Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most recognized paintings in Western Art.

Interestingly, it hangs not in Amsterdam, but in the Museum of Modern Art in

New York City. It was painted in 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh and depicts the view

from his east-facing window just before dawn. Vincent had admitted himself to

Saint-Paul-de-Mausole lunatic asylum just days before Christmas in 1888. He had

a breakdown in his frail mental health and he had cut off his left ear. In the quiet

comfort of that place he often painted his window view but this is the only one

before dusk. The sun is returning to overpower the night.

At this point in his life, light was dawning on a particularly productive and

peaceful interlude in his life.

Looking out at the stars there seems to be so much more darkness than light. So,

the first word God spoke was: “Let there be Light.” In response, there was a burst

of energy and light which began the process of bringing the universe into being

billions of years ago.


God keeps bringing Light into our world. We remember that especially during  this

Epiphany season, which started with the Magi looking to the stars and continues

with our reading for Sunday.

In our Gospel text for Sunday Jesus is in the synagogue in Capernaum. A man with

an unclean spirit comes forward. The spirit asks Jesus if he is there to “destroy us.

I know who you are – the Holy One of God.” Interestingly the unclean spirit is more

clear about who Jesus is than any person. The spirit knows there is Light here.

Jesus rebukes it and the man is made whole.

Light overcomes the darkness and the people are amazed.

It is amazing when Light overcomes Darkness in our world.

In so many places in our world there is more darkness than Light. In Ukraine,

Gaza, Israel, Syria, and Yemen conflicts seem far from resolution, and horrors mount. In

our own country even with the jobless rate at historic lows, inflation receding,

steps are being made to combat climate change and the stock market is booming.

People are ill at ease.

I remember sitting next to a woman who was convinced the world was headed in

the wrong direction. Rather than point to the beauty of the ocean, she talked of

people coughing and eating with unclean hands. She even had a news feed on her

cell phone giving her a steady stream of bad news. We had an hour-long tour of the Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary in Mole Creek Tasmania. Lots of beautiful

countryside to enjoy on the way up out of port with narration. Yet she kept

talking about the darkness of the world over the narration.

When we arrived at the Sanctuary itself, I took a different path from hers.

This sanctuary was for conservation and an educational place had been privately.

run by a family for generations. They are working hard to save Tasmanian

Devils and other native wildlife even as recent bush fires had devastation to the

Devils and Koalas of the area.

How gracious of the family to see something beautiful in the ecosystem

around them and seek to preserve it. This was their mission in life. They so

loved nature that they went far afield and imported buffalo and ostriches. They

saw light in the life around them, even in Devils, who got their name from

Europeans who would hear them howling and crunching on dead flesh at night.

The family saw that even the devils had a purpose in life. They would climb out of

their burrows in the darkness, chew on the scraps, and thus clean the wilderness.

Prayer Jesus, Light of the World, thank you for this season of Epiphany. Help us to

see the Light and fill us with the Light so that we may be Light for the world.


Grace and Peace, Pastor John Bunge

Thanks to all who attended our Semi-Annual Meeting Sunday, January 21.

Pledge/Commitment forms were returned thanks for your support as we look to

a new year, Faith’s 75th year together.


LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours are: 12:30-3:00 M – Th.

Pastor will be in the office Tuesdays and Wednesdays through March.

Central City Mission celebration: They were awarded a state Home Key Grant for $34.9 million to expand their services in San Bernardino! Moving

from assisting 38 homeless men to serving 138.

Confirmation Classes start again on January 28. We welcome Courtney Koger.

Next Pantry – January 26. Thanks for your response with grocery bags. We do

have a new refrigerator for the kitchen. Thanks to a Synod grant.

Pick up – The pantry could use a pickup to pick up food from Feeding

America on Thursday mornings at 6 am.


Choir – We practice at 9:00 am before services.

Adult Class – Nelson Hall is leading a class on prayer on Wednesdays @ 1 pm.

WELCA – The Next Women’s Bible Study will be Saturday, February 3 at 9:30 a.m.

in the Fireside Room.

QUILTING – Emily Smith’s Group (909.255.2452) has completed 15 for Central

City Lutheran Mission and 3 for Lutheran World Relief. They do have some lap

quilts still for sale.


Cesar’s Sister, Maria, had a lump removed from her neck and after

chemotherapy, she was pronounced cancer-free. Kim Guevarra’s brother Jim was

finally able to move forward with stem cell therapy.

Ann Shea is back with us playing the flute on Sunday mornings.



 Pray for Brenda Batt’s grandson Bronson who is going to meet with a Neurologist

for episodes of “screaming” headaches. He has a CT scan scheduled for February 1st.

 Eloise was hospitalized over Christmas with sciatic nerve pain. She is on the mend

with medication and physical therapy.

 The Koenig Family – Joe has had stomach issues but is feeling better, Jeanne’s stint is

helpful but not concern-free. Daughter, Jessica’s leukemia is managed, but leaves

her tired. Continual prayers for Lucas and Joey.

 Erwin appreciates our continued prayer for Lynda.

 Kyle and Dana would appreciate prayers for their son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law,

Lisa, is suffering from cancer.

 Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle.

 The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of

housing for themselves and the twins.

 Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.



We will be expanding the bulletin board in January in the Fireside Room so we can

display lots of pictures of Faith in action. If you have any that you have taken,

please forward via email to Debi Hitter, She will print them

for the bulletin board and pass them on to Lauren for the website.

Debi will also be setting two dates to take follow-up pictures for the directory.


SUN JAN 28 – ALL Congregation Potluck will be rescheduled for another time.

Karen and Connie will be providing a mini-meal of chili, macaroni & cheese

, and cookies.


WED FEB 14 is Ash Wednesday Service at 7 pm – We will then have Soup Suppers

Wednesdays beginning February 21 to March 27 (five weeks). Sign up for your

week in the Narthex.

As a committee, we will be meeting soon to line up the fellowship Sunday events.

HAVE ANY FEEDBACK FOR US? Here is the feedback we’ve received: Mix up the

food, not always sweets; mini-meals are nice; play Bingo and games again; have a

congregational potluck; games and activities for young people in the summer

again; themed events fun. Please text Connie, at 951.514.1214 with ideas if you

want to be on the planning committee or have ideas.