Flash: OFF This site is designed for use with Macromedia Flash Player. Click here to install.   May 17, 2021 
Search:     
Grace Lutheran Church
 
 
Grace Notes
Sunday, May 2, 2021                   Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Alleluia. I am the vine, you are the branches.
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit. Alleluia. (John 15:5)
Prayer of the Day  O God, you give us your Son as the vine apart from whom we cannot live. Nourish our life in his resurrection, that we may bear the fruit of love and know the fullness of your joy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen
Readings and Psalm
            May 2              Fifth Sunday of Easter
                        Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:25-31; 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8
 
M         Psalm 80; Isaiah 5:1-7; Galatians 5:16-26
            Tu        Psalm 80; Isaiah 32:9-20; James 3:17-18
            W        Psalm 80; Isaiah 65:17-25; John 14:18-31
            Th        Psalm 98; Isaiah 49:5-6; Acts 10:1-34
            F          Psalm 98; Isaiah 42:5-9; Acts 10:34-43
            Sa        Psalm 98; Deuteronomy 32:44-47; Mark 10:42-45
 
            May 9              Sixth Sunday of Easter
                        Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17
 
We Are the Branches
To encourage flowering and fruit production in vines, trees, and shrubs, most of us know that pruning is necessary. This isn’t the easiest of work, nor does it make the pruned plant look all that great for a while afterward. Yet often what results after pruning is a plant that is more abundant, beautiful, and healthy than it would have been otherwise.
In our reading today, Jesus makes it very clear that he is the vine, his Father is the vine grower, and we, his disciples, are the branches on which fruit grows. Without the vine and the vine grower, the branches do not exist. Yet, often in our spiritual lives it seems as though we get these roles mixed up. We are wooed by the sense of accomplishment and value that comes from producing results of one kind or another, and we fail to acknowledge the source that makes that “fruit” possible.
However, in today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that our job isn’t to produce results; it’s to stay connected. “Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing,” Jesus says (John 15:5). Jesus is our source and strength; it is only by our connection to Jesus the vine that we the branches bear fruit that will last, such as love, compassion, forgiveness, hope, service, kindness, and patience.
To grow this kind of fruit, Jesus relates how necessary it is for us to be pruned occasionally. In other words, those things that are not of God in our lives have to be rooted out from time to time. The process of pruning isn’t always the most enjoyable and can even include a good deal of pain, but it leads to lives that are whole and abundant. As we abide in Jesus, we are given the strength we need to endure the pruning process. We also experience the peace that comes from knowing that the fruit that will follow is for the glory of God.
A Hymn for the Day                                      
Susan Palo Cherwin was inspired by “Life-Tree,” a sculpture by Paul Granlund that hangs over the baptismal font at her church and is based on John 15:5, “I am the vine,” and she wrote “O blessed spring” (ELW 447). The hymn accompanies us from youth until old age, from birth to death, and connects each stage of living with Christ the vine. The “spring” is baptism.
Visual Art
One of the most famous images of Christ and the vine is an early thirteenth-century mosaic in the apse of the church of San Clemente in Rome.
Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
High eternal Trinity! Love! We are trees of death, and you are the tree of life. What a wonder, in your light to see ourselves, your creature, as a pure tree, a tree you drew out of yourself. You planted it and gave it branches: the soul’s powers of memory, understanding, and will. O tree set in such purity by the One who planted you! Once we have been engrafted into you, the branches you gave our tree begin to produce their fruit. Our memory is filled with the continual recollection of your blessings. Our understanding gazes into you to know perfectly your truth. And our will chooses to love and to follow what our understanding has seen and known. You made us into trees of life again, by engrafting yourself, life, into us. You brought forth fruits for us: the fire of love, light, and ready obedience.         —Catherine of Siena
[Catherine of Siena, The Prayers of Catherine of Siena, ed. Suzanne Noffke, O.P. (New York: Paulist, 1983), 147, 149, 150, 151.]
Upcoming Commemorations
Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, died 373                                               Sunday, May 2, 2021
Best remembered for defending the teaching that Christ was fully God against those who taught otherwise, Athanasius was an influential church leader around the time of the Council of Nicea. He was banished from Alexandria five times for his forthright views.
 
Monica, mother of Augustine, died 387                                          Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Monica was married to a pagan husband who was ill-tempered and unfaithful, but whom she helped bring into the Christian faith. She repeated the influence on her son Augustine, who went on to become one of the greatest church teachers.
 
