Friday, July 20, 2018

Daily Prayer July 20

FRIDAY

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Joshua 4:19-5:1, 10-15; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 26:17-25
O God, whose presence is veiled from our eyes: Grant that when we do not recognize you, our hearts may burn within us, and when feeling is lost, we may cling in faith to your Word and the power of bread broken. Eternal God of unchanging power and light, look with mercy on your whole church. Bring to completion your saving work, so that the whole world may see the fallen lifted up, the old made new, and all things brought to perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God of grace and hope, we thank you for life, love, and good memories, for the gift of age, and for the wisdom that comes from experience. We bless you for your constant presence, for with you there is fullness of joy. Give us the courage and faith to accept life as it comes, confident that the future is yours and that we belong to you forever. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ABC Sale

Save the Dates—And Your Treasures!
The church’s rummage (Attic, Basement, Closet) sale will be here before you know it – and we need you and your treasures! See the key dates below and please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

St. Mark Deacons count on this fund-raiser to support our local missions. Thank you!
The St. Mark ABC Sale is August 3 and 4
This sale benefits over 10 local charities supported by our Deacons.
The sale dates and sale hours are
Friday, August 3:
Early Bird $5 Admission: 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM
8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Saturday, August 4:
8:00 AM to 12:00 noon.
The Sale is Coming! The Sale is Coming! 
Please begin to or continue to collect those items that you would like to contribute to the ABC sale.
You can begin to bring in your items during the dates of July 29 to August 1. That date will be here before you know it!
Drop Off Dates & Times:
Sunday, July 29 – 9:30 AM to 12 Noon
Monday, July 30 thru Wednesday, August 1 – 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Monday evening, July 30 – 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Please note that we are no longer able to accept:
– cribs, high chairs, car seats
– sofas and loveseats, mattresses, entertainment centers
– Christmas trees
– computers, monitors, keyboards, cords for computers, cell phones
– televisions of any kind or size
– encyclopedias or magazines
Want to know how else you might help?
There will be a sign-up poster in the narthex; please indicate what department you would like to work in and when you are available. All committees need help before the sale as well as the days of the sale, August 3 and 4. You will be contacted by the chairperson before the sale.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Statement of Faith by Confirmand, Part 7

 Faith Statement
Love surrounds all of us every day. It lives within us down to the deepest core of our hearts. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). I believe in the power of love that is said to be shown by God. I believe that this love exists in different enough forms that we sometimes don’t recognize it even when it stares us in the face.

People love every day, whether it be in happiness, or in sorrow, or in anger. In ways, love can be the cause of sorrow and anger. When you miss a close family member, or maybe going to their funeral, you don’t mourn because you don’t miss them or don’t care, you do it because you feel the love that you have for them bleeding from your heart.

Love also leads to forgiveness. “We forgive so that we may not be outwitted by Satan’s designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11). God forgives every single one of us, even if we feel as though we do not deserve to be forgiven. Forgiveness is never a sin that we will regret; just as we will never regret being kind. Forgiveness and kindness are not altogether the same, but are very similar. You should always forgive out of the kindness of your heart. It would surprise many people how these two necessities of life are being renewed every day. It only takes one act to help people see face to face.

Faith is also a part of the deep decisions that we make every day. “We live by faith “so that we do not lose heart” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Faith is believing that the good in this world will overpower evil. And that heaven will always be where your spirit goes instead of hell. It is believing that darkness will never overpower light in the kingdom of God. But I also believe that evil, hell, and darkness is what it takes for us to see the good in the world, to realize how amazing the power of heaven is, and to really appreciate the light. If there was only darkness in this world, then when light were to come, I’m sure that many of us would rejoice and learn to love and appreciate what we didn’t have before.

We only understand the true value of something when we don’t have it. And this leads us back to faith. Faith is most importantly believing that we can get it back when we realize the true meaning.

Hannah P.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Included. Loved. Accepted. Welcomed.

