You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. - Luke 1:31
12/20/2020Pr. Steven Peeler 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
4th Advent Sunday Worship Service. Gathering Hymn #275 ELW "Angels, from the Realms of Glory"; Hymn of the Day #257 ELW "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" verses 6-8; Sending Hymn #267 ELW "Joy to the world"
Announcement: Christmas Eve Open House
This year, Messiah will be holding a Christmas Eve Open House from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Every hour on the hour, there will be scripture readings, prayer, and a blessing of the communion elements, followed by about 45 minutes of music for meditation. Messiah's council has chosen this worship format so that congregants may come and go as they please, wearing masks and keeping socially distant. There will be a plate at the back of the sanctuary, where you may place a freee will offering at any time during the service. You are also welcome to take communion at any time during the service, or to take it home with you. Please feel free to contact the church office with any questions, concerns, joys, or prayer requests.
12/13/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. - John 1:6-9 Gathering Hymn #283 ELW O Come, all ye faithful; Hymn of the Day #264 ELW Prepare the Royal Highway; Sending Hymn #267 ELW Joy to the World - 3 vurses.
Faith 5 via Zoom 7:00pm Tonight.
11/29/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37
Advent 1 Sunday Worship Service. Announcements: Worship services available website and Facebook page. Saturday Suppers Nov. 21 2020 had 1989 guests and 652 servings. 7:00pm Faith 5 vai Zoom. Monday 11/30/20 Sew quilts 9:00am & 5:00pm; Wednesday 9:00 Lifeline Screening, 7:00pm online Advent Service.
A Prayer in time of Sickness:
Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grand us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strenght and peace; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.
11/22/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
Christ the King Sunday worship service Nov. 22 2020. Announcements:
Dear Messiah Lutheran and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church Family,
Due to the community spread of the COVID-19 virus, Messiah Council has decided to suspend in-person worship at messiah Lutheran church beginning this Sunday, November 22. Sunday worship service will be uploaded to Messiah website and facebook page every Sunday Morning. Midweek Advent service will be available every Wednesday morning. If would like to receive a hard copy of the order of worship and announcements, please contact the church office. There will not be a recorded Thanksgiving Eve service.
A prayer in time of sickness:
Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grand to us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace; through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
11/15/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30
24th Sunday of Pentecost Service of Word and Thanksgiving. Gathering Hymn #668 ELW "O Zion, Haste"; Hymn of the Day #826 ELW "Thine the Amen"; Sending Hymn #671 ELW "Shine, Jesus, Shine".
Coat Drive begins Nov 14th 2020, will take place during Saturday Suppers and will hand out coats until run out. Gifts of Hope: Collecting donations for Hope Harbor - ccold medicine & Washable Toys through Nov 29th 2020. Life Line Screening Wednesday Dec 2 2020. Register for wellness package which includes 4 vascular tests and osteoporosis screenings from $149 ($139 with member discount). All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. There are three ways to register for event and to receive a $10.00 discount off any package priced above $129, please call 1-888-653-6441 or visit www.lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979. Saturday Suppers: November 7th there were 411 guests and 560 servings given. Red Cross: volunteers needed for blood drives across Grand Island and Hall County. Contact michael Fleming, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org (402)699-5652 - COVID 19 guidelines are being followed.
Here is the Bridegroom! Come out to meet him.- Matthew 25:6
11/8/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
23rd Sunday of Pentecost. 8:30am Worship Service. Announcements: Coat Drive begines Nov 14 2020. Hope Harbor is in need of code medicine and washable toys. Red Cross needs volunteers for blood drives. Life Line screening Dec 2 2020.
9/27/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32
Sept 27 2020 Sunday 8:30 AM Worship Service. First Reading Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Second Reading Philippians 2:1-13; Gospel Matthew 21:23-32. As Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church,the words ofPaul callus to be of one mind, the mind of Christ. The model and motivating force toward the good of others is the example of Christ. The one who is the Lord of life for the Christian community is the one who did not hold on to what he had, who took the form of 4servant rather than Lord, who showed us that in the Christian community the self is emptied rather than enhanced. Against all the tendencies to set our individual wants and needs as the first order of business, the imitation of Christ offers us a better way.
