Monday, November 30, 2020

Christmas Alternatives – Our 20th Year of Giving

Because we are blessed with so much, when Christmas comes around, we encounter a huge challenge selecting gifts for family and friends. Finding the perfect gift for someone who has many wonderful possessions is a difficult task! With this in mind, in 2001 the newly formed Mission Committee at St. Mark created “Christmas Alternatives.”

While we are not able to have information displays in the narthex this year, you will find a “shopping list” for Christmas Alternatives along with a brief summary of supported mission partners in the newsletter. NEW this year is a drive through donation drop-off of your shopping list and checks. This will be held in the St. Mark parking lot on Sunday, December 13th from 1-3PM. Of course, you are welcome to drop your completed shopping list and check (Christmas Alternatives in the memo line) in the Mission Committee mail slot in the church office or via mail.

Here is some information on two of our missions supported by your generous Christmas Alternatives donations.

Marion Medical Mission 1412 Shawnee Drive, Marion, IL 62959 Kimberly Richey, Director of Development (Clarice Hutchens and Chris Polak, St. Mark Liaisons) • Since 1990, MMM has helped over 38,000 villages in rural Africa gain a sustainable source of safe drinking water. Each well costs $450 and supports 125 people, reducing disease, increasing productivity, and allowing children to attend school. MMM is a PCUSA mission partner and the beneficiary of the annual St. Mark Lent Water Challenge. 

Medical Benevolence Foundation 9555 W. Sam Houston Pkwy South, Suite 170, Houston, TX 77099 PCUSA Mission Coordinates Relationship with MBF (Chris Polak, St. Mark Liaison) • Medical Benevolence Foundation has supported healing ministries and programs in over 100 hospitals and clinics throughout the world since 1964. Funds continue to be needed to support medical ministries in developing countries. MBF works in partnership with PCUSA, congregations, and mission networks.

With gratitude for your generosity,

St. Mark Mission Committee

Chris Polak and Joyce Blackwell, Co-Chairs

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Worship November 29


November 29, 2020


10:00 am Virtual Service 


CENTERING PRAYER*                                                  *J. Birch, 

Creative God, breath of all life, through whom all things are created and sustained; all sons and daughters, flocks and herds, all birds of the air, and fish of the sea. You walked this earth as child and Creator. You touched the soil, quenched your thirst, embraced this world, brought life and light, love and laughter into dark and death-filled lives. Creative God, breath of all life, through whom all things are created and sustained, we bring to you our sacrifice of a contrite and willing heart. Amen.

PRELUDE      Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light      Wilson 



We light this candle of HOPE as a sign of the coming light of Christ.

 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; 

let all creation sing for joy at the coming of the Lord

The Lord of hosts is coming to restore us; God’s face will shine, and we will be saved. 

Light dawns for the righteous, and joy to the upright in heart.

 Rejoice in the Lord! Give thanks to God’s holy name. 

† HYMN      “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”      Hymnal #82 


 God-with-us, even in Advent, we confess you seem too far away. You are hidden when we need you near. In our hurt, doubt, and fear, we do not try to draw closer to you; instead, we lash out – against you, our neighbor, even those we love. Forgive us, we pray, and come to save us! Let your face shine until our tears are dried, our sins are faded, and our hope is restored. After all, we belong to you, and in your hands, we can be made new. We continue to pray in Jesus’ name. (Silent Confession) 


† SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you

SCRIPTURE Isaiah 64:1-9 

SERMON “Waiting for Better” Rev. Dr. Dave Burgess 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH Westminster Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism 

Question One Q. What is our chief end?

A. Our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever. 

OFFERING SPECIAL MUSIC      Waiting, Wandering, Wondering       Schram 



† HYMN      “While We Are Waiting, Come”      Hymnal #92 


† BENEDICTION RESPONSE "Peace On the Earth” (Sussex Carol)

POSTLUDE      Toccatina      Callendar

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Scripture for November 29

Isaiah 64: 1-9

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
    and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
    and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
    you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
    who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
    you were angry.
    How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to[b] our sins.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
    do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
    for we are all your people.

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  1. Isaiah 64:1 In Hebrew texts 64:1 is numbered 63:19b, and 64:2-12 is numbered 64:1-11.
  2. Isaiah 64:7 Septuagint, Syriac and Targum; Hebrew have made us melt because of

Friday, November 27, 2020

Daily Prayer Nov. 27

 The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the good news.

