WELCOME TO GRACE!
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It is hoped that you will come to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ, at Grace.
Please access the links to other pages to learn more about what is going on at Grace!
Grace Church is located at 4536 Hickory Lincolnton Highway in Newton, North Carolina.
Grace is a member congregation of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).
Worship with Holy Communion is at 10:30 AM every Sunday. The Learning Hour begins at 9:30 AM on Sundays with classes for all ages, including adult classes.
COME AND WORSHIP THE LORD JESUS
Advent 3, December 17
These words were found in a Christmas card with these thoughts from John Henry Newman enclosed: “They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind, who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him, who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised, who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed, if they found that he was coming at once… This then is to watch: to be detached from what is present, and to live in what is unseen; to live in the thought of Christ as he came once, and as he will come again; to desire his second coming, from our affectionate and grateful remembrance of his first.”
I am trying, this year during Advent, to be more of a watcher, to look for Christ’s coming here and there. I want to see more of the unseen. I want to be one who might be described as “zealous in honoring him.” I don’t have to be perfect in honoring Christ; but being passionately eager to honor him this week, this afternoon, tomorrow evening, with my thoughts, words and actions, is pleasing to God.
I am so grateful for the “remembrance of his first coming” – and it stirs affection in me, too. When I reflect on God choosing to reveal God’s heart to us in the form of this small, vulnerable infant child, to come to a place that was no place, to people who were nobodies, I am hopeful, and inclined to live a simpler live, and to show a little more courage to witness and more generosity to give in His name.
I love Christmas, its songs and decorations (or at least most of them…), and the mood of generosity and good cheer. If Christmas past is beautiful, how much more beautiful will be the future coming of Christ – at time’s end, on Christmas day, or maybe later on today?
So join me in staying awake, preparing for His coming, tuning our sensitivities toward God, being eager to honor him, and a bit detached from the noise of the now as together we desire Christ’s coming to us. Be still…and know that He is God!
Pastor Gil Gilbert, STS
December 24 Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship at 4:00 PM.
Bring friends, family members, and holiday house guests.
Christmas Week Schedule: There will be no Thursday Bible Studies:
Connections Bible Study (10:30 AM) Men’s Bible Study (7:00 PM).
These studies will resume on January (1-3-19)
Friday, May 11
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. I know people for whom this is a giddy, joyful day of much love and fun – or of some grief over the death of a beloved mother. I have a friend who struggles to find a card to send his mother, with whom his relationship is severely strained, as Hallmark seems to assume relationships with mom are all happy and full of affection. Different people harbor widely divergent feelings about mom.
Anna Quindlen’s novel, One True Thing, tells the story of a daughter who leaves her life and career to care for her mother, who is dying of cancer. After she died, a therapist asked, “Did you love your mother?” Her reply: “The easy answer is yes. But it’s too easy just to say that when you’re talking about your mother. It’s so much more than love – it’s, it’s everything, isn’t it? When someone asks you where you come from, the answer is your mother. When you’re mother’s gone, you’ve lost your past. It’s so much more than love. Even when there’s no love, it’s so much more than anything else in your life. I did love my mother, but I didn’t know how much until she was gone.”
Months later, she increasingly realized that she “had so misunderstood her, this woman who had made us who we were while we barely noticed it… And being so wrong about her makes me wonder now how often I am utterly wrong about myself.” At some level, we know, but then don’t know Mother – her inner life, struggles and feelings even those closest to her have never glimpsed. Same goes for knowing ourselves. Here’s the mercy: God knows.
In the Scriptures, Hannah was taunted for her infertility. Jochebed had to relinquish her child Moses to be raised by another woman. Naomi grieved the death of not one but two sons. Sarah bore a child in old age. Mary was just a teenager. Jezebel was not a healthy role model, but Eunice and Lois taught Timothy well by words and example. Eve’s son killed her other son. Rebekah played favorites. Esther’s mom couldn’t raise her, and gave her up for adoption. Rachel died in childbirth.
Isn’t that intriguing? I love the way Scripture doesn’t just hold up the sweet, squeaky clean people for us to try to emulate – for they then would shame so many of us. The Bible wraps its arms around all of us, the wounded, the struggling, the peaceful and the misfits. We are all part of God’s family. There is grace for us all.
Think about unnamed mothers in our cities, and in our world. Every politician you’re annoyed with had a mother. Statistics on crime or poverty obscure the reality of mothers who agonize. Political tension in every place obscures the heartbreak of countless mothers. Imagine the prayers of such mothers: for safety, for healing of a broken relationship, for peace, or just the outpouring of sorrow.
God knows, and tenderly cares for all mothers. God invites us to think God’s thoughts, and to feel God’s feelings – and why? The Bible tells us so. Holiness is sharing God’s perspective, always, and certainly on Mother’s Day.
Remember the mothers. All of them.
+ Pastor Gil Gilbert
The CONNECTIONS Bible Study continues each week, Thursdays, 10:30 am