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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.

May 2016

“Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous.” Psalm 97:12

 

Since we are still in the Season of Easter, and we are all called to be witnesses, some of you have told me that you enjoy it when I do this, I share with you some snippets of some of the great witnesses of the past. Enjoy this snippets of people of great faith.

 

May 2nd (for this year, anyway) is Sts. Philip and James, Apostles Day. Philip was one of the first disciples of Jesus, who after following Jesus invited Nathanael to “come and see.” According to tradition, Philip preached in Asia Minor and died as a martyr in Phrygia. James, the son of Alphaeus, is called “the Less” (meaning “short” or “younger”) to distinguish him from another apostle named James who is commemorated on July 25. Philip and James are commemorated together because the remains of these two saints were placed in the Church of the Apostles in Rome on this day in 561.

 

Also May 2nd, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, died in 373 (you know him because of the creed that is named after him which we will be saying later this month). Athanasius attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 as a deacon and secretary to the bishop of Alexandria. At the council, and when he himself served as bishop of Alexandria, he defended the full divinity of Christ against the Arian position. One of the oldest and most enduring heresies: that Jesus was just a man, a good man, and God “adopted” him. This position, Arianism, was held by several emperors, magistrates, and some theologians at the time. Because of his defense of the divinity of Christ, he was considered a troublemaker and was banished from Alexandria on five occasions. Once, he escaped in what you would have to call a boat race up the Nile River. If they caught him, they were going to execute him. Because of this, he actually only served about two years in Alexandria. He had to keep escaping. As bishop, one of his paschal letters to surrounding bishops gives a list for books that should be considered canonical scripture. He lists the twenty-seven New Testament books that are recognized today.

 

May 4th, Monica, mother of Augustine, died 387. Monica was married to a pagan husband who was ill-tempered and unfaithful. She rejoiced greatly when both her husband and his mother became Christian. But it is because she is the mother of Augustine that she is best known. Monica had been a disciple of St. Ambrose, and eventually Augustine came under his influence. Almost everything that we know about Monica comes from Augustine’s Confessions, his autobiography. She died far from her home but said to her son, “Do no fret because I am buried far from our home in Africa. Nothing is far from God, and I have no fear that God will not know where to find me, when Christ comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.” Her dying wish was that her son remember her at the altar of the Lord, wherever he was.

 

In Christ,
Pastor Rose

April 2016

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

 

Are you full? Have you had enough? After the devotion of Lent; the intensity of Maundy Thursday; Good Friday; and by the time that you read this, Easter morning? And yet there is more, much more to our Easter. Herb Brokering wrote an added verse for Easter to his hymn “Earth and All Stars,” number 558 in the green hymnal. The words are:

“City of God, Easter forever,

Golden Jerusalem, Jesus the Lamb,

River of life, saints and archangels,

Sing with creation to God the I AM!

Jesus is risen and we shall arise.

Give God the Glory! Alleluia!”

His hymn with its buffet of images invites us into the Season of Easter, a season of abundance.

 

This year, during the Season of Easter, our Epistle lessons will come from the Book of Revelation, a most misunderstood book. But, as biblical scholar Barbara Rossing tells us, “Revelation’s gift to us is a story of a God who loves us and comes to live with us.” Revelation, like Easter, is not ultimately about absence, about Jesus’ or our going away, but about presence and fullness.

 

On might be struck by the fullness of images and descriptors in the readings from Revelation: myriads (that’s 10,000 – officially), thousands, blessings, honor, glory, multitudes, nations, and more and more. The tree in the city that we hear about in Revelation 21 bears not one but twelve kinds of fruit for the healing of the nations.

 

Easter, not just the Day, but the whole Season, is a time of abundance. Outside, during the week, we can even receive a hint of this as creation itself is now awakening and beginning to bloom with abundance. Our God comes to us with abundance in creation, in His Church, and especially in His Eternal Kingdom. God lives with us in them all, and with God, there is always more than enough. His cup overflows.

 

In Christ,
Pastor Rose