There have been several times when someone has come to church and one of the entrance doors has been left ajar or unlocked. It is imperative that whenever you leave the building that you check to see if all the doors are locked and latched. Please allow the door to shut and then gently pull on the doors to see that they are latched. Thank you.
Sunday, August 9 we welcomed the Krabbe family into the family of All Saints Lutheran Church. Calvin was baptized and Kyle and Caitlin became members.
A huge Thank You to Aleck Reece for trimming our shrubs in the front yard. We appreciate your hard work Aleck. Good Luck on your journey back to college this year!
Update: Food Pantry and Clothing Closet
The All Saints Food Pantry has been very busy the last few months and we don’t see it slowing down anytime in the near future. The following is a list of items that are very much appreciated and needed: peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, bars of soap, laundry detergent. The Clothing Closet has now re-opened and is temporarily located in Fellowship Hall to spread out more. We will take donations on a limited basis. If you have donations; clothes, dishes, blankets, shoes, etc. please drop them off at the church any Saturday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm or contact Sheryn, Bonnie, or Anne.
Thank you for helping people in need!
If you are interested in working in our food pantry, please sign up for a shift at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e44aca62ea6ff2-food or contact Anne and/or Bonnie.
Update on Members Hospitalized or receiving care
Art Raney: Tom spoke with Art this past week. Art is improving and has a few more milestones to reach before he can be released from St. Mary Healthcare. He would love to get phone calls and cards/letters.
Dru Novak: Dru was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. They have set up a Caring Bridge Site to keep friends and family informed. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/drunovak and would appreciate prayers.
From the Pastor – August newsletter article
The Gospel for the last Sunday in July recorded a series of parables Jesus told his disciples about the kingdom of God.
Biblical commentators note the kingdom of God had a very connotation at the time of Jesus from the image we have of it today. We think of God’s kingdom as the equivalent of heaven, as some place out of this world, a celestial place devoid of the human problems and contradictions.
In Jesus day, the Jewish-Christian community thought the kingdom of God would be initiated right down here on earth. The good would be rewarded and the evil punished. A new era would sweep away the old injustices and a time of peace and wellbeing would be forthcoming now and not at some distant place in the future.
Over time the immediacy of the kingdom was lost for the most obvious reason, its seemingly interminable delay. Gradually the church had to adjust to the reality that the kingdom would not be landing on their doorstep any time soon.
The delay of the kingdom brought a monyana attitude to the church. By monyana, I mean the church thought of the immediacy of the coming kingdom as delayed. People lowered their expectations and felt left to their own devices. The concept of Christian discipleship suffered as a result. Discipleship became identified with institutional church membership. Today a church member remains active in a congregation, if they give or commune once in a two-year period. That’s hardly what Jesus suggested in his understanding of discipleship.
The parables Jesus used bring the idea of the kingdom of God down to earth. The kingdom Jesus describes has an immediacy, lacking today. We need to recover that immediacy, as the foundation of our Christian faith.
When I read the parables about discovering a treasure in a field or selling everything to buy a pearl of great value, the immediacy of the kingdom of God comes to mind.
Think about the names of Steve Job, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the other great entrepreneurs of our time. They started their careers with very little financial resources, but an abundance of vision, energy, commitment and determination. They materially changed human life in the right here and now. They had what it takes to be successful.
Imagine what Christianity would be like, if we all brought an entrepreneurial spirit to our Christian faith. People like Martin Luther, St Francis of Assissi. St. Theresa of Calcutta had that spirit and so can we. We have to clear out the monyana attitude and become entrepreneurs for Jesus. We must bring vision, energy, commitment, and determination to our faith. When we are collectively able to have that kind of discipleship the kingdom of God, as described by Jesus, will be coming down to earth.
Pastor Richard Pokora
Message by Pastor Pokora – August 16, 11th Sunday after Pentecost
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
Last week I received by mail a Shutterfly photo book, a belated birthday gift from my daughter Sarah. I was thrilled. There’s no gift I prize more.
A Shutterfly book is an internet generated product that allows amateur photographers to gather, organize and print their photographs in small book format for a moderate price. Walgreens offers similar products.
My Shutterfly book contained pictures of my granddaughter, Liv, making the gift super special. Sarah and her husband Mark have been very good about posting occasional photographs of vacation and other activities on Facebook for my wife and I to see. The Shutterfly book offers pictures we can see anywhere anytime without a computer.
Nothing is more human and ennobling than love of children. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed raising our three kids. Now we have the pleasure of watching grandchildren, take their first step, say their first word or ride a bike or march off to kindergarten. Children mean more than anything else to us. They represent life itself.
