For The 5th Sunday after The Epiphany | February 6
“It shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
The glory of a garden belongs not to the plants but to the gardener. The beauty of the clay pot belongs not to the clay but to the potter. The victory on the field is secured not by the leather ball but by the players. The residents trapped in the house aflame are not praised for their bravery but the firefighters that saved them.
Thus when the people of God were delivered from exile in Babylonia, neither Cyrus received honor as God’s chosen instrument nor the Israelites that returned gathered the praise for being delivered but the Lord and Him alone. For He will not share His glory and honor with any other; no other god created and no other is the beginning and the end; He speaks and brings into being. Even as the standing stones that commemorated Israel’s passage through the Jordan as the work of the Lord, that Israel would remember Him (Joshua 4), Israel’s life and salvation stand as a memorial for the Lord and His grace.
Our Father the Creator receives our thanksgiving and obedience for the rain and snow, which water the earth and then generate the seed and harvest. How much more, then, does He receive majesty and praise and blessing from us, that His Name — His Person and reputation — are declared, for He has delivered us. The fact of our salvation, our rescue from death and our inheritance of life is not to our praise; we stand as the living testimony to the lavish grace washing over us. “In love our Father predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
His Word has accomplished His purpose in us, for He has brought us to faith, which is not our doing but the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), and He preserves us, for He is faithful (Hebrews 6:17,18). Neither famine nor flood, neither persecution nor poverty, neither riches nor rage, neither powers above and unseen nor powers below and seen shall cut us off from the Lord; He shall not abandon us. And for our assurance, He has supplied us with the Guarantor of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit, until we acquire possession of the eternal inheritance of the new creation, to the praise of His glory.
SAVE THE DATE
March 5, 2022
2022 LWML CNH Zone 8 Prayer Service
Prayer may be simple or complex — silent or corporate — memorized or free-flowing from our heart. It is a conversation with God and shows our love for our heavenly Father. The 2022 Prayer Service, based on Luke 11:1, “Lord, Teach us to Pray,” looks at various forms of prayer used frequently by believers as we seek to honor Christ, the Lord of the Church, with our prayers. LWML thanks Rev. Grimm for authoring the 2022 LWML Prayer Service.
Saturday, March 05, 2022
10:00 AM Prayer Service
In-person & Zooming Live
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Palo Alto, CA
The Rev. Stewart Crown, Prayer Leader
If joining virtually, email your RSVP for the Zoom Link & Service bulletin to:
Mary Deger Seevers firstname.lastname@example.org
& Lori Fisher email@example.com
It will be posted to YouTube for Later Viewing
The 3rd Sunday after The Epiphany | January 23
2 Kings 5:1-16
An unlikely recipient of God’s kindness is this great man, given much success and heroic in his calling though beset by a chronic debilitating disease. Could that be Naaman … or you? Who of us should have the Lord Almighty wave His hand over us or bathe us in the water or come to our homes or take us by the hand, raising us from a bed of affliction? Yes, each and every one of us … unlikely recipients of God’s kindness.
Give thanks that the Word has been spoken to you, and with water empowered by that lively Word you are born from above, renewed in the Spirit before God and whose flesh shall be born from the grave in vigorous and imperishable manner.
And what shall we render to the Lord for all His benefits to us? Let us lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord; and we will offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord in the presence of all His people.
+ + +
Beginning January 23 the Sunday Service Schedule will change:
9:30 a.m. (no longer 9:00 a.m.) Communion (also on Zoom)
10:45 / 11:00 a.m. Bible Study (later start time)
12:30 p.m. Communion (this service is not affected by the 9:30 a.m. service start).
Walk For Life West Coast
Saturday, January 22nd
West Portal Lutheran Church & School Parish Hall
11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
travel to Civic Center Plaza
12:30 p.m. Speakers
1:30 p.m. Walk for Life
For Epiphany 2 | 2022 January 16
18 Moses said, “Please show me Your glory.” 19 And He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”
St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, wrote: “I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” (3 John 13,14). Those were his options: ink on parchment or face to face. Which would you prefer? Texting and emails constantly fall short; “facetime” is far better—but not through a screen, for a face-to-face presence allows you to know the person, without a mask and without photoshopping and without layers manipulating appearances. We seek words and appearances that are in harmony and in perfect union.
Moses wanted to see, to know, to have communion with God face to face, a personal conversation unshielded by burning bush or stormy clouds. He sought the unhindered revelation of God. Yet who could stand in the Presence of the Lord, in His Glory, since the day that the man and woman were no longer ashamed but hid themselves?