Daily Readings for Friday, November 27, 2020

Loving God, through your Son you have called us to repent of our sin, to believe the good news, and to celebrate the coming of your kingdom. Like Christ‘s first apostles, may we hear his call to discipleship, and, forsaking old ways, proclaim the gospel of new life to a broken world. Great God, you are one God, and you bring together what is scattered and mend what is broken. Unite us with the scattered peoples of the earth that we may be one family of your children. Bind up all our wounds, and heal us in spirit, that we may be renewed as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Master and Savior. God of all who stand in awe of you, make us one with all your saints and with any who are in need. Teach us to befriend the weak, and welcome the outcast, that we may serve the Lord and live to offer him glory. (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

Thursday, November 26, 2020



Psalm 65:5-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Corn Harvest

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
    O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas.
By your[a] strength you established the mountains;
    you are girded with mi
You silence the roaring of the seas,

    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide the people with grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.


  1. Psalm 65:6 Gk Jerome: Heb his
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Busy Days

 What do you do to keep busy? Do you feel, like I do, that you must do something productive every day? I realize that can be taken to extremes, as you can feel you must be busy every minute of every day. I personally struggle with this at times, realizing that what is busy for one person may be way too busy for another… so a happy medium can be a goal.

I really struggled with this when we were raising our children, as I was a working mom, often with full responsibility for them (my husband worked out of town a lot). I even bought a book “When I Relax I Feel Guilty”, by Tim Hansel, hoping to find some nuggets in there to help me get over the seemingly constant need to stay busy/productive. There was so much to do! Taking time for myself seemed too extravagant. Would you believe that I kept the book all these years and never took the time to read it?

I guess the book for me was a symbol that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Today I got it out and read that the Bible teaches us to “Come to me all you who labor (are weary and overburdened) and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28-30). It reminded me that God rested on the seventh day after creating this wonderous world for us. It also reminded me to look at nature and all of God’s creation with fresh new eyes, taking time to appreciate all of God’s wonders--being out in nature can be calming. It said:

“Learning to See

Go outside and look around

See what you can see.

If you are unable to see anything beautiful,

Anything that brings you peace,

A deep sense of joy and God’s presence,

Anything that delights you

With the magic of color and aliveness…

If you are not reminded that today is special

A unique, once-in-a-lifetime gift from the Creator…

Then you need to spend more time outside,

And read this book” (re-set your priorities).

It is never too late to re-set my priorities and to not be so hard on myself. Yes, I can still give to others (a necessary part of life), but I need to remember to take time to relax and do what the Lord requires of me, “To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

Sharon Cardwell

Photo by Tom Byrom on Unsplash

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Worship Service November 22


10:00 am Virtual Service 



Almighty God, reveal to me the greatness of your power, that I may see your presence among the lowly and the lost and know the authority and sovereignty of your love in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is also our humble brother. Amen.  

PRELUDE      Nun Danket alle Gott      Kellner 




O come, let us sing to the Lord;  

let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 

For the Lord is a great God;  

a great ruler over heaven and earth!  

† HYMN      “Crown Him with Many Crowns”      Hymnal #268



God of mercy, who has compassion for the lost and the least, 

In disbelief and denial, we ask: 

“When did we see you among us?” 

We should have seen you in the classmate on the playground whom we did not invite to join our game. Or in the stranger on the sidewalk whom we crossed the street to avoid. Or in the neighbor at the nursing home whom we left to carry her pain alone. We should have seen you in the man begging for work or a warm meal, in the woman struggling to overcome addiction, in the child seeking refuge from the terrors of violence. But instead, we turned away. Forgive us Lord. Break our hearts for what breaks yours, and give us compassion and courage to respond to the suffering of this world. (silent confession) Amen. 


† SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you. 

SCRIPTURE      Matthew 25:31-46 

SERMON      “Christ the King”      Rev. MP Panco 

Westminster Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism Question One

Q. What is our chief end? 

A. Our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy God forever. 

OFFERING SPECIAL MUSIC Fairest Lord Jesus arr. Larson 

     Pastor MP, trumpet 



 † HYMN      “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!”      Hymnal #263 


† BENEDICTION RESPONSE      “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”      Hymnal #306 

POSTLUDE      March      Camidge 

†You are invited to stand, as you are able. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Scripture for November 22

 Matthew 25:31-46

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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Fra Angelico The Yorck Project (200210.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN3936122202.