Archives

Christmas & Advent Special Events

  • Festival of Lessons & Carols
    Dec 9 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Grief Support Program & Lunch
    Dec 10 | 11:00 am
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec 16 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Christmas Worship
    Dec 20 | 2:00 pm, dessert to follow
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec 25 | 9:00 am
  • No worship
    Wed, Dec 26 or Jan 2
  • One service, coffee to follow
    Sun, Dec 30 | 9:00 am

More times and details about worship at St. John’s here.

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Waiting…

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

‘O that I might have my request,
and that God would grant my desire; 
that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! 
This would be my consolation;
I would even exult* in unrelenting pain;
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient? 
Is my strength the strength of stones,
or is my flesh bronze? 
In truth I have no help in me,
and any resource is driven from me.
–Job 6:8-13

There’s old expression about “the patience of Job,” as in, “She must have the patience of Job to live with that old goat!” In the verses above, Job isn’t showing much patience, and I can understand why. Job was righteous and without fault in his trials, yet everything worth clinging to in life was taken from him. He is in grief, sorrow, and unrelenting pain—yet his greatest challenge is waiting on God, who seems to be absent and uncaring. He would rather that God would “crush” him than endure this waiting.

Don’t most of us find waiting to be hard? Whether it is for the birth of a child, the arrival medical test results, the grade on a final exam, the coming of spring, or the removal of stitches; waiting is harder than most other things. Even when what is expected is a bad thing, we’re likely to say, “Let’s just get it over with.”

The season of Advent is a practice of the discipline of waiting, watching and praying. A discipline is a hard thing, from which we gain growth. During Advent, we intentionally wait and practice being still. Christmas can wait, spring can wait—there will be times to break out the trumpets and open all stops on the organ, but let’s leave time to rediscover the exhilaration of expectation. We proclaim in the past, present, and future tense, “Christ was born, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!” Like a dog sitting with a Milk Bone on its nose, waiting is hard, but it’s good training, too.

Have a Blessed Advent Season.

Finding peace, even in imperfect moments

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

The Advent season is upon us again. Every year when Advent comes around I am reminded of lights. The blinking Christmas lights that played Christmas carols that used to ring the front window of my grandparents’ home. The blinding light of my bedroom when my little brother would come in to wake me up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to open presents. The lights on the trees outside at Luther College as I walked back to my dorm room with friends following the candlelight worship service just before Christmas break. Lighting a candle at the end of mass at my in-laws’ church in Foley, Minn. But the one that stands out most to me is a bitterly cold December morning when I was at seminary.

It was my last year and I was full of anxiety about what came next, but for one quiet morning before the sun came up as I walked to the campus center to my job at the information desk I felt the presence of God. In the bitter cold with snow all around and the twinkling Christmas lights in the trees there was a deep quiet in that neighborhood of St. Paul and the peace that only comes when God reaches out to touch us. My anxiety was calmed through that quiet. That moment was not the end of my anxiety or the perfect moment that made everything right. Instead, that moment gave me strength to face the future.

The Gospel of Luke tells us in chapter one that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce that she was with child. In Mary’s unwed situation I doubt very much that it felt like a perfect moment to her at first. But then Gabriel bestows on her the peace of God, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).

In this Advent season of waiting for the birth of our Lord we are living out that very real waiting that we are doing for the second coming of Christ Jesus. While we wait, we also realize that he never left. His Holy Spirit works in, through, and among us as we worship, serve, and have fellowship together. God’s peace is among us, God’s presence is among us. May the Advent season be the time when you too feel the peace and love of God.

Advent Devotions

Looking for a devotional to lead you through this season of Advent? Hark, the Glad Sound! devotions from Luther Seminary are available for you to pick up at the Welcome Center or download at www.luthersem.edu/advent There are other devotionals with a special focus on family-style resources on a dedicated shelf in the Library for you to borrow.

Advent Conspiracy: Making Christmas Meaningful (Again)

During Advent, we’ll be hosting a book study called Advent Conspiracy: Making Christmas Meaningful (Again). We’ll be re-focusing on what the season is truly about. For many of us, there is a struggle to find the connection between our Christmas to-do lists and the story of Jesus’ birth. An overwhelming stress has overtaken worship and celebration. This time of year when focusing on Christ should be the easiest is often the hardest. Somehow, this had become the new normal. It is our hope that you might create new patterns of celebrating the season!

This study is hosted by Club 56 (5th and 6th graders) and the are welcoming all ages to join them.

Join us!

Sundays, November 18, December 2, 9, and 16
9:10 am
St. John’s Youth Room

Women’s Christmas Luncheon

Ladies – are you ready for a Christmas Luncheon? WELCA (Women of the ELCA) are hosting their annual Christmas Luncheon December 9. The guest speaker is singer Patty Kark sharing her message of hope, healing, and grace. The majority of tickets are sold by the ladies decorating the tables. However, if you still need a ticket, contact the office to see if there are any available. Tickets are $13. Doors open at 9:00 am, program at 10:00 am. Meal catered by Paul Tjosaas.

