The Gospel Lesson for this Sunday comes from Mark 9. In this passage, Jesus encourages his listeners to be wary of becoming a stumbling block to those who believe in him and the work he was sent to do. Looking at this admonition from the other angle, we should be the opposite of a stumbling block, making the path clear and building up other believers.

This week in worship, new acolytes will be dedicated, and the third graders will receive their new Bibles. I am so happy that we are a church who puts an emphasis not only on helping children grow in God’s Word, but also gives them a place to visibly serve each week in worship.

Another ministry being highlighted this week is the Stephen Ministry. The work that the Stephen minsters do for those in our congregation who are hurting, discouraged, and lonely is another example of how we can be the opposite of a stumbling block. They are faithfully doing the work of building others up.

In planning music for this Sunday, it struck me how the faithful work of those teaching the children and comforting the hurting is such a perfect example of God’s care for each us. God has been faithfully providing for creation since it all began. Like a child, God has had to teach me lessons many times before it seems to stick. I stray, but God never does. In times of loneliness and fear, even in the times when God seems so far away, I have learned that all I have to do is call out. God is always there.

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father!
There is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

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