Grace Episcopal Church
25 February 2016
Yesterday’s feast of St. Matthias the Apostle can be thought of as the feast for a “saint for the rest of us”. Matthias was a figure of whom there is no record in the gospels, but who is described in Acts 1 as having accompanied Jesus and His disciples from the time of the baptism of the Lord. The disciples discern the will of God and name Matthias to replace Judas, and after this mention he disappears from the canonical record.
Which brings us to ourselves, the “rest of us”. Each of us has accompanied Jesus and His disciples (the Church) from the time we were baptized. With very rare exception, each of us serves in ways that are not reflected in a public record. The point is not who we receive the recognition of others, but how God recognizes our faith, that we follow. When we do this we bear witness to who God is; we bear witness in following.
Few people will ever persuaded by any words we may use. We are called to testify using words as well as actions, and when we are called to testify using words, when we are faithful, God will give us the words needed, but we will certainly never just persuade anyone of the faith. We may, however, demonstrate the faith. We may live lives that cause others to notice that there is something different about those who follow Jesus Christ. For example, when we can remain thankful to God even in the midst of misfortune, people will notice.
Consider the “misfortune” of Matthias and his contemporaries, that the faith they professed was officially proscribed by the most powerful empire in history; that the eponymous founder of their faith died the death of a criminal; that their most important first leader was described as having abandoned his master. These “facts on the ground” would not be considered favorable in any age, and yet by their example Matthias and his contemporaries began to open hearts that God might win them.
We have no record of Matthias ever considering himself as having earned favor with his fellow disciples in how he walked along with them in following Jesus. He probably did, but we do know that he found favor with God, as God will find favor with each of not in great works and the good opinion of others, but in how we offer our hearts in following Jesus.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Kevan and Traci Revis, and Paul and Andrea Aparicio for the Sunday coffee hours.
§ Ben Dobey for organizing the supper prior to Compline, and for the Compline musical offering.
§ Gary and Elaine Dinstuhl, and Jennifer Pawlus, for providing the Friday night Lenten meal.
§ Bobbie May for work in the parish library.
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshippers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Music this Week: The Third Sunday in Lent
Prelude Chorale Preludes on Lord, keep us steadfast by thy Word
Pachelbel and Buxtehude
Introit My eyes are ever looking toward the Lord Plainsong
Mass Setting Gregorian Mass X
Plainsong, adapt. Wildman
Offertory Hymn 401 “The God of Abraham praise” Leoni
Communion Motet Like as the hart Willan
Communion Hymn 684 “O, for a closer walk with God” Caithness
Closing Hymn 344 “Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing” Sicilian Mariners
Postlude Prelude & Fugue in G Minor Fischer
§ Dinner Needed: For those participating in the 30 Hour Famine. We need volunteers to provide a lite meal (e.g. chicken soup and salad/sandwich or rice and beans – nothing heavy or acidic) to be served on Saturday, February 27th at 5:30 p.m. for 20 people.
§ Adult Education: On Sunday we will continue Discipleship – as Ethics and Evangelism. This is the last class in a three-week exploration of what Jesus intends for his followers in these two specific areas, with an intention toward faithful and imaginative obedience for us today. This series is presented by our Seminarian, Ryan Pollock.
§ Lenten Meditation Booklets are available on the table in the Narthex.
§ Stations of the Cross and Simple Suppers: We will continue this program on Friday, March 4th meeting at 5:15 p.m. for a prelude of Lenten organ music followed at 5:30 p.m. with Stations of the Cross. Afterwards a simple supper will be hosted in the parish hall with a presentation and pictures of Jordan, Israel and Palestine by the pilgrims who went to the Holy Land. Please sign up on the sheets in the Narthex so we will know how much food needs to be prepared.
§ First Communion Lessons: Pat Ford Smith will be providing Communion Lessons during the month of April in preparation for the Bishop's visit on Sunday May 1st, 2016. If you or your child are interested, please contact the office to sign up. Dates have been set for each Thursday in April (April 7, 14, 21 & 28), times are still being determined.
§ Sunday School Snacks: Ms. Nicci and Ms. Andrea's Sunday school classes are in need of donated non-perishable snacks. Each class consists of a prayer around our classroom altar followed by snack and craft time. Having snacks to offer during this time is a wonderful opportunity for the classmates to serve each other and come together in fellowship. It would be wonderful if anyone who is willing could place non-perishable snack options such as applesauce, goldfish cracker bags, fruit cups, as well as juice boxes, in our craft room to replenish our supply. Thank you!
§ Lenten Retreat for Women: Lead by the Rev. Dr. Paula Harris and entitled “Recognizing God’s Voice”, this retreat will take place on Saturday March 5th 9:30 – 3:30 p.m. at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Hartford. For more information, please see the notice board in the Narthex.
§ Horvats in Hrvatska: Their most recent newsletter, which includes their prayer requests, has been posted on the notice board in the Narthex. Additional copies can be found on the table in the Narthex.
§ SCIO Program Top 3 In-Kind Needs: SCIO is in need of (1) Spaghetti sauce, chicken/vegetable broth, (2) Tampons, Conditioner, and (3) Pledge, Windex, bathroom cleaner. SCIO is a spiritually based organization of faith communities in Sheboygan County. If you would like to learn more about SCIO, please see the brochure on the noticed board in the Narthex.
§ Something Extra for Grace: Envelopes are available in the pews if you are moved to give an extra gift, beyond your pledge or regular plate donation, toward the life of the church. Gifts are tax deductible if you write your name on the envelope.
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