Sunday, February 25th 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 2nd Sunday in Lent. Week 2: “Listen, God is calling you to free your mind”

Overview by Rev. Erika R Uthe

These words I wrote

Free your mind and the rest gonna go

Can’t let empire crush my soul

This is the life I chose and so

I cry freedom

~ Genesis Be, Freedom Cry

A childless couple ‘as good as dead’ (Romans 4.19) will become the ancestors of nations and kings? The Savior of the Nations must undergo suffering, death, and 3 days later rise from the dead? The theme in the texts for the 2nd Sunday in Lent is certainly one of mind-bending reality checks. You really do have to love how Paul describes Abraham and Sarah – as good as dead – ready to become the mother and father of nations. And yet here we have a second covenant from Genesis wherein God has found a creative way to bring salvation and life to the humans and world God so loves. Of course we know that the covenant didn’t work out so neat and tidy because Abraham’s faith was certainly not always 100% steadfast. After all, some time had already passed and God’s promise was not coming to fruition. By this time in Abraham’s story, he and Sarah had already taken matters into their hands by helping God along a little – Hagar, Sarah’s slave had already given birth to Ishmael who was said to be 13 (Genesis 17.25).

If Abraham and Sarah’s response to God’s promise might be described as incredulous, Peter’s response to Christ’s teaching in Mark 8 is one of straight rejection. His mind simply could not register that the Savior, the Christ, God’s anointed would do anything but rule in power and might, overthrowing an oppressive system of tyranny, and bringing economic and literal freedom to God’s people. Peter’s idea of salvation did not include the Syrophoenicians, or the Samaritans, and especially not the Romans. Just when Jesus thought he had left Satan behind in the wilderness, here again Jesus is facing temptation from one of his closest followers. “Get behind me Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Peter’s mind was trapped in what his own reality knew, much like Abraham and Sarah knew that 99-year olds are too old to have children.

Yet God’s salvation asks of us to free our minds, to see beyond what has been, to imagine further than our experience knows, to listen to God’s call to take up our cross and follow Christ. First, a side note. We know that the Week Two: Listen, God is calling you to free your mind Verses Overview 7 call to take up our cross is a passage that has been (and continues to be) misinterpreted, often to the harm of those who believe that God is calling them to continue in abusive relationships, or to be manipulated. We are clear that in this call to discipleship, God intends full life – not without loss, or grief, or the faith and trust in death and resurrection – but a call that leads to wholeness and reconciliation. Given the clarity that Christ’s call to take up your cross is grounded love and life, we can begin to dig into what it means to take up your cross.

For Peter, there was a singular way for Christ to embody his role as Savior, and his surety that this one way was correct led to him being a vessel of Satan rather than a disciple of Christ. He had the best of intentions, and his love for Christ is clear. Peter is so relatable and perhaps you or your congregation can identify with him. He has a vision for how it must be – Jesus has been performing miracles, healing people, he is gathering support and he will finally ride triumphantly into Jerusalem to reclaim David’s throne. Yet in his rigid understanding of God’s salvation, he has missed God’s call to come and die – that you might find new life.

For congregations and church today there seems to be a singular vision for how it must be: pews full of young families, or maybe if we just had a praise band that all the other churches have, or if we just found the perfect night for the community meal. Yet in all of these visions, there is a key component missing – Jesus. The communal vision is one of lots of people, fancy music, and love of neighbor but the reason we do any of this, to worship the risen Lord Jesus and live as disciples, is completely left out of the equation. It seems as though we have all fallen into the trap of setting our minds on human things, and working to gain the world.

But we are in good company. Abraham, Sarah, Peter – all these ancestors in faith each got it wrong, too. And despite their missteps, God remained faithful and fulfilled God’s promises. Jesus calls us to set our minds on divine things, not on human things. Listen, he is calling us! Maybe we don’t need to measure success with the number of children in the education wing. Maybe we don’t need to compare our worship with that of our neighbor down the street. Maybe we can stop beating ourselves up for something we think we’re not, and start celebrating our communities for who we are. God is calling you to free your mind – to let go of your own ideas of salvation and success and take up your cross. As together we take up our cross, maybe we will be able to experience a freed mind and vision for God’s salvation now. We might be freed to see God at work in new and unexpected ways, in new and unexpected people. It is hard to cling to the cross and experience a freed mind, but as the cross calls us and reminds us, it is in death that we find freedom and life. Clinging to Christ’s cross, clinging to his resurrection, we free our mind and we might be surprised to learn that the rest will follow.

Introduction Copyright © 2024 Augsburg Fortress.

The second covenant in this year’s Lenten readings is the one made with Abraham and Sarah: God’s promise to make them the ancestors of many, with whom God will remain in everlasting covenant. Paul says this promise comes to all who share Abraham’s faith in the God who brings life into being where there was no life. We receive this baptismal promise of resurrection life in faith. Sarah and Abraham receive new names as a sign of the covenant, and we too get new identities in baptism, as we put on Christ.

Scripture Introductions (two (2) lessons are read during worship) Copyright © 2024 Augsburg Fortress.

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

As with Noah, God makes an everlasting covenant with Abraham and Sarah. God promises this old couple that they will be the ancestors of nations, though they have no child together. God will miraculously bring forth new life from Sarah’s womb. The name changes emphasize the firmness of God’s promise.

Psalm 22:23-31

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)

Romans 4:13-25

Paul presents Abraham as the example for how a person comes into a right relationship with God not through works of the law but through faith. Though Abraham and Sarah were far too old for bearing children, Abraham trusted that God would accomplish what God had promised to accomplish.

Mark 8:31-38

After Peter confesses his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus tells his disciples for the first time what is to come. Peter’s response indicates that he does not yet understand the way of the cross that Jesus will travel.

Fellowship Time following worship

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