March Bethlehem Star
From the Pastor’s Desk
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The Lenten hymn Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow includes this line, “Soon shall come the great awak’ning, soon the rending of the tomb! Then the scatt’ring of all shadows, and the end of toll and gloom.” The hymn also refers to the promised land. The promised land is a major theme in Scripture. For the Israelites it was the wilderness journey’s goal, a home at last, a fulfilling of God’s promise. The promised land is often too a synonym for heaven, a place with our Lord after death. Both images are true for us.
We long for a time and place when the shadows are scattered, the darkness gives way to light, toil and gloom come to a decisive end. “Soon shall come the great awakening, soon the rending of the tomb!” Our Lenten journey travels through the cross to that great gettin’ up morning, Easter and resurrection.
The promised land, it calls us forward through the wilderness. It paints a picture of welcome, security, homecoming, especially for people who are oppressed and victimized around the world. We pray for the refugees and homeless, political prisoners, those excluded, exiled and left out. We pray for those who must flee their homelands to escape drug cartels and dictatorial governments. They long for a promised land for their children.
All of us look for a Great Awakening don’t we? A time and place when justice happens, truth wins, sin and death meet their match in the grace of a loving God. Promised land, promised home and place, a promised time when justice arrives, peace reigns, resurrection to new life happens; this is our hope in Christ our Lord. Even now, especially now, we engage in the work our God has set before us as we trust in the One who breaks open tombs.
A note from the council
The days are beginning to lengthen and the light is growing stronger. Spring will be making itself known sooner rather than later and that is comforting as I sit at my computer this morning looking at the snow blowing on this (another) subzero temperature day.
Even when it seems like we are overcome by the darkness at times in life, we keep seeking the Light of the world. I think these past 12 months we each have experienced some form of darkness as we maneuver the changes in our lives. No explanation needed as we all watch the news.
Christ alone is this Light. He is a constant source of hope and assurance.
In our prayers, we are thankful for this hope. We will continue to pray for His guidance as we maneuver the challenges life presents us.
Holden Evening Prayer Services
Holden Evening Prayer Services will continue on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. on March 3, 10, 17, and 24. Our theme for the season of Lent will be The Sacred Journey based on the book of Philippians. Members of Bethlehem will share some key moments in their own journeys of faith. We continue our safety measures with social distancing and the wearing of masks.
Lutheran World Hunger Boxes
We will be giving you the opportunity to give to World Hunger during Lent by providing World Hunger boxes. These boxes can be taken home and set on your table as a reminder of those that are hungry. Put your loose coins or dollar bills in the box and return it on Easter Sunday.
Please pick up a box and take it home to begin 40 days of giving.
Food for Thought
Meet on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m.
Book: “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate
Meet at the Church
Easter Lily Donations
Easter Lily donations will begin March 1st. Please have your donation and form turned in to the collection plate or the church office by March 28th.
Ecumenical Holy Week Services
There will not be any Ecumenical Holy Week Services this year sponsored by the Vinton Area Ministerial Association. The offerings collected at these services is used to provide food and fuel for those in need in our community. If you would like to donate toward this ministry please make out your check to VAMA and send to the church office at 1206 C Avenue, Vinton, IA 52349.
During the sacred season of Lent, bring me closer to you. Prepare a place in my home and heart for silence and solitude, so that I may re-discover the grace of a prayer-full life.
Help me to fast from those things that threaten the well-being of body and soul and remind me of the grace of simplicity.
Enlarge my heart so that I give to those in need and, in so doing, re-discover the grace of gratitude and generosity.
May this season be a grace-filled time to rekindle my love for and faith in you.
Benton County Food Pantry
The Benton County Food Pantry will accept food, paper products, personal hygiene, or monetary donations.
Please send your donation to:
Benton County Food Pantry
PO Box 3
Vinton, IA 52349
Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
We have remembered the following in prayers
during the month of February. If you are missed off this list, our sincere apologies.
For health, healing and comfort: Jerry Hanna, Duane Mangold, Ainsley Adams, Ellen Tempus, Andrea Bachman, Jim Woolison, Larry Nudd, Rollin Banderob, Kay West, Jim Dahl
March Server Schedule
Month of March:
Acolytes: Emma & Brant Dickisnon
Altar Guild: Judy Renken, Linda Wallace
Council Lock-Up: Rob Hanson
March 7th & 14th
Lector: Lois Martin
Ushers: John & Shirale Hanson
Counters (7th): Tim Jorgensen, Pat Gardner
Counters (14th): Pat Gardner, Gary Simnacher
March 21st & 28th
Lector: Dennis Eden
Ushers: Eric & Rachel Dickinson
Counters (21st): Gary Simnacher, Kimmit/Judy Renken
Counters (28th): Kimmit/Judy Renken, Roxann Harms