Julian of Norwich, renewer of the church, died around 1416      Saturday, May 8, 2021
When she was about thirty years old, Julian (or Juliana) reported visions that she later compiled into a book, Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love, now a classic of medieval mysticism. The visions declared that love was the meaning of religious experience, provided by Christ who is love, for the purpose of love.
Victor the Moor, martyr, died 303 (TFF)                                       Saturday, May 8, 2021
Also known as Victor Maurus, this native of the northwest African nation of Mauritania was a soldier in the Roman Praetorian Guard. Under the persecution of Maximian, Victor died for his faith at Milan.
 
TAKING FAITH HOME 5/2
.CARING CONVERSATION:  Discuss in your household or small group:
• What is your favorite fruit? Why?
 • Jesus says that we show that we are his followers by producing fruit. What do you think Jesus means by “fruit”?
 • Jesus tells us that if we are to bear fruit we need to stay joined to him. What does that mean, and how can we do it?
DEVOTIONS:
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We must stay joined to him to bear spiritual fruit. Gather green pipe cleaners, green construction paper, and colored dot stickers. Invite each family member to make her or his own “vine,” beginning with a longer section of pipe cleaner. Add
“branches,” using smaller sections of pipe cleaner, and then “leaves,” cut from green construction paper. Poke the ends of “branches” through the “leaves” and bend them to attach the “leaves” to the vine. Put dot stickers on the leaves to represent fruit. Each day this week, talk about the spiritual fruit you have seen displayed in one another’s lives, and pray that God will use each of you as instruments of love and peace in the world.
SERVICE:
Next Sunday (May 9) is Mother’s Day. How do you plan to be of service to your mother and all the mothers in your life? Ask her how she would best like to be served and make arrangements for this.
RITUALS AND TRADITIONS:
Saturday was “May Day,” which is always the first day of May. Signaling the end of cold days and the promise of summer warmth, May Day has traditionally been an occasion for festivals and celebrations. In past centuries, whole villages would celebrate with games and parties. Organize your own household “May Day” celebration, with party games, ball games, and other outdoor fun activities. Consider making May baskets, which by tradition, are filled with flowers or treats, and then left at someone’s doorstep. The basket giver rings the bell and run away.
SCRIPTURE VERSE FOR THIS WEEK:
I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. John 15:5 (CEV)
A Prayer for the Week:
Lord, give us hearts of abundant love so that we may never turn our backs on you, nor those whom we love and those who love us. Amen.
Mealtime Prayer:
All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above; so thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all God’s love. Amen.
A Blessing to Give:
May God keep you connected, so that you produce the nourishing fruit of loving relationships. Amen
© 2011 Vibrant Faith Ministries. All rights reserved. Written by Pr. Greg Priebbenow and edited by Vibrant Faith Ministries
 
Don’t forget to LIKE us out on Facebook, Follow us on Facebook and Share us with your Friends. Contact Grace Lutheran Church office @ 814-226-7548.    Contact Pastor Jake Jacobson @ 814-229-0999 or jakejacobson77@gmail.com  Contact Pastor Deborah Jacobson @ 814-229-4610 or debjake7755@gmail.com  If you wish to be removed from this list please contact Pastor Deborah Jacobson @ debjake7755@gmail.com
You may donate to Grace online at: https://tithe.ly/give?c=1647800 )

Sunday, May 9, 2021                   Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Alleluia.                                                                                                 Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Alleluia. (John 14:23)
Prayer of the Day  O God, you have prepared for those who love you joys beyond understanding. Pour into our hearts such love for you that, loving you above all things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all we can desire; through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen
Readings and Psalm
            May 9              Sixth Sunday of Easter
                        Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17
 
 M        Psalm 93; Deuteronomy 7:1-11; 1 Timothy 6:11-12
            Tu        Psalm 93; Deuteronomy 11:1-17; 1 Timothy 6:13-16
            W        Psalm 93; Deuteronomy 11:18-21; Mark 16:19-20
            Th        Ascension of Our Lord
                        Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47 or Psalm 93; Ephesians 1:15-23;Luke 24:44-53
            F          Psalm 47; Exodus 24:15-18; Revelation 1:9-18
            Sa        Psalm 47; Deuteronomy 34:1-7; John 16:4-11
 
            May 16            Seventh Sunday of Easter
                        Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19
 
