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

June 2021

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3

Dear Redeemer Family:
It was so good to see so many of you in the worship service last Sunday, and stay for our delayed Annual Congregational Meeting. The pandemic, hopefully, is winding down. Let us hope that it goes away completely. But now, many of us have been vaccinated. I know this, because many of you have told me the side effects that you had from receiving the vaccine. Don’t feel badly. It wiped me out for a day as well. But, it was better than having Covid. That had me trying to cough up both lungs for two and a half weeks. And then, there was the recovery period which went on for weeks. God has led us beside still waters. That “still waters” is often misinterpreted. Yes, they may look peaceful. But, remember the adage “still waters run deep.” The ancient Hebrews feared the still waters. They were a place of danger. And, it didn’t help that many people then didn’t know how to swim! Being “led beside still waters” means that God is there guiding us and protecting us in times of danger. I believe he has. As bad as the pandemic has been, it could have been much worse. The speed at which vaccines were discovered and produced, it can be argued, was miraculous. Again, some people forget that God can also work through medicine.

And now we can begin to move forward. “He restores my soul.” It has been restoring to my soul to see many of you, and often without the need of a mask, again. If you were at the Congregational Meeting, you know that the longest part was the reading of the minutes from the last meeting, a year and a half ago. And those minutes were six pages long. Most of them were committee reports of what we did in the year prior. The next minutes will be a lot shorter. There was not much that we could do under the circumstances. But, as we begin to move forward, we can once again become an active force for doing God’s service in this community. We have a hard act to follow, ourselves. At the Congregational Meeting, I also showed and read the award that the congregation received from the De Soto Chamber of Commerce for our service to the community. Ironically, we received the award while we, and everyone else, was shut down. Now we are beginning to slowly, and cautiously, reopen our activities, and reach out to the community at large. We do this to demonstrate our love of God, and our gratitude for all that God has done for us. God leads us in these endeavors. He leads us in right paths for his name’s sake. As we become more active, everything that we do, we will do to God’s glory and for His name’s sake. Let us enjoy our new life in Christ, and our new life in this world as well.

In Christ,
Pastor Rose