earth has begun. And even though many of us cannot gather together for the feast now, the Holy Spirit kindles for us the lamp of the word. By the light of that word let us begin again to do justice in a needy world. And no matter who has been elected, as concerned citizens let us call for them to do justice as well.
“Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.” Zig Ziglar
Sand and Stone
A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friends slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
“TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.”
They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone:
“TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”
The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?
The other friend replied: “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”
LEARN TO WRITE YOUR HURTS IN THE SAND AND TO CARVE YOUR BENEFITS IN STONE
Synod Advent Craft Day
November 15, 2020 ~ 3-5pm EDT / 2-4pm CDT (via zoom)
As the season of Advent approaches and we know this will look and feel like a much different Advent than ever before. How can we create beauty as a way to help us pray through the days, give a reminder or hope to someone, and joyfully anticipate the joy of Christ as Christmas? Join in! Everyone is creative and all are invited. A list of supplies will be provided after you register. Step by step instructions will be given for each project. You can create an Advent Calendar Prayer Jar, Nativity Story Stones, learn a meditative Zentangle shape, and a few other creative Advent weekly devotion ideas. You will also receive a downloadable card to color and share.
For more information on the Advent Craft Day and how to register go to the Southeastern Synod website at www.elca-ses.org.
As always, if Pastor Brian or I can be of any help to you please contact us directly by phone or email.
Blessings to you all,
Dear First Lutheran Family,
Part of the responsibility of the church family is to welcome and enfold individuals into our life together as a parish family. We initially receive them into this process of enfolding through the catechumenate – the fellowship of those preparing for Holy Baptism and the Rite of Confirmation.
It’s been my privilege since 2012 to provide instruction in the teachings of Luther’s Small Catechism, the distinction between Law and Gospel, an introduction to Liturgy, and familiarization with the vision of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Though we do not yet know the challenges of 2021, we do know that the Lord of the journey has already pledged to be with us. And so it is that I’m making plans to offer the Catechumenate in the new year.
I’m planning on a hybrid approach, using zoom to teach/lead discussion on Monday evenings beginning February 8 and conclude this process with the appropriate rites on Easter Day.
We will have a couple of face to face encounters apart from worship on Sundays, and these following whatever CDC precautions are in place at the time.
If you know of others who may wish to receive instruction and become active members of our family, please do invite them to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org OR 615-485-5923.
And if you would like to review the teachings of the faith, perhaps delving into questions about the faith not covered when you went through instruction, please do join us as a “sojourner,” the designation assigned to confirmed members who come along for support! Several of you have already done this and it has been such a blessing to me and others!
Minister of Pastoral Care
“You Are Needed”
Even when we resume our in person worship service our podcast will continue and you are needed! Yes, you! The voices of First Lutheran! We want members to read some of the lessons and/or lead the Lord’s Prayer in our podcast services, so that we are reminded of our oneness in Christ by hearing voices. Here’s how it works: Kristen Hansen will send you the reading. You can record it at home on a phone, on your computer, in a Zoom session we can schedule together. Or you can come in on a Thursday morning to the church and we’ll do a recording that way. It can be a video, or just audio. Kristen will tell you how to get the file to her and will incorporate it into our recorded service. ALL ARE WELCOME! For details and questions, email Kristen at email@example.com
The Christmas party for Inspirits is on but it will look a lot different. We will be providing a carry out lunch for the families. The kids will get gift bags that will contain various items including some Christmas craft kits that they can take home and work on them. The moms will receive a gift bag like last year. It will include personal care, cleaning items and some special items. We will prepare 30 kids bags and 20 bags for the moms.
If you would like to help you can provide 30 craft kits or 30 of any other item the kids could use or enjoy. You can also provide 20 items for the moms to use or enjoy to put in their gift bags. You can drop off the items any time up until December 15, 2020. Call me or email me and let me know if you are going to provide anything so I do not duplicate your efforts.
We are looking forward to a blowout party in December, 2021.
Buena Visa/ Jones Paideia
We will still be doing Thanksgiving bags this year. The kids are in school and the need is great. I will have some bags at church in the shopping cart or you can use your own. The bags need to be back to church by November 22. Below is the list
1 can cranberry sauce
2 boxes of stuffing
2 boxes of instant mashed potatoes
2 cans of green beans
2 boxes of cornbread
2 jars of gravy
$15 Kroger gift card
If you want to send me a check or a Kroger gift card I will pick up the rest and create a bag.
Salvation Army Angel Tree
The Angel Tree will be digital this year. They will create a digital page for our church. We can go to the page and adopt an angel. This page should be ready by early November and I will send the link when I receive it. You can drop the gifts off at church during business hours or I can pick up from your house. Gifts are due by December 4, 2020.
Stay Safe and contact me if you have any questions.
Room In The Inn Opening Prayer
by Charles Strobel
We gather together to begin another season of Room In The Inn.
We are aware of the need to provide so many nights of shelter.
Nights when it is windy, wet and cold,
Nights when there is frustration and disappointment,
Nights when there is not enough room for everyone,
Nights when we must face the terrible burden of isolation and loneliness
Especially during this pandemic crisis.
We are aware of these nights and wish we could do more.
But we also gather to celebrate this season.
All the times we will provide warmth and words of comfort,
All the times we will help to resolve someone’s problem,
All the times we will give meaning to the lives that are hurting,
And for this, we are humbled.
For 35 years, we have opened our doors, and we are grateful.
Grateful for the stories of grace and hospitality that gives us purpose,
Grateful for the lessons learned that makes us more loving,
Grateful for the kindness we received in trying to be kind.
We remember all these moments- moments of crisis,
Moments of celebration, moments of gratitude-
And trust that they help us save lives.
And pray that they remain a part of the fabric of our souls,
this day and always.
Like everything in 2020, Room in the Inn will look different this year. First Lutheran will not be opening the church for guests, but we are looking for volunteers to help at the RITI Central Shelter. First Lutheran plans to volunteer at RITI campus on the below Mondays:
If you are willing to provide food or have any questions, or If you are willing to stay on campus for a night with a RITI employee, please contact the church office.
As we grow in our faith and trust in the Lord, our attitude toward tithing (giving one tenth of our incomes) changes, and we begin to see tithing as a privilege, rather than as an obligation. By grace, we can give generously, joyfully, and sacrificially. Whether God gives us little or much, we are to give in proportion to what we have been given. “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income . . .” (1 Corinthians 16:2). We are never too poor to give. The tithe acts as a meaningful biblical guide for our giving.
Prayer: Lord, you are the owner of all the animals in the forest and the cattle on a thousand
hills. Help us always to acknowledge your ownership and grant us faith to be faithful caretakers
of all that you entrust to us. Thank you for your promise to always be with us. In Jesus’ name
we pray. Amen.
Blessings on your stewardship journey!
Readings for Next Sunday
Zephaniah 1:7 12-18
Psalm 90: 1-8
1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11
Matthew 25: 14-30
Please contact the office or come by if you would like a copy of “CHRIST IN OUR HOME’
devotional for October, November, December 2020. Small and large booklets available.