Monday, February 8

Lent Begins

Dear Friends,
        At the heart of the Christian faith is the death and resurrection of Christ.  On one side of this event and it's remembrance are the 40 days of Lent (not including Sundays), a time of preparation for the celebration of our Lord's passage from death to life.  On the other side are the 50 days of Easter, a time of proclaiming and rejoicing in our redemption.  Right in the middle of it all is Holy Week including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, days in which our attention is riveted on Christ's death and resurrection.  The entire 90 days is best seen as a whole viewed from two sides, from the cross and the empty tomb, each incomplete without the other.  Listed below is a schedule of Lenten observances in the weeks ahead: 
Ash Wednesday Worship – This Wednesday February 10

Noon Time Devotion –
A brief service of scripture, reflection, confession, and imposition of ashes.  This is an opportunity for spiritual preparation and reflection in the middle of a work day.  This is also a good worship opportunity for seniors who do not venture out at night and pre-school parents and grandparents transporting children.

7:30 PM –
Worship with Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion – including music from our choir and liturgy to prepare us for the 40 days ahead. 


 Midweek Lenten Series 2016 (Wednesdays at 7:30 PM)
 
BY FAITH
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."




February 17          The Faith of Noah                            Genesis 6:16-22, 9:8-15 & Hebrews 11:1&7

February 24          The Faith of Abraham                       Genesis 12:1-9, Hebrews 11:1, 8-22

March 2                 The Faith of Moses                         Exodus 17:1-7, Hebrews 11:1, 23-27

March 9                 The Faith of the Israelites                 Hebrews11:1, 32-40

March 16              Jesus, Perfecter of our Faith              Hebrews 12:1-2

"Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."  

Peace,


Pastor Mueller
                  








Monday, February 1

Mountaintops and Valleys

Dear Friends,
 This upcoming Sunday, churches throughout the world who follow the assigned readings and festivals of the Church Year will be celebrating Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday before the Lenten season begins.  On this day, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up  to a mountaintop to pray.   There they will experience an awesome vision they will never forget.  We need mountaintop experiences of our own, places to pray, and sources of strength for the valleys ahead.  We will also be following Jesus through the valleys during the season of Lent.  Our daily journey with Jesus will take us to:
  
 
 - quiet places of prayer
 - opportunities to feed the hungry
 - nights in lonely gardens and angry storms
 - the joy and peace of more mountaintop moments
 - instructions to care for ourselves and those around us
 - reminders that we are never alone but always in the power of the Spirit
 - assurance that Jesus meets us exactly where we are but never leaves us that way.
Join us this weekend as we gather around Word and Sacrament as our eyes are opened to the ways that Jesus transfigures and transforms lives.  See you in church!
Peace,

Pastor Mueller 








Saturday, January 23

Digging Out

Hope everyone is safe and are digging their way back to normal.  We got home safely from our youth retreat at Camp Men-O Lan outside of Trumbauersville.  What an incredible weekend for everyone involved.  Here are just a few comments from our adult leaders and parents:

"Spent a wonderful snowed-in weekend with my daughter's confirmation class. We are truly blessed with such great kids! We had a great time playing, trusting, sharing, hoping, praying, communicating and appreciating God's gifts."

"We are truly blessed with awesome kids, every single one. They really enjoyed their encounter wink emoticonwith each other!"

"It was a great experience for both confirmation students and adults as well.  It is also great to see how cooperative the group is and how well they work together.  The sessions experienced were well planned with every one participating.  We had a lot of fun playing team games and joining together in sharing lessons on Jesus's teaching.  And then there was the snow!  There was a LOT!  Everyone ventured outside and enjoyed a short walk, made angels, and tossed snowballs. Saturday evening we gathered together for our worship experience. The presence of God was surely there!  The room looked beautiful in candle light and the outside lights on the building shining through the windows created a snow background also showed the formation of beautiful ice crystals on the windows which only God can create.  We sang songs, had readings, shared peace with each other and we also shared in a communion meal together.  It was a very moving service.  The weekend was one that all who experienced it will never forget.
Our thanks to all who joined in to making this retreat a memorable experience for all."

