Rector's Message: Saturday, March 5, 2022
Updated: Mar 12, 2022
Sunday, 06 March
The First Sunday in Lent
A Scripture Verse for the Week:
A Message from the Rector
A Message from the Rector
In tomorrow’s Gospel, we hear once again the story of Jesus’ temptation. After his baptism by John in the river Jordan, Jesus is driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where, for forty days, he is repeatedly tempted by the devil to renounce God and join forces with the Evil One. Jesus rebukes each of these temptations and remains true to his Father and his mission as the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of fallen humanity. What, we must ask, does Jesus’ response to these temptations tell us about him and about God?
Satan dangles before Jesus a speeded-up way of accomplishing his mission. He could dazzle the crowds with his ability to create food on demand and satisfy their needs, could protect himself from dangers, and achieve world domination. Christ refuses all these. And in the process, must have put the devil at ease, offering Satan a new lease on life. After all, learning that Jesus had not come to annihilate evil by force removed and immediate threat and surely made him breathe a bit easier.
In his relentless dependence and insistence on human choice, God’s management style, in human eyes and from our perspective, may resemble a kind of abdication. “Why does evil go unpunished?” we ask. “Where is God?” we ask. Often, I want God to take a more active, more obvious role in my story and history, as well. “Just where is God in all this?” I ask. I want quick, spectacular answers to prayer, instant healing for my pains, complete protection for my loved ones. I want a God I can point to for the sake of my doubting friends. “See, there he is!” I want to be able to say with unquestionable certainty.
In my readings for this week, I learned that the Russian novelist Dostoyevsky wrote of Jesus’ ‘miracle of restraint’. The miracles Satan suggested, the signs the Pharisees demanded, the final proofs I yearn for – these would pose no problem to a truly omnipotent God. But God’s unrelenting insistence on human freedom is so absolute and unwavering that he grants us the power to live as though he did not exist, to spit in his face, to crucify him – over, and over, and over again. All this Jesus knew as he stood alone by his tempter in the Judaean desert.
God honors freedom and restrains himself because he knows that power and force cannot produce love. Only unconditional love – not force – can summon a response of unconditional love. As the Gospel writer John states: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.’ Love must allow for the freedom of the beloved and must not compel a response by force, or it is not love. And it is love, only love, that God wants from us.
It is this love that sustains us through our own wilderness experiences. It is this love that guides us through the forty days of Lent, and brings us home to the joy that is Easter.
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.
· Carol Lawrence
· Barbara Osborne
· Thea Kriebel
· Tammy Hoffman
· Greg Honeyman
· Trey Evangelisto
· Suzanne Shank
· Cameron Ruff
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
YOM SERVICE PROJECT: Making meals for the homeless
The YOM’S are going to be making bagged lunches for the hospitality center in Norristown and surrounding areas. The meals will then be handed out to the homeless and those in need. We plan to make the meals on March 6th at 5:30pm in the Parish Hall. Would you like to help support the cause?? Use the link below to sign up to provide food and supplies!
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.
We will resume in person Church School meetings on Sunday, March 6!
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 email@example.com.
It’s springtime (almost!). New beginnings…. new ideas…..and new things to try. So, here are some recipes for muffins that are tasty and handy to have available. What a nice way to surprise a friend or to have with a cup of afternoon tea. They all freeze well.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cup of milk
2 X large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups diced strawberries
1 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners. Stir baking powder, baking soda, flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon together. In a 2 cup glass measure, combine milk, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in dry mixture, pour wet mixture into the well; stir until just combined. Will be some lumps. Don’t overmix. Add strawberries, stirring gently to combine. Using a 2 1/4 inch ice cream scoop, spoon batter into muffin cups to fill liners. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, until toothpicks come out clean.
16 - 18 muffins.
Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits
3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, melted
Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Combine flour and remaining sugar; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add buttermilk and chocolate chips, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead three or four times. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness; cut with 2 1/4 inch round, cookie/biscuit cutter. Arrange biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet; sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter.
One dozen muffins.
Monkey Bread Muffins
2 tubes of Pillsbury Dough Dinner rolls
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
6 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well. Melt butter and corn syrup in a bowl. Roll the dinner rolls into balls. Combine two dinner rolls into one ball. Use a pizza cutter to slice each roll into 6 even chunks. Insert muffin liners into muffin tin. Drop the dough balls into the butter mixture and fully coat them. Toss them in the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Once evenly coated, drop five sugared dough balls into each muffin cup. Press down so they stick together. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 18 minutes.