GoodNewsGood NewsPage 1March 2021Newsletter of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Our Saviour420 North Progress AvenueHarrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,As I write this article, I am thinking about the Second Sunday in Lent, March 8, 2020. What is significantabout that Sunday? That was the last “normal” in-person Sunday we had. On that Sunday we had two services at8:30 and 10:45am. Since that Sunday, however, everything has changed because of the pandemic. It has been ayear now.When the pandemic hit, we began recording our services. Then, we began holding worship outside. Thenwe came back inside, but with certain protocols in place. We limited the number of people in the sanctuary to 25,and we used the fellowship hall as overflow space. But then we had to discontinue in-person services, and so webegan to livestream our worship. And now we have come to the one year anniversary since our worship life hadbeen disrupted.When I think about this disruption to our worship life, I think about Prisca (short for “Priscilla”) and Aquila.Have I ever told you about Prisca and Aquila? If not, let me share with you their story. You see, Prisca and Aquilawere a married Christian couple who lived during the early Church, during the time of the apostle Paul. In fact, Paulwas good friends with this married couple. Paul met them when he started the church in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3;1 Cor 16:19). But Prisca and Aquila did not call Corinth their home. No, they had been living in Rome. But theRoman Emperor Claudius had kicked the Jews out of Rome because of the disturbances the Jews caused at theinstigation of “Chrestus,” as the ancient historian Suetonius reports. “Chrestus” is no doubt referring to JesusChrist. Apparently, there was so much tension between Jews and Christians in Rome that Claudius responded byexpelling them. The Jews were expelled but so were the Christians of Jewish descent. And so, Prisca and Aquilaalong with other Jewish Christians left Rome.Now, when Emperor Claudius died, so did his edict which expelled the Jews and Jewish Christians die withhim. The ban was lifted and so the Jews and Jewish Christians could return to Rome, which is what Prisca andAquila did. Indeed, when Paul writes to the Romans, Prisca and Aquila are now back in Rome (Rom 16:3-5a). Itneeds to be noted that in the interim, when the Jewish Christians were absent from the churches in Rome, theGentile Christians maintained the faith there. Gentile Christians, you see, had not been expelled. But when theJewish Christians retuned there was apparently some tension between the Gentile and Jewish Christians. No doubtthe Gentile Christians had enjoyed doing things their way in the churches, but the Jewish Christians wanted to bereceived on equal footing.Imagine then what it must have been like for Prisca and Aquila and the Jewish Christians to finally return totheir former church communities after the elapse of so much time away. The estimates of exactly how long theJewish Christians were away from Rome are anywhere from 3 or 4 years to a decade or more. No one knows forsure. What would it have been like to see their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ again? What would it havebeen like to restart their ministry together? What would it have been like to be the family of God again? I notedthat there were some challenges, and Paul wrote his letter to the Roman churches to help them cope with thosechallenges. Hopefully they were able to get passed them and recognize that they had work to do together in serviceto the kingdom of God.Sisters and brothers in Christ, we will get back to worshipping again together in-person. One day we willexperience the joy and delight of returning to our church home, like Prisca and Aquila. But for now we continue tobe in a holding pattern. We continue to be like refugees or exiles. It is not what any one of us would want, but thesafety and health of our church family is priority one. We just need to be a little more patient, as weare beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.In Christ, Pastor Joel Petruschke
Good NewsPage 2The Lessons for February 2021Lenten Weekly ServiceMarch 7 — Lent 3Exodus 20:1-17Psalm 191 Corinthians 1:18-25John 2:13-22During Lent we will be holding mid-week jointLenten services with Good Shepherd LutheranChurch. We will meet each Wednesday eveningat Good Shepherd located at 3700 Rutherford St.,Harrisburg. The evening prayer service, starting at 7 pm willbe held in their Nave. We will meet on March 3rd, 10th, 17th,and 24th. Everyone is invited to join us. These services willalso be streamed live on their Facebook page.March 14 — Lent 4Numbers 21:4-9Psalm 107:1-3, 17-2Ephesians 2:1-10John 3:14-21March 21 — Lent 5Jeremiah 31:31-34Psalm 51:1-12Hebrews 5:5-10John 12:20-33Don’t Forget to “Spring Forward”!Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 14th. Don’tforget to turn your clocks ahead 1 hour before you go tosleep on March 13th!March 28 — Palm SundayIsaiah 50:4-9aPsalm 31:9-16Philippians 2:5-10Mark 14:1-15:47 OR Mark 15:1-47Parish StaffJoel D. Petruschke, pastorBarbara Johnson, administrative assistantGood News is a monthly publication of TheEvangelical Lutheran Church of Our Saviour,420 North Progress Avenue, Harrisburg,Pennsylvania 17109, 717-545-9992,[email protected] Deadline for submission isthe third Monday prior to publication month.If you do not have email or internet access, youraddressed copy of Good News will be available inyour church mailbox the first weekend of eachmonth.