Only One has made God known: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known” (John 1:18) In Christ Jesus we see the Father’s face; we have the true image of the unseen God, the fullness of grace and mercy that Moses longed for (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6). For God has not turned away His face; He lifts up His face to look upon you—to shine upon you with His face and to assure you of His peace (Numbers 6:24-26). Our Father is not angry with you; His Word, Jesus spoken loudly and clearly in His ministry unto death and vindicated in the resurrection and ascension, reveals His face, His favor, His love for you. He is gracious to you, and He shows mercy to you. In the name of Jesus “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Moses had a glimpse of the backside of God, and with Elijah he saw more fully at the Transfiguration. Now we “see” through the Word; we see in a mirror dimly; but then when He appears we shall be like Him—then you also will appear with Him in glory—because we shall see Him as He is, for then face to face, to know fully, even as we have been fully known (1 John 3:1; Colossians 3:4; 1 Corinthians 13:12).
For The Epiphany of Our Lord (observed) | January 9
Israel had turned off its light, the light by which the nation would have demonstrated that it had been chosen by the God of grace to the peoples of the world. Rather “Be light as He is Light”, it had become darkness and gloom—lies in the court, blood in the streets, the blind were leading the blind, and good condemned (read Isaiah 59). No one—there was no righteous advocate—could have interceded for Israel before the Lord; so the Lord, according to His own faithfulness, would deliver Israel from its sin destined for destruction and raise a Redeemer. That is the Light that Isaiah promised.
As a moth to the flame, so the magi to the Light; they were not the first Gentiles to hope in the Lord (recall Rahab and Ruth), but they were the first Gentiles to offer their worship—praises, along with gold and frankincense (the wealth of the nations)—to the Redeemer in His flesh and blood. The Christ Jesus is the righteous work of God revealed, how God rescues according to His covenant. Jesus is the Light, for He the truth of God shines and He the Glory of the Lord reveals the salvation of God. God delivers from darkness—our unrighteousness—in no other way except through the brightness of His righteousness, Jesus. His genuine obedience and perfected faithfulness, the true Light shining, radiantly shine on us through the Word and Communion, that we walk not in the old man’s night but in faith.
The Light’s brilliance had just begun to enlighten the world when the magi arrived; we see more fully after His death and resurrection; but at His return, neither sun nor moon will light the days, for we shall behold His fullness of Presence.
For The Second Sunday after Christmas | January 2
And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.”
The Word of God had created faith in Abraham; and Abraham had delivered the word of the Lord to his son Isaac and then Isaac Jacob. In each man the word created faith, a basket in which to catch the Lord’s gifts. So when the Lord calls to Jacob, he responds with words that are ready to receive and to serve: “Here I am”. He does not hide among the bushes; he offers no excuse; the Lord is the master and he the servant, and the servant has but one will: to hear and to do what the master desires.
Yet wasn’t the promise to possess the land of Canaan? Wasn’t the promise for the family to be fruitful and multiply in that place? How could they be a blessing when God seems to be disassembling what He promised to create? The Lord assures Jacob that though the promise seems to head in the wrong direction—he will die outside of the land of promise—He will keep His word.
To our experience and brief sojourn in this life, it can appear that we are backtracking, the Lord is reversing course, the work of God is being undone. “Here am I” could be a risky response … maybe even committing oneself to a dead end. Yet … years later … many years later … the Lord returned Jacob and His people to Canaan. Foremost, keep your eyes fastened on Jesus. For He always from the heart responded “Here am I; I am here to do Your will” even to the cross. An apparent public disaster … until God kept His promise, raising Him from the grave.
Your “Here am I”, having been created by God’s Word, will not be disappointed. You have the Scriptures that testify to God’s faithfulness. He occupies His entire universe; so He will be with us wherever He sends us. And He will bring us up. Not to the land of Canaan but into the new creation.
Teaching Children about God's Design for Marriage
If you are not familiar with the CPH blog, you will find robust biblical and faithful support for your calling as Christian parents. I urge you to read this and follow the links; you cannot be disappointed.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3
Walk For Life West Coast
WHEN: Saturday, January 22nd 2022, 10:30am
SPEAKER: Erin Maggard. She is the wife of a Lutheran pastor & an IT professional. Having decades ago gone through the pain of an abortion, she’s now able to help others as a pro-life speaker.
TOPIC: “Life After Abortion!”
West Portal Lutheran Church & School Parish Hall
200 Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94132
Tel. (415)661-0242 URL WestPortalLutheran.org
(Parking on small parking lot & on streets around the church & school.)
