Rector's Message: Saturday, March 26, 2022
Sunday, 27 March
The Fourth Sunday in Lent
A Scripture Verse for the Week:
A Message from the Rector
Although frustrating at times when I just want a straight answer, I’m actually quite glad that Jesus taught in parables rather than using some other teaching method. And one of my all-time favorite parables is that of the Prodigal Son, which is such a wonderful story and our Gospel reading for this week. It offers limitless possibilities for interpretation and preaching, although as any biblical scholar or commentary will point out, it insists on its “one point” of informing the reader about the nature of God.
The parable has three main characters – the father, the elder and the younger sons – and at various times in my own life I have identified with each one of them. When I’m honest with myself, looking back over the years, I think I’ve probably been more dutiful brother than lost son or forgiving father, but I do find that as I grow older I identify more with the father in the story. I have become convinced that the father’s role in the story consists of much more than just waiting while his son is off sowing his wild oats and carousing in a foreign country. As a parent of grown children, I know that while he was waiting for his son, he was also worrying about, praying over, furious with, and bargaining for that profligate son of his. I can assure you that the father lost more than one night’s sleep, that he wept with his wife, that he consulted with friends, that he suffered the tortures of the damned for the entire time that his son was gone. And I can guarantee that when he got word that his son was spotted in the vicinity, that he was making his way home, he was delirious with joy at the news. His long, agonizing days and nights were over, for his beloved child was once again safe at home, and what he’d done or not done while he had been away was not an issue that could steal from that joy. He could deal with the jealousy of his older son after he was done celebrating the return of the younger – not that he'd ever be dome rejoicing at the return. And chances are that he knew the older brother would never truly understand his attitude toward the younger – at least until he had children of his own. Only then would the young man understand that a parent’s love is an uncompromising and suffering love, that waiting for a prodigal’s return is not empty of emotion and content, but pregnant with longing and hope.
And that, my friends, is what this wonderful parable tells us about the nature of Our God.
O God, our times are in your hands: Look with favor, we pray, on these your servants as they begin another year. Grant that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen their trust in your goodness all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
· Kenneth Melberger
· Jackson Flowers
· Bill Heinz
· John Krail
VISIT THE WEBSITE: Here you can find a video of the Sunday service as well as the bulletin and the sermon. https://www.messiahgwynedd.org/
VIEW THE CALENDAR
Monday through Friday 9:30 to 2:30
IN CASE OF A PASTORAL EMERGENCY AFTER HOURS
Should you have an urgent need to contact the Rector outside of Church Office hours, please use his cell phone: 215-692-2667.
SEEKING DONATIONS FOR A NEW FREEZER
After many years of loyal and dedicated service, the large freezer in the Parish Hall kitchen has given out. Repair costs are prohibitive, estimated at nearly the cost for a new freezer. So . . . we are starting a collection to purchase a new commercial freezer. Cost: $3,000.00. Can you help? No donation is too small. Make checks payable to Church of the Messiah; note Freezer in the remarks section of your check. Thank you for your help!
EASING OF COVID GUIDELINES
Accompanying the re-opening of the church for in-person worship services, the COVID guidelines have also been eased in accordance with CDC and diocesan guidelines. When you return to church – We hope you will do so soon! We have missed seeing you and being together! – the following guidelines will be in effect:
Masks are optional for those who are fully vaccinated
Masks are still highly recommended for those unvaccinated
Doors will remain open for increased ventilation
Both 8:00am and 9:30am services begin on Sunday, March 6th
Communion will still be distributed in the form of bread only
Coffee hour following the 9:30 service will resume
TWO LENTEN CLASS OFFERINGS
HOPE IN HARD TIMES
with The Rev. Dr. Flora Keshgegian
Wednesdays lunchtime series
6 sessions: March 9 – April 13 * 12:30-1:30
A Zoom presentation sponsored by the Diocese of Pennsylvania
More information and registration on the diocesan website: diopa.org
How do we sustain hope in the midst of all that is happening in our world today? Christian hope invites us to translate messianic ends - like justice, freedom, and peace – into present values. Moving deeper than our yearning for a better future, we will re-imagine hope as we learn how to retell the Christian story and that of our lives, and develop spiritual habits of hope. This communal and interactive Zoom series will explore the nature of Christian hope, progressing each week through key habits of hope including: honoring time, moving in place, imagining creatively, participating in interrelation, and living in wild wonder. Christian hope enables us to encounter God exactly where we are, not in spite of it.
