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Sunday, October 2 "Pledge Sunday"
· A pledge is a serious promise or agreement.
· A pledge is a promise to give money.
· A pledge is something that you leave with another person as a way to show that you will keep your promise.
And Pledge is a polish for wood that cleans, beautifies, and revives.
"Pledge" Sunday at St. Mark's means at least the 2nd of the 4 definitions written above. We have received our "commitment" or pledge cards in the mail. We have been invited and encouraged to consider God's Grace, our Gratitude, and our Generosity. And this Sunday we are asked to turn our thoughtfulness and prayer-fullness into a financial pledge to God and to St. Mark's for 2017.
But Pledge Sunday could also mean the other 3 definitions too, at least theologically! God made a pledge to Noah and his family and left a rainbow as a sign. God made a pledge to Abraham and Sarah....as many as the stars and sands. God made a pledge to Moses and the Israelites - I will be your God and you will be my people. God made a pledge to many more including you and me. "I will never leave you or forsake you." "I will be with you always, even to the end of the ages." God's pledge goes even further, becoming not just a promise but a contract, a covenant, and a testament given to God's people, even you and me, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; through the Holy Spirit; through God's Word; through the waters of baptism which always clean, beautify, and revive.
These all begin with God, and then we make our response: "I will and I ask God to help and guide me" - when committing to a new ministry or another way of serving God. "I do" - the pledge/vow/commitment/promise shared at a wedding often with a symbol of a ring. "I will" - the pledge and promise covenant shared at baptism when parents, godparents, sponsors, and the congregation commit to keeping the baptismal promises.
This Pledge Sunday, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism will be celebrated at 11:00am as Ruby Ann Long becomes part of the body of Christ.
Join St. Mark's in worship of Jesus Christ our Savior this Sunday, October 2 at 8:30am or 11:00am. Sunday school, 9:45-10:45am.
All Men are invited to the 5:00pm Lutheran Men in Mission's "Meat and Greet" Sunday, Oct. 2. Contact Don Mease TODAY for more information or to make a reservation. email@example.com
Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving, what you have first given us - our selves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (LBW Offertory Prayer)
September Stewardship Sermon Series 3 G’s:
Grace (9/11), Gratitude (9/18), Generosity (9/25)
Jesus talked about money a lot: in parables, conversations, and teachings. Sometimes it was a about rich man, other times about a poor widow. Sometimes Jesus talked treasure, sometimes he celebrated someone giving a percentage, and sometimes he challenged someone to go and sell everything and give the money to the poor. He reminded people that they couldn't buy heaven, but he also didn't want people enslaved to sin, the devil, or to their riches.
Speaking of Stewardship:
In 2015, ELCA members gave $1.75 Billion in unrestricted offerings to support Christ’s mission and ministry through the three expressions of the ELCA. Thank you for your generosity! (Note: Unrestricted offerings do not include special offerings (e.g. congregational capital improvements or gifts to designated ministries like Lutheran Disaster Response.)
Our financial generosity is one expression of our love for God and our neighbors.
Mission Support enables us to do God’s work in ways that no individual, congregation,
or synod can do alone.
A portion of our offerings was used by our NC Synod and the ELCA to support a multitude of ministries. Here are 4 examples:
1) To support new congregations like Abiding Ministries in Pittsburgh, PA
and Iglesia Christo el Rey in Charlotte, NC;
2) To support ELCA Chaplain Ministry (chaplains in the armed services,
hospitals, and other facilities like Trinity Oaks, Salisbury, NC).
3) To support 240 ELCA missionaries serving in over 40 countries around the world including South Sudan where Pastor Wal Reat states: “It is very difficult, but I know that the ELCA is my backbone – my prayer support and financial support.”
4) To support the work of the Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 145 churches in the Lutheran tradition representing more than 72 million Christians in 98 countries. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.
We are church together for the sake of the world.
This Sunday, September 25
8:30am and 11:00am Worship with Holy Communion.
9:45-10:45am Sunday school.
Gospel: Luke 16 and Jesus' story about a rich man and a poor man.
The poor man's name is Lazarus.
Lazarus is a name found in two gospel stories, and in each instance it identifies someone who experiences the power of resurrection. John’s Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, is famously raised from the dead by Jesus (John 11). Luke 16's Lazarus suffers from extreme poverty and neglect, but when he dies he is carried away by an angel and finds comfort and honor in his heavenly home. Modern fiction and cinema examine ideas about life after death with uneven results. A recent movie is even called The Lazarus Effect, but it only seems to offer a variation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. One Internet site lists what it says are the thirteen best movies about the afterlife. When compared with these cinematic explorations of life beyond death (including highly intriguing movie The Lovely Bones), the biblical stories of Lazarus seem incredibly potent and compelling.
Saturday, September 24 ~ Craft Day
10:00 am - 12 noon
Family Life Center
All ladies are invited to come and make a craft to take home and help prepare hostess gifts for the WELCA event we are hosting in October.
Monday, September 26 ~ Blood Drive
3:30 - 8:00 pm
Family Life Center
Help save a life, donate blood.
The most obvious lesson in Christ’s teaching is that there is no happiness in having or getting anything, but only in giving. ~ Henry Drummond
"Our Father, who art in heaven...." and/or "Our Father in heaven...."
Our Lord's Prayer version that St. Mark's used on Sunday, September 4 - "Our Father in heaven...." is published alongside the more familiar version - "Our Father, who art in heaven...." in the last 3 Lutheran worship books - the green "Lutheran Book of Worship", the blue "With One Voice", and in the current cranberry "Evangelical Lutheran Worship" book in the pews. Thus, there are 2 printed and authorized versions of our Lord's Prayer for our Lutheran liturgy, as well as hymn and liturgical sung versions in our worship books.
St. Mark's has worshiped with the newer Lord's Prayer version when utilizing the "Holden Evening Prayer" service for evening worship during Lent and/or Advent seasons. The newer version of the Lord's Prayer was authorized by the National Council of Churches in the 1970's. I don't know why. Maybe it was to try to and ease disagreements between churches that prayed "forgive us our debts" and those that prayed "forgive us our trespasses." Which would you rather have forgiven you, your debts or trespasses, or your sins? Which would you rather forgive of someone else?
By the way, the NCC includes the Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and 30+ other church denominations in the U.S. Some churches choose to use this newer version, some don't use it at all, and some don't regularly use any version of our Lord's Prayer in worship. There are also several other versions of our Lord's Prayer available via the internet. And if you look in your Bible you'll notice a difference between our Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, Luke 11, and John 17. Jesus prays in the Gospel of Mark too, but not the "Our Father."
This Sunday, 9/11, we are back to the sung version that St. Mark's has used for some time. Someone once said, "when we sing, we pray twice." So, singing and praying, working and worshiping, may God bless you richly! See you in church. Pastor Dave