The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” Exodus 24:12
We end the Christmas cycle of seasons on Sunday and turn to the Easter cycle. Lent begins Wednesday with the Ash Wednesday service at 7:30 pm. On Sunday-Transfiguration-we will hear the story of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. To Matthew, that mountain corresponds to Mount Sinai or Mount Moses, the traditional site of which is shown in the image above, with St. Catherine’s monastery at the foot of it.
In Lent the Christian faith becomes real. Christian tradition asks the faithful to do some Christian things. Leave out something that is not healthy for you, add something helpful or healing. As a congregation I invite you to take part in these Lenten activities.
Volunteer for a Family Promise job.
-Take home an ELCA World hunger calendar. Read the brief devotions every day. Make a Lenten collection for World Hunger.
-Participate in a World Hunger intergenerational study here at Peace. The Faith formation teachers have made World Hunger a focus for Lent.
-Come to church Friday mornings in Lent at 10:45 am for Tai Chi exercises and meditation. The sessions, led by Intern Allen Simon, will begin and end with meditation on Bible readings from the daily lectionary.
The choir meets at 8:45 am.
Bring in pancake mix and syrup, or any other non-perishable food item for the Wayland Food Pantry.
when I have learned your righteous judgments. Psalm 119: 7
The Sermon on the Mount continues to hold our attention in these Sundays of Epiphany. The Gospel for this coming Sunday seems hard, with strict and absolute interpretations of the commandments by Jesus. You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, You shall not murder….but I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister you will liable to judgment…
This would be a good Sunday to do a little mid-winter examination of our thoughts, words and actions. Examining our lives according to the commandments is the solid spiritual foundation of a Christian’s faith life. If we talk about our faith at all, let alone allow it to work in our lives, we talk about it in terms of belief. We ask ourselves what we believe, personally, and don’t believe, personally, as if that is the important thing.
The important thing, in the Biblical way of looking at it, is righteousness: right behavior and good decisions based on the commandments of God. A good life is a life of righteousness. How’s that for a counter-cultural idea?
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
Faith formation and forum discussion at 11 am.
The forum Sunday has been planned and arranged for by Allen Simon. It’s the second of his forums on the faith of our neighbors. The Baha’i faith is the focus of Sunday’s forum. I hope that you will make plans to come. At least two Wayland residents will be here to speak with us. I hope some of you will come.
Following the forum, Allen will lead a discussion of Tai Chi, and give a demonstration, in the fellowship hall. All are welcome. Invite friends and neighbors who might be interested in Tai Chi.
Bring in non perishable food items for the Wayland Food Pantry.
You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.We continue our reading in Matthew’s Gospel on Sunday. We hear what Jesus says as he turns to the disciples and tells them directly what a great difference their vocations make in the world. We are disciples of Jesus, called into that vocation through baptism.Learning and living out the righteousness of God is not a personal spiritual choice, made based on what makes you feel good or sounds reasonable. Living a life of Christian faith is a holy and important calling to bring the law and gospel of God to the world. This word of God is the basis of healthy relationships with one another, with those who are not like us, and with the natural world. You are the light of the world because you are servants of God’s word.
On Super Bowl Sunday bring an offering for ELCA World Hunger and an item for the Wayland Food Pantry.
Bring a Super Bowl snack to share for coffee hour.
The forum for the confirmation students and adults will be the second part of Rick Steve’s Luther and the Reformation DVD. Everyone is welcome.
Ellen Karrfalt has moved to Brandon Woods in Dartmouth, MA
Brandon Woods of Dartmouth
567 Dartmouth Street
South Dartmouth, MA 02748
Milly Engberg has moved to a new room–257B–at Spaulding Rehab in Sandwich. In an email sent today, 2/4, Karen wrote,
Yesterday [Milly] walked with her cane and no additional leg support for 60 feet straight. And she’s almost able to transfer from the wheelchair to the bed on her own. She’s determined to get her strength back and is quite a show off.
Our intern Allen Simon has arranged for a second “get to know your neighbor” forum. Next week Allen will be here with Judy Orloff and Fran Pollitt to present a basic introduction to the Baha’i faith. I hope that many of you will plan to attend.
Sunday we read the opening of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew. I said last week that we learn Jesus’ identity in the world by looking at the people who surround him, by what is said about him, and by what he says and does. Our identities are realized and recognized in the same three ways–by the company we keep, by what has been said or is said about us, and by what we do and say.
We hear what Jesus says as he announces the features of the Kingdom of God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew tells us that Jesus is the new Moses, bringing God’s people not into the promised land of Canaan, but into the promised Kingdom of God. Mount Sinai, where the law of God was given, becomes another unnamed mountain in Galilee. From there, Jesus surveys the kingdom of God. What does it look like? Who are the winners and who are the losers in the kingdom of God? The Sermon on the Mount is a guide to the principles and values of the kingdom of God.
The choir meets at 8:45 am.
Faith formation and adult forum on the Reformation at 11 am.
