February 18, 2021
for Sunday, February 21
1 Peter 3:18-22
The Rev. Lee Miller II, Dean of the Niagara Frontier Conference
Remember those days before the pandemic when you would hang out with people? Remember gathering eogether as a church family at fellowship or a good potluck/covered-dish dinner? Remember parties? I love parties. It was a joy and delight after the baptism of a young or young-at-heart member of the congregation to, immediately after service, go down into the church hall and celebrate with cake and cookies, maybe some punch with the scoops of sherbet floating in it. I loved being welcomed into the home of the newly baptized to celebrate with their family - parents and Godparents, aunts and uncles, little cousins crawling across the floor. I love the post worship liturgy of fellowship and fun!
That is not how things play out in Mark's gospel after Jesus' baptism. There is no party. There is no food, no fellowship hour, no after-party at Mary's house. In fact, as we move back to the beginning of the gospel story, there aren't even any disciples yet to gather and celebrate with.
Mark tells his account, as he does throughout this gospel, with very few details. Jesus is baptized by John, the spirit descends upon him "like a dove," and he hears the voice from heaven say "with you I am well pleased."
Next, Mark simply writes, "the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness" where he was for forty days, accompanied by wild beasts and angels.
Without additional embellishment, we are left to focus on these words. There is no baptism party to attend, no reception. There is no coronation for the would-be king, no inauguration or installation. Jesus is baptized and "immediately" driven into the wilderness.
Mark does not even tell us about the conversation between Jesus and his tempter. We do not hear of how many temptations there were, what they were, or how Jesus overcame them. No stories of stones and bread, high peaks or death-defying vistas.
Only that the Spirit "immediately" drove Jesus out.
Matthew and Luke, in their versions, describe the Spirit as "leading" Jesus into the wilderness. Mark's language is much stronger as he chooses the word "ekballei" to describe Jesus being "thrown out," "expelled" into the wilderness. Jesus is not being led and he's not being guided. Jesus, from the moment following his baptism, immediately, is thrust into the wilderness where there are both wild beasts and angels alike. This is where his call begins.
Beloved, having heard the sounding of the trumpets, and the clarion call to return to the Lord our God who is gracious and merciful (Joel 2), we who are called and claimed in Baptism in Jesus' name, are being thrust, driven-out, into the wilderness of the world.
We are recipients of salvation! 1 Peter 3:21 reminds us that our salvation is already won - through the merit of Christ' death and resurrection on the cross. We have this great gift of salvation. It is ours and we are inheritors of God's righteousness. But this salvation is not given simply so that we can celebrate (we can give thanks!) - but it is given to us and is activated as we are "driven" into the wilderness of the world.
Our world needs this church today. Our world needs a word of hope today. Our world needs the proclamation of a transformed people who are being "driven out" into the wilderness with grace in abundance. Our world needs the liberating power of God given in salvation. Our world needs you - needs us together!
How is the Spirit at work driving your congregation or community into the "wilderness" of the world?
How is God at work activating the gift of salvation you have received for the sake of the world?
How does God's grace, at work in you, thrust you into a world in need?
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." 12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
· For our community of faith as we seek to do God's work in the world.
· For those in our congregation and community who suffer silently with illness, financial burdens, and family obligation.
· For people affected by coronavirus, their families, essential workers, doctors, nurses, aides, those working in nursing homes, etc.
· For victims of wildfires, flooding and earthquakes.
· For Dave Bentley, Pastor Ivy Gauvin, Karen Johnson, Roy Pihl, George and Janet Balcom, Maj-Britt Traynor, Beverly Klang, Trudy Fetzner, Mabel Tranum, Thom Shagla, Matt Isaacson, Alice Swartz, Rick Duzick, Barb Mattern, Joseph Gauvin, Emerson Allaby, Sarah Van Staalduinen, and Dick Starks
· For those serving in the military and law enforcement and their families, including Ben Wickerham, Jeffrey Clauson, David Bentley and Kris Peterson, those caught up in violence and war who have no safe home in which to live.
· For all children, that the love of Christ may reach them through all of us who have resources to love, protect, pray and provide for them.
For the ELCZ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and ELCZa Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia.
Names will remain of the Prayer List for a month - at which
time it will be taken off unless, or course, there is still a continued need
for our prayers and we’re asked to keep the name on.
Lent and Easter Season
Following the Worship and Music Meeting on January 12, the following decisions were made for St. Timothy:
Lenten Dinners and services:
There will be NO Lenten church services or dinners.
· However, we have special ordered Lenten devotionals
for everyone attending church Feb. 14 and 21. The
devotionals are called 40 Days with Jesus…Celebrating
His Presence by Sarah Young. This is a day by day
booklet written as if Jesus is speaking to you personally.
We will also have a few available in the entryway to
pick up if we have any left over.
· Zion at Frewsburg is having a prayer type service on
Wednesdays evenings during Lent at 7:00 pm.
Holy Week Services
We will not have any services during holy week.
Palm Sunday and Easter Services
ABSOLUTELY, we'll have both of these services! We'll continue with the 2 forms of worshipping - inside and drive in. Both 30-minute services with communion on Easter.
Adult Bible Study
Have you experienced loss and grief? Please join Sarah Goebel for the next 2 weeks for a Bible Study on Loss and Grieving, after church, at 10:45 am. We'll explore ways to heal and support one another through God's word. Call Sarah if you have any questions - 450-2986.
While Pastor Ivy is out recuperating, you can contact Pastor Heather Allport-Cohoon if there is a need for pastoral care. She can be reached at 716-708-6466.
**Mark your calendars**
Katie Castro will be our guest preacher on the
1st Sunday of the month until Pastor Ivy’s return.
Communion Sundays will be on the
2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month
With the onset of colder weather, we will be changing how we get communion cups to you. Instead of asking the usher to stand out in the cold, rainy or snowy weather for 20 minutes, we will bring the cups out to you when everyone has arrived, gotten their bulletins and parked.
Also for colder weather, we have a portable charger available in the church JUST IN CASE….
Stay warm, and stay healthy!!!
***We continuously collect food items for the 5 & 2 Ministry. Bring your donations and place in the black bin in church narthex. Lists detailing items needed are also available in the narthex. Monetary donations welcome!
5 & 2 Ministry Food Bins Donated to Date: 90
***ONLINE GIVING now available at St. Timothy for Debit/Credit cards. 3 ways to give:
- Go directly to our website at
- Use our QR code with the QR reader on your smartphone
- Download the app ‘GivePlus Church’. Create an account.
For further information, see Kathy Carlson on Sundays or call her at 485-1316.