Sunday, February 18th Information

Theme for the season of Lent (February 14 – March 29, 2024)

Listen! God is Calling.

The Season of Lent

Excerpt from: “Listen! God is Calling.” SEIA Synod Resource

by the Rev. Erika R Uthe Director for Evangelical Mission, Assistant to the Bishop Southeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA

Theme Verse: Behold, I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

-Isaiah 43.19

Theme Write-up: If Epiphany is a season of answering the question, “Who is God in and through the person of Jesus Christ?” Lent, I think becomes the season of, “How then shall we live?” It is a season of contradictions, a call back to the spiritual practices that ground the life of disciples throughout the millennia, and a call forward to the lives God is calling us to embrace, individually and communally. It is a season that calls us to live in the tension of confession and forgiveness, death and resurrection. In this particular Lenten series, “Listen, God is Calling,” we explore how Lent is a season of ancient practice and courageous experimentation, of prophetic dreaming rooted in practiced tradition.

If you would like to read more information about the season of Lent and the resource we will be using for the season, click on the link below.

Worship Musicians

The musicians for worship can find the service orders and music in the crate on the back pew in the sanctuary for each week of the month of February. The musicians will rehearse from 9 – 9:45 am every Sunday morning. All are welcome! Contact the office if you plan to help lead worship.

Sunday School

The Sunday school classes (youth and adult) will meet on Sunday from 9:00 – 9:45 am.

Worship Information

You are invited to join All Saints Lutheran Church for the Worship Service at 10 am on Sunday! It is the 1st Sunday in Lent.

Overview by Rev. Erika R Uthe

Ash Wednesday started our Lenten journey with a call to repentance – to be reconciled to God. Jesus builds the call in today’s gospel: repent and believe in the good news. I think to unpack that command we need to take it in parts: first, believe; second, in the good news.

Over the next several weeks we get to explore various salvation covenants and promises that God made with God’s people. In the Genesis reading today, I am drawn to Noah’s faith – not in the 9th chapter, but back in chapter 6 when God told him to build the ark. Noah didn’t even know what he needed to be saved from and yet he trusted God and got to work. It was a clear act of faith in a mode of salvation that had not yet happened. I am struck by Noah’s faith particularly this year because it has become so obvious for the church that while we know things need to change, we don’t know how to change, or what we need to do to get there.

Yet Noah’s faith and God’s covenant reveal to us an important part of God’s saving actions in our world: God’s salvation is always contextual. Noah and his family didn’t need a sturdy home to protect them from the wild animals, because they weren’t going to be eaten. Noah didn’t need bread and oil, for he had plenty of food. God’s salvation came as exactly what Noah needed in that moment. Our theme verse for Lent, ‘Behold, I am about to do a new thing, do you not perceive it?’ seems to beg the question, ‘but HOW can we perceive something that hasn’t ever happened?!’ Herein lies the difficulty of living out the first part of Jesus’ command: believe. It is also where, I think, it becomes helpful to think about the 2nd half of Jesus’ command: in the good news.

While salvation is contextual, it always leads to life, and such is the nature of the good news. The good news is that God has saved the world through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation can look many different ways: a warm hug after a rough day, bread in hungry hands, shelter in devastation, peace amid turmoil, and the promise of resurrection life at a loved one’s funeral. We in the church are certainly looking for salvation. There is a leader shortage, there are extracurricular activities that compete for time and energy, there are building repairs and dwindling funds, etc., etc. And so we pray! God, how can we get people to prioritize Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights? How can we find a pastor who will lead us? How will we be able to maintain this building so it is here for funerals and weddings and Christmases?

The thing is that these prayers for salvation are looking back and expecting more of the same, but the world is headed toward a raging flood, and it takes a metaphorical ark, not young families, charismatic pastors, and beautiful buildings to ride it out. God is already doing something new, can we not perceive it?! The thing is, if we are hanging on to the things of old, we will miss out on the ways God is saving us right here and now. Rachel Held Week One: Listen, God is calling you to faith Verses Overview 5 Evans, in Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, said, “Death is something empires worry about, not something gardeners worry about. It’s certainly not something resurrection people worry about.”

We are resurrection people and Jesus has called us to repent and believe in the good news! This command from Jesus came straight on the heels of his 40 days in the wilderness, which came straight on the heels of his own baptism and affirmation from God. There is something about being in the wilderness that makes it easier to hear God’s voice, I think. As Ash Wednesday utilized all the senses to help us remember, wilderness likewise has a way of putting our senses on high alert. In the wilderness, there is a readiness for the unexpected, a willingness to be surprised. On the other hand, in the wilderness, there is an uneasy questioning – what is around the next corner? As the church faces its current wilderness – a particularly uneasy questioning of what comes next for us – we remember to be alert, to listen for the echoes of God’s proclamation: you are my beloved child, and to be alert for the dangers of Satan’s temptations.

It takes a mighty act of faith to trust that if we let go of our ideas about what needs to happen to ‘bring the church back’ God will do something new. It takes a mighty act of faith to keep going, to let the old die away, and know that whatever comes next will be God’s way of bringing the world to salvation. It takes faith to look around for the arks today, and to believe that God just might be working in something that seems crazy, or unorthodox. It is as if our church is perfectly poised to adopt the Ventures Prayer: O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 317)

Not only is God’s hand leading us, and love supporting us, we also have the echoes of God’s voice in the wilderness: you are my beloved child. God’s voice declaring us beloved, calling us to repentance, and belief in the good news sustains us in the wilderness until the fullness of death and resurrection becomes our reality. Maybe, just maybe, there is a blossoming oasis around this wilderness corner, do we have eyes to perceive it?

Introduction Copyright 2023 Augsburg Fortress

On Ash Wednesday the church began its journey toward baptismal immersion in the death and resurrection of Christ. This year, the Sundays in Lent lead us to focus on five covenants God makes in the Hebrew Scriptures and to use them as lenses through which to view baptism. First Peter connects the way God saved Noah’s family in the flood with the way God saves us through the water of baptism. The baptismal covenant is made with us individually, but the new life we are given in baptism is for the sake of the whole world.

Scripture Introductions (two (2) lessons are read during worship) Copyright 2023 Augsburg Fortress

Genesis 9:8-17

Today’s reading is the conclusion to the flood story. Because of human sin, God destroys the earth by flood, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals on the ark. Yet divine destruction gives way to divine commitment. As in the first creation, God blesses humanity and establishes a covenant with all creatures.

Psalm 25:1-10

Your paths, O Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ps. 25:10)

As God acted through Christ’s suffering and death to bring us to God, so God acts through baptism to save us from a sinful existence. This spiritual cleansing marks our new life in Christ.

Mark 1:9-15

The Spirit that comes upon Jesus at his baptism sustains him when he is tested by Satan so that he might proclaim the good news of God’s reign.

Fellowship Time following worship

You are invited to stay after worship for refreshments and fellowship time. This takes place in the gathering space.