We have not done very well on filling up the flower chart for the year. The best reason to give flowers is, simply, to mark the weekly worship of our congregation. In addition to this, you might give flowers to bring the name of a loved one to our attention. Take the flowers home with you, bring them to a friend, or ask Pastor Johnson to bring them to one of our home-bound members. So give it some thought and take a moment to sign up for flowers sometime in the weeks ahead.
When I walk in and out of the building I see the window paintings that the children did during the meeting last week. Carrie and Chris Munford and David Schiedemantel organized the project and helped the kids. Thank you to them.
- Supporting Family Promise as a volunteer, at Peace and at other sites. Next weekend Allen is an overnight host at a church in Wellesley.
- Arranging for another “know your neighbor” adult forum for Peace. Sunday, February 12 Judy Orlof and Fran Pollitt (our neighbor next door) will join Allen for an adult forum introduction to the Bahai Faith. 11 am.
- Leading a book discussion on Psychologist Erik Erikson’s classic study of Martin Luther, Young Man Luther.
- Working with ArtsWayland to schedule a workshop with an artist friend of Allen’s
- Helping with the administration of Peace’s community arts program
- Working on the gardens and grounds, especially assisting Emilie on the Peace garden
- Teaching Tai Chi at Peace or at one of the assisted living facilities in town
- Accompanying Pastor Johnson on pastoral visits to members of Peace and to palliative care and hospice patients
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me.” Matthew 4:18.
Matthew’s Gospel is concerned with the tradition and history of Israel. In the Gospel for Sunday we read a prophecy from Isaiah, one of Israel’s prophets of old. With Jesus on the scene, the ancient prophecy of light coming to those who walked in darkness will be fulfilled: the territory of the outcast tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, around the Sea of Galilee, will become the recruiting ground for the new kingdom. Instead of twelve tribes, each one bearing the name of a son of Jacob, the new “twelve” will be disciples, followers of Jesus. They will be given new identities and vocations in relation to Jesus.
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
Semiannual meeting at 11 am, during the faith formation hour. Activities have been planned for our children during the meeting time. Adult members of the church, please come and listen to the council tell about the spending plan for the new year. This is your church. Your faith, energy, commitment, creativity, time and money keep it alive and going strong. This is a good time in the life of Peace. High school children who have been confirmed are adult members of the church and are encouraged to come to the meeting and to vote. Friends of the congregation are welcome at the meeting, but discussion and voting are responsibilities of membership.
Remember to come to church ready to sign up for flowers. By bringing flowers you may mark anniversaries, remember loved ones who have died or live somewhere else. By bringing flowers–this is the most important thing–you honor the members of your church who come to morning worship. It is the simple, elegant Sunday ministry. I’m happy to write your name on the chart. Call, text or send an email to me and I’ll do that.
As you leave your house Sunday morning, grab something from your pantry for the Wayland Food Pantry at Parmenter. We are collecting pancake mix and syrup, but any non-perishable item will be fine.
Confirmation students meet individually with Pastor Johnson Saturday morning, January 21, to go over sermon notes and read in the Bible and in the catechism.
Pinoy Reading Buddies appreciation dinner Saturday, January 21 at 7 pm.
After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me. John 1:30
One of the best things about the three-part Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season is the presence of John the Baptist. He comes in with the Christmas trees and greens and candles. He should make church people nervous except that for hundreds and hundreds of years church people have domesticated him (along with Mary Magdalene and Mary the Mother of Jesus), tried to put him into historical context, or make a Bible study cartoon out of him.
John the Baptist comes from the wilderness and brings wildness with him. He brings the smell of the woods and the look of wild places. You can feel the desert and the mountains around him. He has not been socialized by petty human institutions. He does not know how to follow along in worship, and he does not care about church constitutions. He stands knee-deep in the water of the Jordan, with dust of the earth covering the camel skin hide he wears. He talks about baptisms of flame (judgment) and wind (holy spirit). John the Baptist brings the elements of the natural world-earth, fire, water and wind-back into the lives of God’s people. Over the Christian centuries, church people–lay people and clergy together–have taken every opportunity to silence him, or ignore him, because John the Baptist does not follow the program and he cannot be controlled.
Furthermore, in the lesson for Sunday, John the Baptist says that Jesus is his earth-brother. Jesus is a child of the earth. John says, “I came baptizing with water so that Jesus might be revealed to Israel.” verse 31. If Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, verse 29, where does he take that sin? We’ll start to think about that on Sunday.
The choir rehearses at 8:45 am.
During this Reformation anniversary year all our ELCA congregations have been asked to turn special attention to our Reformation Heritage. During the faith-formation hour, adults are invited to gather for a forum discussion about ways that we might explore our Lutheran heritage in this anniversary year.
Senior lunch Thursday at 12 noon.
Pinoy Reading Buddies appreciation Saturday, January 21 at 7 pm.
Semiannual meeting of the congregation next Sunday at 11 am. Members of the congregation vote on our spending plan for the year.