February 2019

“A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:32

Dear Redeemer Family:
The Season of Epiphany is the “Season of Light.” God’s light breaks into our world in His Son Jesus Christ. And now, we are to bear that light into the world. So, this month, let’s look at some of those light bearers who are commemorated this month, so that we may see what that might entail.

First, St. Ansgar, Bishop of Hamburg, missionary to Denmark and Sweden, he died on February 3rd, 865. Where I grew up, one of the Lutheran churches (there were three) was St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church. So, he has always been of interest to me. Ansgar was a monk who led a mission to Denmark and later to Sweden, where he built the first church. His work ran into difficulties with the rulers of the day, and he was forced to withdraw into Germany, where he served as a bishop in Hamburg. Despite his difficulties in Sweden, he persisted in his mission work and later helped consecrate Gothbert as the first bishop of Sweden. Ansgar had a deep love for the poor. He would wash their feet and serve them food provided by the parish.

On February 14th, we commemorate St. Valentine (who I won’t go into), but also St. Cyril, monk; and St. Methodius, bishop and missionaries to the Slavs. St. Cyril died on this date in the year 869, St. Methodius in 885. These two brothers (yes, they were brothers) were from a noble family in Thessalonika, a province of Greece. Both were priests, as well as missionaries. After some early initial missionary work by Cyril among the Arabs, the brothers retired to a monastery. They were later sent to work among the Slavs, the missionary work for which they are most known. Since Slavonic had no written form at the time, the brothers established a written language with the Greek alphabet as its basis. It is still in use, known as the Cyrillic Alphabet. They translated the scriptures and the liturgy using this Cyrillic alphabet. The Czechs, Serbs, Croats, Slovaks and Bulgars regard the brothers as the founders of Slavic literature. The brothers’ work in preaching and worshiping in the language of the people are honored by Christians in both East and West.

And finally, some guy named Martin Luther, Renewer of the Church. On February 18th in the year of 1546, Martin Luther died at the age of 62. For a time, he was an Augustinian monk (of the Minor Order), but it is his work as a biblical scholar, translator of the Bible, public confessor of the faith, reformer of the liturgy, theologian, educator, and father of German vernacular literature that holds him in our remembrance. In Luther’s own judgment, the greatest of all of his works was his catechism, written to instruct people in the basics of faith. And it was his baptism that sustained him in his trials as a reformer.

These are but a few whom the Church remember in February. May we learn from their lives and examples, and carry on their work in our lives, in our ways, to the glory of God. Share the light of Christ.

In Christ,
Pastor Rose

September 2018

“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

 

Dear Redeemer Family:

If you are wondering why I chose the above verse, it’s simple. I needed a text about the weather, and that is the one which sprang to mind! But, the text does point out something poignant; with all of our knowledge and technology, around here, it’s about 50% guess work! As I write this, we are still in August. But, it has rained several days this week. The Dog Days of Summer are soaking wet. Not to mention that we kind of skipped Spring (about a week does not a Spring make) this year and went straight to Summer. We are living in strange times. Still, there are things that we do know, and can predict.

 

Autumn comes as a signal that inevitable winter lies ahead. To many, especially those of us in this northern hemisphere, autumn’s cool, crisp air is a welcome relief from summer heat. I can’t wait. And its brilliant colors are a thing of beauty. I believe that autumn is the prettiest of the seasons by far. In the churches and communities, this season is also a gathering back in from summer activity, the start of a new school and church program year. The outside air is different, and so is the pace. But just when we think the earth is undergoing its seasonal death, seeds are being planted for new growth; in the soil and in the people.

 

Parker Palmer writes that faced with inevitable winter, autumn “scatters the seed that will bring new growth in the spring. And she scatters them with amazing abandon.” He admits that he is rarely aware of the seeds being planted. He is more focused on the green growth of summer browning and dying, “My delight in the autumn colors is always tinged with melancholy, a sense of impending loss that is only heightened by the beauty all around. I am drawn down by the prospect of death more than I am lifted by the hope of new life.”

 

In a paradox, opposites don’t negate each other, he reminds us. “They cohere in mysterious unity at the heart of reality. We live in a culture that prefers the ease of either/or thinking, and have a difficult time holding opposites together. We want light without darkness, the glories of spring and summer without the demands of autumn and winter.”

 

As we move into autumn, let us allow the paradox of darkness and light to just be. The two will conspire to bring wholeness and health to every living thing. As we experience living and dying, dying and living, our lives will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole. Let’s enjoy our seasons as they come, and look towards those whose coming they foretell. Enjoy the blessed season, whatever it may be.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Rose