Chariots, Horses, and Elections . . . Oh My!
We live in the midst of a culture that has politicized almost everything. Those who deem themselves to be wise are constantly drawing lines. They are drawing lines and labeling people. We say, “You are a Democrat, I am a Republican.” “I am Pro-Life, but you are Pro-abortion.”
As I write this newsletter article, election day looms one week away. Tensions are high and people are scared on both sides of the aisle. Americans seem to be taking a “winner take all” view of this election. It is, for certain, one of the most important elections in recent history. But how are we, as Christians, called to view worldly politics?
A few weeks ago, we read in our Sunday Gospel lesson Jesus’ statement to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” As noted above, people today are drawing more and more lines of division. Call it what you will (identity politics, intersectionality, race theory), but here in this passage our Lord draws for us His own dividing line between the two kingdoms: the kingdom of this world, and the Kingdom of God.
You and I, as baptized children of the King, belong first and foremost in His kingdom. As Jesus said to Pilate at His trial, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36) The kingdom of God is not concerned with elections, Supreme Court nominations, or the Constitution. It is concerned with the things that are eternal. Our hope does not rest on the outcomes of these political events.
The Twentieth Psalm states:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright. Psalm 20:7-8
So what do we trust? In chariots and cavalry? In a strong economy, technology, or legislation? If these are the things in which we find our ultimate hope, we are pitiable people indeed! Notice the fate of these things: they collapse and fall. They always do…eventually. But our hope lies elsewhere.
As Paul wrote, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil 3:20) Indeed we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our King, and to Him we belong. By His death he reconciled the world to Himself and promises to return to His world. At that time, He will right all wrongs and fix all that is broken. He will transform our lowly bodies into something more glorious than we can understand. The resurrection! Therein lies our hope.
At the end of the day chariots fall into ruin and horses die. Presidents come and go, and usually disappoint, and eventually die. Economies rise and fall, as do entire civilizations. But the Word of the Lord endures forever! Thus, we can take heart regardless of the outcome this November! We can sing confidently with the Psalmist that though the flawed heroes of this age will all “collapse and fall” we will “rise and stand upright.”
Happenings Around S.O.T.V.
|Pastor Woodside Leads Senior High Youth In A Game Of Pictionary|
|Shepherd Parking Lot Cracks
Were Filled In October
Curt Krecklau is back there some place.
Progress is being made on the storage shed by Grayson Lawyer and company.
Pastor John Reinke demonstrates how we are created body, soul, and spirit.
|On October 10 the board of trustees had a work day where hedges around the building were trimmed, light bulbs were replaced, and other winterizing projects were completed.|
|The narthex has been cleaned and reconfigured to allow for social distancing and much of the “clutter” that could be seen on flat surfaces is gone.
THE FOCUS FOR HUMAN CARE for this final quarter of 2020 is the Women’s Health Center. We are planning to host Donna Miller, the director of the center, to present during education hour in the near future.
Thanksgiving Eve Service is Wednesday, November 25, 7:00 PM.
THE BOARD OF YOUTH will be packing Christmas Care Bags for Wachter Middle School students in transition. It is our goal to provide packages for 30 to 40 students consisting of personal care products, hats/gloves, fleece blankets, games, and snacks. A display board and collection location will be setup in the narthex and we will be packaging all items received Sunday December 13th after the late service. Cash will also be accepted and can be given to Laith Hintz, Justin Dever, Tamara Dallmann-Holeton, or Pastor. Please consider supporting this important service project for our community!
“OH, GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD”
Our Father in heaven has claimed us as His own. By the shedding of His Son’s blood, His death for our sins, and His resurrection for our justification, God the Father has received us back into His family. By water – combined with His Word, promise, and Name – the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us. We belong to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is in us, and we are in Him. And, being in Him, all things are ours. In Him, we are richly and abundantly blessed.
Our true treasure is that we belong to the most Holy Trinity, and everything that is His – righteousness, peace, eternal life – also belongs also to us. Even our temporal treasures are gifts from His fatherly divine goodness and mercy.
We receive our treasures from Him, and thus, as good stewards of His varied grace, we manage them in such a way that they may be returned to Him. We bring them to Him, hallowed through prayers of thanksgiving and God’s holy Word, as a sacrifice.
Thus, all our possessions, as gifts from God, are also sacrifices to Him. We eat to nourish our bodies. We share with our family, neighbors, fellow Christians, the poor, and even our enemies as holy things given by the holy God. His temporal gifts are blessings to and for us, and they bring blessings upon us even as they are pressed into His service for His kingdom.