Call it my annual mid-year crisis or my low-risk escape from my mid-summer slump, but yesterday at the salon I decided it was time to make drastic changes. A little shorter, I told my stylist, and much, much darker. I wanted something daring, dramatic and mysterious. And maybe a little dangerous? My stylist (who’s fabulous, by the way), was happy to indulge my whim. I walked out of the salon feeling like a whole new person.
This morning, I rushed to get myself and the kids ready for church and out the door. Since it was hotter than that place we seldom talk about on Sundays, I opted for comfort and pulled on a basic black button-down shirt with a collar, a pair of bright pink pedal pushers and white sneakers.
We pulled into the church parking lot and I paused to check the mirror to make sure I didn’t have any remnants of my hasty breakfast stuck in my teeth. As I glanced at my reflection, I finally realized the whole new person I now resembled: Professor Snape from “Harry Potter.” Maybe it was the black shirt. Or the fact that my son had been watching “Harry Potter” movies around the clock for the past 48 hours. But it was all I could see. I groaned.
“Do you guys think I look a little like that guy from ‘Harry Potter’?”
My thoughtful eldest daughter said Professor Snape’s hair is much greasier. My youngest daughter had no idea who I was talking about. But my son, who’s never afraid to tell it like it is, agreed whole-heartedly, and couldn’t let the comparison go.
“When we go into church, I’m going to tell EVERYONE you got your hair cut like Professor Snape!” he said.
I rushed my children into the crowded church a few minutes late (why are we always a few minutes late?), and chose a secluded pew at the far end of the sanctuary. I hoped my son would get distracted by the music or perhaps feel guilty during the prayer of confession and let it go. Better yet, maybe he would repent for tormenting his mother, which I seem to recall is one of the big ten list of no-no’s. He did neither.
When it was time to pass the book thingie down the aisle to sign our names to prove that we had been there (it has a more formal name, though I can’t recall now what it is), he signed our family’s name. His younger sister, who doesn’t like anyone ever speaking on her behalf about anything, EVER, erased it, and rewrote our name. My son pried it away from her, then got the idea that it would be funnier to just sign it “Professor Snape.” My youngest daughter felt that was undignified, however, and the two engaged in their own form of the deathly hallows, right there in the pew.
As the service progressed, one of my children refused to participate in the hymns, the other consistently sang the wrong verse, and both quietly battled over which one should get to sit closer to mom (an argument we have had daily since their father passed away). As always, as far as I could tell, all of this played out without raising a single eyebrow from the worshippers around us. As the service ended and we stood for the final hymn, I remembered a conversation my husband and I had years ago.
We had a bit of a “Dharma & Greg” relationship; I was always the hippy-dippy bleeding heart liberal (or snowflake, as I think they’re calling us now), who cared about other people and other causes, even if they weren’t my own. My husband, however, was pragmatic. He considered himself to be a conservative, though I would say his definition was much more middle-of-the-road than how it is interpreted today.
When we first moved to the St. Louis area, we struggled to find a church that was in line with my values. Specifically, we found it difficult to find a church that was welcoming to gay Christians. After passing over several churches because they had made it clear that their official position was to condemn same-sex marriage, I finally asked my husband if I was overthinking the issue. Technically it wasn’t OUR issue, after all.
My typically conservative, always pragmatic husband responded, “Any church that wouldn’t welcome a gay couple probably wouldn’t be too thrilled with our three rowdy kids, either.”
I think of his words often when I read about efforts to exclude those who are different from us from our churches, our schools, our neighborhoods, our communities and even our nation — and often doing so in the name of Christianity. Were I to participate in a church that sought to exclude other families based on the composition of their family, their nation of origin, their orientation, their race, their economic status, their disabilities, their political persuasion or any of the other myriad reasons we seek to exclude others, I’m sure they’d find fault with my family, as well. We’re a little too outspoken. We raise questions. We occasionally raise our voices. We’re a little too rowdy—I’m a little too rowdy. And, as my late husband pointed out, I’m sure all of that would eventually get us booted. That’s the problem with surrounding yourself with people who seek to judge, shun or exclude; it’s only a matter of time until you find yourself on the receiving end.
As humans, what we need most is to feel included. Loved. Accepted. Welcomed. But to find that love and acceptance requires a willingness to give it, and to have the wisdom to surround yourself with others who do the same.

Kathy Deters

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Worship Prayers July 6

CENTERING PRAYER  Loving God, as this day opens into new and untold possibility, purge me of my compulsive need to carry useless baggage – physically, mentally, or emotionally.  Teach me to walk simply with you as I trust in your abundant provision.  Amen.


CALL TO WORSHIP
God is mighty in word and deed.
        God’s mercy is everlasting.
Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.
        Glory to God forever.
Come!  Let us worship our Lord together!

   PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Holy God, you call us to boldly proclaim your name, yet we are stubborn, rebellious, and heedless of your call.  By the power of your Spirit, raise us to new life that we may return to faithful living, in Christ’s name we continue to pray.  (Silent Confession)

SCRIPTURE READING                                                2 Corinthians 12:2-10 


† AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – Heidelberg Catechism Question One
Q.    What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A.    That I am not my own, but belong— body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful    Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has        set me free from the tyranny of the devil.  He also watches over me in such a way that        not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all         things must work together for my salvation.  Because I belong to him, Christ, by his         Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready          from now on to live for him.

