This Week's Ministry Blog

I recently learned from a rabbi that in some traditions of Jewish thought, the poor and sick are seen as cursed, while the wealthy and healthy are seen as blessed.
But the rabbi was quick to point out-that's not where it ends. There is more:
Because of their special status, the blessed are obligated to care for the cursed. The rich are required to give to the poor. The healthy are responsible for the sick. This is not a matter of choice. This is not optional. This is not extra credit. This is a mandate.
Spend some time with Old Testament law and you will see repeated provisions for taking care of the widow, welcoming the stranger, giving alms to the poor, forgiving debts, caring for the sick. And yet, among those so fond of quoting Leviticus, these laws get very little attention.
As in all cultures and belief systems, people have a tendency to overlook the inconvenient aspects-- the parts that require something of them. But as we see in the biblical witness -from the prophets, from the law, from the mouth of God-is the message, "this is not just about you."
So along comes Jesus, knowing what God has asked of the people and seeing how they are failing miserably at it. First thing, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus has a sit down with the disciples what we usually refer to as "The Sermon on the Mount." The crowd and the rest of us get to overhear as he begins with these radical words:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
It seems as if Jesus has turned the whole system of blessings and curses on their head. It seems as if he is throwing away centuries of teaching. But as Jesus is quick to say moments later in verse 17, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill."
Jesus is taking it all even further because this is what he expects of his followers. He wants them to go overboard in living out their blessed responsibility. He wants them to live the commandments to the limit, and beyond. Keep reading and you'll find:
Don't murder? Don't even insult a brother or sister.
An eye for an eye? Turn the other cheek, go the second mile, give to everyone who begs from you.
Love your neighbor? Love your enemy.
And when the followers over-do it, when they go all in, when they share in each and every one of their blessings so completely, so fully-that is when you can no longer tell who is blessed and who is cursed. That is when these ridiculous words come to be true. That is when the kingdom of heaven has come at last.
Pastor Sarah

2016 Contribution Statements
The Finance Board will be distributing the 201 6 contribution statements in the Commons on Saturday, January 28, from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. and Sunday 29, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Please look for us in front of the coat rack.  
Statements are also available for pick up in the church office Monday - Thursday, 8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.  until Thursday, January 26. 

Sunday Breakfast

On Sunday, February 5, the Guys' Night Out and the Men's Breakfast group will be hosting breakfast from 9:00-10:30 a.m. in St. Michael's Hall. Enjoy breakfast burritos and fellowship.

Mother & Son Dance

Want to have some fun and raise money for summer camp scholarships? Buy your tickets now for the 4th Annual Mother & Son Dance taking place on Friday, February 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event is open to the public and all mother and son couples are invited. Couples can be grandmas and grandsons, special neighbors, aunts and name it! Enjoy the glamour of a red carpet Hollywood party complete with DJ, games, photo booth and dessert bar. The cost is $25 per couple, $5 for each additional child. (The cost will go up to $30 on Wednesday, February 15).

Tickets are available online, in the church office, and before each of the musical performances on February 11 and 12. Want to help with this event? Contact Andrea or Erika at .

Adult Sunday School

The topic for Adult Sunday School on January 29, 2017, will be: "What Do Our Neighbors Believe? The Non-Theistic World Religions" Faith Journeys meets from 9:30-10:15 a.m. in Messiah Hall, rooms 203 and 204, and is facilitated by Dee Paddock. Please join us!

Faith Women, Save the Date

The annual Faith Women's Retreat, now called the Faith Women's Dialogue, because that is what we do; we come together to listen, share, celebrate, and lift one another up. This year we will hold this Dialogue on Friday evening, April 7, and Saturday, April 8. Our theme is What Wise Women Do . Be watching for more information in various forms of announcements. Registration will begin late February and the month of March. If you have never attended before, this is your potential New Year's resolution, and bring a friend.

Faith Youth Summer Mission Trip Travels to the Grand Canyon Synod

Faith Lutheran's annual Youth Mission Trip will be doing something new this coming summer. Faith members will be joining over 15 other congregations of the Southeastern Iowa Synod as we journey together for a learning/service trip with our partners in the Grand Canyon Synod.  
What is a partner synod? The 65 synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are assigned a "partner synod" for the purpose of strengthening one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. The Southeastern Iowa Synod and the Grand Canyon Synod are very diverse in their geographical location and cultural experiences. This journey seems to be natural way for our high school youth to learn about the church and each other in another part of the country.
What will our youth be doing? Through worship, learning, and service, high school youth and adults will gain insight into the culture and people of our respective synods while on the territory of the Grand Canyon Synod. This journey opens our eyes to the opportunities that Christ sets before us, calling us to deepen our commitment and discipleship as communities of faith and as individual disciples. Participants will be learning about the joys and challenges of the culture and the church's role in responding to issues like human trafficking, homelessness, and immigration/border issues. Both learning and service opportunities will be integrated into the week.
How can you participate? Members of Faith Lutheran Church can help support our young people through prayer, and participating in the annual Silent Auction & Spaghetti Lunch on March 5. Consider donating items to be auctioned. Woodwork, art, skilled labor and gift certificates are just a few ideas for donation. Forms are available on the youth bulletin board in the entryway and can be dropped off in the church office. All donations are due by Sunday, February 22. Contact Jake Bouma with any questions ( ). Thank you for your continued support.

Children's Musical Performances

When the kids gather at the park near the church for a Saturday of baseball, they are in for a surprising glimpse at the Bible's "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11. They'll meet Moses ("he got his start in the bush leagues"), Noah ("that guy can really swing the lumber!"), Abraham ("with his son Isaac at the plate, it looks like the Manager is calling for a sacrifice..."), and many more. With shades of the iconic "Casey at the Bat," it all leads to the climactic finish of "Jesus at the Cross," and the Good News of the Gospel is driven home with power! Join us for the performances on Saturday, February 11, at 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, February 12, at 10:30 a.m. Please note that the musical will be in place of the Saturday worship service and the Sunday 10:30 worship service.

Did you miss last week's Faith E-news? You can find archived E-news on Faith's website under Archived E-news button on the homepage.
Do you have questions or comments regarding this publication?  Please contact Miranda at or 225-8334.  We welcome your feedback.