Eternal, Unconditional, and Unchanging
To abide is to put down roots: to dwell in the same location and with the same people for the long term. Unlike in Jesus’ time, today few of us live in the same place in which we were born. Families are routinely scattered across the country and around the world. Yet Jesus invites us, “Abide in my love” (John 15:9). While so much else in our lives seems impermanent, Jesus’ love is eternal, unconditional, and unchanging.
In today’s gospel, Jesus is on his way to the cross. Pressed for time and filled with urgency, he can convey only the most important message. Of all the subjects he has explored during his ministry, he chooses to emphasize that which matters most: his own love. Jesus knows that love is eternal, that it transcends death and the grave. He knows that love is essential, that it must be at the core of our being. He knows that love is the embodiment of all his teachings, healings, and ministry.
Jesus knows that Judas has already betrayed him. He knows that shortly, Peter will deny him. In preaching love, he shows us that the sort of love he has for each of us is stronger than our own very human shortcomings—and that his love for us, and for his disciples, is forever. As followers of Jesus, we are charged with loving one another with the unconditional, eternal love that he has for us. In a world of change, such a responsibility is challenging, yet living out that challenge is what gives our lives purpose.
The secret to love is that it puts others first. Love is the only emotion that can defeat our instinctive self-centeredness. In charging us to love one another, Jesus issues an invitation to be awake and aware, to see others as beloved children of God, and to reflect divine love back onto everyone we encounter. In this way, Jesus lives in each of us.
A Hymn for the Day
In “Joyful, joyful we adore thee” (ELW 836) we sing of joy and love, and we invoke the Father-Son language important for John’s gospel. Written in 1907 by Henry van Dyke, a Presbyterian minister from Philadelphia, the hymn includes van Dyke’s admiration for the wonders of nature and so is particularly appropriate to sing in the northern hemisphere in springtime. The tune was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven for a chorus in the fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony and two decades later had been adapted for use as a hymn tune. It is the only Beethoven tune in Evangelical Lutheran Worship.
Visual Art
John’s gospel likens the believer to a tree that bears fruit. Consider using a photograph of an orange tree filled with ripe fruit.
Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
The Spirit is shaping an affective and apostolic heart in all of us. Let us listen to that Spirit-song well and learn its melody. This song is a song of presence, of being with the other without calculation. We are not slaves; we are not members of Christ based on hierarchies of status or greater or lesser rank. We are lettered and unlettered, male and female, newborn and long-born, friends. Such friendship in Christ makes us companions at the Lord’s table. There is scandal in this: it goes against the competition models we have learned. It brings us into a communion of people bonded together in affective ties because God chose us and loved us first. The friendship we share here is one we can bring to others. Such a mission is a joy. Such action indicates a fresh initiative of the Spirit. Such a task brings delightful merriment and creative hope for our world.
John J. O’Brien, C.P.
[John J. O’Brien, C.P., in Homilies for the Christian People, 277-279.]
Upcoming Commemorations
Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, renewer of the church, hymnwriter, died 1760
Sunday, May 9, 2021
When he was 22, a group of Moravians asked permission to live on Zinzendorf's land. He agreed, and eventually worldwide Moravian missions emanated from this community. Zinzendorf participated in these missions, and is also remembered for writing hymns characteristic of his Pietistic faith.
Matthias, Apostle                                                                              Friday, May 14, 2021
Matthias was the apostle added to the Twelve after Jesus' resurrection, as a replacement for the dead Judas Iscariot. He had traveled among the followers of Jesus throughout the Lord's ministry. Formerly commemorated on February 24, Matthias's celebration is moved to May 14 in agreement with most Western calendars.
 
TAKING FAITH HOME 5/9
.CARING CONVERSATION:  Discuss in your household or small group:
• Share about someone who has been a good friend to you. What has made them a good friend?
 • Jesus calls us his “friends.” How has Jesus been a friend to us?
 • How do you show that you are one of Jesus’ friends? (See John 15:14-16).
DEVOTIONS:
As part of your household devotion time this week, sing together the classic hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (Joseph Scriven, 1855). Below are the words for the first two verses. After singing, discuss how the lyrics of the hymn apply to you.
 