This basic insight underlies our Gospel for this Sunday. Here we read about a Canaanite woman who approaches Jesus to plead, on behalf of her child. “Have mercy on me, Lord, son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” This woman appears desperate for help. She heard of Jesus’ reputation, as a healer. She believes he can cure her daughter.
All sorts of people flocked to Jesus for healing. Two thousand years ago neither hospitals nor physicians, as we know them, existed. When disease and other health issues arose, people were pretty much on their own. Either a body righted itself through an immune system or individuals were forced to live with death and painful disabilities.
So imagine how this Canaanite woman must have felt. A ray of hope shines into her life. She hears good things about Jesus. But there is a fly in the ointment. The woman happens to be Canaanite in origin. Now that means little to you or me. We live in America where people of disparate backgrounds live and work together with few insurmountable issues.
But that’s not how life worked in ancient Israel. Curiously, the problem the Canaanite woman faced still may be found in other countries. Consider about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. A Palestinian woman may think twice about using a Jewish doctor or an Israeli hospital. Or, in many parts of Africa, such as Rwanda, individuals from one tribe might be fearful of contact with members of revival tribe.
That’s what happens in our gospel for this Sunday. Jesus is a Jewish prophet and holy man. The laws of his religion proscribe contact with individuals of other religious beliefs, especially woman. This is not the first time a situation like this has arisen. You may recall the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of John. Jesus asks the her for a drink of water. The woman asks how a Jewish man, such as Jesus, would ask a drink of her, a Samaritan woman. Things like that just did not take place. Social taboos were broken.
Somewhat typically the disciples respond negatively to the woman’s request for assistance. They tell Jesus, “Send her away, for she is shouting after us.” They have seen and heard it all. Obviously, they have no sympathy for her whatsoever.
At first, Jesus appears to agree with his disciples. He responds saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” and adds to this remark. “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” This remark elicits much comment. Jesus seems calloused. Some commentators suggest Jesus may have said the wrong thing or had an off day. I reject both arguments. Jesus knew exactly what he intended to accomplish.
The woman has a rejoinder. She says, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. When we hear these words our hearts go out to her. What an analogy to make. But her remark hits the spot. Jesus answers her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it done for you as you wish.” With that her daughter is healed and all is well.
The story of the healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter has been paired with an earlier dispute Jesus had with the Pharisees, regarding religious rituals and rules The Pharisees ask why the disciples do not observe dietary and cleanliness rules. Jesus says God does not so much care what a person eats. Instead, he is more concerned about the evil intentions a person may have in their heart. This strikes a familiar theme for Jesus. He focuses on inner intentions and faith. Too often people say one thing and do another. True religious practice reflects inner insight and commitment. Time and again Jesus emphasizes religious faith over ritual.
Once former Davenport’s Mayor Gluba’s suggested illegal immigrant children from Mexico might be housed in our community. Howls of opposition rose up immediately. The fact thousands of children from Mexico and Latin America have attempted to cross into our country unaccompanied baffles me. But detention centers have been overwhelmed by the influx of children and these kids are held under conditions none of us would want to see our children or grandchildren in. Doesn’t the voice of the Canaanite woman cry out on behalf of these young people? Do we respond to their plight with Christ-like compassion?
Unfortunately, the Pharisees divorce their religious practice from God’s intention for them. It’s literally the oldest story in the Bible. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden chaff under God’s rule. They intend to make themselves gods in place of their Creator. The Pharisees want a religious that mirrors their prejudices and subject to their manipulation. They want to take God’s place. Religious faith is God centered and not man manipulated.
Today Jesus reminds us not to allow our prejudices to get in the way of God’s love. We narrow God’s love to fit our definition of his work and purpose. Jesus always draws the circle of compassion bigger, more inclusively. God intends to redeem the world and sometimes he must do that in spite of us, rather than with or through us May our faith see God’s greater purpose revealed in Jesus Christ. May God work his way through us and redeem this fallen world by us. Amen.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Annual Delegate Assembly: The Annual Delegate Assembly is scheduled for Thursday, August 27th at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church 2601-15th St, Moline, IL 61265. Registration begins at 6:30 pm and the meeting will commence at 7:00 pm. The evening will include music, words of witness from our clients, and special reports.
Because of the partnership with Churches United of the Quad City Area team, we wish to honor you, All Saints, with a special presentation during our program for your service with the ministry. Please RSVP by Friday, August 14, 2020.
Thank you for your contributions and support throughout the years!
Rev. Dr. Melvin Grimes