The mission of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church is to love, welcome, nurture, and serve all people
by following the example of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sunday 9/2 - last 10am service

The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle...

     - Song of Songs 2:8-9a

The Biblical book Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon) stands out as unvarnished, suggestive, sensuous love poetry. Religiously, it has often been interpreted as an allegory, a poetic metaphor of the love between the Lord and Israel, or between Christ and his church, or between God and individuals. Sometimes God's love comes to us not as parental, with God as Father, but as intimate, personal, even erotic with God as lover.

Imagine a God who loves us in every way. Who, like a human lover, will court us, will seek our "Yes" in a partnership that is loving, lifelong, and faithful, and meant to fulfill us and bless the world.

This Sunday, our last Sunday at 10am, we will hear God courting us, singing love songs to us, and feeding us the bread and wine of salvation. Rev. Sue Jones will preach and preside at a service of Holy Communion.

Come - hear the voice of the beloved.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
85 Wayne Street (btwn Barrow & Jersey Aves)
Downtown Jersey City

Image: Cylinder seal from ancient Israel, probably inspired by the Song of Songs.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sunday 8/26 - worship at 10am

How dear to me is your dwelling,
     O Lord of hosts!
My soul has a desire and longing
     for the courts of the LORD...
Psalm 84

It may seem strange that we attach so much importance to a place. God, after all, is bigger than any building, and is present in every place. But the places where we gather to encounter God, where we meet one another to work on God's project... these are special to us because we know God in and through this place.

This Sunday we will gather to hear God's Word, to sing hymns of praise, and offer prayers of thanksgiving, hope, and plea. Simply because we desire to know God's presence, and be shaped by God's will. Paul Ellis will lead worship and Paul Bellan-Boyer will preach.

Come - know the goodness of God.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
85 Wayne Street (btwn Barrow & Jersey Aves)
Downtown Jersey City

Image: 1908 postcard of St. Matthew's, Jersey City.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sunday 8/19 - worship at 10am

After King David died, one of his sons is elevated to the throne. "The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, 'Ask what I should give you.' And Solomon said, '...Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil.'" 1 Kings 3:5-6a,9

Solomon chooses to ask not for wealth or a long life, but for what he will need to serve in his role as king. God will listen to any prayer - but how much better when our prayer happens to match what we need, and what God most wishes to bless us with?

This Sunday, we will pray for young Diego just beginning his Christian journey through baptism. We will pray for our dear friend Iris, going home this week to China. And we will pray for all the needs of the world and our immediate community, trusting in God to help provide all that we truly need.

We'll share the good news of God's promise in a service of Holy Communion, Rev. Lou Dunkle preaching and Rev. Hans Arnesen presiding.

Let us give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart!

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
85 Wayne Street (btwn Barrow & Jersey Aves)
Downtown Jersey City
"Solomon, King of Israel," by Bill Osborne, Giclee print by Gustave Dore.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sunday 8/12 10am in Ramos Park

Worship outdoors! Across the street in Ramos Park, starting at 10am. Please arrive early to help setup.

After feeding more than five thousand people in the wilderness, Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

It's an incredible claim. In a world filled with people who are hungry, who ache with thirst, and where some are seemingly never filled, Jesus promises... enough.

Imagine that. Not pie in the sky, nor just a good try. In God's good creation, there is plenty. In Jesus' prayer (give us our daily bread), there is enough. In Jesus' kingdom, there is enough. Can we follow Jesus' example, and feed one another?

This Sunday, we take Jesus at his word, as we take his bread in a service of Holy Communion. Rev. John Melin will preach and preside, and Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes will be our guest musician.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
85 Wayne Street (btwn Barrow & Jersey Aves)
Downtown Jersey City

Jesus Christ "The Bread of Life," icon written by Sister Glykeria, Dormition Convent, Parnes, Greece.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sunday 8/5 10am worship

God commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven, raining down manna upon them to eat and giving them grain from heaven. Psalm 78:23-24

If you live close to the land or know someone who does, you ache during a drought. Yesterday I walked through a field of corn. Green leaves had turned dry, and only a few plants had produced tiny, stunted ears. Drought currently affects more than half the counties in the United States, and this scene is repeated in field after field. The plants, the animals, it seems the earth itself, are crying out for rain.

In the desert between slavery and the promised land, when the people complain at the lack of food, God provided manna, food for the people and an answer to their plea.

We know so well what we lack. When God rains down answers to prayer, will we notice it? Will we give thanks? Will we remember it and tell others?

This Sunday 8/5, even as we pray for rain and all else we need, we will remember God opening the door of heaven, especially in Jesus. Paul Ellis will preach.

God's steadfast love endures forever.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
85 Wayne Street (btwn Barrow & Jersey Aves)
Downtown Jersey City

Dying corn, Columbia Bottom, Missouri, 8/1/12, by Paul Bellan-Boyer.