More about Patty Kark:

Singing since the age of 9, Patty Kark has performed in many locations throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding area. After surrendering her life to Christ, Patty was given a heart for ministry and the desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With her gift of music, and two recording projects What Matters Most and Christmas At the Manger, she gives voice to the message of hope, healing and grace. Her passion is for all peoples—everywhere—to know the joy of abiding in the presence of the Lord. Patty and her husband, John, make their home in Northfield. She is a Registered Nurse and works at the Northfield Hospital and Clinic as the Breast Care Nurse Navigator.

Where will you find peace this holiday season?

Amanda Sabelko, Deacon
Children, Youth, & Family Development Coordinator

Crisp air, falling leaves, apple cider…if you haven’t noticed it’s definitely autumn!

I’m probably not alone in thinking that the holiday season can be quite stressful. The last weekend in October, we held an event at St. John’s called “Self Care – In Real Life.” Our speaker, Anna Rendell, walked us through some ideas to care for ourselves every day and especially during the holidays.

Here are some that stuck out to me:

  • When you take out things to decorate if you aren’t in love with it anymore and it doesn’t bring you happiness get rid of it. Donate items that you don’t use anymore and help another family to create new holiday memories!
  • You don’t have to do everything. Do things that are meaningful to you and your family.

Trying to make the “perfect Pinterest Christmas” won’t always bring you joy, it might just drive you nuts. (I took a little liberty with that one!)
Overall, make sure the things you do this holiday season bring you life!!

During Advent, we’ll be hosting a book study called Advent Conspiracy: Making Christmas Meaningful (Again). We’ll be re-focusing on what the season is truly about. For many of us, there is a struggle to find the connection between our Christmas to-do lists and the story of Jesus’ birth. An overwhelming stress has overtaken worship and celebration. This time of year when focusing on Christ should be the easiest is often the hardest. Somehow, this had become the new normal. It is our hope that you might create new patterns of celebrating the season! You can join us on Sundays during Advent starting on December 2 at 9:10 am in the Youth Room.

Lastly, this month we celebrated 3-year-olds as they received a prayer pillow from the congregation. They will all receive prayers every month from December to October 2019. Prayer Pillows were given out on November 4 and 7 at all services. Keep these young ones in your prayers as we support them in learning the power of prayer in their lives.

St. John’s Lessons and Carols: December 9

St. John’s will be alive with the wonderful music of a service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 9 at the 8:00 am and 10:15 am services. This is the 26th year musicians of St. John’s have shared advent and Christmas music with the congregation.

Mary Schneekloth

The musicians are very excited to welcome Mary Schneekloth, a professional harpist, to our services this year. Mary will perform as a soloist and collaborate with the Senior Choir on three selections. The beautiful, unique sound of the harp will fill our sanctuary with joyous and reflective music. Liz Harwood, K-M Middle School instrumental music teacher and St. John’s member will also enhance the program with her outstanding oboe playing. Mary and Liz will play a beautiful setting of “O Come, O Come Immanuel.” Liz will also join the choir on two pieces, “Celtic Advent Carol” and the French carol “He is Born” arranged for choir, oboe, harp and percussion.

This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. Please invite your friends to join us.

Full list of Advent and Christmas services at stjohnskasson.org/worship

Time for worship this season

As we read through Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, our Advent devotional this year, we are reminded to slow down and reflect to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Here are some of the ways you can focus on Christ this Advent and Christmas:

  • Unwrapping the Names of Jesus Advent Devotions
    Now through Dec. 24
    This book is available in the Narthex – please take one for your family! And follow along with us on Facebook as we have daily prompts and ideas.
  • Lessons & Carols
    Dec. 10 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
    Dec. 13 | 6:30 pm (shortened version)
    This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. More…
  • Grief Support Gathering
    Dec. 14 | 11:00 am
    Anyone who has lost a loved one is invited to celebrate your memories at a dinner and program on Thursday, December 14 at 11 am in the Fellowship Hall. A grief support counselor from Season’s Hospice will be our guest speaker. Bring a dish to share as you are able. Please RSVP by December 10 to the office (507-634-7110). Come to receive comfort and peace.
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec. 17 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Community Worship
    Dec. 21 | 2:00 pm
    Senior Christmas Worship will be held December 21 at 2:00 pm. Refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the service. All are welcome.
  • 4th Sunday in Advent
    Dec. 24 | 9:00 am
    Christmas Eve happens to fall on the 4th Sunday of Advent. We will still worship Sunday morning, but at one service at 9:00 am instead of our regular 8:00 and 10:15 am times.
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec. 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec. 25 | 9:00 am

Advent & Christmas Special Events

  • Lessons & Carols
    Dec. 10 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Grief Support Gathering
    Dec. 14 | 11:00 am
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec. 17 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Community Worship
    Dec. 21 | 2:00 pm
  • 4th Sunday in Advent
    Dec. 24 | 9:00 am
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec. 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec. 25 | 9:00 am

Find a full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Notes:

  • Dec. 27 – NO worship
  • Jan. 31- worship at 9:00 am

Well Trained & Alert

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

For twenty-three years, beginning in 1990, I served as a chaplain in the Montana Air National Guard. The first two years of service were during the “Cold War.” The perceived threat, in those days, was that the Warsaw Pact countries, led by the Soviet Union, would attack one or more NATO countries, allied with the US. World War III would presumably start with a swift Warsaw Pact invasion of West Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Belgium, to deny a landing point for NATO allies. This conventional warfare was expected to be short lived, for neither side wanted to be the last to deploy the inevitable nuclear weapons.

