Holy Week 2017

 

HOLY WEEK 2017

St. James Lutheran Church, Rudyard, MI

 

Please make plans to worship during Holy Week. Our participation in worship honors God and supports those who gather with us.  These services honor and remember Jesus’ great acts of love for us and loudly speak the good news he brings.  Spread the Word!

 

Maundy Thursday

APRIL 13 – 7 PM

Jesus’ Last Supper with His Disciples

Light food and Holy Communion in Fellowship Hall

Solemn Stripping of the Altar in the Sanctuary

 

Good Friday

 APRIL 14 – 7 PM

The Crucifixion of Jesus

Service of Readings, Music, Shadows, and Candles

 

Easter Sunday

APRIL 16 – 10 AM

Worship and Celebration of the Resurrection!

Festive Procession, Joyful Music, Holy Communion,

Fellowship and Food!

FIRST COMMUNION INSTRUCTION OFFERED

 

 

Pastor Lamb will be offering First Communion instruction on         Saturday, March 25 AND/OR April 1 at 10 AM (depending on what fits schedules the best). This one-hour class is suitable for children and youth from pre-school through Grade 6 (ages 4-12 years).

 

Holy Communion is offered at St. James to anyone who desires to meet Christ or receive forgiveness in this community meal through the bread and wine, which is his body and blood that he gave and shed for us.  The instruction will focus on giving younger children a sense of belonging to this community.  An additional focus for the older youth will be more explanation of the source and promises of Holy Communion.  Parents or other guardians (at least one) are required to attend this session with their children.

 

Please let Pastor Lamb know if you are interested, what days work best for you, or if you have any questions.  First Communion will be offered to these young people at worship on Palm Sunday, April 9.

Lenten Story-Telling Suppers Series

Every Wednesday evening starting March 8 and ending on April 5, join us for the 2nd annual series  of Lenten suppers and stories of Jesus. Each evening begins at 6:00 PM with supper, a story and discussion, and concludes with dessert. This is an ecumenical event, so invite your friends and neighbors! Child-friendly!

The text for the first session is John 4:5-15.

So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

What is Lent?

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

Why Is There a Flannel Fiesta Sunday on February 26?

 

True faith in Christ will result in good deeds.

James 2:15-17 Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food and one of you tells them, “Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily.” If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.

 

James 2:26  A body that doesn’t breathe is dead. In the same way faith that does nothing is dead.

 

Join us on Sunday, February 26, 2017 for Flannel Fiesta Sunday at St. James. A long-standing tradition, we wear flannel (items of our choosing) to the service and have fun seeing what outfits our church family comes up with. In keeping with the Fiesta theme, because who doesn’t need a fiesta in February in the U.P., there will be worship music from the Mexican Christian tradition.

Following worship, we enjoy Mexican-style food and Lutheran fellowship! We have a pinata for the children, and music for all! Donations will go to the ELCA Good Gifts Fund, which supplies farm animals and other capacity-building supplies to those in need in many countries.

What Would Jesus Have Us Do?

Matthew 25:31-46New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Judgment of the Nations

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The Good Light

 

In these cold dark winter months of long nights and short days we depend a lot on lights. Before artificial light was easily and cheaply available our daily lives were shaped by the natural daylight between sunrise and sunset. Now we have light pretty much whenever and wherever we want it.

And that’s good because light reveals the world around us. It can make our world safer when it reveals the uneven ground on which we walk so that we are able to go without stumbling or falling. It can make our world more productive when it allows us to work longer or more efficiently. It can make our world more caring when we use it to see and dress the wounds of others.

Of course, it can also make the world less safe when the bright lights of the oncoming car blind us. It can make us less productive when it allows employers to press production times to points beyond weariness. It can make our world less caring when we use it to see our way around those along our path who could use our help.

Light can reveal for good or ill. God’s son, Jesus, came into this world to be a light for good. The words and example of Jesus and his cross-bearing way, serve as a light to guide us out of our inner darkness. In our darkness of guilt, he reveals the promise of forgiveness. In the darkness of shame, he reveals the possibility of reconciliation. Jesus is the light that reveals our enemy as a person who could use, and even deserves, our love. He is the

light that reveals despair as the breeding ground for hope. When the light that is Jesus is used in this way, God is revealed to us and to the world.

