Sunday, January 21, 2007

385 Lutheran sacraments

"Lutherans recognize only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, because Luther could find no clear evidence that Christ instituted any other sacraments. Baptism commissions all believers to a common ministry, but for the sake of enduring witness and good order in the church, there is a divinely instituted, special, ordained ministry. Lutherans have not always agreed on the precise differences between the ministry of all the baptized (the "common priesthood of all believers") and the ministry of the ordained, but they have nevertheless rejected any notion of a divinely instituted structure of hierarchical priesthood. An ordained Lutheran pastor is a baptized Christian who is called to the public ministry of word and sacraments after proper training and examination, and the rite of ordination is the solemn commissioning to be faithful to this call." Lutheranism. ERIC GRITSCH. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. Vol. 8. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. p5538-5540. 15 vols. On-line edition accessed Jan. 21, 2007.

Lutherans, at least none I know, don't rebaptize. If you can't remember your baptism, don't ask for a do-over from a Lutheran because you'll be told God remembers even if you don't. Also, of all the service opportunities I've had since joining UALC in 1974, serving communion is the high point. I can't tell you the beauty and privilege of handing the body of Christ to a dear sweet 85 year old who has struggled to get to the communion rail.

384 Featured church of the week

on U.S. Farm Report today is First Baptist Church of Wayne, NE, which organized in 1882, which means the congregation is celebrating its 125th birthday! I think the reporter said they built their present facility in 1909. Their website is simple and easy to read. It's easy to look at the list of chores and ministries of their members (did one woman really do coffee, communion and clean the downstairs all alone in December or was she just in charge?). Unlike the websites of much larger, wealthier churches. No names of course.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

383 A joke in the Frozen Chosen discussion

I laughed out loud at this one. It was in the blog comments section.

"A young boy was shocked to find that his neighborhood playmates had never been baptized. Thinking quickly, he led them all to the nearest church.

A janitor, the only person there at the time, opened the door and let them in. Upon hearing what they wanted, he led them into the bathroom, where he proceeded to sprinkle each of them with water from a toilet.

Walking home, the boys began to wonder what demonination they had joined.

"Well we can't be baptists," one boy said, "because they dunk you all the way in."

"Well, we can't be Catholics," another boy said. "They pour water over your head and light candles."

After further discussion, another boy finally interrupted in disgust. "Come on, guys, didn't you smell that water? We're 'piscopalians!" "

Friday, January 05, 2007

382 The Frozen Chosen

is not a term with which I'm familiar, but apparently it is a derogatory term for Presbyterians, and a WaPo writer made a serious blunder, showing ignorance of church traditions and Calvinists, when referring to Episcopalians with that term. The hullabaloo was caused when there was a write up about the Falls Church Episcopal church in Fairfax County, VA leaving the denomination and that they might be speaking in tongues and having ecstatic worship experiences. [Shhhh, don't tell--fundies, you know.] Well, a woman who actually worships there wrote them up. Be sure to read the comments.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

381 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, although two I made many years ago I have kept to this day. (To stop biting my fingernails and to always put my keys in the same place in my purse.)

However, on January 1 I was looking for an open coffee shop and went into the Starbucks which opened about 30 minutes earlier than the first store I tried. I was reading, minding my own business, when a gentleman on his way out the door said something to me about finding a coffee shop on a holiday. So we started talking--we knew some of the same people and had a similar health problem.

Eventually (because I made an opening) we got around to church and faith. He started talking about his "The One Year Bible" which he had with him and uses to lead a Bible study group. He said he'd tried reading the Bible through many times, but this method worked for him and kept him from tunnel vision.

When I got home I pulled our copy (NIV) off the shelf. I've made it to January 3, which may be longer than the last time I tried it. In the Matthew passage today (3:7-4:11) the devil is tempting Jesus after his 40 day fast. Each time, Jesus responds to temptation with, "it is written." Eventually the devil gives up and the angels came.

Sounds like a plan. But first you need to know what is written and where.