Friday, December 9, 2022

Daily Prayers December 9

 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.

Daily Readings for Friday, December 9, 2022

Eternal God, Author of our life and End of our pilgrimage: Guide us by your Word and Spirit amid all perils and temptations, that we may not wander from your way, nor stumble in the darkness; but may finish our course in safety, and come to our eternal rest in you. Eternal God, your hand shaped our lives by grace and your hand rescued us from sin by love. May your hand guide us through this day, shielding us from all evil, strengthening us to do justice and love. Enable us, O God, to do all things as unto you; that small things may be filled with greatness, and great things may be crowned with humility. O God, whom we cannot love unless we love our neighbors, remove hate and prejudice from us and from all people, so that your children may be reconciled with those we fear, resent, or threaten; and live together in your peace. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

With God's help and love may your lives be blessed and your labors fruitful as you offer yourselves gladly in the service of our common Lord.

(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.)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Keeping the Christmas Lights


 On Our family was so excited for the new adventure of life in St. Louis when we moved to Ballwin a little over five years ago. The Claymont neighborhood felt like the ideal place to raise a young family, and the proximity to the church was a huge bonus. I have to admit feeling a little perplexed when Halloween came around, and there were very few trick-or-treaters coming to our door. December brought cold winds and long nights, but there weren’t many houses lit up for the holidays. A lot can change in five years, and there’s a new energy in Claymont. The neighborhood association is much more active and is sponsoring a Christmas lights competition again this year. There will be a special event on Saturday, December 17 from 5:30-7:30 PM in our lower parking lot with food trucks and voting on the holiday lights. 

The many houses lit up for the holidays reminds me of a story I recently read. In his book, Lord, It Has Been One of Those Days, Bob Brown tells of a pastor who visited an elderly blind lady who was a member of his church. It was during the Christmas season, and he noticed that the Christmas tree in her house was brightly decorated with lights and ornaments. 

He said to her, “Do you do this every year?” “Yes,” she replied, “this is one of the big things I do. I always look forward to it. My nephew always goes out and gets a Christmas tree, then together we get the Christmas decorations and decorate the tree.” 

The pastor thought to himself, A blind woman with a brightly lighted Christmas tree? He then indicated to her that he did not want to be offensive, but he could not quite understand why a blind woman would want to have a brightly decorated tree and lights in the window. 

The dear little lady tilted her head towards him and said, “Pastor, everybody is not blind.” The Halloween candy is never just for the homeowner. The Christmas lights we put up are for everyone to enjoy. 

St. Mark opens its doors for members and guests alike to experience the love of Christ. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NRSV.) The days are getting colder and the nights are getting longer, but we’re going to keep the lights on so everybody knows they’re home at St. Mark.

 In Hope and Confidence, 

Pastor Dave

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Breakfast with Santa

 You're Invited to: BREAKFAST WITH SANTA! Saturday, December 10, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Gleason Hall (Gym) at St. Mark Presbyterian Church for a morning of fun! 

We will serve pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, fruit, juice, milk, and coffee! (Free will offering) Activities include Storybook Castle, crafty projects for children, and a visit with Santa! 

This year we are featuring original Christmas stories and illustrations from some of our youngest writers. Check out our display at the Children's and Youth table in the Narthex 

 Also, don't forget to bring hats, gloves and scarves to give to the kiddos at PCHAS (Presbyterian Childrens' Home and Services). 

Our Presbyterian Women will be selling some of their boutique items and we will have a Book Fair with proceeds going to Lydia's House and other local missions. Follow Candy Cane Lane to the Storybook Castle for all the activities!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

About the Cantata: The Winter Rose

The Winter Rose

by Joseph Martin

December 11, 2022   10:00 AM

From the earliest Christian time, the rose has been a symbol of divine love. It gently reaches across the ages in ancient illuminations and freely spills from the pens and brushes of countless poets and artists. Echoing through our sanctuaries in the melodies and texts of many beloved carols, it brings to life the beautiful visions of biblical prophets and the hope of early Christian pilgrims. 

Today, the rose remains a vital expression of love and peace both inside the Church and the outside world. Her appearance in the garden is a treasured harbinger of the coming spring's abundance. As a gift, the rose's delicate beauty is usually reserved for the most meaningful expressions of the heart. No flower holds our dreams of love more beautifully than she. 

It is in that same spirit that the present work was conceived and written. It is our sincerest prayer that as Christ, the Rose of Sharon, opens before you this Christmas, your spirit will be encouraged by the beauty of God's greatest gift. Let the words and music of this cantata remind you that even in the deepest winter, we are people of joy and life... children of the garden. 

