A Message from Pastor Dave
On Monday morning, January 3, after a balmy New Year’s Eve and day, the winds blew, the rain fell, and snow too. The storm knocked out electricity in and around St. Mark’s. The fierceness of the winds through the night reminded me of Pentecost in Acts 2; and Jesus’ story about the house built on the rock. After that thought, I remembered this winter hymn. We did not have “snow on snow, snow on snow” but we did just celebrate “grace upon grace” (John 1:16) on the first Sunday of the new year.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heav'n and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign;
in the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God almighty, Jesus Christ.
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
if I were a wise man I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him - give my heart.
ELW 294 Text by Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1830-1894
What can I possibly give him, the God who came to live among us and even joins us in our bleak midwinters? This is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of us all. Everything we have flows from the gracious hand of the One who breathes Word into our midst and Spirit into our beings.
So what I can give him? What can we give him? Tomorrow, January 6, we remember the Magi bring gold, frankincense and myrrh to him. But the common starting point for anyone who wishes to welcome Jesus and to give him something….is to “give my heart.”
From there flows everything else we do, whether giving a lamb, or money, or sharing our time and abilities. I commend these words of Romans 12:1 from The Message Bible: “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”
Thank you St. Mark’s and St. Mark’s Hearts – for all you gave to him in 2021 through your hearts and hands, your time and service, your dollars and tithes, your prayers and songs, your grace and faith!
Join me in prayer: Lord Jesus, as you have given me your all, I give you my heart. May my everyday, ordinary life be an acceptable offering to you, blessing you and all whom I encounter. Amen.