The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, is a wonderful children’s story. The story describes the relationship between a young boy and a tree in the forest. As the boy is young, the boy and the tree love each other. The tree provides great enjoyment as the boy plays with it. But after some time, the boy forgets about the tree. In need of money, the boy returns to the tree asking for money. The tree responds by giving the boy some of its apples so that the boy can then sell the apples. Time passes by and the boy again forgets the tree. Now the boy has turned into a man—a man who is in need of a house for his wife and children. The tree is still devoted to the boy and tells him to cut down its limbs and build a house for the family. Some more time passes by and the boy now an old man comes to the tree and says, “My life is coming to an end and I haven’t seen the world yet!” The tree still being totally committed to the boy says, “Take down my trunk and build yourself a boat.” The tree is now just a stump. At the end of the book, the boy is an old man at the end of life and he simply asks the tree for a place to rest. The tree offers itself as a resting place. The old man sits on the stump and the tree is happy.
I have been told that there is a story “behind the story” of The Giving Tree. Shel Silverstein wrote the book as a response to a question that a Christian friend asked him. The friend asked Silverstein, who was Jewish, “How do you understand Jesus?” Through the story, Silverstein was indicating that he understood Jesus to be sacrificial. Even at the very end of the story when the tree is no longer a functioning tree, the tree is still happy because it could give the little that it had for the pleasure of the boy.
This month we gather in our homes to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is an opportunity to take time out of our routines to recognize the many things God has given us. The blessings we have received include our senses. How awesome it is to have ears that hear, eyes that see, taste buds that taste! The blessings include the shelter we have, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the chairs and furniture we use. The blessings go on to include the weather and the land we live in—the United States.
But when we needed even more than what our Heavenly Father had already given, He gave even of Himself, His Son. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” It was out of pure joy and love that God gave us His Son, Jesus.
I hope your time over Thanksgiving is a special one. Cherish the earthly blessings God has given. And be sure to cherish the sacrificial love God has shared with you through His Son, Jesus.
Thoughts from the Vicar
1: (Latin: bene, well + dicere, to speak) is a short invocation for divine help, blessing and guidance, usually at the end of worship service.
2: A good word.
The Benediction – what we close our time of worship with every Sunday – is a good word. The words sometimes change, or maybe the preacher messes them up, but Christians have been using benedictions for thousands of years. At the end of a worship service: benediction. At the start of a worship service: benediction. Sending missionaries out: benediction. About to die: benediction. Benediction is the good word: a promise from God given to His people, and so Christians have been using it in any situation they can.
Here at Peace we tend to sick the Benediction at the end of the worship service as one final reminder of God’s promise to His people. The words typically used come straight from the Bible:
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’
So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Numbers 6:22-27 (ESV)
Pay extra careful attention to that last line. “So they shall … and I will …” That’s a pretty amazing promise! That’s a good word.
While Pastor Lucke is not the same thing as a Levitical Priest of Ancient Israel, the God who said these words to Moses thousands of years ago is the same God who has made promises to us in Jesus. That’s the connection. God’s blessings do not depend on who’s saying it, nor is the benediction a magic incantation. The power isn’t in the words or the person saying them. The power is in the One who has promised them. With the benediction we are reminded that the Powerful One who made those promises so many years ago make promises to you today.
Peace by the Numbers
At this printing the bazaar will be just a couple weeks away and the tough work is ahead. Much has been done but still some weak areas to be covered:
- If we could get 2-4 gentlemen to help get the displays down from the attic on Nov. 3rd after church [towards the end of fellowship] that would be great.
- Men to help break down and reset the room at 3:15 Nov. 9th.
- Someone to sell quilt raffle tickets Nov. 9th
- Youth that would like to help on bazaar day – greeting and carrying items to cars.
- Purchased cookies to use for the giveaway area. [please label]
Please check the long insert titled “Ingredients for the Ladies Guild Bazaar” for important dates. Don’t have one? Pick one up from the narthex.
You can also pick up some postcards from the narthex to use as handouts to help get the word out.
