Welcome to St. John Lutheran Church in Bellefonte, PA. We look forward to welcoming you to our church family.
Message from Pastor Osman
Your Pastor’s Ponderings
Can you hear? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? April has arrived. Spring is sprung -- or at least, it’s supposed to have sprung. It’s a little hard to tell considering how March went out like a lion with all those cold and windy days. But April is here and it’s the dawn of a new morning, a new beginning. Winter is losing its grip and the sounds and smells and seasonings of spring are now upon us.
I put it that way, because to me, April is the beginning of such a sensory season -- full of special sights, sounds, and tastes. When I think of the sounds of spring, I think of the crack of the bat and the cry of the ump -- Play Ball! Indeed, spring means to me that the time for baseball has come -- the smack of the leather, the swish of strikeout, and the thunk of perfect swing of bat vs ball as it sails out of the yard. Then there are the cheerio chirps of the robin at dawn, the buzzing of bees, and the sleigh bell chorus of spring peepers. Spring is full of great sounds.
Next we have the smells of spring -- daffodils and tulips bursting forth, the metallic aroma of new rain, the earthy loam of freshly tilled soil as farmers prep the land, the smoky scent of the first steaks on the grill, the pungence of freshly mown grass, and the first hints of coconut and berries as the first sunscreen is applied. Spring smells wonderful.
And finally, we have the tastes of spring -- the smoky, sweet crunch of fresh dandelion leaves lightly drizzled with warm bacon dressing, the cool milkiness of the first ice cream cone the garlicky tang of ramps, the sweet cinnamon of hot cross buns, the zesty creaminess of egg salad. Spring is full of flavor.
Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? Easter has arrived too. And it occurs to me that the Easter season in the church is just as multi-sensory an experience as April. The sternness of our Lenten disciplines have loosened their grip to make way for the sounds and smells and savoriness of our Easter celebration that rejoices in the Resurrection of our Lord.
Easter begins with one significant sound -- the clarion call of the trumpet echoing through the rafters of the sanctuary melding with the uplifting
blast of the organ pipes and mixing with the cries of Alleluia by God’s people. It is a sound that sends chills up my spine and rivets of joy through my soul. Alleluia with brass and pipe -- it is the noise of life triumphing over death, it is the voice of God and it speaks of promise, hope, mercy, forgiveness, and new beginnings. Could there be a better sound for spring or for Easter?
The Easter season continues by opening the senses with the sweet perfume of lilies filling the pews -- a scent redolent of happy mornings and bright new days. This is the fragrance of Christ and it is the sweet smell of salvation, of victory, of new life. Finally we have the tastes of Easter -- we have bread and wine, we have freshly grilled fish by the seashore, we have the honey of God’s word renewed. This is the flavor of resurrection, this is a faith life seasoned by the Spirit, the promise of Christ’s continued presence throughout our being. These are the sounds, smells, and tastes of Easter. And they are good because God is good.
And this good God has called us through this sensory promise to a life of faith, to a life of discipleship -- a life of loving God, caring for others, and living for Christ. In the coming months, as we look to see God beginning new things here at St. John, I invite you to come get a taste of this discipleship as we begin a special short term Sunday school experience (during April and May) of studying the seven faith practices. This is all so that we might go deep into God’s word, gain the direction of the Spirit in our lives for the days ahead, and grow in discipleship -- in our lives and introduce it to the lives of those around us. Come and join us for this Easter Experience -- taste and see that God is good, hear and know the small, still voice of God in your life. Have a Blessed Easter season.
See you around the sanctuary.
Our worship service is at 9:30 am.
There is Sunday school for all ages at 8:30 am.
Please join us in celebrating the light and blessings of Christ.
"THE LORD'S BASEBALL GAME"
Freddy and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord's team was playing Satan's team.
The Lord's team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate named 'Love.'
Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because 'Love never fails.'
The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.
The next barter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch.
Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked because he never swings at what Satan throws.
The bases were now loaded. The Lord then turned to Freddy and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Freddy said, 'He sure doesn't look like much!'
Satan's whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen! But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.
He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; the roaring crowds went wild as the ball continued over the fence.. for a home run!
The Lord's team won!
The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith and Godly Wisdom could get on base but couldn't' win the game. Freddy answered that he didn't know why.
The Lord explained, 'If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game, you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home.
'For by Grace are you saved, it is a gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.' Ephesians 2:8-9
'For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.' Psalm 84:11