9/13/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
Forgiveness. What does forgiveness mean, anyway? One of the Hebrew meanings of ‘forgive’is to take or lift up. The brothers ask Joseph to "take up" or "lift off" their guilt. The Hebrew verb is, in effect, a metaphor; to forgive is to remove a heavy burden, like taking a weight off someone's shoulders. In the gospel reading from Matthew, Peter asks Jesus how often he ought to forgive a brother or sister who sins against him. 77 times, the great number effective means forgive without any limit. Jesus' point is that the followers of Jesus are to be exceptionally generous in forgiving others. Our sins are overcome and the burden of guilt is taken away by God’s great forgiveness and the wave of forgiveness that it sets forth through us, this congregation and out into the world. Such abundant forgiveness on God’s part is meant also to initiate extravagant forgiveness on our part as well. Both the parable and Jesus’ words indicate that the community of faith is to express such life-giving forgiveness freely and continually, over and over, without ceasing. We can never repay God for the life-giving sacrifice of Christ or our debt that has been paid. But we can express and carry out that same forgiving love toward others. As we live that forgiveness, then we experience together reconciliation and healing, with barriers and guilt replaced by renewed relationships and the capacity to live and work together. May God give to all of us a real sense of the forgiveness in which --and by which --we live and grant us the faith and courage to walk into the future such forgiveness creates. Amen.
9/6/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Ezekiel 33:7-11; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20
"We need to talk?" Dreaded phrase? This usually means something is amiss. Jesus gives us God's church, a path for mending relationships, and how we reconcile here on earth, matters also in Heaven. We are not immune to disagreements, how we pursue our disagreements is vital. Jesus gives us the guidelines for engaging with one another in conversation, grounded in love, faith, and mutual respect, discretion, kindness, and care - not public humiliation, spectacle, or gossip. Our human reaction to conflict is to exarate, deflect, minimize, or deny it, which may result in breaking relationships. We must never boast or gloat, but be humble, and remember that Christ continues to love all, for God's presence among us depends on wholeness and vitality of his beloved community. It is in our togetherness, our unity that God promises to be with us. We are the body of Christ everywhere we go - at church, home, work, etc - so extend care, hospitality, kindness, Grace, humility for to allow room for Christ for the possibility of repentance, Restoration, and renewal. Where there are two or three gathered, there is Christ. Thanks be to God. Amen.
8/30/2020Messiah Youth Jeremiah 15:15-21; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28
13th Sunday of Pentecost 8:30am Youth Group Worship Service. First Reading Jeremiah 15:15-21; Second Reading Romans 12:9-21; Gospel Matthew 16:21-28. Message written by Colton B, read by Courtney B. Have you ever had the moment of accomplishment or excitement only to have it crumble away - 2020 would be top example. Our world and reality had changed, it looks different for everybody. But what if the sadness and failure was not caused by something external but by your own flawed way of thinking. At this time, Jesus was getting alot of attention at this time, good and bad, and like Peter, we think we can control the outcome that we want. Jesus is telling the apostles what was going to happen to him, and they are in disbelief. It is easy to make ourselves superior and objective to whatever side the popular side it. How many have been asked if believe in Christ, answer yes, but cannot answer anymore questions. Just like Peter, he thought he know who Jesus was, like us, but Peter didn't really understand what it meant to BELIEVE and FOLLOW Jesus. Intentions are good, but are they really God's concerns or human concerns? How does it benefit a person to gain the world, but lose their life? Jesus says "take up your cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." What does it mean to follow Christ? Most of us cannot give up something for lent, a time where we are supposed to reflect and repent. How many set the bar so low that giving up something really isn't a sacrifice because following through on the big stuff is too hard. Can we let go of those things that hang onto us, can we love our enemy the same way we love Christ? We live in a world of indulgence and really don't know what it means to sacrifice. The disciples were with Jesus every day and they didn't get it, they didn't know that Jesus's life was being ransomed for ours and the responsibility of what that meant for all believers. "Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things." Today, ask you to reflect, lay everything at his feet, allow your world to crumble and be transformed, follow Christ and his plan without interference. "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done." Amen.