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O, what peace we often forfeit, O, what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
 
SERVICE:
Choose a family to pray for this week. Remember them at each meal. Send a card telling them that you have been praying for them.
RITUALS AND TRADITIONS:
Jesus says “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Try some of these ways to say “I love you” to one another:
• Write “I love you” notes and place them in surprising places (e.g. in school lunchboxes, under pillows or plates, in purses or wallets).
• Place a favorite flower or a small treat on the seat of a car before someone leaves for school or work.
• Leave an “I love you” message on an answering machine or computer screen saver, or send an “I love you” text message.
• Make heart-shaped coupons to give to one another (e.g. for a  shoulder massage, an extra storybook reading, a walk or play together, a cuddle, an act of service).
SCRIPTURE VERSE FOR THIS WEEK:
This is my command: Love each other (John 15:17).
A Prayer for the Week: O God, help us to remember the command of your Son, Jesus, “I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13.35).
Mealtime Prayer: We gather to give thanks for all our blessings. Give us faith, O God, to live your way and always share your love. And we remember _________________, the family we are praying for this week. Amen.
A Blessing to Give: May God surround you with love, and fill your heart with compassion for others. Amen
 
© 2011 Vibrant Faith Ministries. All rights reserved. Written by Pr. Greg Priebbenow and edited by Vibrant Faith Ministries
 
Don’t forget to LIKE us out on Facebook, Follow us on Facebook and Share us with your Friends. Contact Grace Lutheran Church office @ 814-226-7548.    Contact Pastor Jake Jacobson @ 814-229-0999 or jakejacobson77@gmail.com  Contact Pastor Deborah Jacobson @ 814-229-4610 or debjake7755@gmail.com  If you wish to be removed from this list please contact Pastor Deborah Jacobson @ debjake7755@gmail.com
You may donate to Grace online at: https://tithe.ly/give?c=1647800 )
 

 
Sunday, May 16, 2021                 Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B
Alleluia. I will not leave you orphaned, says the Lord.
I am coming to you. Alleluia. (John 14:18)
Prayer of the Day  Gracious and glorious God, you have chosen us as your own, and by the powerful name of Christ you protect us from evil. By your Spirit transform us and your beloved world, that we may find our joy in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen
Readings and Psalm
            May 16            Seventh Sunday of Easter
                        Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19
            M         Psalm 115; Exodus 28:29-38; Philippians 1:3-11
            Tu        Psalm 115; Numbers 8:5-22; Titus 1:1-9
            W        Psalm 115; Ezra 9:5-15; John 16:16-24
            Th        Psalm 33:12-22; Genesis 2:4b-7; 1 Corinthians 15:42b-49
            F          Psalm 33:12-22; Job 37:1-13; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57
            Sa        Psalm 33:12-22; Exodus 15:6-11; John 7:37-39
 
            May 23            Day of Pentecost
                        Acts 2:1-21 or Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b;
Romans 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
 
