Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I often hear the words, “I just don’t understand how other people ______.” Maybe it’s “can do that” or “live without God” or “think that” or whatever you say to fill in that blank. It’s inevitable that our Old Adam will compare us to others so that we look good in comparison. Sure, we’re not perfect, but at least we’re not as bad as so and so. Of course, when we hear the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector, it’s easy to think, “At least I’m not like that boastful and self-righteous Pharisee.” That means Jesus’ parable has worked. It has exposed us as those who come before God on the basis of being compared to others instead of in the light of God’s holiness. Sure, we can’t be perfect, but maybe we’ll shine a little brighter in comparison to someone else.
Or, we can be like the tax collector who comes before God with nothing. Well, he’s got one thing: he’s got the prayer for the Lord’s mercy. That’s all he’s got. And that’s everything! The mercy of the Lord means we can stop comparing ourselves to others. It means we can stop trying to fool God into thinking we’re so good or better than someone else. It means we stand before God with the perfection and holiness of Jesus. Jesus is the answer to the tax collector’s prayer. Have mercy? God does! He sends His Son to die and rise and take away our sins and make us His beloved people. Nevermind YOU! It’s all Jesus and that’s more than enough! That’s this week as we celebrate the 11th Sunday after Trinity.
MASKS IN WORSHIP
We are following the state guidelines and mandates for use of masks in group settings. Currently, there is not a requirement that masks be worn. The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask when indoors and I would encourage everyone to do so, even for worship. However, we are not requiring masks to be worn. As always, consider the welfare of your neighbor as you make your decision. And by all means: stay home if you are not feeling well or have any symptoms!
Thank you to everyone who helped clean and polish and scrub last Sunday. It looks really great as we head into our new school year!
PROCESSIONAL CRUCIFIX UPDATE
To date, we have received $3280 toward the $6000 needed in offerings toward our Processional Crucifix. Thank you to all who have contributed to this gift for beautifying God’s house and reminding us what is central to our worship and faith!
LWML MITES COLLECTION THIS WEEK
Bring your Mite Boxes and change for the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League collection this weekend. Offerings collected by the LWML go toward mission projects at home and around the world.
The simplest way to watch online (not live) is probably through our church’s website HERE.
The story of the Pharisee and the tax collector is one of Jesus’ greatest. It’s such a stinging tale that exposes our self-righteousness and yet delivers the good news of Jesus’ mercy. We all have an inner Pharisee but they’ve been crucified with Christ and now He lives in us and we walk away justified, forgiven, cleansed, saved, perfect in Jesus. That’s God’s mercy! See you in the Divine Service this week!