8/23/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Isaiah 51:1-6; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20
Sunday 8:30am Worship First reading Isaiah 51:1-6; Second Reading Romans 12:1-8; Gospel Matthew 16:13-20. Chapter sixteen of Matthew’s gospel contains the sequence of narratives about Peter’s confession, along with the first prediction of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. Peter’s confession marks a turning point in the public ministry of Jesus. Jesus concentrates on the private instruction of his twelve disciples. Jesus is preparing them for his upcoming passion and death. Who does the general public believe Jesus to be? Here at Caesarea Philippi for the first time the disciples recognize Jesus as the Christ. Jesus is the anointed Messiah and Son of God. They are on the right track as Peter acknowledges who Jesus is. But it is clear that Peter does not understand what Jesus the Messiah is to do—to go to the cross and die and be raised three days later. Although God and Christ are also called “rock” in the Scriptures, Peter is to be a visible sign and instrument of God’s work in the world. With his blessing, Jesus promises Peter that the ‘gates of hell’ will not triumph over this new church of faith. No demonic powers, not even death will have power of God’s people, the church. God will see to it that a community of Christ’s disciples will endure until the final coming of Christ and the final victory over death. Christ’s followers and Christ’s church will be the visible sign of the presence of God’s kingdom. This gospel text underscores the fact that the recognition of the Lord’s anointed Savior is not a matter of human deduction, but can only come through the revelation of the God who is above and beyond all human understanding. All is a gift from God. The very faith we respond to God with and live out our mission with here at Messiahis a gift of God. God has given us the keys to the kingdom. Not keys to the gates of heaven to determine who is in or out. We, like Peter, are flawed and imperfect, yet we are God’s Church, made to be a new creation in Christ, made to be God’s partners in redeeming, renewing, recreating the world to bring resurrected life to all creation. God gives faith. God gives grace. God blesses. God saves. Therefore, we are able to respond with faith: You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Thanks be to God!
8/16/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28
11th Sunday of Pentecost - 8:30AM Worship Service. First reading Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Second reading Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Gospel reading Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28. This passage gives us permission to think about our faith, where we are, here and now. Perhaps this passage calls us to acknowledge the fluidity of faith and that different circumstances will call on different features of faith. Maybe the Canaanite woman’s story is not about what faith is, some sort of definition for all times and places, but what faith looks like in action. Faith is not just a status quo of creeds and beliefs, but lays claim on how we are in the world, how we choose to be in the world and how we choose to live each moment of our lives. Maybe faith is not about having perfect belief, but tenacity, a stick-to-it ness that keeps leadingus back into the life of the Holy Trinity. Faith is not just a collection of beliefs, but a state of being—not because of what we do, but because of who and whose we are. Could it possibly be that this story of unexpected outcomes works transformation in us as well? Will we dare to see the extravagance of God’s mercies, that reaches far beyond any human boundary? We join the Canaanite woman, with faith, clinging to God’s mercies, that joins us with all the outcasts—the wounded, the hungry, the lonely, the homeless. We join the same chorus each and every Sunday with God’s faithful people of all times and places. For the peace from above and for our salvation, for peace throughout the world, for God's church and unity, for all who worship and praise, for all who serve and gather around font and table with faith, with hope, and renewal: We pray "Lord have mercy".
8/9/2020Pr. Steven Peeler 1 Kings 19:9-18; romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33
10th Sunday of Pentecost Worship Service 8:30AM. First Reading 1 Kings 19:9-18; Second Reading Romans 10:5-15; Gospel Matthew 14:22-33. God’s people of Messiah, did you notice how beautiful your feet were this week? Did you see the beautiful feet making quilts? Did you see the beautiful feet in the men’s bible study? Did you see the beautiful feet while serving Saturday Suppers yesterday? How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! In the gospel reading, it was Peter’s feet that took him out onto the water to meet the risen Lord. Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him in a boat while he withdraws alone into the hills to pray. The sea was long thought to be a place of chaos, the home of dark powers that threaten the goodness of the created order and the goodness of life. The sea is here a barrier that separates the disciples from Jesus, who is the presence of God. Peter is the typical disciple—even as a believer in the resurrected Lord, he gets out of the boat because he wanted proof that Christ really did exist. So he left the boat. Peter desires to imitate Jesus; he cries to Jesus in his distress; and he has faith, even if it is only ‘little’ faith. As a disciple of little faith, he is filled with courage and anxiety, trust and doubt. Peter and the disciples are not completely without faith, nor is their faith perfect. Even at the end, when they fall worshiping at the feet of the risen Jesus, some doubted, just as Peter doubted in this instance. The story about Peter shows us what it means to be a Christian today caught at times between faith and doubt. Sometimes we believe. Sometimes we have little faith. Peter represents all who dare to believe that Jesus is Savior, take their first steps in confidence that he is able to sustain them, but then also forget to keep their gaze fixed on Jesus. In the depth of crisis, when all seems lost, faith is remembering to call on the Savior and find his grace sufficient for our needs, whose power is made perfect in weakness, in death and resurrection. The presence of God does not mean there will be no storms or troubles, for it is precisely in the midst of life’s dangers that we experience God’s presence. It is when we are sinking that God lifts us up. In confident faith and trust we come closer to God and even with the smallest faith, receive a share in God’s presence that gives us life in the face of the forces of chaos. In time of trouble, we return to our Lord crying, “Lord, save us!” and confessing, “Truly you are the Son of God!”