But this isn’t always the case, is it? Can Jesus-the-Light be used in dark ways? Sure. We can use him like one of those Maglite flashlights when we use his words, or the words of his followers, to verbally knock people out. We can use him like a laser when we use his words to burn bridges in our relationships. We can use him like the high-beams of an oncoming car when we use his words to shine on our righteousness, our superiority, compared to others.

In this church season we call Epiphany, we celebrate that God has done something good and wonderful by giving to us the light of the world, and we ponder an even more wondrous thing: that God allows us to hold this light in our hands, in our lives. God knows we can use it for good or ill. Will we use it to reveal God to the world?

As you know, this is the kind of thing we, as the Church, think about and talk about when we get together. I’m sure we’ll see each other soon. If you get there first, please turn on the light.

Thanks,

Pastor Lamb

 

Epiphany, 2017

 

Have you ever had an “epiphany”? Many can say that they have had one, when speaking of a new idea, a new way of seeing a situation, or discovering a unique connection. In the church,”Epiphany” has a specific meaning, and a central one to our faith.

To Christians, Epiphany is the revealing of Jesus’ being as divine. It originated in the Eastern Church in AD 361, beginning as a commemoration of the birth of Christ. Later, additional meanings were added – the visit of the three Magi, Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. These three events are central to the definition of Epiphany as events where the divinity of Jesus was shown to all.

So, take down the Christmas tree and pack away the decorations. Be open to the epiphany that Jesus is divine and came to show us how to live rightly with God!

A New Year’s Message

 

New Year Resolutions, Repentance, and the Good Life

 

Do you see how New Year’s resolutions are like repentance? Just as our resolutions describe ways in which we resolve to change our behavior to improve our lives, so does repentance.  And we make resolutions because we want to live a new way that is better for us and, hopefully, better for those around us, too.  We want our lives to be good! Repentance aims at that same goal.

 

If you’ve been to worship at St. James during Advent, you probably heard me describe repentance as a change in life’s direction.  It’s when I lay my way of living my life alongside of the way Jesus would live my life, and then make course corrections so that my way and Jesus way line up better.  In other words, repentance is making changes in our lives to follow Jesus better.

 

So, if we want our lives to be good (at least better) who is better equipped to offer advice about living a good life than the One who created our lives?  Who is better to listen to than the One who, at great cost, came so that we might have light burdens (Matthew 11:30) and life abundant (John 10:10)?

 

In that light, here are some suggestions we might draw from Jesus’ life with his disciples (apprentices) and his teaching:

  • Set aside time each day for conversation with God (prayer).
  • Visit regularly other members of our church family.
  • Attend Bible study classes or other faith formation gatherings to grow your understanding of the One we follow.
  • Speak the name of Jesus in your daily conversations so that it becomes more natural for you to spread the good news.
  • Come to worship and stay for fellowship more often.
  • Take stock of all the gifts God has given you and think of new ways to share them.
  • Thank God and people more often for the blessings you experience through them.
  • Look for God in the people and events around you especially among the powerless and poor (look for positive reversals in fortune, surprisingly gracious behavior, or great generosity) and then share these observations with others.

 

You can probably think of other resolutions, other ways to repent.  But, if you start with this list and decide to adopt any or all of these changes and actually do them, I am sure you will find that:

  • you will be an encouragement to others;
  • you will strengthen the body of Christ;
  • God will be revealed to those in your world;
  • your connection with God will become more deeply rooted in your soul;
  • your life will be better in ways you can’t imagine or make happen by yourself

 

How can I be sure of this? Because these are ways that align our lives with Jesus’ Way, and good always results from that.  You will probably find it to be more fun and fulfilling, too!

 

May your new year be filled with an awareness of God’s love for you and others, and may it be fun!

 

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Lamb

 

letter-article-jan-2017

Community Thanksgiving Dinner and Fellowship, Thursday, November 24, 2016

You are invited to a community Thanksgiving dinner and fellowship time at St. James Lutheran Church

Turkey dinner will be served at 1:00 PM

The sanctuary will be open for private use from 12 noon till 3

Come, eat, give thanks with us

All Community Members are Invited!