The Power of Prayer
Here in the Gospel of John, at the close of Jesus’ final speech to his disciples before he is arrested and crucified, he engages in a remarkable, even visceral act of love. He prays for his disciples.
When we pray, God already knows, of course, what is on our hearts. We are not bringing God any new information. But when we pray, we bring ourselves uniquely into God’s presence. In prayer, we bring to God our deepest and most intimate needs, and we make ourselves vulnerable in a way we seldom allow in day-to-day life. This vulnerability is what strengthens our relationship with God, as any repeated physical actions strengthen our muscles. But prayer is not only for our own needs. Unexpectedly perhaps, it is intercessory prayer that nourishes us like nothing else. When we petition God on behalf of another person, we go outside ourselves, becoming other-focused in the way Jesus so fervently invites us to be in his own prayer in today’s gospel passage.
In this moment so close to the end of his life, Jesus prays not for himself but for his disciples, whom he loves: “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. . . . But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves” (John 17:11, 13).
How extraordinarily powerful it is to hear someone pray for you! As Jesus prepares to send his disciples out to preach and teach and baptize in his name, he equips them with the tool that strengthens our every act: he prays. He names them, along with his gratitude and his concerns, before God. That is a gift the disciples will be able to carry with them wherever they go.
A Hymn for the Day
The fifteenth-century hymn “Oh, love, how deep” (ELW 322) has been ascribed to Thomas á Kempis, the author of the beloved work The Imitation of Christ. The hymn is particularly appropriate for worshipers who did not attend a service on Ascension Day and tells the whole story of the incarnation as being “for us.” Born to a Dutch peasant family, Thomas á Kempis became a monk who dedicated his life to copying manuscripts, editing and writing. When after his death his body was exhumed in the interest of reverencing him as a saint, it was discovered that he had accidentally been buried alive. His decaying face showed the horror of his situation, and medieval church authorities decided that his despair deprived him of the highest religious honors. The tune DEO GRACIAS arose from a tune used to praise God for the military victory of King Henry V of England at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. We use this tune to praise the victory of Christ over evil.
Visual Art
In the late fourteenth century, a chapel in Florence, Italy, was decorated with paintings depicting the ministry of the apostle Peter. In the book of Acts, the apostles’ proclamation of the resurrection is understood as a continuation of the power and purpose of Easter.
Comments from the Cloud of Witnesses
In verse 19 we find that Jesus is not only asking the Father to consecrate the disciples in truth but also consecrating himself for that purpose. What does this self-consecration of Jesus consist in? In the Old Testament both men and animals are consecrated. In particular, prophets and priests are consecrated for a special task. But here we may be closer to the idea of consecrating sacrificial victims. If Jesus’ self-consecration is related to the consecration and sending of the apostles, the sending does not take place until after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Thus it is plausible that, when in 17:19 Jesus speaks of self-consecration, we are to think of him not only as the incarnation of God’s word consecrated by the Father, but also as a priest offering himself as a victim for those whom God has given him.  —Raymond E. Brown
[Raymond E. Brown, S.S., The Gospel According to John, The Anchor Bible 29A (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1970), II 766-767.]
Upcoming Commemorations
Erik, King of Sweden, martyr, died 1160                                       Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Erik is considered the patron saint of Sweden. As king of that nation, he tried to bring peace in the region, and to spread Christianity in Scandinavia. He was also known for his attempts to make fair laws and to protect those who were poor or sick.
Helena, mother of Constantine, died around 330                          Friday, May 21, 2021
Influenced by her son to become Christian, Helena (or Helen) lived an exemplary life of faith. She is also remembered for traveling through Palestine building churches on the sites she believed to be associated with Christ's life.
 
TAKING FAITH HOME 5/16
.CARING CONVERSATION:  Discuss in your household or small group:
• What helps people become closer to each other? What pulls them apart?
 • Jesus prayed that his followers would be “one.” What do you think he meant by this?
 • Why is it important to stay connected to other Christians?
 
DEVOTIONS:
Light a single candle, hold hands, and say these words together (based on Ephesians 4:4-6).
We are one in Christ Jesus. In him we have . . .
one body and one Spirit;
one Lord and one hope;
one faith and one baptism;
one God who is Creator of all.
Lord God, keep us together as one. Amen.
 
SERVICE:
Talk together as a family about the ways you serve the fellow members of your congregation: families, elderly, singles, widowed, children, teens, adults, etc. What gifts and resources has God given you for this purpose? How can you put these gifts to better use?
 
RITUALS AND TRADITIONS:  Write a family/household creed, stating what you believe in and value.
You may wish to use the following structure:
We are the ________________ family or household.
As a family/household we believe ________________.
As a household we value ________________.
As a household we seek to _________________.
O God, help us to live our creed everyday and in every way. Amen
 
SCRIPTURE VERSE FOR THIS WEEK:
God has given us eternal life. That life is found in his Son.
Those who belong to the Son have life. 1 John 5:11-12a (NIRV)
A Prayer for the Week:
O God, we delight in your goodness that surrounds us, and we dwell on your everlasting love. Amen.
Mealtime Prayer:
God bless this food, God bless this day, God keep us safe in every way. Amen.
A Blessing to Give:
May God protect you and make you holy, now and always. Amen
© 2011 Vibrant Faith Ministries. All rights reserved. Written by Pr. Greg Priebbenow and edited by Vibrant Faith Ministries
 
Don’t forget to LIKE us out on Facebook, Follow us on Facebook and Share us with your Friends. Contact Grace Lutheran Church office @ 814-226-7548.    Contact Pastor Jake Jacobson @ 814-229-0999 or jakejacobson77@gmail.com  Contact Pastor Deborah Jacobson @ 814-229-4610 or debjake7755@gmail.com  If you wish to be removed from this list please contact Pastor Deborah Jacobson @ debjake7755@gmail.com
You may donate to Grace online at: https://tithe.ly/give?c=1647800 )
 
Copyright ©  2021 Grace Lutheran Church. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Finalweb.