8/2/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Isaiah 55:1-5; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21
9th Sunday of Pentecost, 8:30AM Worship Service - First Reading Isaiah 55:1-5; Second Reading Romans 9:1-5; Gospel Matthew 14:13-21. The message is of hope and salvation, whether exiled from homeland, or each other during a pandemic, God is Faithful. God invites everyone to the holy banquet - an enduring relationship with God, and quality of life that is marked by God's grace and faithfulness. We have been claimed, gathered, and sent as God's baptized people and we go to feed a spiritually and physically hungry world. We go not just because it is a good thing to do, but because of the compassion of Jesus the Christ; his dying so this hungry, broken world may have life. Jesus, then and still, is still blesses people through the work of his followers. Take part in the mission, be blessed to be a blessing to the world. Take Action! Be Involved! Discipleship is not just about following but Participation! In the words of Jesus "You Do it! You can't sit back and watch me do all this awesome stuff. Live it! I am counting on You!"
7/26/2020Pr. Steven Peeler 1 Kings 3:5-12; Romans 8:26-39; Gospel Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
8th Sunday of Pentecost. First Reading 1 Kings 3:5-12; Second Reading Romans 8:26-39; Gospel Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52So…how did you experience the Kingdom of God last week? Sometimes it is difficult to see the kingdom of God breaking into this world. the gospel of Matthew assures us the kingdom of God will come in God’ s power and glory. Jesus’ parables of the gospel mess things up with our lives. They are about a kingdom that is unexpected, often outrageous, absurd and operates completely different than the world, where the last are first and the lowly are lifted up. Without Christ we have nothing, and we transformed into the forgiven and redeemed people of God by the power of the cross. These parables challenge our preconceived ideas of how God must work to bring in the kingdom. Symbols so simple and unassuming as a mustard seed and yeast are scandalous symbols of a crucified Messiah who rode to his coronation on a donkey. The parables are about God’s action in the world—sometimes imperceptible or hidden, but nonetheless real. These parables call for faith in the God who is active in even the smallest ways. There will always be people who believe and those who do not. Our lives as God’s people are reflected in these parables of Matthew, chapter thirteen. We are the disciples who respond to the Word of Jesus and become a different community in the world. In a world of conflicts over religion, race, beliefs and history, these parables call us to faithful watching and participation in the present day for the works of God. It may seem at times that God’s kingdom is not making a bit of difference in the world, but in the end, God will sort things out. Evil will be done away with. Jesus reminds us that the kingdom is both coming and already here, that the power of God can and is working in and through us, the kingdom of God is among us, permeating every aspect of our lives, changing, enlightening, and transforming us and the world. What does the Gospel mean in everyday life? To be a Christian?’ It means when we are stressed, tired, down-trodden, hopeful and hopeless, remember past decisions, in the midst of things we’ve done or things had done to us, God’s baptismal promise on us, the elect of God, is stronger than anything in this world. We are never separated from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus. Our security is not in the economy or national military, but knowing who and whose we are—baptized children of the Triune God. Where will you experience the Kingdom of God this week? A text message, email or phone call with someone? Every day gestures, even small, can bring about the kingdom of God. Parables give us the faith, the creativity to dare to see God working in this world to bring in the Kingdom in ways we never thought possible! Because of the kingdom of God, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, nor pandemic, nor virus, nor isolation and distancing, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
July 19 2020 Sunday 8:30AM Worship: In Jesus’ parable this morning, Gospel Matthew Chapter 13 The sower: In the clearest of terms, Jesus tells his disciples what almost every element of the sower parable represents: "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels". We often question why God allows evil to grow and thrive. Jesus does not deny the reality of evil in our world. We are, like the field in the parable, both mixed and messy, contain wheat and weed, good and evil. We are, as Martin Luther called humanity, saint and sinner at the same time. Jesus says that the reapers --not the slaves --will take care of this at harvest time. "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". It is the angels -not human beings -who are authorized to pluck out the weeds from the wheat. The central problem in the parable is the impatience and the assumption know exactly what their lord wished. If pulled out weeds, they would have destroyed the good wheat, obliterated the whole harvest. There would have been no fruit, and could have easily become more destructive enemies than the enemy. In other words, by seeking to destroy our enemies, we usually condemn ourselves because we have become just like them. This parable, indicate that there will be a separation at some time in the future: weeds from wheat and this‘harvest’ takes place on God’s time-table not ours. The final judgment is God’s, not ours. It is easy to whip ourselves into a weeding frenzy, and that we know how to deal with weeds! or so we tell ourselves - Jesus trust me!“ Thank God it is not up to us! Focus on the mission Jesus has given us --proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God drawing near. Jesus insists on patience, humility and restraint when it comes to God’s harvest. There is no way we can rid ourselves of everything bad without distorting everything good. When we rush ahead of God and start yanking weeds left and right, we do terrible harm to ourselves and to the field. The fact is, the seeds of God’s life in us are still young and growing. Our roots are delicate and tender and they need time, actually lifetimes. We should not ignore evil. But move gently and with care, recognizing that our task is to grow the good, not burn the bad. Remember, the field is God’s. Only God loves it enough to bring it safely to harvest. The risen Jesus has entrusted you and I with a mission in the world, to gather all of God’s people into the kingdom of God. Holding fast in faith to Lord Jesus Christ, we proclaim the Gospel good news in the world. God’s world is a mixed bag, made up of indescribably good, but also stained by sin and brokenness and every combination in between. It is our job as Christians to show, invite, tell, encourage and lead others to the food that does not perish-Jesus Christ our Lord. It is not our job to decide who is worthy. There will come a day when all that is rebellious against God in the world, and in us, will be removed and destroyed. All that will be left is the harvest.
