Each morning I take my hot cup of coffee, go to my reading chair in the living room, and read the designated reading of the day from the “Christ in Our Home” devotional. It is my ‘Quiet’ time. A time to read scripture of someone else’s choosing, a time to direct my thought to others in a variety of their tasks and /or their personal concerns.
At the conclusion, my own concerns and plans for the day are considered. I call that a time of ‘thinking’. It was during one of these quiet times that I rediscovered the ‘Christ Crucified’ poem’. The poem has been with me for many years but this time it took on new meaning.
An excerpt from the poem “Christ Crucified” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Again I slept. I seemed to climb a hard, ascending track;
And just behind me laboured one whose patient face was black.
I pitied him; but hour by hour he gained upon the path;
He stood beside me, stood upright – and then I turned in wrath.
‘Go back! ‘ I cried. ‘What right have you to walk beside me here?
For you are black, and I am white.’ I paused struck dumb with fear.
For lo! the black man was not there, but Christ stood in his place;
And oh! the pain, the pain, the pain that looked from his dear face.
Shortly after graduation from Nursing, I was chosen to serve as a missionary nurse in Ghana West Africa. After a few months at the Worawora Hospital I was transferred to Adidome Hospital to take on the role of Matron (Head nurse).
One of our activities as staff was to lead a morning devotion with hospital staff and friends before the day’s work began. My turn was the morning after a film had been shared outdoors with hospital staff and friends. The film included beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The colors were spectacular. I thought, “WOW – SURELY THAT WAS THE BEAUTY OF GOD!“
As I was leading the devotion I recalled those beautiful scenes from the night before. The ‘beauty, the wonder of it all’, surely a gift of God and a sign of His power!
That evening members of the indigenous staff came to visit me. They informed me that I needed to resign my position. I had insulted them when I shared my thoughts about the beauty of those scenes. Now I know that I had not paid attention to the ‘credits” shown at the conclusion of that film. Filmed in USA. So they heard me say that GOD had given beautiful sunsets to America – more beautiful then he provided for the people of Adiome, West Africa. They could not know that one of my fondest memories of Africa was and would be the rainbows that stretched across the sky and over tho palm trees after the rain in early afternoon or all the spectacular morning sunrises and sunsets I had enjoyed traveling as far north as Timbuktu..
So God, my prayer today is, “Please guide my activities – both quiet and active to serve those I meet and those I will not meet – to pray for all – to share my resources freely and generously with ministries throughout the world. Help me to listen, to practice humility. May I never forget that Christ is within each person I meet. And oh! the pain, the pain, that looks from that dear face when I forget! Please help me to remember and do your will always. Amen
Joyce Saeger for the R3Team
Oh my goodness the generosity abounds!
Dove Learning Pod
· A big thank you to Kitty Weiss for making iced sugar cookies for our Dove learning pod celebration.
· Thank you also to all the people who contributed to dressing our pod kids with snow pants, boots, mittens, hats, jackets and some presents too! They loved being outside in the cold and still being warm! Thank you for your generosity and care.
· Thank you to Stacie Main and Cindy Holden for organizing the needs and gifts.
· Jenny Fritsch spent many hours decorating the church which looked beautiful.
· Barbara Andersen went and got some extra decorations for the new space and the outside because we thought it needed a bit of bling. We now have some decorations including a big wreath on the front of the church and a cute sparkly tree.
Thank you Jenny and Barbara.
Christmas Eve which was a disappointment for many – especially for those who had put so much time into the practice, recording and planning.
· For those who stuck with us through the glitches, thank you.
· To Meghan and Pastor who tried so hard to make it perfect, thank you.
· For David McConnell who worked so hard to make beautiful music, thank you.
· For Jenny Fritsch and Naomi Main who played their instruments and helped us sing, thank you.
· To Timo our camera man, Keith our cantor, who was forgotten in the frustration, and Tama, thank you.
· To our Grace children, their parents, and Meghan Kelly for the beautiful production of the Christmas story, thank you.
With frustration and some failure comes much learning. Did you enjoy this past Sunday and how smoothly it went?
Christmas Day was wonderful!
· Thank you to Bruce Linton and Tom Andersen for greeting those who came for communion.
· To Jenny Fritsch who serenaded us with her beautiful flute playing as we entered the Narthex.
· Thank you to those who made the journey in.
· Thank you to Pastor for sharing precious communion time on Christmas Day.
There are so many people who gave their time, talents and treasures to welcome our Savior. A very merry and
Holy Christmas season to you all. Kathryn
Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for kids
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Kid Fun time: This week we discussed our favorite gift we received and then what each one of us would give if we went to visit the baby Jesus. We learned about Simeon and Anna and their response to seeing the Savior in the temple. We decided that if we were Mary and heard Simeon’s blessing we would be very concerned.
Check out Luke 2:34-35. Next week we celebrate Epiphany. Join us at 9:30 am for our zoom Sunday School – best for kids 1-6th grades. Look for the Weekend Updates and links for Worship and Sunday School email from Pastor!
Youth ZOOM on Sunday mornings!
For youth, grades 6-12, Meghan Kelly and Keith Miller will be leading a youth ZOOMS! Confirmation at 9:00 a.m. / High School at 9:45 a.m. If you would like to participate – please contact Meghan at email@example.com to receive the link.
Update for A Tapestry of Pages
Our next book is Separated by Jacob Soboroff. This is the second book in our discussion on immigration. Soboroff discusses the many challenges that immigrants face when crossing the US/Mexico border. Please note that we have a new meeting time (Tuesdays at 3PM). We will begin our discussion of this book in mid-February. Please watch the Grace News for further updates. If you have any questions and/or would like to join our group please contact Angie Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 3, 2021 (Second Sunday after Christmas, Year B)
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” ‐John 1:12‐13
We begin 2021 with the sure and certain knowledge that the Christ has given us power and new birth as children of God. Our world is still filled with uncertainty, suffering, and fear, but none of these things can undo the hope and promise we have in Christ.
Christmas gifts needed for our community dinner guests
Items needed – Socks, hats, gloves, and scarves for men, women, and children
Collection Dates – Now through Jan. 1, 2021
Collection sites – Grace Church, Good Shepherd, and the Parish Resource Center – 2160 Lincoln Highway East (9 am –5 pm Monday – Friday)
Coordinator for Distribution – Parish Resource Center / Kate Good
Included in this Grace News is the list of poinsettia honorariums received to this date. Others received in the very slow U.S. mail will be listed next week. If you would like to pick up a plant—please call the office to make arrangements. Merry Christmas everyone! Vicki
Our Grace Family
Dear Members of Grace,
We give thanks for the life and witness of Curtis Manley, brother of Jane Sheckard, who died, December 26, 2020. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends. Please keep Jane’s family in your prayers.