Many thanks to our Director of Christian Education, Janice Stickley, our chief cooks and bottle washers, Ed and Betty Jane Green, and everyone who worked so hard in preparing for this amazing weekend.  Our Youth are a treasure and signs that the Christ's Church is alive and well.  Thanks be to God!


Thursday, January 21

Is There Church?


Dear Friends,

Is there church?  
"Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst." - Jesus
"The Church is not a building.  The Church is not a steeple.  The Church is not a resting place.  The Church is a people." - Favorite Sunday School song my confirmation class likes to sing / shout at me!

So yes, there is church.  Call each other.  E-mail and facebook message each other.  Share your highs and lows. joys and concerns, laughter and tears.  Share the times and places where and how you see God at work in your lives and lives of each other.  Pray for one another.  Check on your neighbors and offer food, drink, shoveling, car clearing, etc.  So yes, rain (and snow) or shine, there's church.

Now will we assemble for weekly worship on Saturday and Sunday?  That's a very different question!  As of now, Sunday morning looks more hopeful than Saturday night.  However, you can find out as we get a little closer to the snow event by calling the church office 610-666-6577 (The answering machine will announce cancellations) or go to our website standrewslutheran.com where cancellation will be listed on the left side of the page.

Of course, even in the event that we have worship, you should exercise caution and common sense in your decision to journey out to join us.  Even if you have leadership responsibilities, we will adapt without you.  

So if you need to be on the roads, be careful out there. Otherwise, enjoy the beauty of winter.  Peace be with you.

In Christ's Service,

Pastor Mueller
pray-as-you-go.org

Wednesday, December 30

A Blessed New Year

Dear Friends,
 As we get ready to turn the calendar page and look forward to the promises of 2016, I want to thank so many of you for being such a blessing to our congregation and communities in 2015.

This year concluded in wondrous ways for our faith community.  Over three services on Christmas Eve, we had about 650 people praising our newborn king. A big thanks to all of you who volunteered so much of your time during the Advent and Christmas season.  Also, a huge word of thanks is extended for your financial support throughout the year and especially on Christmas Eve where we experienced overwhelming generosity  The way you have opened your hands, your hearts,and  your voices has brought more blessings to people in this community and abroad than you will ever know. 
    
This Sunday we will celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord as we return to our regular worship schedule with worship at 5 PM on Saturday, Sunday Worship at 8:15 & 11 AM, and Christian Education on Sunday at 9:30 AM.  Next Sunday, January 10, we will have our annual congregational meeting following 11:00 AM Worship. The agenda for this important meeting includes the appointment of new council leadership for 2016,and consideration of  our 2016 spending plan.

 Also this Sunday we begin two new exciting adult education gatherings at 9:30 AM:

Whirlwind Tour Through the Bible (meeting downstairs in Jerusalem Room)
An overview of the Bible from cover to cover looking at the basics of who and what happened in every book of the Bible

The Humor of Christ (meeting upstairs in Daniel's Den through January 24)
You may have missed it but Jesus was clever, playful, and quite funny in parables, dialogue, and controversy and intentionally so.  Exploring Jesus' words from this perspective also can give some of his teachings new life and meaning  

Finally, I make a sad face as I inform you that Christmas decorations will start coming down on Monday at 6:30 PM.  Time marches on and while admittedly it is not as much fun as putting the decorations up, the company is just as good.  If you would be willing to help, it would be greatly appreciated.
   
 The month of December was quite a ride for us.  Now it's time to follow Jesus through the joys and challenges of 2016.  A blessed New Year to all.  See you in church!
Peace,
Pastor Mueller
standrewslutheran.com
pray-as-you-go.org

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