~Joseph and Pamela Martin

Photo by Nina Storz on Unsplash

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Perfect Gift


Each year during the Advent and Christmas season, we turn our eyes to Bethlehem and celebrate the wondrous gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

God has blessed the Church with incredible leadership in every time and place, but those leaders often need to be supported by their communities as well. This Offering addresses the support needed by some of our leaders, including supporting leadership development for communities of color, and providing support for Presbyterian church workers in their time of need.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Worship Prayers Dec. 3 and 4




O Root of Jesse, O Peace, stir up your power within us as we wait with abundant expectation. Fulfill your eternal promise, emerge among us in a new and powerful way, and reign over us today. We ask this of you our Maker, Savior, and Giver of Life, one God, now and forever. Amen.



CALL TO WORSHIP – Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy





Gracious and welcoming God, have mercy on your people. We confess we do not believe in your incarnation. We do not heed your word each day in all we say and do. We do not see our neighbors, families, and friends as beloved children whom you made. In your mercy, forgive us, for we repent of our ways and look to your power to heal us and raise us up, so that, at the last, you will gather us to you and give us peace. (Silent Confession)





We bear fruit worthy of our repentance when we give our tithes and offerings for the well-being of the world and those in need. Let us pray…


We give you thanks, Holy One, for all good things:

for this universe and for Earth itself,

for creatures and plants, for water and food, for light and darkness;

for Jesus, our brother, who enlarged our vision,

setting himself before us as the bread and wine of abundant life;

and for the Holy Spirit, who comes to us in baptism

and moves in our midst with the power to lead us to you.

Turn our offerings to your good will,

and turn us always to you in gratitude.


For the complete bulletin, click here.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Scripture for December 3 and 4


St John the Baptist in the Desert by TITIAN

Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[a]

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Read full chapter

Friday, December 2, 2022

Daily Prayers December 2

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a humble spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Daily Readings for Friday, December 2, 2022

Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ and make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our daily lives, make us attentive to your voice and alert to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else. O God, you are infinite, eternal and unchangeable, glorious in holiness, full of love and compassion, abundant in grace and truth. Your works everywhere praise you, and your glory is revealed in Jesus Christ our Savior. Therefore we praise you, blessed and holy Trinity, one God, forever and ever.

Eternal God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God through him.

(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.)

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Surviving the Holidays

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

December 1 6:30-8:30 PM

The Holidays are fast approaching and the hustle and bustle of this happy season will soon begin. For some people, however, this time of year is anything but happy. The holidays have a completely different feeling when you have lost a loved one. Going out to parties, being with people is not what you want to do. 

Join us for Surviving the Holidays. It is a one-time two-hour session that will try to help you find the tools to get through the holidays.

Presented by St. Mark's Stephen Ministry Team.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Advent Bible Study


ADVENT BIBLE STUDY November 4  and 11, December 2, 9, and 16


Join us on Friday mornings from 9:00-10:00 am online or in person room 102 as we journey with Adam Hamilton through the Advent season.

 In The Journey, Adam Hamilton travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in a fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. As he did with Jesus' crucifixion in 24 Hours That Changed the World, Hamilton once again approaches a world-changing event with thoughtfulness. Using historical information, archaeological data, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the most amazing moment in history will become more real and heart-felt as you walk along this road. 

Contact Pastor MP to be added to the Friday morning Bible Study group email and to receive your Zoom link.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Jingle-Mingle and Christmas Pageant


Join Children’s Ministries and the Fellowship Committee on December 4 th with our kick-off of December including our Children's Musical "The Best Christmas Present Ever!" beginning at 4 pm in the Sanctuary. 

Immediately following the show please join us for the Jingle Mingle in the Narthex from 5 pm to 7pm. Bring an appetizer or dessert to share and Fellowship will provide a festive punch to wash down all the yummy treats!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Christmas Joy Offering


The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The Offering distributes gifts equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years and St. Mark has participated for over 20 years. Be a part of adding to that history in 2022.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Worship Prayers---1st Sunday in Advent






God of glory, we know that you are coming at an unexpected hour. Come to us now, in spirit and truth. Take us up into your presence, and make us ready for your reign of peace; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.







God of night and day, there is no shadow that can conceal our sin from you and no secret that you will not bring to light. For our reveling and overindulgence, forgive us, O God. For our debauchery and licentiousness, forgive us, O God. For our quarreling and jealousy, forgive us, O God. Renew us in love, and teach us to live in a way that brings honor and glory to you. We continue to pray in Jesus’ name. (Silent Confession)



AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostles’ Creed





Come with gratitude and joy to the table of the Lord. Bring the works of your hands and the gifts of your lives as an offering of praise. Let us pray…


We give you thanks and praise, O God, for you build up in faith and bind us together in love. By your grace, may all we do show the glory of your name. Amen.

For the complete bulletin, click here.