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

September 2021

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Dear Redeemer Family:
I wasn’t going to do this this month. But, the commemorations for September include some very important witnesses to the faith. So, I give you who, what and why.

On September 13th, we commemorate St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, who died on this date in 407. He is very important to western culture, yet many have never heard of him. John was a priest in Antioch, and famous for his preaching. His preaching earned him the nickname “Chrysostom” which means “golden mouthed.” It also got him in trouble. As bishop of Constantinople, he preached against corruption among the royal court. The empress, who had been his supporter, sent him into exile. In fact, he was in exile so much, that he was only actually Bishop in Constantinople for a couple of months. Why is he important to us? He is the one who wrote the original liturgy. His full liturgy is still used by the Orthodox Churches. If you attend one, his worship service runs about 3 to 4 hours.

Remember that when you think that my sermons are running over. The Roman Catholic Church took John’s liturgy and simplified it. Remember that if you are ever attending a High Mass. Martin Luther took the Roman Catholic liturgy and simplified it, and on and on. Basically, all worship liturgies go back to his. And, when the Church allowed the theater again (after a several century ban on it), the first plays were the Passion Plays. They based the acts of the Passion Plays on the parts of the liturgy. That practice continued to virtually all western playwrights. The screenwriters for movies continued the process. So, virtually anyone who has attended a worship service, a play or a movie have been affected by St. John!

September 17th, we commemorate Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, who died on this date in the year 1179. I’ve mentioned Hildegard before. She is absolutely fascinating. I have several of her books. She lived virtually her entire life, from age 10 on, in convents. Yet, she was widely influential within the Church, and beyond. Becoming abbess, she reformed her community as well as other convents. She also began having visions, which she had recorded in a book which she called Scivias. But, her importance goes well beyond being a mystic. She was an advisor to princes, kings, and popes. And quite often she would, in interestingly diplomatic ways, chew them out for any wrong doing. She wrote religious poems, plays and hymns. In fact, the first hymn that we have that we know was written by a woman is from her pen. She wrote 9 books, more like chapters to us, on Medieval medicine, some of which is still used. She also wrote on theology, unheard of for a woman in her time. She also wrote on natural history. She was also a musician and artist. I have seen several of her pieces of art, very interesting.

These are two very important witnesses to Our Lord who we remember this month. May we learn from their faith!

Pastor Rose