11:30 am to 12:15 - travel to Civic Center Plaza
12:30 pm Speakers:
Lila Rose. Speaker, writer, activist for the unborn. President of Live Action, a human rights nonprofit with the largest footprint for global pro-life
Christi Hockel Davenport. A witness to the full life those with Down’s Syndrome can experience. A Fellow of Concordia University, Irvine
The Rev. Clenard Childress. One of most respected leaders in the pro-life movement. Winner of many awards. Founder of BlackGenocide.org
1:30 pm Walk for Life
Each day in Advent will have a Bible reading, a short devotional, and a prayer. This year the readings and devotions will take their course through the structure of the book of Malachi as the Lord’s prophet preaches on the love of God, faithless worship, faithless marriages, and faithless offerings. Malachi is a prophet calling God’s people to repent. He is also preparing the way for John the Baptist and of course our Lord Jesus Christ.
left: Godspeed and Farewell to Joshua Eggold [August 8]. After six years and achieving a well-deserved doctorate, Trinity bid farewell to Joshua, who has moved to Philadelphia.
right: Our God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—adopted, through the Holy Baptism, Madeline Hallie Dorn, the daughter of Tim Dorn and Katherine Stalder (on bench) [September 12]. Madeline was born December 14, 2020. Her sponsors for Holy Baptism are her great aunt, Barbara Allen, and aunt, Julia Stalder.
For the near future, Trinity will retain its two service schedule on Sunday, for we recognize that not all members and guests may be comfortable coming to church on Sunday because of the number of people.
9:00 a.m. Communion (and on Zoom)
10:15 a.m. Bible study (and on Zoom)
12:30 p.m. Communion
No longer is registration a requisite for services.
Requirement to Wear Face Coverings Indoors. Regardless of vaccination status, all persons must wear face coverings at all times when indoors except:
in their own residence or working in a closed room or office alone or with members of their household;
when they are actively performing an activity that cannot be done while wearing a face covering (e.g., actively eating or drinking, swimming or showering in a fitness facility, or obtaining a medical or cosmetic service requiring removal of a face covering); or,
as specifically exempted from use of face coverings under the guidance of CDPH at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx (e.g., to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or where a face covering poses a safety risk).
We will not ask you if you are vaccinated and will not screen you or visitors upon entry. You do not need your vaccination card and we will not ask for it.
The rope barriers have been removed.
You may sit farther away from people as space allows.
Communion distribution will return to normal.
I encourage you to return to the practice of using the chalice rather than the individual cups.
The evidence to this date suggests that the risk difference between individual cups and the common cup is very small, and the risk level is about the same.
You may stand at the communion rail rather than kneel. I do not believe kneeling poses any risk at this point, but there are lots of reasons a person may prefer to stand rather than kneel.
I encourage you to consider what your long-term practice has been and will be, and why.
Service Books and Bulletins
The congregation will use the hymnbook.
The large format online bulletin will be sent to all.
The offering pouches will remain at the nave doors.
You will not be ushered out at the end of the service. Visit as long as you like (or until the Bible study begins).
I am comfortable with greetings being back to normal.
Greet as you are comfortable.
Bible Classes and Sunday School
Bible classes are also free to meet and use the facilities as needed.
Please recognize that the experiences of each member have differed and therefore their comfort level and willingness to resume what might be called pre-pandemic practices will not be the same as yours. Be compassionate and kind toward each other; just because you are comfortable with hugging, shaking hands, etc., does not mean that everyone else is comfortable. Give members and guests space, and try to communicate with each other about your own comfort level.
Has all of this become tiresome? Yes. I thank our God that you have exercised patience and learned how to adapt. He is merciful, and we pray this will be near the end of Covid-19 for us.
Trinity will continue to care for her members as best as we can.
In His peace,
In the name of the Lord Jesus, we welcome Anna, Geri, and Stephen Gustafson as members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Stephen was baptized shortly after birth and has maintained membership at LC-MS congregations his entire life. At a young age, he desired to serve as a pastor or in the military, ultimately deciding to serve in the military. Geri came to the faith later in life and began attending Resurrection Lutheran Church in Santa Clara. Instructed in the evangelical Lutheran confession, Geri was confirmed the year before her marriage to Stephen in 2003. Born in late 2010, Anna was baptized in the Spring of 2011 and currently attends Apostles Lutheran School in San Jose, where Geri also serves as the Transitional Kindergarten After-care Administrator. Stephen works at Applied Materials and continues to serve in the US Navy, where he has 23 years of active and reserve service. The Gustafsons reside in southwest San Jose with their three cats.