Accent on Worship
Reading the Signs
As we near the end of the Church Year, the readings from Scripture assigned for our worship get more and more dire. Every year there are warnings of the end times, urgings to stay awake, be watchful. Many of these readings give all sorts of signs to watch which will indicate that the end is near. We see that in our Gospel for this Sunday, Mark 13:1-8.
All of Mark 13 is Jesus speaking of these end times. It’s sometimes called the “Little Apocalypse,” since it reflects the same themes and images of the book of Revelation, which in Greek is “The Apocalypse.” We only hear these first 8 verses of chapter thirteen this month, but if we could remember back to the First Sunday of Advent last winter, we could recall hearing a large part of the end of the chapter. So we began the year with signs of the end, and now we end the year with the same.
There are two problems with signs. The first is that you need to understand them. If a sign tells you that you can’t make a U-turn, you need to know what that U shape with a red circle and bar across it means, or it’s useless. The second problem is that once you understand them, you need to try and follow them, do something with them. That’s relatively easy with road signs. Believers have had less luck with the signs Jesus gives.
Much energy and anxiety has been spent by generation after generation trying to understand the times, and many generations since Jesus’ ascension have thought theirs was the one which would see the end. Ours is no exception. The wars, earthquakes and famines Jesus speaks of, nations and kingdoms rising up against each other, these things seem persistently and ominously real in our time.
That’s not what Jesus would have us do with these signs, however. He seems to be giving them to us more as comfort and help, words to tell us not to be surprised when these things happen. Our job, however, is not to predict the date of the end of time, or despair that we are living in the last days. Our job, as he says at the end of Mark 13, is simply to live our lives ready for his coming. Live our lives as faithful servants, doing our job, trusting in our Lord’s love and life for us. We cannot know when our days will end, let alone when the world will. If our forebears in faith teach us anything it is that we will mostly likely be wrong if we think we know. But we can know what we are called to do: live faithful lives of love and grace in the midst of whatever evil and good might befall us or the world.
Our Lord is returning. Until then, with his grace filling and shaping us, we have work to do. That’s what the signs tell us most clearly.
November 18, 2012 – Time after Pentecost, 33
Daniel 12:1-3 + Psalm 16
Hebrews 10:11-25 + Mark 13:1-8
November 25, 2012 – Christ the King
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 + Psalm 93
Revelation 1:4b-8 + John 18:33-37
Thanksgiving Day, 10:00 a.m.
Bring non-perishable food items to help re-stock local food shelves. Monetary donations are especially welcome (for every $1 donated, food shelf personnel are able to buy about $9 worth of food!)
The entire offering received at the Eucharist on Thanksgiving Day will be given to Sabbathani Community Center and Community Emergency Services. Worshipers are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, which will help to feed the hungry in our community.
Sunday’s Adult Education
November 18, 9:30 a.m.
“An Introduction to the Gospel of Luke,” part 2 of a 3-part series, presented by Pastor Crippen.
A Message From ELCA Disaster Response: Hurricane Sandy
“From the Caribbean to the northern Atlantic coast of the United States, millions of people have evacuated their homes and communities due to Hurricane Sandy. Strong winds and torrential rains have led to flooding and mass destruction. The storm has claimed the lives of at least 84 throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
The storm sent trees crashing down and left neighborhood streets looking like rivers. While destruction on the Eastern coast is devastating, please also remember the damage of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean as millions are feeling the impact of this storm.
We need your help. The ELCA is a leader in disaster response. Working through our local affiliates and global church partners; we stand ready to respond. Your gifts will help our church meet the immediate needs of those affected by providing food, water and shelter. And we will continue to help for as long as we are needed.”
Gifts received by Mount Olive will be sent to ELCA Disaster Response. If they are marked “Hurricane Sandy” the ELCA will use 100% of the gift for this disaster. Use the blue missions envelope in your packet (or any envelope) and mark it “Hurricane Sandy.”
Mount Olive’s Missions Committee has committed $250 of its discretionary funds to hurricane relief. The committee feels it is important for Mount Olive to support the ELCA’s efforts to stand with those who are suffering because of the hurricane–both nationally and internationally.
Mount Olive in the News
Mount Olive’s global engagement is featured in the fall edition of Luther Seminary’s Global Vision, the Global Missions Institute’s quarterly newsletter. Mount Olive supports the Global Missions Institute’s work through our mission giving. The Global Missions Institute adds a crucial international framework to the Lutheran Church. It has also been instrumental in helping Mount Olive connect with international students who are studying at Luther Seminary, particularly around our annual “Taste of…” celebrations. Read it here.
Book Discussion Group
Mount Olive’s Book Discussion group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. For the December 8 meeting they will read Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, and for the January session Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks.
Church offices will be closed on Friday, November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving).
Our Sexton, William Pratley, recently had surgery and is out for several weeks on medical leave. During his absence, snow removal help is needed!
If you are willing to help clear sidewalks and steps at church when needed, please call the church office and let us know.
We own a snow blower and several shovels, so we have the tools needed – all we need is a few folks who are willing to use them.
Diabetes Prayer Day
Diabetes Prayer Day was last Sunday, November 11. Sponsored by the Diabetes Prayer Day organization, all are reminded to keep those suffering with diabetes in prayer, and to pray for its cure.
Advent Procession: Sunday, December 2, 4:30 p.m.
Mount Olive Cantorei, David Cherwien, director and organist
Join us for this annual contemplative service of lessons and carols for Advent. Take time to set apart this season as one of preparation. Experience prayer, Word, incense, choral music, candles, and hymnody. Join the procession of those who wait in darkness.
A Word of Thanks
Mount Olive extends a word of thanks to Nicholas Champeau, the guitarist who accompanied the choir on November 11 for their anthem, “When the Poor Ones.” (We received his name too late for inclusion in the bulletin). Nicholas is a friend of Jon Siess.