January 5, 2017
for Sunday, January 8
We may wonder what in the world this passage has to do with Jesus' baptism. This is after his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. He is not even there physically...or is he? Throughout the book of Acts, we see Jesus working through his people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ is in his disciples and so is with anyone his people are with.
Now an interesting thing about this passage is Peter's statement, "I truly understand that God shows no partiality" (v. 34). That sounds so nice. And yet, Peter did not come to this position naturally or easily. Earlier in this chapter, we see that God had spoken to him through a vision that he was not to consider the Gentiles unclean. God also told him about Cornelius and that he was to go with the men sent to bring him to Cornelius.
Because Peter did obey the Lord, Cornelius and his family became believers and were baptized. They were the first of many, many Gentiles to become a part of the family of faith, just like us.
This does not mean that Peter faithfully followed that revelation for the rest of his life. In Galatians 2, we have the case of Peter staying away from the Gentile believers because of the influence of those who taught that one had to conform to the Jewish law to be saved. Peter had flip flopped! However, God is forgiving and faithful. He makes sure that his Word goes out to those with hungry hearts, in spite of our own prejudice.
Who are the people we shy away from who need God in their lives every bit as much as we do? For some, it is people of color or the rich or the poor. We could go on. The point is that God wants us to go outside of our comfort zone for the sake of the gospel, just as Peter did.
Pastor Ivy Gauvin
Peter began to speak to [Cornelius and his household]: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
***The annual Congregational Meeting will be held this Sunday, January 8, 2017 immediately following worship. A light lunch will be provided. All members of the congregation are encouraged to attend.
***There are still 2017 Offering Envelope boxes to be picked up from the table in the church narthex. If you have not had a box in the past, you are invited to sign your name on the tablet with the boxes and take the corresponding numbered envelope box. Putting your offering in an envelope allows the counters to track the offering and so you may receive a donation slip at year-end for tax purposes.
***Snow Shoveling: The Property Committee is still seeking volunteers to shovel both church entrances early Sunday mornings. If you are able to help, please put your name on the sign-up sheet in the church narthex. THANK YOU!
***St. Timothy’s is continuing to collect mittens, gloves, scarves and hats for those in need. Place your donations on the white stick tree on the table in the narthex.
*** Healthy Bones Exercise Class will resume on Monday, January 9th at 9:00 am and meets each Monday and Wednesday at 9:00. Anyone is welcome to join this low-impact, bone-strengthening class, suitable for both men and women.
What Would Luther Do Today?
presented by ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Free, Online Class | open January 16 - 30, 2017
Jesus is inviting the Church to reform!
Marking the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther's historic reform work, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is inviting the world to commemorate the life, legacy, and relevant teachings of reformer Martin Luther by taking a free, pre-recorded online class series.
In the class What Would Luther Do Today?, students will learn more about Luther and make relevant connections that can lead to transformation. The class is a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussions. No special software is required. The course will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete, and learners are encouraged to interact in the online discussions. Registration is free and open to all.
Go to ChurchNext.tv to learn more and register today. Once registered, the course will be available free from January 16 - 30, and accessible after then for a modest fee.
What Would Luther Do Today? is made possible by the generous support of 1517 Media (Augsburg Fortress), United Lutheran Seminary, and ChurchNext.
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119