For the Sermon "Thicket and Thin", click here.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Scripture for July 15

Mark 6:14-29 New International Version (NIV)

Wooden Sculpture of John the Baptist
Santiago Martinez Delgado
 - Museo Nacional de Bogota Colombia

John the Baptist Beheaded

14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying,[a] “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled[b]; yet he liked to listen to him.
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of[c] Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 6:14 Some early manuscripts He was saying
  2. Mark 6:20 Some early manuscripts he did many things
  3. Mark 6:22 Some early manuscripts When his daughter
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Daily Prayer July 13

FRIDAY

Good is the Lord, whose mercy is everlasting; and whose faithfulness endures from age to age.
Deuteronomy 31:7-13, 24-32:4; Romans 10:1-13; Matthew 24:15-31
Almighty God, you have taught us that all our deeds without love are worth nothing. Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the very bond of peace and of all goodness. Give us your hope, O God, that we may rejoice in your goodness to us and to all your children, and be thankful for your love revealed in Jesus Christ. Give strength to those who are searching together for that kind of obedience which creates unity. Heal the divisions separating your children one from another, so that they will make fast, with bonds of peace, the unity which the Spirit gives. High God, holy God: you rule the ways of peoples, and govern every earthly government. Work with those who work for your ways. Make every person in authority an agent of your reconciliation, and every diplomat an ambassador of hope. Bring peace and goodwill among all people, fulfilling among us the promise made in Jesus Christ, who was born to save the world. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be kind and gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

School Supplies Needed

Vacation Bible School Collection

This year during VBS our mission project will be collecting school supplies for Presbyterian Children’s Homes & Services. PCHS has been very specific on items needed. We will have the school bus out Sunday, July 8 through Sunday, July 22 for those who wish to help.

Here's the complete list:

Backpacks (K-12)
Composition notebooks (non-spiral)
3 hole punch loose-leaf paper
3 ring binders Plastic folders
Ink pens (red, blue, black)
Pencil pouches
Markers (washable & permanent)
Highlighters
Crayons/Colored markers
Glue Sticks
Scissors (blunt & regular)
Rulers
Scotch tape
 Post-Its

If you have questions, please contact Ellen Hynes or Elizabeth Oglesby. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Statement of Faith by Confirmand, Part 6


Faith Statement
I believe in God, the Father, Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and Holy Spirit. God is the father almighty who created Heaven and Earth. I believe in the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. I believe what is written in the Bible. I love the Church, going to the services provided, and the worship in and out of Church. I believe in worshiping our Lord and showing My love for the Lord. Worshiping the Lord doesn’t always have to be inside Church. I believe in sin and to pray for forgiveness. Every night before I go to sleep, I pray silently on my bed thanking the Lord for all the good in my life and how thankful I am and for the good the world. I pray for forgiveness for things I have ever said or done that may have hurt someone. I also pray for strength to those who need it and there is a specific person I say a special prayer for every night. I pray for her to get better and for a lifting of her struggles. I believe that forgiveness isn’t hard to come by from the Lord, for the Lord loves everyone. I have faith in God helping others with their struggles. I will worship the Lord during the life I have. I have hope in everything. I can find hope in situations that may seem hopeless. I believe that when I die, my soul will go to Heaven, that I will continue to be blessed by God and become an Angel. Although God cannot be seen, God can be felt and moved through others. I have seen God through love, happiness and passion. I have seen God in myself through love for my family, friends, pets and happiness with laughing spending time with the ones I love and doing the things I love. I also see God through my passion for dance, cheer, babysitting, and making friends. I believe that God is all around us, and He isn’t hard to see or feel.

Lindsey P.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Isaiah 58: Critical Need

St. Mark is supporting the Isaiah 58 Ministries' back to school fair which is held in mid-July by donating the following specific school supplies: blue or black ink pens and highlighters.

Additional supply categories are being collected by congregations in our Presbytery and other faith based organizations. Other donations that would be most welcome at the back to school fair: underwear and socks appropriate for elementary - middle school students.

Donations may be placed in the container marked "Isaiah 58" on the Deacons' table by July 12. If you prefer to make a monetary donation for the back to school supplies, you may write a check to St. Mark and designate "Isaiah 58" on the memo line.