Sunday, November 01, 2015

All Saints Sunday, November 1, 2015

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Narthex window, Church on Lytham

Today we Christians celebrate and remember all the Saints who have gone before us. In our church members submit names on cards to be read during the service they attend. We'll be serving communion during that time, so it is always wonderful to hear the names of my parents and sister while I'm offering the body of Christ to fellow believers.

Pastor Brody preached an unusual sermon.  He went over the funeral service as printed in the Lutheran Book of Worship (Augsburg, 1978), “Burial of the Dead” pp. 206-214.  It was very moving.

"Most Lutheran churches use the first Sunday in November to remember all the saints in the Church of Christ Jesus, especially those members and friends of the local congregation who have been called to Heaven in the previous year.

The custom of commemorating all the martyrs of the Church on a single day goes back at least to the third century. All Saints' Day celebrates not only the martyrs and saints, but all the people of God, living and dead, who together form the mystical body of Christ.

In Europe, All Saints' Day is also called All Hallow's Day ('hallowed' means 'sanctified' or 'holy'). October 31st, the evening before All Saint's Day is named All Hallow's Eve, which was contracted to Halloween." (Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Ypsilanti, MI)

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Sanctuary window, Church at Mill Run

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Adult Sunday School, October 2015, UALC

Our Sunday school class is studying Romans, and for two weeks had an outstanding, articulate retired Lutheran pastor, Douglas McBride formerly of San Antonio, as our teacher. Class members are taking us through Romans after his excellent overview and first three chapters. I hope he can come back.

Paul wrote a letter to the Roman church, a mixed group of Jews and Gentiles, from Corinth, while he was on his third missionary journey between 56 and 58 A.D. He was on his way to Spain.** At the time he was gathering an offering from the Gentile Christians for the church in Jerusalem (15:25; Acts 24:17). Over half of the people he specifically mentions in the letter have Greek or Roman names, and he calls the Jews, “my brothers.” The church may have been started by his converts, but no one knows for certain. Since he first mentions Phoebe it appears that she brought the letter to Rome, so she must have been a trusted convert and helper. He greets a number of households indicating the church was made up of numerous groups, and he addresses in the letter a number of situations, many of which sound similar to our churches today. Struggles among themselves; how to deal with the government, etc.

He encourages unity and accepting one another, just as Christ accepted them. Yet it seems the church has never been more divided and scattered than today.

In the free box at church I found the New International Version of the Bible (Zondervan) on cassette. I may be one of the few people who still have a hand held cassette player, so I’ve been listening to Romans while using my exercycle. Usually, I don’t enjoy audio of the Bible--speakers/voice actors go too fast or it’s too monotonous, but this one is really excellent. There are music and sound effects, and when the writers reflect on OT passages of Jesus’ messages, there is a slight echo or reverberation.

* * “We know little about the early years of Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula. According to legend the apostle James --at Christ’s urging--carried the gospel to the country in 40 AD, but the early church writers have nothing to say about it. We know that St Paul intended to visit in Spain (Epistle to the Romans, XV, 24 and 28), which would suggest that there were organised groups for him to preach to. But there is no evidence that he made the trip, nor does any church in Spain popularly claim to have been founded by Paul.

By the second century, however, some Christian communities were probably established in the peninsula. We know that St Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (France), writing around 180 AD, alludes to Christian churches amongst the Celts and Iberians. We also know from a letter by St Cyprian of Carthage (?-258?) that by 254 AD there were Christian communities in Astorga, Mérida, León and Zaragoza.” Source.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The new catechumens in the third century church

Apostolic Traditions was written by Hippolytus who feared the church was straying from tradition and falling into heresy and false doctrine, so he wanted to record the right way to ordain leaders like bishops and deacons and how to bring in new members. Nothing of the original Greek remains, but there are translations.  This simplified version by Kevin P. Edgecomb  is based on the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992)

15 Those who are newly brought forward to hear the Word shall first be brought before the teachers at the house, before all the people enter. 2Then they will be questioned concerning the reason that they have come forward to the faith. Those who bring them will bear witness concerning them as to whether they are able to hear. 3They shall be questioned concerning their life and occupation, marriage status, and whether they are slave or free. 4If they are the slaves of any of the faithful, and if their masters permit them, they may hear the Word. If their masters do not bear witness that they are good, let them be rejected. 5If their masters are pagans, teach them to please their masters, so that there will be no blasphemy.

6If a man has a wife, or a woman has a husband, let them be taught to be content, the husband with his wife, and the wife with her husband. 7If there is a man who does not live with a woman, let him be taught not to fornicate, but to either take a wife according to the law, or to remain as is.

8If there is someone who has a demon, such a one shall not hear the Word of the teacher until purified.

16 They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are brought forward for instruction. 2If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall cease or shall be rejected. 3If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. 4If someone is an actor or does shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 5If someone teaches children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let him be permitted. 6A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. 10If someone is a military governor,a or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. 12The prostitute, the wanton man, the one who castrates himself, or one who does that which may not be mentioned, are to be rejected, for they are impure. 13A magus shall not even be brought forward for consideration. 14An enchanter, or astrologer, or diviner, or interpreter of dreamsb, or a charlatanc, or one who makes amulets, either they shall cease or they shall be rejected. 15If someone's concubine is a slave, as long as she has raised her children and has clung only to him, let her hear. Otherwise, she shall be rejected. 16The man who has a concubine must cease and take a wife according to the law. If he will not, he shall be rejected.

