Prayer for the Week

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Insignificant or Significant?

2nd Sunday after Epiphany | January 27, 2021

1 Samuel 3:1-10 • Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 • 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 • John 1:43-51

John 1:43-51 | New Living Translation

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.

Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.

As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”

“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”

Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

Sunday Night Thoughts

Good evening and welcome to Sunday Thoughts for January 10, 2021. One of the most beautiful things happened yesterday. After weeks of what seemed like gloomy cloudy days, we awoke to blue skies and sun. In fact both yesterday and today we had sun. Each morning we woke up to temps near 12, but the beautiful blue made up for it.

Knowing that it was going to be a nice day, Pam and I took a drive. One of the things I wanted to do was take pictures of the churches that we participated with during our last 4-1/2 years. We took our Canon Rebel out and got some great pictures. We also took a little detour to Kinzua Bridge, which is a high railroad bridge that was partially taken out by a tornado in the early 2000’s. They’ve developed it into a Skywalk. It was great because there was nobody there – the first time I had experienced that. As I walked out onto the Skywalk, you could hear the crunch of the snow under your feet and even the old trestle crackled a little bit in the cold.

Following that, we watched the Buffalo Bills play the Colts. Wow! What an ending. It was good to see the Bills win in the first round of the playoffs. Since the Eagles are out this year, I’m cheering for the Bills to go all the way. We’ve adopted them – especially since they are an AFC team and not divisional rivals. I’d love to see them go all the way.

Just 8 more days – until we move. One more Sunday. It all seems surreal. By this time next week, we will be getting ready to pack the truck and move to Millsboro, DE. Several times this week I’ve had to stop and reflect for a moment. God indeed gave us great favor while we were here – in both our church and our community – yet we are looking forward to what God has in store.

This week, Pam and I also return to transporting students. It’s been a long break from in-person school, but we go back tomorrow. Plus we also need to get serious about packing the last of the house. So we need to go to Dollar General and get some boxes.

We did have a good service this morning. I led our congregation through a Covenant Renewal Service. It is always a special service and we ended with communion.

As I close, I am watching the Steelers play, but I also know I need to go to bed because morning will be here quick. So, that wraps it up. Blessings….

The Baptism of Jesus

The Baptism of Jesus | January 10, 2021

Genesis 1:1-5 • Psalm 29 • Acts 19:1-7 • Mark 1:4-11

Mark 1:4-11 | New Living Translation

This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.

John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with[a] water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him[b] like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

Prayer for the Week

First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Epiphany

January 6, 2021

Isaiah 60:1-6 • Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 • Ephesians 3:1-12 • Matthew 2:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12 | New Living Translation

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
    who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Prayer for Epiphany

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday Night Thoughts

So here we are on the first Sunday Night Thoughts of 2021. I saw a picture this morning on Facebook that said, one year ago today, we were worried about the Australian wildfires, and most of us hadn’t even heard of COVID-19. 2020 will go down as a very unique year in history. We wrapped up the year on a very low key note. Last week we did some packing. One of the things that we did was put some family and ministry collages together. We have a collage for each place that we have lived and then there is also a ministry collage for each place of ministry since we lived in Flint, MI.

We were missing a family collage for Staunton. We needed to make one for our one year ministry in Waynesboro, and both a family and ministry collage for Eldred. Those are now all done. We have to pick up the last of the pictures tomorrow and put them in a frame.

Our house is really starting to look different as we continue our preparations for a move. It’s hard to believe that we are just 14 days away. Most of the non-essential things are packed and we are doing some downsizing.

The weather around here as been crazy. We’ve had snow and rain and freezing rain. That happened Friday night into Saturday morning. Everything was like a skating rink yesterday morning. We were supposed to get more this morning, but fortunately that didn’t materialize. We did get some mixed precip and it even snowed this afternoon. Because of that threat of bad weather, we had a smaller crowd than our usual small crowd of late.

This week, some of us return back to work after Christmas. It remains to be seen whether I will go back to my regular route before we move to Delaware. It all depends on whether another school district goes back to in-person learning.

I was able to ring in the new year with Anna and James. It was pretty anti-climatic. I don’t even think I heard guns or fireworks from our neighbors as usual. So it was an unusual ending in a year that was – I hesitate to say it – unprecedented.

That’s about all I have for tonight. Have a great week! Seize the day!

But To All Who Believe…

2nd Sunday in Christmas | January 3, 2020

Jeremiah 31:7-14 • Psalm 147:12-20 • Ephesians 1:3-14 • John 1:10-18

John 1:10-18 | New Living Translation

10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.