Save the Date
Deborah/Elizabeth Circle Meeting – March 17th
We are Called!
“Called to Serve” is part three of the Bible study We are Called. Nan Yoder will lead this month’s session, which asks us to consider what God may be calling us to say and do.
Please join us as we gather at 10:30 AM in the Round in the Muhlenberg Building on the Luther Acres campus in Lititz. At about 11:30 we conclude with lunch together.
For further information please contact Joyce Saeger or Carol Main
N’BÖNYÉ DANCE & DRUM ENSEMBLE
Sunday, March 29, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
Just back from her 24th trip to Guinea, West Africa, Janet Peck and her N’Bönyé Dance and Drum Ensemble will educate, entertain and enlighten…as they dance and you dance, as they sing and you sing, as they share their passion and you share your passion, AND as they facilitate the growth of your most vital alive self!
No experience needed. Just wear comfy clothes and a big smile!
A freewill offering will be taken – children are welcome!
Order forms are available in the Narthex and outside of St. Peter Chapel.
The cost is $10.00. Flower orders are due in the office Friday April 3, 2020
Plants may be picked up following the Easter Sunday (10:30 a.m.) service.
Plants that are not picked up will be taken to our homebound members.
Opportunities to share plants and flowers for the fountain will be available beginning Sunday, April 19th and continuing through May 31st.
Families may buy plants and flowers to decorate the Fountain on the Sunday they choose, delivering them to church on Saturday and following Sunday services, take their plants home. Please call the church office @ 397-2748 with questions or to sign up.
Lenten Small Groups
Heaven on Earth – Studies in Matthew Small Group Update!
Are we the right ones to bring heaven to earth?
We have around 40 people participating in the Lenten Small Group Project with the Thursday 10 am group not yet started (March 12th). Now I need to put an extra plug in for the Contemplation Group led by Sandy Morris and Greg Gable, 9:15-10am.
This class is wonderful but so far lightly attended. Perhaps because it is out of the way in the especially peaceful chapel? If you haven’t joined a group or aren’t participating in Sunday Education hour yet, please consider taking advantage of this peaceful, centering meditation/sharing time. You will be glad you did.
May God bless our efforts and strengthen our community and faith through participation in a Lenten group. Amen.
March 15, 2020 – (Third Sunday in Lent)
John 4:15 – The woman said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.
Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, “The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:14b). Watering your soul with Christ’s living water is good stewardship indeed!
From the Pastor’s Desk
The Lord’s Prayer and the Sermon on the Mount
In my introduction to this series on the Lord’s Prayer in last week’s Grace News, we learned that this fundamental Christian prayer appears twice in the gospels: in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.
We saw that in Luke, Jesus offers the prayer as an answer to a specific request from his disciples: “Lord, teach us to pray…” From this context, it has been taken up and used as a basic, all purpose prayer for the church. It begins with some very general petitions: “hallowed be your name,” and “your kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” Then the prayer offers some much more specific petitions: for daily bread, forgiveness, and protection from temptation and evil.
The prayer is both widely comprehensive – “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and narrowly practical. As such it can serve well as a memorized prayer for daily personal devotion, public worship and everything in between. When you want to pray and aren’t sure how to start, begin with the Lord’s Prayer and see where the Holy Spirit leads your prayers after that!
In contrast, the version of the Lord’s Prayer appears in Matthew in a very different setting, the middle of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” I suggested that you read those chapters (5-7) of Matthew last week. Did you? If so, you began with the poetry of the Beatitudes, and continued through a series of short teachings, which at first glance may have seemed a bit random and unrelated. But we know that Matthew’s gospel very deliberately sets out to expand the shorter gospel of Mark. We know this because almost every word and phrase of Mark is included by Matthew; Mark forms the basic structure of Matthew. Matthew fills out this basic structure with more vivid details, with unifying themes and connections such as many quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, and longer sections of Jesus teaching and interpreting those scriptures and Jewish theology. How likely is it that these teachings are chosen at random or without deliberate consideration of how they would reinforce each other? In fact, the Sermon on the Mount holds together very well, if we take time to register the connections.
We don’t have time to trace the entire Sermon here, but we must notice the intensity that is building throughout the verses of chapter 5. After declaring the blessings of God upon those who might be feeling “un-blessed” because of poverty, mourning, meekness, injustice, persecution and the like, Jesus begins to teach about the difficult path of “righteousness.” What does it mean to do God’s will? Beginning with verse 21, he teaches by interpreting basic scenarios of human conflict with a simple pattern. “You have heard that it was said…” followed by “But I say to you…” With this pattern, Jesus teaches about what righteousness means, first, in basic interpersonal conflict, then adultery, then divorce, then swearing oaths. The final section is about revenge.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt 5:43-33). What does it mean to “love your enemy?” It means first of all, to “pray for those who persecute you.” Hmm. Now we are talking about prayer again! The Lord’s Prayer lies ahead. But we’re not there yet!
See you at worship, I hope, this weekend. And I’ll be back here in this space next week.
To be continued…
Our Grace Family
Dear Members of Grace,
We give thanks for the life and witness of Thomas Miller, who died March 8, 2020. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife Judy, his children and grandchildren, family and friends.
A Funeral Service will be held at 3PM on Friday, March 13, 2020 at the Charles F. Snyder, Jr. Funeral Home & Crematory, 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA 17543. Family and friends will be received from 2PM until the time of service.
We also give thanks for the life and witness of Larry Loughner, father of Erik Loughner, who died this past week. Please keep Erik and his mother in your prayers.