Monthly Archive for: ‘December, 2014’

An Open Door Through Which God Enters

gslclogo…from Worship at Good Sam on December 21, 2104

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1–11, 16 (Click to go directly to the NRSV Bible Text)  Instead of David building a house (temple) for the Lord, the Lord promises to establish David’s house (dynasty) forever. Centuries later, after the Babylonian exile, no king sat on the throne. Even then, however, the people of Israel remembered this promise and continued to hope for a king, the messiah, the Lord’s anointed.

Second Reading: Romans 16:25–27  Paul closes his letter to the Romans by praising God because in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ God has revealed the promised, divine plan of salvation for all humanity. Paul proclaims this gospel of Christ in order to bring about the obedience of faith among all nations.

Gospel: Luke 1:26–38  In this annunciation, Luke makes clear that God comes with good news for ordinary people (Mary) from little known places (Nazareth). This king will not be born to royalty in a palace, but to common folk in a stall. Here Luke highlights the role of the Spirit, a special emphasis in his gospel.

Christmas begins with an announcement. We call this the Annunciation. Gabriel comes to Mary with news, but is also in awe of this one who God so favors. “Greetings, O Favored One,” he says to her. Perhaps the news of the coming child is a miracle but so too is the pure faith with which Mary receives this announcement. Truly, the open door of faith opens the way for God’s strongest activity in human history and in human hearts. Perhaps this Christmas we too may find the faith within us to make way for God’s miraculous activity in our lives and among us. It will certainly make this a Merry Christmas.  

Message at Good Sam on December 21, “An Open Door Through Which God Enters”  





Epiphany Parade of Kings (and Queens, Princes & Princesses) — Coming January 4

epiphany_5380cWe will be celebrating the feast of Epiphany at Good Sam on January 4 and all children are invited to help us mark the occasion. On Epiphany we remember the journey of the magi to bring gifts to the baby Jesus. We will mark the event again this year with an Epiphany parade.

All Sunday School-age children (and younger) are invited to come dressed as kings, queens, princes, or princesses and process in during the singing of the third Epiphany carol: “We Three Kings”. Instead of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they will present the baby Jesus with non-perishable food items for Our Daily Bread Food Pantry. Please join us for this festive celebration! If you have any questions, speak to Shannon A. or any member of the Worship & Music Team.

No Sunday School — Dec. 28, Jan. 4 and 11

There will be no Sunday School or High School Youth Group on these Sundays: December 28, January 4, and January 11.


Thank You for Supporting Local Families Through the Angel Tree

The 2014 Angel Tree was a great success! We helped 40 children in 13 families have a brighter Christmas. Thank you to everyone for supporting this ministry!

–Diane H.

angel tree 2014

Stitching Sisters — December 30

stitchingStitching Sisters will gather on Tuesday, December 30 from noon to 3 pm in the Disciples’ Den for knitting and crocheting. This will give us a chance to try out our new Tuesday date and, also so we don’t forget how to stitch over the holidays. Edna will host, so please see her if you will be attending. We are making babysitting arrangements since this is during the Christmas break. Beginners are welcome.

–Edna A.

“So This Is Love”

gslclogo…from Worship at Good Sam on December 14, 2014

First Reading: Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11 (Click to go directly to the NRSV Bible Text)  Though the people had returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, they continued to face hardship and oppression. In the language of the jubilee year described in Leviticus 25, the prophet, moved by the spirit of the Lord, announces deliverance for those who are oppressed and comfort for those who mourn.

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24  Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians by encouraging them to live lives of continual joy, prayer, and thanksgiving. The closing blessing is grounded in the hope of Christ’s coming.

Gospel: John 1:6–8, 19–28  John’s gospel describes Jesus as the “light of the world.” John the Baptist is presented as a witness to Jesus, one who directs attention away from himself to Christ, the true light.

 What is that pink candle amid all the blue? Advent blue is about longing and waiting and looking toward God’s activity for which we hunger. But pink is a warm, glowing color—when there is pink in our cheeks, we are strong and vibrant. Today we light the pink candle to remind us of the joy we have right now, even as we await God’s activity. God has promised to act and see; his coming is sure and drawing near. Let us prepare with gladness to greet our Lord.

Sermon title this Sunday    “Rejoice and Shine in the Light”

A Vigilant Faith

gslclogo…from Worship at Good Sam on November 30, 2014 (the First Sunday in Advent)

First Reading: Isaiah 64:1–9 (Click to go directly to the NRSV Bible Text)  This lament comes from a people who have had their hopes shattered. The visions of a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed people of God, spoken of in Isaiah 40—55, have not been realized. Instead, the people experience ruin, conflict, and famine. This lament calls God to account—to be the God who has brought deliverance in the past.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3–9  As the Christians in Corinth await the advent of Jesus, Paul reminds them how the Lord has already enriched them through spiritual gifts and will continue to strengthen them until the coming day of the Lord.

Gospel: Mark 13:24–37  In today’s reading, Jesus encourages his followers to look forward to the day when he returns in power and glory to end all suffering.

“Stir up your power, O Lord and come,” we hear in Advent. “Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit,” we say as we prepare for Holy Communion. Regularly and persistently we call upon the Lord to come among us in a way that makes a difference. The term for this beseeching is intercession. Oh how God must long for our attention that we may receive the blessings intended for us. Let us together this Advent call upon the Lord while he may be found.

Sermon title this Sunday    “A Vigilant Faith”   (Sorry, this audio file did not get created)

Christ the King

gslclogo…from Worship at Good Sam on November 23, 2014

Sermon title  Stories of Faith Walking Together – with Drew Hartigan

First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11–16, 20–24 (Click to go directly to the NRSV Bible Text)  Since Israel’s kings proved to be bad shepherds, Ezekiel declares that the Lord will assume the role of shepherd in Israel. The Lord will also set over them a shepherd-messiah, “my servant David,” who will feed and care for the people.

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15–23  In this passage, God is praised for revealing ultimate divine power in raising Jesus from the dead. The resurrected, exalted Christ is Lord both of the church and the entire universe, now and in the age to come.

Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46  Jesus compares himself to a king who moves among his subjects to see how he is treated: what is done for the least of those who belong to his family is truly done for him.

“Grace Abounds in Community: Entertaining “Angels” Unawares”


…from Worship at Good Sam on November 16, 2014

Ephesians 2:4-10 (NIV)

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Message  “Grace Abounds in Community:  Entertaining “Angels” Unawares”  

Become a St. Mary’s Life Coach

The St. Mary’s Life Coach program is ready to include you or someone that you know in this new program! See the flyer below for a detailed explanation of the program. You can contact Barbara Svenson at to sign up and get trained.

The commitment would be to keep in contact with the individual at least four (4) times/month for the period of one year.

Our targeted population are those individuals who are currently living in the Three Oaks Shelter, the Women’s Shelter, or are enrolled in the WARM program. You would be supported by the individual’s case advocate/social worker and the Department of Social Services. We will also meet periodically to engage in conversations about the challenges and rewards of being in this kind of relationship. Mentoring programs have become a way to help people break out of the cycle of poverty. I know that some of you are already engaged in a supportive relationship with a homeless individual, and I applaud you for making that effort. This would be the perfect time of the year to give the gift of friendship to someone who most likely has little to no family or support system.

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