In our Gospel text for this Sunday, Jesus urges us
to “love our enemies and do good to those who
hate you” or at least “Do to others as you would
have them do to you.” Not easy words to follow
and I will say more on Sunday morning.
We do however have a real-life example of how
to “do good to those who hate you.” We read in
Genesis 45 about Joseph, son of Jacob.
Joseph had ten brothers. People from large
families, can have issues. In this case Jacob, the
father, has two wives and two surgent mothers.
Jacob had his own family issues, which is the
reason he ended up with two wives. Rachel is the wife he preferred, the one he
thought he was marrying the first time. She herself had two sons, one Joseph and
the other Benjamin. She died giving birth to Benjamin.
Joseph was the golden boy in Jacob’s eyes. He is the one who receives the coat of
many colors. He is the one with dreams about his brothers bowing down to him.
As the result, envy and jealousy run through the family. They could not “speak
peaceably to him.” (Gen 37:4). When they have their chance Joseph’s brothers
decide to kill their brother. They first throw him into a dry pit. When slave traders
bound for Egypt pass by they decide instead to sell him for 20 pieces of silver.
Joseph has quite a time in Egypt but in the end his dreams save him. He brought
out of prison before the Pharaoh, who is troubled by vivid dreams. Joseph sees
that the dreams refer to seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
Joseph’s explanation saves the day for the Egyptians. They store up their surplus
and during the famine they are saved.
The famine meanwhile reaches up to Canaan. Joseph’s family back home is
affected. After years of famine, they are forced to seek food from the Egyptians.
Unaware that they are standing before Joseph, who is now second in command to
Pharaoh, they beg for food.
What will Joseph do? Seek revenge for their plan to murder him? The brothers
are dismayed when they learn it is Joseph. But what Joseph sees is that the
brothers plotted evil, but the Lord used it for good.
Have you experienced times in your life when people intended to do you harm,
but you could see that God used it for good?
Could the last two years of COVID bring have redeeming qualities? Millions of
people dying worldwide, nearly a million in the U.S. Could the riot of January 6th
bring some benefit to our country? What is the benefit of hundreds of thousands
of Russian soldiers massed on the Ukrainian boarder?
I remember when my father died, nearly 45 years ago now. Why take a man who
had for years been a spiritual guide and help for so many at age 57? I was still in
seminary at the time and so my fellow students had plenty of answers to offer.
None very helpful. I determined that my bottom line was this: His death was not
somehow a blessing in disguise, it was not because “God needed another pastor
in heaven”. There was no good in it.
However, that did not mean no good could take root from it. It could be used for
a good purpose. God could inspire me and others to embrace each day more fully
for the blessing it is. God inspired me by his example to become a more
empathetic, dedicated pastor. There was no sense in my mind that this bit of
good out weighted the bad, but good could blossom from it. Isaiah envisions the
whole of Israel being burnt to the ground, not even a tenth left. But he too could
see: “The holy seed is in the stump.” (6:13)
Will there be good to come from COVID, riots and military maneuvers? There is
no sense in my mind that the good needs to out weighted the bad, but good can
come. Just as blessing came from the cross.
Lord, thank you for bringing good even out of evil, not only in the life of Joseph
but in our lives as well. May we see you hand in the darkness and in the light.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor John
Nice to have former member Ilse Hall and her daughter with us in worship. She
was happy to be back. Also, nice to have Diane Watson’s son with us. Diane was
celebrating her birthday on Sunday. Also, good to see Judy Mishoe in church. She
is one of our faithful online worshipers.
RENEWAL of VOWS – We had three couples stay after church to affirm their
vows. Certificates with your picture, will be available in the narthex.
YOUTH Confirmation Class continues this week. There are lessons to take home if
you miss a week. Children’s Church continues. Are you interested in assisting? Let
us know at the church office or give Robyn Blue a call.
WELCA – Next gathering will be March 5.
Pantry – February 26.
Choice Dollars with Thrivent.
Did you know that eligible members of Thrivent Financial have been able to
designate over $55 million to charities by directing Choice Dollars? Such funding
can help support our church – $526 has come in thus far. Don’t let Choice Dollars
expire. Eligible Thrivent Financial members who have Choice Dollars available
from 2021 have until March 31, 2022, to direct them. Go to
thriventchoice to learn more. Or call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice”
after the prompt.
2021 Statement of Activity – copies are available in the narthex. Sorry we did not
have them available for the Semi-annual meeting. They show a deficit of $12,677
for the year. Most of it is due to the costs of reopening the preschool. Now that
they are on their feet, we hope to have a more balanced budget. However, costs
of running our facility are going up. Our insurance costs for example are over
$1,300 per month, more than double what it was a couple years ago. Your
continued financial support is vital.
• Jeanne Koenig has a sinus infection still lingering and returned to the
• Steve Cady is recovering.
• George Motschall is home, improving each day from a blood infection.
• Bill and Judy Martin’s daughter, Laura, continues her chemo treatments by
pill till June and is back working part-time. Bill has bronchial issues from
which he is recovering but was with us in worship.
• Geri Witwer who is still retaining water and still having trouble breathing.
Continued Prayers for:
• Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack and
Rebecca, daughter of Michael and Ann Shea.
• erwin for strength and Lynda for healing.
• Heather, our preschool director, is having some health issues which have
been postponed.
• Judy Mishoe’s sister, Jayne, was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, and
has a 90% chance of recovery. Nice to have Judy in church with us.
PRAYER & CELEBRATION TEAM Jeanne & Connie have agreed to make calls to
our members and friends. They will be calling to get prayer concerns, updates on
health and other issues. We are also going to be adding a Celebration section.
So, think of all your good news and we will share it as well.
Upcoming DATES
SUNDAY WORSHIP @ 10 am. live stream and recording available on our website.
Refreshments after services now.
• February 27 – Transfiguration Sunday.
• March 2 – Ash Wednesday, service will be in the sanctuary. The other five
Wednesdays of Lent, we will have soup suppers with an Adult Bible Study
on our personal Spirituality and the Apostle’s Creed, in the Fireside room.