Good NewsPage 3About Worship“Wait for the Lord.” The Psalmist preaches this message over and over again: see Psalms 25:5; 27:14;37:34; 62:5; 69:3; 104:27; 123:2; 130:5; 145:15. “Wait for the Lord” was a message that was part of worship,because the Psalms were used in worship. The Psalms were the hymnal for the ancient Jews.But what does it mean to “wait for the Lord”? Does it mean to have patience? Probably. Does it mean totrust in the Lord? Absolutely. Does it mean that God will act, you can count on it? Definitely.In your life, what are you waiting on God for? For the pandemic to be over so that we can get back tonormal life? Maybe you are also waiting for God to provide healing from illness or surgery. We might also bewaiting for God to give us reassurance in the face of uncertainty. Or, we may be waiting on God for comfort duringa time of grieving and loss. We might also be waiting on God for forgiveness, for mercy, for hope.Our faith lives are also about waiting for God to usher in the new creation. Our faith lives are aboutwaiting for God to bring about an end to suffering and sadness. Our faith lives are also about waiting for God toredeem the world from the powers of sin and death. Our faith lives are about waiting for salvation.Waiting is difficult. We are not patient people. We want to have our cake and eat it right now. We wantthings yesterday. That is why we have things like Instagram, and fast food, and the like.So maybe worship is meant then to help us understand the power of waiting in life. Maybe worship ismeant to slow us down in life. I often wonder what life means if we are always hurrying and hurrying and hurryingand then we get to the end of life, and we think to ourselves, “Life is so short. It goes by so quickly.” Waitingmight be God’s way of saying, “Life is not something we rush through. To the contrary, life is something we leisurelyembrace, even something through which we slowly navigate. Indeed, life is best appreciated if we wait for it.”Thank You Notes We ReceivedMy church family and friends -- Thanks for all the cards and phone calls I received to celebrate my90th birthday. Even though we didn't get out to see any of you, the table looked beautiful with allthe greetings on it. Soon we hope to unite with you and see you all in person. Be healthy and stay safe.Michael BalasMy family and I would like thank you for your sympathy cards and phone calls. The unexpected passing of, Arnohas been a great shock to us. Due to Covid and the church being closed a memorial celebration of Arno's life willbe held at a later date. Again thank you and please continue to keep us in your prayers.Donna MillerOn behalf of my family and myself, we would like to thank everyone that sent cards and offered prayers for ourson, uncle and brother, Daniel, we thank you so much. Also a big thank you to Pastor Joel for phone calls, cardand visit. It meant so much to us. Thank you.The Koppenhaver FamilyLet’s think about camp! We have received the new camping corp. brochures for theupcoming 2021 summer programs. They are on the table in the Narthex. Camping is not just forchildren. They offer family camp & elders camp. Pick one up & check out all that is being offered this year!Jobs are available In addition to offering summer camping for campers the Lutheran Camping Corp.also offers summer employment for high school & college students such as: counselors, lifeguards, kitchen staff,craft staff and maintenance. More information about these opportunities is available at LutheranCamping.org/employment.
