ST. PAUL’S PRAYER
In the midst of his letter to the church at Rome St. Paul offered up a brief prayer for the church. He prayed, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Ro. 15:13) The apostle prayed that we may be filled with joy and peace. Who wouldn’t want that? But how do we achieve it?
Joy and peace come from God who is described as “the God of hope.” William Barclay wrote about a certain church that was facing a critical emergency. The church board met and the chairman of the board began the meeting by praying, “Almighty and eternal God, whose grace is sufficient for all things, etc.” Following the prayer the chairman opened the meeting with the words, “Gentlemen, the situation in this church is completely hopeless, and nothing can be done.” Barclay commented, “Either the prayer was composed of empty and meaningless words, or that statement is untrue.”
When St. Paul spoke of the God of hope, he meant exactly what he said. His words were backed up by his life. When unjustly thrown into prison at Philippi, he and Silas sang songs at midnight. (Acts 16:25) Ill treatment did not diminish their sense of joy and peace.
Before we became Christians, we were “strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12) Without God, there is no hope and without hope, there is no joy or peace. People have always tried to achieve joy and peace without God. They seek joy and peace through human relationships, money, power, professions, houses and possessions, or pleasure and entertainment. But, joy and peace cannot be had apart from God. As St. Augustine put it, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
The path to joy and peace begins with believing. “Joy and peace in believing” is how St. Paul put it. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we may be reconciled to God the Father. Once justified and adopted into the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we are the beneficiaries of all of God’s promises. And what are those promises? Eternal life, which is life on a scale that is now unimaginable. (Jn. 10:10) The promise of the resurrection and an eternal home with the Lord in a new and righteous world. (Jn. 14:1-3; II Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1-4)
Every Christian already has peace objectively, because we have been justified and our guilt has been assumed by our Savior Jesus Christ. But, St. Paul prayed that we might have a sense of peace and joy in our everyday lives. Peace and joy are derivative. They do not exist in themselves, but exist in conjunction with a certain style of life. Peace and joy exist as the effect of faith and hope. Notice that hope is mentioned twice in this one sentence prayer. It is “joy and peace in believing” in the “God of hope.” We cannot go directly to joy and peace and possess them. We may achieve a degree of joy and peace through psychological techniques or by taking certain medications and drugs. Both, however, are temporary and artificial. As Christians, we are after the real thing, which only comes from God. It begins with faith in Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, which leads to hope as we anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promises to us. The end result is peace and joy, which are not just psychological states. There are no short cuts to true joy and peace. We must walk by faith and fill our minds with expectant hope. If we do so consistently day by day, we will then experience the joy and peace for which St. Paul prayed. This joy and peace should characterize the life of every Christian.
By Rev. F. M. Levi
The St. Andrew’s Preschool Open House took place Sunday, August 22, 2009. Classes began Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009. We thank God for an increase in the enrollment and pray that we will have a good year of ministry to the children. We welcome Gloria Dixon, the new Preschool Teacher.
Bishop Royal U. Grote was with us Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009, for his annual episcopal visit. The church service was followed by a pot luck luncheon in the parish hall. Thank you to all who were here to greet and visit with Bishop Grote.
Sunday School resumed on Rally Day, Sept. 6, 2009. Following church there was a picnic on the church lawn. Everyone had an enjoyable time eating and watching the children play games and launch balloons.
Loretta Sellers’ father, Nikola Silic, passed away August 29, 2009. Our prayers are with Loretta, her mother Margaret, and the entire family.
HOMECOMING SUNDAY, October 4, 2009
Pot Luck luncheon following church
ANNUAL SYNOD of the Diocese of Mid-America
The Cathedral of St. Mathias
October 15 & 16, 2009
Please pray for this important event.
October 31, 2009
Fall back one hour
NEXT WOMAN’S GUILD MEETING
Sunday, November 1, 2009, following the worship service
WOMAN’S GUILD ANNUAL SPAGHETTI DINNER
Saturday, November 7, 2009 5:00 - 7:00 P.M.
Tickets: Adults, $6.00; Children 6-18 years, $3.00;
Children 5 and under, FREE
Family tickets can also be purchased for $15.00.
October 12, 2009
MISSIONARIES OF THE MONTH
Bishop Gerhard & Grace Meyer, Youth/Camp/Pastoral Ministries, Germany
Oct. 2 - Sophia Levi
Oct. 5 - Janet Novak
Oct. 12 - Cheryl Yapp
Oct. 17 - Carla Yehnert
Oct. 19 - Ireti Olajide
Oct. 27 - Annamarie Sellers
PRAYER COMFORT LOSS
by Helen Kitchell Evans
My dear one is no longer
A part of my daily life.
No longer faces illness
In this world of pain and strife.
But is still my very own
For warm memories surround me
And I never feel alone.
God comforts, gives me courage
To face my challenges each day;
He gives sustaining strength
And takes the pain of loss away.
Life, I know, is eternal and
I find comfort in my prayers,
In knowing that my loved one’s
Soul is with the “Man Upstairs”.
by Helen Kitchell Evans
Fall brings us rich rewards;
The harvest of abundant grain,
A lingering warmth of feeling
Across the valley and the plain.
In this season we recapture the
Abiding love of our friends;
The wonders of God’s world;
His greatness never ends.
Today let’s go out for a stroll
And call upon someone in need;
Gladden the hearts of the aged or
Go wherever our Lord might lead.
We do not
We remember moments.
- Cesare Pavese