October 2021

“But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and
the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” Romans
3:21-22a

Dear Redeemer Family:
It is hard to believe that we are going into October already. Of course, I’m glad that the 90
degree weather is over. In fact, as I write this, it is only in the 70s and raining! Things are changing. And
that’s important. All things change. It is the nature of all things. And October is important for that,
especially for Lutherans. At the end of this month, we will remember that Martin Luther posted his 95
Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. And that is fondly remembered as the
beginning of the Reformation. And what is “reformation?” Change.

All things change. Luther’s was a call to go back to the Gospel as recorded in the New Testament.
He wished to change the way that it was presented in his place and time, which had picked up a lot of
human “adiaphora” items. Adiaphora is the term that the Reformers used. It means “unnecessary.”
These were mainly things that had somehow gotten added to the Church’s tradition. Some were bad.
Some were pretty good, or nice. As Lutherans, we know that “works righteousness” was bad. If it was
something required, or demanded, it was very bad. Somethings were not so bad. Examples of not so bad
would be; stained glass windows, organ music, etc. They were “adiaphora,” but nice. They enhanced the
worship experience. They still do. So, in some ways, Luther wanted to clean house in the sense of literally
going through things which were taken for granted by the members of the Church. The question was, “Is
this necessary or not necessary?” What was absolutely necessary is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, summed
up in, “We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.” That is essential. All else was up for
review, or reform, to put it simply.

All things change. Over the last year and a half, the world has had to change, and that because of
a little tiny virus. We have had to change how we worship. How we interact with each other. How we go
out in public and distance ourselves. We are still recommending that people wear a mask in services, and
a fair number of members do. Even handwashing is now a bigger factor in people’s lives. We have joined
the “online church.” We are now in a “surge” of that little tiny virus, which is predicted to peak this
month. But, we have adjusted our lives to handle it better, to keep ourselves and neighbors safe. We
have had to move to a continual Holy Communion, individual cups only. But that is safer. We have
adapted to this current issue. We have actually been through this before. Unfortunately, that was over a
century ago, and so it was a long re-learning process. But, we reviewed. We reformed. We have kept
what is absolutely necessary, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, we have tweaked the rest. Some day,
hopefully soon, this will all be behind us. But, we will always need to review and reform as we move
forward into God’s new day. For everything changes. Everything renews. Everything reforms. Praise be to
God. For we are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, not by what we do.

In Christ,
Pastor Rose

July 2021

“Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised.” Ps. 48:1a

Dear Redeemer Family: As we begin to “reopen,” and so, after a long hard year of being “shut down” and “cooped up,”we also plan some sort of vacation time to recover.It will also be refreshing to look at some of our ancestors in the faith who are commemorated this month.Plus, a number of you have told me that you enjoy these.

To begin, on July 3rd we commemorate Thomas, Apostle. Most people refer to him as Doubting Thomas. Most of you know that I feel that this is an unfair moniker for Thomas. Among other reasons,here is another reason why. John’s Gospel shows Thomas as fiercely loyal: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:16. And John’s Gospel alsos hows Thomas moving from doubt to deep faith.Indeed, Thomas makes one of the strongest confessions of faith in the whole New Testament, “My Lord and my God!” in John 20:28. From this confession of faith, ancient stories tell of Thomas’ missionary work in India, where Christian communities were flourishing a thousand years before the arrival of sixteenth century missionaries. In fact, those sixteenth century missionaries were quite shocked to find out that there were already Christian Churches in parts of India when they arrived!

On July 22nd, we commemorate Mary Magdalene, Apostle. That title may surprise many. The gospels tell us that Mary was one of the women of Galilee who followed Jesus. She was present at Jesus’ crucifixion and his burial. When she went to the tomb on the first day of the week to anoint Jesus’ body(probably with others), she was the first person to whom the risen Lord appeared. She returned to the disciples with the news and has been called “the apostle to the apostles” for her proclamation of the resurrection, hence her title. Indeed, she is often referred to as the first proclaimer of the resurrection!Because John’s gospel describes Mary as weeping at the tomb, she is often portrayed in art with red eyes. This helps distinguish her in art from the Virgin Mary. Icons depict her standing by the tomb and holding a bright red egg, a symbol of the resurrection,and one of the most common resurrection symbols in the Orthodox Church. By tradition, Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea and an Egyptian slave named Sarah boarded a ship and sailed to what is now Marseilles, France. Marseilles already was the home of an ancient Jewish community. Where, also by tradition, she died. There is an ancient shrine to Mary in Marseilles.

That is just two ancestors in the faith to consider this month.

In Christ, Pastor Rose