THE LORD’S PRAYER: the meaning and power of the prayer Jesus taught
with the Rector, The Rev. Keith A. Marsh
Wednesday evening series
3 sessions: March 30, April 6 & 13 * 7:00-8:30pm
A Zoom presentation
Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, and he gave them the form and words that are recorded in the Gospels, and have come to the be known as The Lord’s Prayer. All of us can recite the prayer from memory, probably having learned it in childhood, and it is woven into nearly every worship service of the Church. But while the well-known words slip easily off our tongue, do you really know what you are praying for? Have you taken the time to understand what it means when we say: “hallowed be thy name;” ask that “thy kingdom come;” ask for the means to “forgive … as we are forgiven;” or hope “not to be led into temptation”? Adam Hamilton has written: “this prayer is meant by Jesus to shape our lives and, through us, to shape and change the world.” Join us on three evenings as we explore the depth of this prayer our Savior taught us.
HELP WANTED . . .
As we reopen for in-person worship and begin ramping up to pre-COVID levels of activity and participation, we are in need of volunteers in several areas. Please consider giving of your time and talents to help in these various important ministries.
MANNA ON MAIN STREET FOOD DELIVERY - Each week, parishioners are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items in the back pew as part of our continuing effort to provide food to those who are hungry within our community. Manna’s food collection warehouse is located in the Lansdale Business Center, 650 North Cannon Avenue, in Lansdale. Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday. We are looking for a couple of volunteers who are willing to deliver Messiah’s food donations to Manna. Interested? Contact the Rector: email@example.com.
SUNDAY MORNING VIDEO TEAM - When church services were paused due to COVID, we began live-streaming worship services and posting the videos to the church website. This has developed into an important and much relied-upon ministry, providing those unable to join us in-person to continue to worship and participate as part of our faith community. Because of its importance, we will be continuing to broadcast and post our worship gatherings. Training is provided - so don’t be afraid, or let technology scare you! It's just a camera! If willing to be a part of this vital ministry, contact the Rector: firstname.lastname@example.org.
USHER CHAIR & USHERS – The Usher Chair recruits, trains and ensures that ushers are assigned for Sunday and special services. Ushers are responsible for greeting worshippers and distributing bulletins, counting and reporting attendance, collecting offerings, and assisting with traffic flow at Communion. We are hoping to assemble a corps of volunteers large enough to allow for a monthly rotation. And ladies, please remember: This job isn’t just for men!
LECTORS & CHALICE BEARERS – Volunteers are needed for both the 8:00am and 9:30 to read the lessons and Prayers of the People, as well as administering the chalice at the time of Communion. Willing to serve? Questions? Speak with Mercer Sisson: email@example.com.
You're Invited!! Featuring our organist, Hannah Albrecht!!
CAN YOU HELP?
One of our parishioners is in need of rides from her home in Hatfield to occasional doctor appointments in Doylestown/Warrington. She has said she will gladly compensate anyone who is willing to give her a ride. Please contact the church office if you would be willing to help: 215-699-9204.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the hard work of several parishioners, we are able to offer a variety of ways to participate in Sunday services:
IN-PERSON – 8:00 and 9:30am
LIVE-STREAMED - the 9:30 service will be broadcast on YouTube – follow the link posted on the church website (messiahgwynedd.org)
WEBSITE – at the close of the service, a video will be posted to the parish website (messiahgwynedd.org) for viewing at a time convenient for you
SUPPORT FOR MANNA ON MAIN STREET
We Continue to Collect & Deliver Non-Perishable Items
As you do your weekly shopping, please pick up some non-perishable food items, toiletries and cleaning supplies. These donations can be left on the back pew of the church or left outside the Rector’s office door. These will then be delivered to Manna to stock their shelves for distribution to meet clients’ needs.
AID FOR UKRAINE
**You can also help by donating to Episcopal Relief and Development. You can take a flyer from the Narthex and mail your payment with the coupon or contribute online at episcopalrelief.org/Ukraine-crisis
**Another way to help: Ukraine Aid Donation Collection: A collection for aid to Ukraine has been set up through the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Lansdale. The collections will take place during the two upcoming weekends (March 11-13 and 18-20), and the goods will be shipped overseas through the Ukrainian Relief Committee (out of Philadelphia).
Presentation of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church
1564 Allentown Road, Lansdale, PA 19446
Our first round of donations has already been picked up. Please continue to donate!!
Church School is back in person!! Please meet us upstairs in the Parish Hall at 9:30!
NOTE: Barbara Stevenson continues to need recipes and craft ideas to pass along to the parish through the weekly email messages. You can send your submissions to Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sassy Black Bean Soup
1 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup finely chopped onions
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-1/2oz) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1-2/3cups to 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth*
1/2C picante sauce or salsa(medium or mild)
1 tsp. ground cumin
2Tbs. Fresh lime juice
A little chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan (or 5 quart soup pot)over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and saute until onion is vert soft, but not browned. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, sauce, water and cumin.
Stir well, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.
Ladle soup into warmed bowls, and garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Makes about 6 1-cup servings
*original recipe called for 10-1/2 oz. (makes a much thicker soup)