Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Shepherd of Peace – Dec. 2012

Come, Lord Jesus

“Come, Lord Jesus” is the prayer of Advent. It expresses the yearning of the baptized faithful to be set free once and for all from the corruption of sin in our lives and the evil and suffering of this world. “Come, Lord Jesus” expresses the hope that one day we will live without sin, without pain, and without suffering. “Come, Lord Jesus” expresses the hope of the resurrection of the body and the belief that the joy of eternal life is found only in Him who loved us and died for our sins.

When the Son of God was born of Mary’s flesh, there was great joy as the angels sang of His birth and the shepherds and Wise Men went to the manger to worship. But the aged Simeon prophesied at Jesus’ presentation that the joyous birth of this Child would lead to bitter suffering and death. He was destined for the fall and rising of many. King Herod ordered the slaughter of innocent babies to try to kill Him. Mary and Joseph fled with the baby Jesus to Egypt.

Herod did not succeed in murdering the Christ child. But what Herod failed to do when Jesus was a baby, the High Priest and elders of the people succeeded in doing when Jesus was a man. They nailed Him to a cross. “He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.”  But it was all “for us and for our salvation” that He suffered and died. “The third day He rose again from the dead” and, from the position of authority at the Father’s right hand, “He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead.”

So we pray: “Come, Lord Jesus!” Our yearning for Him is intensified by the things under which we suffer. But this is as it should be for through such suffering we learn of His love and we learn faith’s prayer ever more fervently: “Come, Lord Jesus!” Our yearning for Jesus is like His yearning for the Father from the cross. There He was with the weight of the world’s sins upon His shoulders. There He was suffering our punishment, the wrath of God, and the condemnation of hell, and still He believed in the Father saying, “Father forgive them . . . I thirst for Thee . . . Father, into your hands I commit My Spirit.” Jesus is our Savior because He never stopped believing. He never stopped yearning for the freedom from sin and for eternal life with the Father.

That’s why we who have been baptized into Christ are called His followers. We follow Him in faith. We follow Him in suffering. We follow Him in death. And we shall follow Him in the resurrection to eternal life. “Come, Lord Jesus” is the prayer of the baptized faithful.

In Christ,

Pastor Bender

Academy & Cherub Choirs Sing at Sussex Mill

From Sussex and Pewaukee, from Mequon, Milwaukee, and Grafton, from Mayville and Waterloo, gathering like the nations, “a multitude comes from the east and the west, to sit at the feast of salvation.” Almost every Friday afternoon, at the end of a long day and a long week of school, they trickle in from cars and vans to start rehearsal at 4:15 pm. They can be anywhere in age from kindergarten to eighth grade, and “like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, obeying the Lord’s invitation,” they gather to sing the grand anthem of salvation. They are the members of the Academy and Cherub choirs who attend public school or are homeschooled; they are children of members and non-members, committing to sing at divine services throughout the academic year and at special events.

One such special event was Nov. 16. Following Friday’s rehearsal-as-usual, stuffed with preparations for Thanksgiving, joined together with academy students, the combined Academy and Cherub choirs walked into the darkness and the word of God went out, singing. Like the Apostles to Jerusalem, the group headed north to Sussex Mill apartments, a residential retirement community that has long-supported the academy through fundraisers like the monthly fish fries. This year alone, the residents have purchased 250 dinners.

Directed by Pastor Bender and accompanied on piano by Kathy May with a crew of paparazzi parents, the choirs sang of the mercy of the Lord in English, German (“Ihr Kinderlein, kommet”), and Latin (“In Dulci Jubilo”). The thirty-minute concert was a “thank you” card for Sussex Mill’s support of the academy and an invitation to the Thanksgiving service, the Sussex Tree Lighting, and the service of Lessons and Carols. By the final note, the faces of the audience of forty residents and invited family members were smiling, brightened by the Lord’s music and His children.

  A gallery of pictures of the academy community sing at Sussex Mill can be found on our parish academy website under “Picture Gallery.”

 The Academy Choir will also be singing with Accompany of Kids (AOK) in their “An Extraordinary Merry Christmas” concert on Dec. 15, 7 pm, Menomonee Falls North Auditorium, N88 W16750 Garfield Dr. Tickets are available at the door: $8 Adult; $7 Student/Senior.

Successful Christmas Craft Fair

Laughter was heard from down the hall, the rooms buzzed lightly as sellers chatted with customers, and shoppers inquired about products from Gatchell’s Wood’N Crafts at the third annual Christmas craft and vendor fair Saturday, Nov. 10. As visitors entered the academy doors, enthusiastic volunteers greeted them and passed them a map for the displays of twenty-four vendors. Browsers turned into buyers, leaving with packages from Pampered Chef, Arbonne, or American Girl from tables in Loehe Hall, the Latin Room, and Mrs. Laubenstein’s classroom.