To volunteer in different areas, you make it possible for the guild to give to the community and make it a better place.
Thank You, many hands make light work,
Jani Burton: 541-740-4650
Youth Christmas Program
Sunday School Students: We need YOU to begin thinking about participating in our annual Christmas program! Practices are always fun, we sing lots of Christmas carols, we practice our parts, and we always have snacks! Practices start promptly at 10 a.m. right after our Sunday School opening in the Sanctuary; so please don’t be late and be sure to attend all practices. We are counting on you to be there each Sunday as others are depending on you saying your lines. Please let us know if you have to miss a practice.
Also, please be thinking about prelude music–instruments you may want to play or songs you would like to sing.
Our schedule is as follows:
- Sunday, November 3–First practice and students will receive their parts
- Sunday, November 10 –Practice
- Sunday, November 17–Practice
- Sunday, November 24–Practice
- Sunday, December 1–Practice & Costumes given to students
- Sunday, December 8–Dress Rehearsal and Christmas program presented to the congregation. Followed by Fellowship and Christmas Tree decorating.
If you have any questions, please see Colleen or Sally. We are looking forward to seeing you on November 3!
Christmas is Coming
As we come into this busy season and prepare for the celebration of the birth of Christ, there are many traditions we as individuals, and church like to follow: The Children’s Christmas program, Holden Evening prayer for Advent Services, perhaps you make a special dinner, and of course getting and decorating a Christmas Tree!
Every year a large tree is provided for our sanctuary and decorated with glittery ornaments and twinkling lights, it looks beautiful and smells wonderful. It is one of those traditions that we all enjoy – either by watching the tree go up, enjoying the smell of the fir, or being a part of the decorating process. With those things in mind we want to try and involve as many people as possible in enjoying this wonderful tradition.
This year we will put the tree up, undecorated, in time for the children’s program. Then following the Children’s Program and Fellowship Hour, on December 8, we invite folks to stay and assist in decorating the tree, listen to Christmas music, watch a Christmas movie, and enjoy Christmas treats.
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come to this celebration to the kick-off of the Christmas Season at Peace! This is a fun event and one to be shared by as many people as possible! See you there.
Changing of the Guards
Peace Lutheran Church has a culture of getting things done; and getting them done within the church. Last year the decision was made to call in an outside company to assist us in keeping the church clean. Unfortunately, after the first couple of months, this service did not seem to be as well done as when they started out.
Our trustees did their best to stay in contact with the company and to assist them in doing a good job, and to show grace to the individuals working in the building. Ultimately the decision was made to terminate the relationship with this outside company – as the service seemed to taper off even more.
The Council has now reached within the church again to keep up our property, and there is no better way to do this than to reach out to a person who is on the front line of our property care. Council has decided that Barry Hagen, who has been acting as one of the trustees at church, should have a trial period in the Janitorial role. This is a paid role for Barry, and he has already started to gain back some of the cleanliness we have had in the past.
Please be patient and understanding as he begins this new role and gets his routine down. But please take note of improvement in the last week of the cleanliness in the church. Pray for Barry in this position that it should be a good fit for him as well as the church.
November Men’s Breakfast
November 2 is the date of the next Peace Men’s First Saturday breakfast. Mark your calendar and plan to attend. No topic has been picked, but the food will be great! Always looking for willing chefs, give me a call. Remember coffee on at 8:00, Breakfast served at 8:30 and discussion 9 -10. Question call Oscar Gutbrod 541-231-3954.
November Tables of Peace
Over the last couple of months, we have tested out our new format for Tables of Peace. It seems that the potluck format at the church with the small group breakout session, seems to be working and so far, has been positively received.
This month the Tables of Peace will be meeting on the fourth Wednesday…which happens to be the day before Thanksgiving. We are hoping that any and all will come and bring a potluck item. There is a sign-up sheet in the hallway outside the fellowship hall.
Remember, all are welcome and if you need a ride to the evening event…please reach out there is always someone waiting to be helpful!