From Pastor's Desk
It’s July, and it’s usually not a time where we think of Christian Festivals. This need not be the case. You can have Christmas in July. That’s right Christmas in July. On July 2nd we can celebrate The Visitation. The Visitation is the visit of Mary to her relative Elisabeth which is recorded in Luke 1:39-56. Now this might seem like a strange time of year to celebrate such an event, but it makes perfect sense when you know that the Annunciation of our Lord is celebrated on March 25th . March 25th is of course 9 months before December 25th. The visitation is also when John inside of his mother leaped for Joy when he heard Mary’s voice. We also can leap for joy knowing our Savior has come to earth to be born of a woman. He also came to suffer and die for us. But we also know he rose from the dead. So we have a lot of things we can leap for joy over. So this month and every month we can celebrate and remember the fact that Jesus has come to earth and visited us.
Thank you from Orphan Grain Train!
The 424 Garage Sale was a HUGE Success! Thank you to everyone who supported us with their time, baked goods and other items we were able to sell. We couldn’t have done it without you! It takes a Village to operate Orphan Grain Train – Thank you for being part of our Village.
VBS Success at St. Peter
We had 27 eager participants take part in our "Amazing Bible Animals Excursion." In Proverbs 6, the ants taught us to remember to do things without being told and to be hard, faithful workers. There was a live ant farm and an ant tunnel to crawl through, even an anthill the kids could eat! Balaam and his talking donkey (Yes, talking donkey!!) taught us to be faithful and follow God. God used angels in this story. In Luke 15, the parable of the Lost Sheep we were reminded of how Jesus saves us and gives us eternal life. On Thursday, we focused on the story of Noah's Ark, in particular the importance of the dove and the peace it symbolizes. We ended the week talking about a camel going through the eye of a needle in Mark 10. The lesson being to focus on the Lord, not all of the stuff and possessions we have. Everything wrapped up with a short closing program that parents and relatives were invited to. The kids sang songs, shared what they learned, received certificates, and enjoyed animal crackers and ice cream.
The week would not have been possible without many volunteers who gave their time: Pastor and Dana Stuenkel, Bette Weddelman, Emilie Parsons, Pam Jones, Deb and Mark Oberhaus, Michelle Weddelman, Alicia and Bill Richardson, Nancy Conrad, Bethany Mathers, Nancy Helmke, MaKenna Helmke, Karlee Bostelman, Bridgett, Mallory, and Zander Watson, Carrie and Lana Culp Thanks to Larry and Phyllis for using their sign to advertise. Special thanks to Robyn and Andy Helmke for letting Colton and Aiden share their sheep on Wednesday! Thanks to Sherry Krueger for donating snacks. Special thanks to Cindy Casserly for bringing over her donkeys which included a baby that was 10 days old!
A Study on Martin Luther’s “A Simple Way to Pray”
By Rev Dr John Sias
Look at and Read the words in Hymn 766 “Our Father, Who from Heaven Above”. This hymn on the Lord’s Prayer reflect Martin Luther’s catechism teaching on the Lord’s Prayer and the theology of prayer that produced it. Luther reflected that; “Many pray the Pater Noster [Our Father] as many as a thousand times a year; if they were to pray a thousand years they would indeed still not have tasted or prayed even one letter of it [Matthew 5:18].” How often have you found your mind wandering to the grocery list, or worse, let the words roll, seemingly on autopilot? In summary, the Pater Noster is the greatest martyr on earth. Nearly everyone mistreats it and abuses it. Only a few are comforted by it and find joy in its correct use.
The right place to begin to answer the questions “What is prayer?” and “How shall we pray?” is with our Lord’s own command and promise. For when the disciples asked Him how they should pray, the Lord said, “When you pray, say...” and then He gave them what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Although we might see or hear people praying all sorts of prayers to all kinds of gods, Christian prayer is unique. It reflects our unique knowledge of and trust in the one true God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has created all things, redeemed us by His blood and sanctified us in His holy Church. We pray from a position of confidence, sure that God will hear us and grant us what is good because we pray by Christ’s command. Yet how often have we rushed through those words, “Our Father...” without thinking what a remarkable gift it is that Christ would have us pray this way.
How dare we call upon the one and only true God of heaven and earth as Our Father –whom we have gravely offended through our sins – and then ask Him not of for daily bread but for everything? Why should He give it? Yet this is how Jesus teaches us to pray, without offering Him anything first, without so much as even saying please! That’s a bold prayer.
So there is a boldness in this prayer, to ask for what we want and to know that we have the right to ask confidently with all assurance, as dear children as their dear father and to cap it off to conclude with Amen...that is, Yes, it shall be so.
So Martin Luther instructs us to begin this prayer humbly but confidently in Christ and say “I am an unworthy wretched sinner and do not deserve to lift my eyes and hands to heaven and pray, but You have commanded us to pray and have promised to hear our prayer, so I pray with all Your holy Christians as He has taught me” and then say the Lord’s Prayer completely, word for word.