As a squadron of fighter jets, our basic mission was to “Survive, Fight, Win.” Surviving a direct nuclear strike, for obvious reasons never came up in our training. We, who were, “non-essential,” to the fight spent the better part of most exercises sheltering against radioactive fallout. We sat, and sat — reading books, watching movies, and struggling to imagine that anything like this could ever happen. Such a war could scarcely be imagined. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War was declared to be over, and talk was of a “peace dividend.” How would we spend all of the money we would save, by not preparing for war? Now we had only to worry about “rogue nations,” and terrorist groups. In 1993 there was an unsuccessful attempt to bring down the World Trade Center with a truck bomb. We felt relieved at the relatively few casualties, and the minor damage done to the building, but we were warned to be alert.

Then came September 11, 2001, as another “day that will live in infamy.” Now, we lined up the troops for a no-kidding war. It was my job to brief the troops and their families on the cultural and religious differences between the US and the Middle East, and praying for their safe return. I remember thinking, with a lump in my throat, as families were divided in tearful goodbyes, “So this is what we have been training for all of these years. I pray we have trained them well.”

The key words for Advent season, will be, “Stay Awake, Watch, and Pray”…”So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:7). “Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly, and what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake” (Mark 13:35-37).

Have a blessed Advent season and a merry Christmas.

We are not alone

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

I remember one Advent when I was around 13 years old, I heard the song “Breath of Heaven” for the first time. The song is the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary. It is a plea for God to be with her as she nears the birth of her child and she is frightened by all that the future holds. I remember thinking the burden she felt must have been enormous. The line that has always struck me hardest is, “Must I walk this path alone?” I have heard this sentiment from many people and have even heard it swirling around my own mind more often than I would like. Fear and doubt can take us over. So many people around us just don’t seem to get it. Must I walk this path alone? Inevitably , when I have these thoughts God finds a way to break into my life. He sends people to be with me during life’s burdens.

Advent is a season of waiting. Waiting in anticipation for the birth of the Savior. In life, whether we are waiting for a joyous event, like the birth of a baby, or waiting for something difficult, like treatment for an illness, waiting is the hardest part. Burdens get heavier in the waiting, if we let them. As we travel through this time of Advent I would encourage you to look around and see if you can pinpoint the people who are walking with you on the path. Is there someone you hadn’t noticed before? Where is God showing up? Is it a family member? Maybe, you are showing up as God’s hands and feet to someone else. In a world where, at least lately for me, the burdens seem so heavy and it feels that I am alone, a change of perspective is needed. At Jesus’ birth the words of the prophet Isaiah are remembered and he is called Emmanuel, which means God is with us. When we worry, when we doubt, when we feel that we are walking the path alone God is with us. When we are filled with joy and excitement God is with us. Breathe that in and remember in the bustle of this busy season that God is with us and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Service of Lessons & Carols

The music ensembles of St. John’s will present a service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 10 at the 8:00 am and 10:15 am services. A shortened service will also be presented the following Wednesday, December 13 at 6:30 pm. This is the twenty-fifth year the musicians of St. John’s have shared advent and Christmas music with the congregation. String players from the congregation and flutist Sarah Vinzant, from Kasson-Mantorville Schools, will join the ensembles this year.

A service highlight is four short movements from a Christmas Cantata entitled “For Us a Child is Born” for choir, bass soloist, and instruments. This piece was originally thought to be composed by J.S. Bach. Scholars now attribute it Johann Kuhnau, Bach’s predecessor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

This joyous service of spoken word and music will tell the Christmas story from the prophesy of the ancient prophets to the celebration at Jesus birth. Please invite your friends to join us.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus

We are sharing the book Unwrapping the Names of Jesus for our Advent devotional. You are encouraged to join with us in dwelling more with Jesus. Copies are available in the Narthex (one per family). And follow along with our Facebook event for prompts and ideas each day.

Thank you for helping with the transition activity

Jen Smith
smithfamilyrks@gmail.com

Temple Talk by Jen Smith

This week we lit an advent candle of Hope. We are hopeful for so many things in our lives as individuals, Christians and as members of St. Johns. The transition team has spent several hours reflecting on the data we collected from over 300 individuals through our game board activity. We appreciate the time you each took to partake in helping us realize the hope we have as a congregation of St. Johns.

As in Advent, we are patient in knowing careful reflection, prayer and listening will lead us in the right direction. I am confident that the enthusiasm, criticisms and dedication of all of you will help us as the transition team define who we are and how we continue to move forward. This is evident in the words and ideas that have been shared. We continue to discuss all that has been gathered both formally and informally and cannot wait to share with you what we have found. At the very basic level what we have seen so far is that we are a congregation ready to engage in forward progress. We ask for your prayers as we translate the words, ideas and suggestions you have shared.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11