Good NewsPage 4A Word on StewardshipIn the movie Karate Kid II, there is a scene in which Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) is talking with“Danielson” (Ralph Macchio) about the best way to avoid a punch. Mr. Miyagi says in his delightful brokenEnglish, “The best way to avoid punch is no be there.” In other words, if you can be agile enough, quick enough,to not be where your opponent is throwing their punch, then you need not fear being punched. It is good advice.Mr. Miyagi is no doubt also thinking about fighting in general, that the best way to avoid being punched is not toget involved in fighting in the first place—”no be there.”I have been thinking about Mr. Miyagi’s words and this idea of the stewardship of “no be there.” As acongregation, we have not been able to be in church for worship or for other activities. But that does not meanthings haven’t been happening here at church, especially as of late. At the congregational meeting in January, weapproved monies for carpeting the sanctuary as well as for painting both the sanctuary and fellowship hall. Thispast week the painters have been busy completing those painting projects. And, those who will be carpeting thesanctuary should soon get started.Getting these projects completed would have been more of a challenge if we were having in-personworship, or if we had activities scheduled in the fellowship hall. But because we can “no be there,” well thenthese projects can be done with very little, if any, disruption to church life. Indeed, the pandemic has afforded usand many other congregations the opportunity to work on renovations.Let me share another example of the stewardship of “no be there.” I have been very grateful over thepast several months that the congregation has allowed me to take over the church library to spread books out onthe tables and floor, so that I can work on my dissertation. It has been a great work space, which I would nothave at home. So, because groups have not been gathering in the library for meetings, because groups “no bethere,” I can work on my studies. And I am very thankful.Still another example relates to the empty nest scenario. Although I know my wife and I will miss our kidsimmensely when they are both away at college in another year and a half, we are also recognizing that we willhave more time and space to accomplish projects around the house when our kids “no be there.”So there is something to be said for the stewardship of “no be there.” There are times in life when wecan only accomplish certain things, because space opens up. If persons are not occupying certain areas at home,at work, at church, then we can delve into projects, which we might not otherwise be able to tackle. If personsare not in a certain room, we can utilize that space towards some end. So, let us think about the gift of “no bethere” in our own life, when we are given time and space to achieve those ambitions we have just been hoping toget to.Manna Food PantryOur “2nd Sunday” food collection is still ongoing. During the winter, and during this time ofthe pandemic food pantries are seeing a greater demand of their services. If you would like tomake a donation you may bring your items into the church & place them on the table in theNarthex at any time. If you are not comfortable with coming into the church building we wouldbe happy to offer "curbside drop-off" during regular office hours. Just let us know & Pastor or Barb will be happyto come out & get your donation from you. Thank you.
Good NewsPage 5Dear Padre,The NASA rover known as Perseverance has recently landed on Mars. Its mission, or at leastpart of its mission, is to discover ancient life on Mars. It will be taking soil samples from JezeroCrater that is believed to have been filled with water at one time long, long ago. Water is necessaryfor life. And, the reason scientists believe Jezero Crater was filled with water is because thereappears to be the remnants of a winding river bed that breached the wall of the crater. And thenthere appears to be the remnants of river delta, where the winding river bed meets the crater.When a river enters a large body of water, like a crater lake, the silt in the river falls to the bottomand builds up mud and over time it can create a delta. This appears to be the case at Jezero Crater. NASAscientists hope to find at the very least evidence of microbial life buried in that ancient delta.My question then is this: what would it mean for our understanding of the Creation Story in the Bible, iflife were found on another planet? What would it mean for our understanding of the Creation Story in the Bible, ifeventually we find aliens with intelligent life in the universe?Signed, The Truth is Out ThereDear “The Truth is Out There,”First, let me just say that I am always amazed at the minds at work at NASA, let only the minds who workto advance technology