7/12/2020Pr. Steven Peeler Isaiah 55:10-13; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Sunday July 12 2020 8:30AM 6th Pentecost Sunday Worship Service performed by Pr. Steven Peeler. First reading: Isaiah 55:10-13; Second Reading: Romans 8:1-11; Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 - The reading from Isaiah 55:10-13 this morning gives a poetic vision of new life after exile. Beginning in the year 597 BCE, God’s people of Judah were over taken by the Babylonian Empire and forced into exile. The prophet Isaiah declares God’s power to transform the entire creation. Isaiah creates a vivid, expansive vision of what comfort will mean for the exiles of Judah and assures them that it is coming soon. Although Isaiah’s words were addressed to exiles in the 6th century BCE, they are beautiful words of comfort and hope for us still today. The Isaiah passage begins with a beautiful comparison of God’s word to rain and snow. By their nature, rain and snow cannot help irrigating the earth, making plants, trees and vegetation grow. Isaiah describes a God who pours down rain and snow from heaven without measure! In the same way, God’s word achieves its divine purposes as well. God’s Word is Abundant. Refreshing. Life-giving. God’s Word works sometimes in quiet, unseen ways that produce an abundance far beyond anything we could have imagined. After decades of disappointed hopes, the Judean exiles needed reassurance that God’s work would accomplish its purpose. Therefore, Isaiah uses human words in this beautiful poetry to convey the power of God’s word. The word of God has come down from heaven, already it is working steadily, accomplishing what it was sent to do. It is only a matter of time before the signs of the people’s restoration will appear. New life is as inevitable as the sprouting of greenery after a rain storm. In verse 12, Isaiah proclaims a new day for the exiles. The people shall ‘go out’, suggesting the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. During their return, mountains and hills shall break out in song, while the forest claps the rhythm. Isaiah sees a future day when even the landscape shall be transformed along with God’s people. Weeds shall be replaced by tall trees. This new creation will be an everlasting sign of God’s Word at work in the world. All of creation experiences and benefits from the revelation of God’s glory. In Isaiah, God’s act of redeeming
a group of exiles will transform the entire world. God’s desire to bless and re-create is mind boggling in its immensity and power. Thanks be to God for these texts this morning—we need some good news of joy! Just as the Judean exiles were given hope in these words of Isaiah, we too have been exiles. We are as we are able, returning from quarantine, isolation, and loneliness. We have been exiled from one another. The human family has been separated from one another. Over 100,000 people in the United States alone have died during this on-going pandemic. We have been exiled from one another, our usual schedules and way of life. I have missed you, the Messiah family. This year has certainly not turned out like any of us, myself included, ever expected. There are challenges ahead as we live into this new normal and new reality. And with God, we will step forward into the future with mindfulness and intentionality as the Word takes root and may grow something entirely different than what we expected earlier this year. We have been changed by this worldwide pandemic and we will continue to be changed by its affects. Ministries such as the Saturday Supper has expanded and grown.
Isaiah gives us a vision for the life-giving movement and effectiveness of the Word. The heart of these images is life. When the Word is doing its thing, there can be times of challenge, but also great joy. We hear this from the prophet Isaiah who quotes God in saying, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”1Godis acting through the Word. God is active and up to something in the world, now, as God has promised to be with us always. And when God’s work is happening, and we can sense and see God’s presence, we can’t help but be in awe and joy. “For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”2These are signs of God’s promises. And our response is one of gratitude and joy, of listening, following, growing, and serving. Sharing the Word and the Good News that it is and all that it brings. That’s work that God calls us and invites us all into, as together we sense God’s Word sowing seeds and bearing fruit.