What shall we say to these things?
The Collect for Good Courage
Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Dear loved ones,
I know there’s much heartache over what our current mode of life does to our Holy Week and Easter observances. Believe me, I’ve already had to fight back the tears of frustration, indecision and idle anxiety. One of you wrote to me that I never would have had to imagine preaching to an empty sanctuary. Not my favorite thing to do, I can assure you of that.
A lot of you have also shared how important the Easter-celebrating traditions are to you and your family. A full church adorned with flowers. The aroma of those same flowers competing with the wafting delights of a breakfast to come. Triumphant and jubilant, full-throated singing of long-loved hymns. The bread and wine that is Christ’s body and blood, given and shed, resurrected, and shared in the fellowship-communion of those who long for his appearing.
Even though we will not physically gather for the “Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” even while we mourn what appears to be lost; Easter is not “cancelled.” Far from it. Quoting from a friend: Easter is not a date on the calendar. Easter is the new reality of the redeemed-by-Christ, unleashed.
If we can be so eager to gather together on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox and celebrate with joyful proclamations of life-giving Truth, well then let’s do that on all the other days and in all the other places we go in our earthly pilgrimage. If what we believe is true (spoiler alert: it is), then it’s been Easter every day for over 2000 years.
“Let us honor Jesus not by waiting to celebrate Easter till it’s safe but learning to celebrate Easter every day when it’s not.” You are freed from sin and death by the blood of Jesus for a reason: that his Holy Spirit-given Word would produce in you a truly Living Faith in every aspect of your life, one that clings to His promises above all else, and is utterly unashamed and fearless in serving others with the grace, mercy, and peace of Jesus Christ.
Easter is already happening. It cannot be stopped. Your family and neighbor need to know that this is most certainly true.
Some other things I’ve been ruminating:
- No one gets to choose their cross to bear.
- I, your pastor, am not sufficient for the tasks at hand. But Christ is. The daily nagging questions of what can, could, and should be done: is it enough? - well the enemy of God’s Church wants to attack weak and tired consciences with these doubts and focus on something other than Jesus. When weak and tired you need rest for your physical health. You also need Sabbath rest for your spiritual health, by meditation and prayer. The evil one is unrelenting. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest.
- While I’m not thrilled with the medium of video-based preaching, I am encouraged that the households of Faith are in the Word together. Even though we are eager for life to return to normal, this is one habit I hope does not abate.
- Faith Lutheran Church has a debt of gratitude to those who came before. Because of the sacrificial generosity of you and our forebears we are financially strong enough to weather this storm. I would yet ask you continue to support Faith as you are able, by mail or electronic means, that we may remain in a position to respond to the needs of our neighbors.
- Otherwise, isn’t it something that the secondary concerns of parish life seem to have diminished almost overnight; all that’s left is the heart and center of our life together: Christ Jesus and His saving Word.
So what shall we say to these things? Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord!
-Pastor Moyer (P.s. if you have need of conversation, prayer or anything else, don't hesitate to call, text or email)
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Please watch this 6-minute video from LCMS President Rev. Matthew Harrison and hear that there is much for which to be grateful.
Seek Jesus in His Word each day during Holy Week with the Next Step Press release of When from Death I'm Free: A Hymn Journal for Holy Week. Color, pray, share the daily devotions, and dig into music. Download the FREE, daily resource for Holy Week that you can print and use at home!
Find other devotional resources at faithhighland.com
Three times a week Faith usually plays host to Senior Fit, a community outreach sponsored by St Joseph Mercy Health System. Even though you're staying home and staying safe, you can still stay healthy! Provided here is a Home Work-out page developed by Senior Fit instructors: put on some music, grab your weights and band, and get/keep moving!
|2 Abigail Moyer||17 Joyce Katona||Bob & Sue Jones||4-05-1974|
|2 Virginia McDonell||18 Jacque Rhodes||Tom & Nancy Lombardo||4-22-1978|
|3 Carl Grunwald||19 Jarod Rickle||Wayne & Jo-Ann Ruczynski||4-23-1971|
|3 Emma Hartsell||20 Linda Brown||Larry & Jan Adler||4-24-1976|
|3 Grace Hartsell||22 Artie Ayers||Steve & Louise Hargis||4-25-1981|
|4 Dennis Tardich||25 Dawn Pattee|
|8 Karen Tardich||27 Sharma Ennis|
|9 Bill Kiley||28 Allison Trainer|
|12 Cindy Tesolin||29 Jean Donley|
|13 Jordan Lattimer|
President Kennedy once famously stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
In our Living Faith, it could be said, “Don’t ask what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.” Or it might even be “Don’t ask what God can do for you, but what you can do for His Kingdom on earth.”