17 Catechumens will hear the word for three years. 2Yet if someone is earnesta and perseveres well in the matter, it is not the time that is judged, but the conduct.

a Lit. has the authority of swords
b Other ancient authorities add or one who clips the fringes of garments,
c Lit., one who stirs up the people


Given the lax standards of today it is amazing that the persecuted and outlawed church of the third century would not accept people who would not change their lifestyle or profession in preference for sinning. And they needed witnesses—which many churches still recommend . . such as a god parent or sponsor. Military leaders were to defy orders. Political leaders were not welcome to take instruction. Gladiators had to give up their jobs. Slaves, however, could become Christians and by their witness might convert their masters, but not magicians or those in the occult who wouldn’t give it up. Sexual immorality (prostitute, wanton man, the castrated, and one “who does that which may not be mentioned”) was enough to cause rejection—and I don’t see an exception for giving up the practice. A faithful concubine, however, could be accepted in the fellowship, but the man had to give up his concubine or make her a wife.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Meeting Jesus feeding the hungry, Matthew 25

At UALC this past month we’ve been meeting Jesus as he promised us in the Gospel of Matthew by feeding the hungry .

  • Souper Bowl Sunday 2015; thank God for a successful event at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church that resulted in $5,716 in cash and 2,796 donated cans of food being collected for Lutheran Social Services food pantries. That translates to 242,868 cans of food for hungry people!
  • Community Meal Packing Project;  thank God for anointing those who gathered last week to pack 763,320 meals for hungry people both locally and in Haiti, and for the opportunity we had to share Jesus with those who came to Mill Run to help pack food.

Meal packing Feb. 26 2015

We worked in groups of 10-12, in 30 shifts, packaging, weighing and sealing 3 different types of meals that will be distributed by Meals from the Heart.   Close to half the meals will go overseas to programs like the Andrew Grene School near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The remaining meals will stay in this country to be distributed through the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Lutheran Social Services and the Salvation Army. Each bag contains enough dried food for 6 meals.

“Meals from the Heart is a division of Mano Amiga, a 20-year-old 501c3 non-profit company organizing and facilitating mission trips for youth organizations from churches and schools is based in Minnesota. Mano Amiga works to help people in need. Homes get roofs, schools get built, lives get changed. Workers return from the trips with a new outlook on life.”

TJ meal packing

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215 AD)

Note to readers:  Everything I write on my blog is indexed in some form or manner by the U.S. government (and by Google), so I wanted to elevate the content just in case it is useful for evangelizing!

There’s a lot of interesting background about the history of this council which was both religious and political.  Check it at Fourth Lateran Council, Papal Encyclicals Online.

When the council began in the Lateran basilica in November 1215 there were present 404 bishops from throughout the western church, and from the Latin eastern church a large number of abbots, canons and representatives of the secular power. No Greeks were present, even those invited, except the patriarch of the Maronites and a legate of the patriarch of Alexandria. The bond with the Greek church was indeed neglected, and matters became more serious through the actions of Latin bishops living in the east or through the decrees of the council.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Old Fashioned--a great movie

Despite the snow and some white outs on the way to the theater, our St. Valentine's date worked well. We saw "Old Fashioned" at Lennox 24 near the OSU campus then had dinner out. The movie truly is old fashioned, with gorgeous cinematography filmed in Tuscawarus County, Ohio, in Oct. and Nov. 2011. In fact, I'd say NE Ohio had a supporting role. The opening in theaters was held back to coincide with the opening of “50 shades of Grey.”  It truly is the antidote to the 50 shades movie.

Rik Swartzwelder wrote, directed and acted in the film. (He's from New Philadelphia, Ohio, now lives in California). He plays Clay, a guy who not only owns an antique store in the college town where he has a not so lovely past, but old fashioned ideas about who he will marry and what their courtship should be. He meets Amber, the free spirit type, who reminds me of some of the loopy 1970s film characters--on the run when a problem comes up, 3 credit hours from her degree, a cat lady, odd fashion taste and a horrible marriage in her past. These two people, one who can't forgive himself for his past, and one who flees her past, fall in love. There are interesting supporting sub-plots, like Clay's buddies, and Amber's co-workers at the flower shop. This is not an overtly Christian film, but has Christian values, and you can leave the theater without having heard a single swear word even though the story line includes some crude characters in its backstory.

As we left the theater my husband said it had a "168" feel (short films with a Biblical theme organized by John David Ware) so I looked that up and see that Rik Swartzwelder has worked with Ware (who grew up in our church) in workshops for writers and directors that is also a part of the 168 project.

We suggested the film to our waitress--that she take her boyfriend. She said she didn't have a boyfriend and would see if she could get a group of her friends to go. And that's just the crowd that should see this movie. Searching singles tired of the hook-up culture of meaningless sex and moving on.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Five shades of Grey

“Rick McDaniel, senior pastor of Richmond Community Church, 11801 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23059, says that while human sexuality is certainly a normal phenomenon, we need to understand it through the lens of God’s morality. McDaniel says Fifty Shades of Grey, with its explicitly erotic scenes that feature bondage, dominance and sadism, is dangerous, destructive and against the teachings of God’s promise of marriage. So he is planning a sermon series titled 5 Shades of Grey, in which he will tackle the five topics of adultery, divorce, cohabitation, pornography and gay marriage.”

Rick McDaniel, senior pastor of Richmond Community Church, 11801 Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, Virginia 23059, says that while human sexuality is certainly a normal phenomenon, we need to understand it through the lens of God’s morality.  McDaniel says Fifty Shades of Grey, with its explicitly erotic scenes that feature bondage, dominance and sadism, is dangerous, destructive and against the teachings of God’s promise of marriage.  So he is planning a sermon series titled 5 Shades of Grey, in which he will tackle the five topics of adultery, divorce, cohabitation, pornography and gay marriage.