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Visit our Sunday worship services at 8 or 10:30 am. Sunday school and adult Bible class at 9:15. We are "Making Christ Known" by faith, worship and witness to get the message of Jesus Christ to all people.

August 2016

“Let your loving kindness be upon us, as we place our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22

 

It is August. It is hot. We are entering the Dog Days of Summer, which since we have had a brutal July; I don’t really want to think about. In fact, I really don’t want to think. So, for this blurb, I have decided to some of your favorites, namely, special Church days during the month. That doesn’t require thinking, just a bit of research.

 

August 10th, is the day on which St. Lawrence was executed in the year 258. Lawrence was one of seven deacons of the congregation at Rome and, like the deacons appointed in Acts, was responsible for financial matters in the church and for the care of the poor. Lawrence lived during a time of persecution under the emperor Valerian. The emperor demanded that Lawrence surrender the treasures of the church. Lawrence gathered lepers, orphans, the blind and lame. He brought them to the emperor and said, “Here is the treasure of the church” (one of my favorite Early Church stories, and I have used it in a sermon before). The emperor was not amused. In fact he was so enraged that Valerian sentenced Lawrence to death. Lawrence’s martyrdom was one of the first to be observed by the Church.

 

August 14th, we commemorate Kaj (pronounced “Kye”) Munk, a Danish Lutheran pastor and playwright. He was an outspoken critic of the Nazis, who occupied Denmark during WWII. His plays frequently highlighted the eventual victory of the Christian faith despite the Church’s weak and ineffective witness. The Nazis feared Munk because his sermons and articles helped to strengthen the Danish resistance movement. He was executed by the Gestapo in 1944. We often remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and his work against the Nazis, and his martyr death at their hands. Bonhoeffer was not the only Lutheran pastor who resisted them.

 

On August 20th, we remember St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, who died in 1153. Bernard was a Cistercian monk who became an abbot of great spiritual depth. He was a mystical writer deeply devoted to the humanity of Christ, who emphasized the inner human experience of prayer and contemplation. He was critical of one of the foremost theologians of the day, Peter Abelard, because he believed Abelard’s approach to faith was too rational and did not provide sufficient room for mystery. Bernard’s devotional writings are still read today. His sermon on the Song of Solomon treats that book as an allegory of Christ’s love for humanity. He wrote several hymns that are still sung today in translation, including “Jesus, the Very Thought of You.” And of course, there is a large breed of dog named after him.

 

Remember, during these Dog Days of Summer, as the weather alone can be oppressive, that these are but a couple of the “great cloud of witnesses” who share our faith and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, examples of Christian faith to inform us.

In Christ,

Pastor Rose

June 2016

“My God, I cried out to you, and you restored me to health.” Psalm 30:2

 

Life is a gift! Health is a gift! As we enter the summer months now, many of us will go out to enjoy these gifts more fully in the wonder which is God’s creation. After winter, and a spring which has been filled with storms, it is good to go out and stretch our legs in the beauty which God surrounds us with. It is a healing.

 

But as we grow older, the gift of health weakens. Or as a friend of mine has told me, “We have to stop thinking of ourselves as high school juniors.” Suddenly, there are aches and pains where there hasn’t been before. Genesis tells us that the oldest man who ever lived was Methuselah, who only made it to 969 years. I wonder how he felt when he got up in the morning? I wonder if he could get up in the morning?

 

Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil

One of the concepts which Christians has received from Judaism is to take joy in this life. That life is a gift of God, every day of it. Although every now and then a strange group does emerge which basically teaches that the best way to serve God in this life is to make yourself absolutely miserable (I have never figured out such groups’ logic nor theology). In reality the opposite is true. We are to enjoy life, even in the midst of pain and sorrow. Psalm 90 even cries out, “Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.” Yes, sometimes life throws affliction and pain and even misery at us. But we are not supposed to wallow in it. Yes, sin and evil are in the world. But they do not have the ultimate authority over us.

 

One of the tasks, if you will, of a Christian is to enjoy life. Think about that. We are supposed to enjoy our lives. What a concept! We are to enjoy the gift of life which God has given to us, now, where we are in our life now. And, by extension, we are to help others also to enjoy their lives, now. Be they sick, infirm, depressed or even dying. One of the things which impressed the pagans in ancient times was how the Christians would come in and care for the sick, cheerfully, even in times of plague. And this continued to happen over the centuries.

This summer, while you enjoy your life in the midst of God’s grand creation, do so joyfully and thankfully. But also remember others. We have many sick who we pray for, and numerous shut-ins. Do not forget them. Maybe you could visit someone in the hospital (the concept of the hospital was begun by the Church), pray for them. Visit or telephone someone who is shut-in or drop them a card (we have lists pinned to the bulletin boards). It is a time to share the joy of life with all people. For truly now is a time of healing and celebration of life in Christ!

 

In Christ,
Pastor Rose