Thus, we place all that we have into God’s hands, and He never fails to remember us. He pours out the fullness of His promises upon us. We give thanks for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. We give thanks by not taking for ourselves, but, giving to all even as our heavenly Father has given to us.
As we prepare for the celebrations of Thanksgiving, may we all give thanks continually for all that we are and all that we have because of God’s providential care. And may we be all the more diligent in bringing everything that we have received from God to Him, so that He may bless it and employ it for the good of all – even for us. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance.
FALL VOTERS’ MEETING SET
November 22 is the date for the Fall Voters’ meeting. The meeting will take place during the education hour starting at 9:30 am. Ministry updates from our boards will be shared. The 2021 annual budget will be presented and considered. In the midst of the challenges that we face as a society and within our congregation, the Lord continues to bless us in tremendous ways.
*Nov 1 Dax L. 815am
Makenna B. 1045am
Nov 8 Brekken Z. 815am
Jason C 1045am
*Nov 15 Taylor B. 815am
Gavin V. 1045am
Nov 22 Shaylee C. 815am
Jensen H. 1045am
*Nov 29 Jason C. 815am
Daisy A. 1045am
Sara Nelson 11/7
Brandy Peterson 11/12
Grace Wolfgram 11/13
Mark Purdy 11/15
Kim Strum 11/15
Jensen Hintz 11/16
Molly Fetzer 11/18
Joy Doll 11/21
Kim Reiner 11/23
Nate Strum 11/25
Jeremy Gildea 11/30
|THE PURPOSE OF SHEPHERD OF THE VALLEY LUTHERAN CHURCH IS TO PROVIDE SPIRITUAL NURTURE THROUGH WORD AND SACRAMENT, LIVE THE FAITH AND REACH INTO THE COMMUNITY WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.|
1-15 Martin Bjergaard
16-30 Ken Purdy
Jim & Sherry Hawley 11/24/61
|Due to covid we are using single prepackaged treats for fellowship . Donations of treats or money in basket is appreciated. It cost around $15 for treats and coffee each Sunday. Thanks! Any questions: Cathy Sitter 400-5545 or Pam Dever 391-6332. Stewardship.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
With all that is going on in the world today and especially dealing with Covid-19, we can be comforted knowing we do not have to rely on our own human understanding, all we need do is “trust in the Lord with our whole heart”.
With Governor Burgum moving Burleigh and Morton counties to the Orange/High risk level in recent weeks, and with the recent decision by the Bismarck City Commission to implement a city-wide “mask strategy, we have made some changes to our guidelines at Shepherd of the Valley as it pertains to worship and other activities in the church building. According to the new Smart Restart guidelines, organizations in counties at the Orange/High risk level are encouraged to limit occupancy to 25% or a maximum of 50 people and are also highly encouraged to require masks. The primary change made at Shepherd in following these guidelines is strongly encouraging masks be worn when entering/leaving and moving about the building. Once seated for worship, education hour, or meetings and “socially distanced” from others not in your family, masks may be removed as you feel comfortable. Masks are available at the entryway of the church if you are in need of one.
In addition to this new guideline we continue to make every effort to provide a safe and secure environment by limiting seating to every other row of pews/chairs, cleaning and sanitizing between events as necessary, making hand sanitizer available, having the offering plate at the entrance to the sanctuary instead of passing the plate, taking extra steps when serving communion. If you have any suggestions of things we could be doing that would possibly make people more comfortable as we continue this unprecedented journey, please let me, Pastor Wolfgram or Woodside, or one of the Elders know.
Pastor Woodside Transition
The transition of Pastor Woodside into the ministry at Shepherd of the Valley continues to progress smoothly. It is almost becoming second nature to refer to him as Pastor Woodside instead of Vicar Woodside, without even thinking about it. While we didn’t see much of Pastor Woodside during October (as he was at Bethel), he continued to video record the weekly lessons for presentation during Sunday School hour on Sunday mornings. With the exception of the 1st Sunday in November, Pastor Woodside will be at Shepherd the remainder of the month. We continue to look forward to the many blessings God has in store for us through Pastor Woodside and this shared ministry with Bethel.
The Fall Voters’ Assembly will take place on November 22nd between worship services. The primary agenda item will be presentation of the 2021 operating budget and will also include updates from the Church Council and boards/committees.
Your Brother in Christ,