The steady traffic of customers, an increase over last year’s fair, was the result of improved advertising, a dose of good weather, and some personal invitations. Larry Martin’s neighbors came to visit, but when it became known they wanted to find a place for their sixth grade daughter to play in an orchestra, Larry introduced them to Jeannine Gabel, Kara Rhode and Sarah May, members of Peace’s string ensemble. Pastor Bender invited the family to attend church the following day. Other people who came looking for gifts admired the sanctuary woodwork, having met its craftsman, Al Gabel, at one of the booths.

“By making connections such as this within the community, we open avenues for future attendance in fundraising activities, we make possible connections with future students and student families, and we also have the opportunity to share the many blessings available at Peace Lutheran Church and Academy,” said Jim Frerking, Director of Financial Development. “The nearly $2,000 that was raised from the vendors, bake sale and concessions is a tremendous help to the Academy operations. Additionally, events such as this bring people and families into our building who may otherwise never have reason to visit us. As always, there was a dedicated group of academy students, former students, parents and friends of the academy who donated their time to help run the event and pull it off smoothly. Their continued service in this area is greatly appreciated.”

The Goods and Services Auction, Sunday, Feb. 24, 11–4 pm at Silver Springs Country Club, offers a live and silent auction, a fine-buffet lunch, and another opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to Peace.

 If you’re looking to promote your business at our auction through a donation of goods or services, call: 262-246-3200 or email: deacon@peacesussex.org.

 

Giving Q & A: Year-end Donations

Deacon Gatchell answers questions on church administration.

 

Q: As the year comes to a close, members often desire to give beyond their regular, monthly offering. What are some of the ways members can give or designate their offerings?

 

A: The easiest way for members to give extra is to give to the General Fund (that is the fund from which all operating items are paid from). To give to the General Fund, use one of the weekly offering envelopes or seasonal envelopes. Giving to the General Fund allows the leadership the most flexibility in taking care of the congregation’s financial obligations. If there is more than is needed, the extra will be put into the Money Market account and saved for a “rainy day” or to pay down on the Line of Credit.

Members can give to pay down the mortgage. To do this, use the Designated Gift envelope and write in “Mortgage Principal.”

Also, members can give to the Goehner Scholarship Fund which aids seminary and other church-work students from the congregation, to the 50/50 Fund, or to the Facilities/Grounds Endowment Fund. For gifts to these three items, use the Designated Gift envelope and check the appropriate item.

Additionally, gifts may be given to the academy or CCA.

 

Isaiah, Messiah, Handel and Bender

Performing his own version of textual coloring, Pastor Bender capped off Coffee Break Bible Study with an explanation of G.F. Handel’s Messiah. The popular oratorio describing the incarnation, passion and resurrection of Christ contains numerous quotations from Isaiah. For over a year, lectionary readings from Isaiah have been the topic of Bible study on Thursday morning.

Beginning with the opening call of the Gospel, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people” (Isa 40:1), the impact of Messiah on Pastor Bender’s life has been as a divine romance. Directing an imaginary choir and orchestra as a young child and singing arias himself as he got older, each passing recitative deepened his love and understanding of the scriptures which proclaim the Gospel of the Messiah that Handel’s Baroque music both enfolds and elaborates.

While Pastor expounded upon the oratorio, explaining how musical forms such as a da capo aria interplaying with the text allows for meditation upon the scriptures, students followed along with the printed words. Some students, like Ralph and Hilde Fischer, brought full scores of the masterpiece and were moving instinctively as the music played, directing silently and mouthing words they themselves have sung. Another student, Kathy May, was simultaneously caught up in the moment and transferred in time, flooded in family memories as the bass singer resounded the words, “The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible” (1 Cor 15:52).

In closing, Pastor taught that when Handel finished his well-known “Hallelujah Chorus,” purportedly, the composer said, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself.” Yet, the brilliance of Handel’s Messiah, an inspired work written in twenty-three days, is eclipsed by the Son of God, the Beloved to whom the Scriptures and Handel’s music points. “You want to know what it is to be the “Everlasting Father,” the “Prince of Peace,” the one whose name is “Wonderful,” it is centered in Him who is the Lamb of God,” said Pastor.

Pastor Bender has begun a new Bible study, the Gospel of Luke, with occasional readings from Matthew Harrison’s A Little Book on Joy. Coffee Break Bible Study meets Thursdays, 9 am.

Shepherd of Peace Dec 2012

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

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