Thankfully Jesus reassures us that he is building his church and he is bringing about the Kingdom of God - and he does so on the foundation of a faithful witness and the message of the cross. All that Jesus asked his disciples, all that he asks us, is that we follow him, willingly. And that means we can join in his Kingdom work, beyond placing an envelope in the collection plate.
As we make plans and follow dreams, God can purify our motives and empower us to devote whatever we do to Him. From the most ordinary tasks to the greatest challenges, we can live for the glory of our almighty Maker, who “works out everything to its proper end.”
Through our Living Faith, taking it from simple words to action -- every action, every word, and every thought can become an expression of heartfelt worship, a sacrificial gift to honor our Lord, as He watches over us and bestows us with gifts of time, talents, and wealth.
Some companies today focus more on personal qualities such as the ability to solve a problem, or work with others, or even, to exercise good judgement – personal qualities over technical
abilities. We all know someone who is a great example of choosing personal qualities over technical abilities -- Noah. He didn’t have the right resume for the job of constructing the ark. He wasn’t a boat builder, not even a carpenter, he was a farmer. Yet as God decided how to deal with the world at that time, Noah stood out because “he walked faithfully with God, he had a Living Faith.”
Each of us is blessed with talents, treasures, and time. We choose how to use them. When opportunities to serve God come our way, we may not feel qualified for the work. Thankfully, God is not necessarily concerned with our skill set. He prizes character, love for Him, and willingness to trust Him. And, He then enables us to make the time and use our talents to serve Him and trust Him as we do it. When these qualities are being developed inside us by the Spirit, He can use each of us in big or small ways to accomplish His will on earth.
On Sunday, March 8 you had the opportunity to learn more about Faith – how we operate; things, especially ministries, that we do; and see if there is an opportunity for you to serve, either to help with small tasks or serve in larger roles, either in service to our church, or to others in need within our communities.
We thank you for not only attending the carousel, but opening your hearts and taking time to learn more about your church and those opportunities to serve. Perhaps you will be compelled to find a way to make time and further serve our Lord and Savior.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Tim. 6:17-18).
One might read this passage and see it merely as a postscript to St. Paul’s letter to Timothy. “Oh, and by the way, Timothy, when you preach, remember to command the rich to get off their high horse and be generous with what they have earned.” And this would seem the desirable way to look at this passage, for it certainly then would not apply to us. Either we would not find ourselves on a high horse, or we would see ourselves as not being rich, or neither. With a clear conscience, we could move on, letting these verses apply to others. But this is not the case with this passage as inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by St. Paul.
Here in this pastoral letter, these verses stand as a powerful application of the doctrinal exposition preceding it. Timothy was to proclaim the doctrine of Law and Gospel, correcting those who threatened to corrupt this doctrine. He was to proclaim the true function and intent of the Law in the light of the Gospel message. The Law exposes sin and condemns the sinner. Timothy was to proclaim the Gospel which offers salvation in Jesus Christ, giving freedom from the condemnation of the Law. Thus, we find that these verses apply to each of us.
We make ourselves “rich” in this fleeting life when we foolishly place our hope in our wealth, in our money or in our investments. When we do this, we are prone to arrogance, for the true servant nature in Christ is lost. When we do this, we are prone to selfishness, for we have removed God from being first in our lives. And this is quite easy to do, for our sinful nature would have us to do this. As Martin Luther wrote, “ . . . our sinful nature must by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts. . . .”
Now, we hear the Gospel and hope in God who “provides us with everything for our enjoyment” so that we may glorify Him and serve those around us. How do we serve? In Christ, we obey the command “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” And we do this not because of any condemnation, but because of our freedom in Christ and His love now residing in us.
Martin Luther wrote, “ . . . and, again, a new man daily [will] come forth and [will] arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” By the power of the Gospel, we live in this righteousness and purity now, and because of this, we are more and more Christ-like, generous in all things.
The champion you need in the battle for your life.
While physical gatherings at Faith continue to be suspended, Pastor will be providing video sermons and/or devotional material throughout Holy Week and beyond:
Palm Sunday - April 5
Holy Thursday - April 9
Good Friday - April 10
The Great Vigil of Easter - April 11
Easter Sunday - April 12
is to welcome and unite God’s people to nurture faith through the Gospel, and provide opportunities and commitment to serve Christ through our ministry within the congregation and the community.