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Wednesday Words - October 28, 2015

On Sunday, you’ll hear the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  This miracle of course, ends up being a precursor to Jesus’ greatest triumph of the resurrection, but what strikes me more than the miracle itself, is the raw emotion on the part of everyone involved, including Jesus.  Mary, the sister of Lazarus, fell at Jesus feet, wept, and proclaimed (almost accusatorily), “Lord , if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” 

Many of us who have lost loved ones have said similar words, so perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to relate to Mary.  Her grief is palpable – a feeling many of us know all too well.  But perhaps even more shocking than Mary’s accusation is Jesus response to her – he wept.

Before we see the divine part of Jesus (the part that can raise the dead to life), we see the human side (the part that experiences grief) and I think that simple act of crying reveals just as much about Jesus as the mighty act of raising the dead.  This tells us that God is not an impassive, neutral force in this universe.  God cries when we cry.  God not only knows our pain, but experiences it himself.

As we reflect on this text for All Saints Sunday and on the Saints who have died, we know God mourns with us over their passing. Even though we have faith in the resurrection, God still grieves with us when we grieve.

And so we know that we do not walk alone in our grief – God always walks with us.



nullThe Bethany Arts Series presents “A Veterans Day Musical Salute” on Sunday, November 15 at 4 pm featuring Chuck Seipp on the Trumpet and Randall Sheets on the Bethany Organ. Nationally recognized trumpeter, Chuck Seipp is Adjunct Associate Professor of Trumpet at Shenandoah University having recently retired after 32 years in the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”. 

Concert Band Group Leader and Senior Soloist, Sergeant Major Seipp performed in national, presidential and historical world events in Washington, D.C. His 32 years included numerous significant ceremonies, concerts and special events throughout the world. Randall Sheets has served for the past 15 years as the ceremonial Organist for Arlington National Cemetery, where he performs over 600 services a years in the historic Old Post Chapel and the Memorial Chapel. He was awarded the Liszt Commemorative Medal by the Hungarian Minister of Culture for his work as Festival Director of the Franz Liszt Centennial Celebration held in Washington, D.C.

Veterans and their families are invited to the free concert (a free-will offering will be taken). There will be a salute to veterans to include Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes” and “Armed Forces Service Medley” along with a special blessing by Pastor Cathy Daharsh. This musical tribute features assistance by Cindy and Frank Zimmerman, members of Bethany Lutheran Church. Frank Zimmerman  also served in the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” from June 1971 to June 1974. 

Bethany Lutheran Church is a community of faith committed to gathering people together for renewal and service. Located at 76 West Crystal Lake Avenue, the corner of Crystal Lake Avenue and McHenry Avenue, the congregation has a global mission with a downtown Crystal Lake center. The Bethany Arts Series presents three concerts per year with a mission dedicated to the celebration of music and art as God’s gifts and an extension of worship. Founded n 2002, the Arts Series was inspired by the installation of the church’s esteemed Clarence & Agnes Carlson Memorial Pipe Organ in 2002.  

For more information, visit the Bethany Lutheran Church website www.BethanyLC.com.

Wednesday Words - October 14, 2015

When you pray, what do you pray for?  When we were young, a lot of our prayers probably sounded similar to a letter to Santa Clause, “Dear God, I’ve been really good this year, so if you’re not too busy, I could really use that new red bicycle.”  But as we mature, our prayers often turn to prayers of concern for others – for our loved ones in the hospital, for healing, for peace, etc.  Sometimes we don’t get that new bike. Sometimes we don’t receive everything that we ask for.  And so we ask, “Is somebody even listening?”
In the Gospel story this week, James and John approach Jesus with a very bold petition themselves.  They say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” They wanted to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in heaven. Bold indeed!  I might have expected Jesus to scold them, telling them that is no way to talk to God!  After all, God is not our cosmic vending machine, dispensing whatever it is that we ask for. 
And even though Jesus does not grant them their request, he listens them.   He hears them and talks to them about it.  It’s true that when we pray, we won’t always get what we want, but it is also true that God listens.  He hears your requests, and in the act of prayer, he transforms you – even if you don’t get that new red bicycle you always wanted.

Build Us Up Suggestions

Two Sundays ago, Pastor Paul asked the congregation to write down ways that we can build up our community.  You came up with some wonderful ideas. 

  • Work to get low cost housing in our community.
  • Preparing food for those who have recently given birth or had surgery.
  • Ask more people about themselves; learn their stories.
  • Something as small as smiling and wishing a stranger a nice day at the grocery store or when out.
  • Pass on a 10-20 gift card to a homeless person in our community with a note saying “Love”, “from God”
  • Each church in town take 1 month to fill Diaper Bank needs for Crystal Lake Food Pantry.
  • Look at current ministries.  See if we could add one that is more directly given to helping various parts of the community.
  • Being open and responsive to the needs of the marginalized in Crystal Lake.
  • More visitation of seniors who are home bound.
  • Grief share & divorce care, etc.
  • Take time to talk and listen to others, especially the children.
  • Say “hello, how are you?” to strangers.
  • Build up mom with visits and cards.
  • Send notes of Christ’s love and encouragement.
  • Read with a child.  Knit a hat for someone who is homeless or having chemo treatments or just somebody who is cold.
  • Midweek dinner for anybody.
  • Invite more people to join!
  • Youth Group & Vision Dancers go to retirement homes to entertain.
  • Invite a neighbor that I don’t know to come for coffee at my house.
  • Pray more!
  • Serve communion to Lutheran members in local hospitals regularly once a week.  Build them up.
  • Become a shooting star!!!
  • Use my time and skills to build up our girls and boys in scouting so they grow in confidence and courage. 
  • Donate to Good Samaritan Ministry
  • To help our homeless populations for a short time is to offer them a special meal with donation from our parishioners and volunteers.   
  • Revitalize Stephen Ministry!
  • Talk with kids about school; find out their hobbies; call or drop off a card to a shut-in. 


Wednesday Words - September 23, 2015

 “Build us up, Lord… help us to share your love with the world” ELW #670 

When we come together to worship, we remember our common story and this story brings us together as one people. When much of our society focuses on individual values and concerns, the church makes the claim that we are a community in Christ. Coming together to worship brings our community together over time through trust, support, and encouragement. Christ’s message of love, hope, and forgiveness builds us up. It is a message everyone deserves to hear and needs to hear, especially, in this hurting world.

This Sunday we will be signing the hymn “Build Us Up, Lord” (see text below). As we bring our voices together we bring all of who we are, the best and the worst and everything of ourselves, and stand and call out to Christ knowing that we are made one through him. Christ is making us new and building us up to be more than we ever thought we could be. May we be inspired to give of ourselves in a world that deserves to know the Good News of Christ. The world may tear us down, but may we always remember that Christ builds us up. Amen.

In Christ, 

Pastor Cathy


Build Us Up, Lord

1    Build us up, Lord, build us up;

set in us a strong foundation.

Lead us to do your holy will;

form and shape your new creation.

Build us up, Lord, build us up;

as we guide and teach each other,

help us to share your love with the world:

ev'ry sister, ev'ry brother.



Growing in Christ, we plant seeds for the kingdom;

we follow in faith what's begun!

Lord, set in our hearts the pow'r of your word

to spread the news of your Son!


2    Build us up, Lord, build us up;

let our lives reflect your glory.

Cast away all our doubts and fears;

help us tell the world your story.

Build us up, Lord, build us up;

help us bear good fruit for you,

Lord, give us vision and keep us sure.

Grant us faith that's steadfast and true.   Refrain



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