This Week – March 2, 2017

Lent

We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

Sunday, March 5, 2017
9:15 a.m. Sunday School
10:15 a.m. Worship/Communion
VEAP’s March Food and Fund Drive

Scripture: Genesis 2: 15-17, 3:1-7, Matthew 4: 1-11
Sermon: “In The Wilderness”

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Susan Brauer
Greeters: Heidi Schellhas & Bob Lucas
Ushers: Board of Deacons

One of our Lenten Practices: Participating in VEAP’s March Food Drive
This week: Most Needed Household Items.  Mary built a display on Sunday (pictured below).

supplies

You may of course bring whatever items you wish. The suggestion is to bring items that are typically excluded from the food stamp program: laundry detergent, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, facial tissue, toilet tissue, soap, paper towels, etc.

Financial donations are also welcomed and appreciated!
(make your check payable to Chapel Hills UCC and write VEAP on the memo line)

House of Charity – Volunteers Needed – Saturday, March 18th
Our next volunteer opportunity at House of Charity is Saturday, March 18th from approximately 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

House of Charity is located at 510 South 8th Street in Minneapolis. Sign-up sheet is on the table by the mailboxes.

“Abundant Grace”
First Sunday in Lent

Just as Jesus gets baptized and proclaimed the Son of God, just as you think he would be ready to get into his mission mode, he runs into a roadblock.  The devil himself meets Jesus in the desert, and the whole of salvation is put to the test. What kind of Messiah is Jesus going to be? Whose plan will be in play? Gods? Or the Devil’s?  Will he be a superhero? Will he be a strong man in a cape trying to use his powers for good and ending up worshipping the Devil, or will he just be Jesus? Will he stay plain old Jesus, fully human and fully divine; living with us; tasting our food; sharing this human reality and dying on a cross for us?  Well, we know the answer to that.

This remarkable Jesus breathed himself into our world and we haven’t been the same.  His way of being a Messiah has imprinted its quality of servanthood upon the church—how we think of ourselves as in service to the world not only as a healer and aid-giver, but in the way we lead.  Our pastors are called to a collaborative and invitational leadership style.

Our Marks for Ministry (ucc.org) say this about our ordained and called clergy: that they have the ability to understand the nature, use, and misuse of power and authority, and to exercise them appropriately and effectively in authorized ministry, and to engage in community leadership that is collaborative and transformative.

Jesus could have done anything the Devil asked him to do. But simply fixing everything by being the “Christ” was and is not the way God wanted this salvation plan to work.  So Jesus became a servant and died on a cross.  We are given strength for the journey and hope when the way seems lost. And we are given a powerful advocate of joy because he was willing to not be our Messiah dictator/fixer in chief.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

laughMark your calendar… Joke Sunday
A Lenten Tradition March 26th

Looking Ahead
March 5 Communion & VEAP’s March Food and Fund Drive
March 6 Board of Deacon’s Meeting – 5:30 p.m.
March 7 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 8 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
March 12 Daylight Saving Time Begins
March 14 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 15 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
March 18 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed
March 21 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 22 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
March 26 Joke Sunday
March 28 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
March 29 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
March 30 Londonderry Townhomes – Annual Meeting 7:00 p.m.

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Genesis 2: 15-17, 3:1-7, Matthew 4: 1-11
Sermon: “In The Wilderness”
The Gospel readings for Lent each tell the story of someone meeting Jesus. The first Sunday in Lent that someone is the devil.

If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.
If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”,
and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.

Jesus turns down the three requests – which we commonly call temptations. Jesus never does get to rule the world, or at least not yet, but he does produce bread and turn water into wine and walk on water and calm storms. What makes him tell the devil no and then go ahead and do similar things?

Our Lutheran Colleagues over on Faith Lens offer this as a point of entry for your reflections:
When you think of the word “temptation” what is the first thing that comes to mind?

temptationTemptation
A recent Belfast Telegraph article explored the differing responses by men and women when asked if they thought various scenarios were acceptable, like increasing the amount of an insurance claim beyond what was needed for repairs, not reporting a bank error made in their favor, or allowing someone to take the blame for something that was their fault. The survey of 2,000 people conducted by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment found:

  • 29% of men and. 19% of women felt it was okay not to point out a bank error.
  • 17% of men and 11% of women felt it was okay to increase the amount of an insurance claim beyond what repairs would cost.
  • 10% of men and 5% of women felt it was okay to let a colleague take the blame for their error.
  • 47% of men and 33% of women felt it was okay to use information discovered about a competitor for their own employer’s gain.
  • 17% of people felt it was okay to buy an item of clothing, wear it once with the tags on and return it to an online retailer while only 11% felt this would be okay to do with an item purchased from a local retailer.

The findings of the survey indicate there is some difference between men and women in terms of how they respond to temptation. The survey also revealed we feel differently about transactions made in person (like with the local retailer) and our online purchases. Without a face-to-face transaction, it can seem okay to give in to the temptation to cheat and return an item because it seems to affect only  a faceless corporation.

Full Article: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/temptation-likelier-for-men-than-women-in-moral-dilemmas-over-cash-or-job-35406225.html

Prayer
Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and went that way, stopping to teach and heal but never losing sight of his journey’s end. So set our face toward you, O God. Give us the grace to stop and respond to human need and the wisdom to not lose sight of our goal. Amen.