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.
Posted on October 28, 2015 6:30 AM
Have you ever wondered how you can help a family in need over the holiday season?
Have you ever wondered how you can teach your children, and get them involved, in helping those less fortunate?
We have an answer for you!
You can get involved in Bethany’s Social Action Committee’s annual Family Christmas Project. Each year, we receive family names from our local Crystal Lake schools. These families have put together wish lists for their children, for items that they can use but many times cannot afford. Instead of items like video games, bikes, and electronics, many lists come back with things such as coats, socks, underwear, and even deodorant. Our volunteer shoppers take these lists and shop for as many items as possible within our budget, hoping to cover things on the wish lists as well as providing one special toy for the children. Parents are also provided with a Wal-Mart gift card that they can use for groceries and essentials.
Here is how you can get involved! You can be a shopper (lists and all important information will be provided to you before you shop). You can help wrap the gifts in December (our wrapping date is Dec. 14 from 9 am – Noon). You can help deliver the gifts to the families or to the schools. You can donate to help fund this wonderful project. You can get your whole family involved with the project to help provide a happy holiday season for other families.
Interested in helping out? You can sign up on the tall bulletin insert, or you can contact either Sarah Korreck (815-459-1139) or Debbie Batliner (815-356-7238). Thanks so much for helping us do the small things that can make a difference in the lives of others!
Posted on October 28, 2015 6:30 AM
Conversation Corner will meet Wed. Oct. 28, in the library from 7:00 - 8:30 PM.
We will begin a new series, Making Sense of Scripture by David Lose. The discussion is an opportunity for us to think about the bible and how we might approach reading it. In the introduction of the series David Lose says, “Making Sense of Scripture, I should be clear, is not a book on the Bible, in the sense that it attempts to give you the major plot line of the Bible or to cover all the individual books or parts within it. Rather, it is a book about the Bible, explaining enough of the Bible’s history and nature to make it more accessible to you. Even more, Making Sense of Scripture is a book on how to read the Bible in the first place, and I hope and intend that it will give you confidence to explore the actual content and claims of the Bible on your own or in study with others.” Here’s a sample of one of the videos from the series.
We hope you can join us! Invite a friend. This series will be well worth your time. Each class will be designed to stand on its own, so come when you can.
- Wed. Oct. 28 - Introduction
- Wed. Nov. 4 - Chapter 1: What Is the Bible?
- Wed. Nov. 11 - Chapter 2: Is the Bible True?
- Wed. Nov. 18 Chapter 3: How Is the Bible the Word of God?
- Wed. Jan. 6 - Chapter 4: Where Did the Bible Come From?
- Wed. Jan. 13 - Chapter 5: How Can I Read the Bible with Greater Understanding?
- Wed. Jan. 20 - Chapter 6: Is There a “Center” to Scripture?
- Wed. Jan. 27 - Chapter 7: What Kind of Authority Does the Bible Hold?
- Wed. Feb. 3 Conclusion
Posted on October 28, 2015 6:30 AM
The 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.
Posted on October 21, 2015 6:30 AM
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.
Posted on October 14, 2015 6:00 AM