There are many ways to transmit news. Especially today. When we speak to another person, our tone of voice and our facial expressions reveal as much as the content we are sharing. So it is with our expression of the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news, the essence of Christianity, remains the same, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” And during the course of the year, we express this truth in different ways.
Such is the case with the season of Lent. While we may bury the “alleluia” for the season, we do not bury Jesus. Because Jesus is not dead. The fact that Jesus died and did not stay dead is the good news we are constantly called to share. Emmanuel, God with us, is a familiar call in Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. But it also has great relevance during Lent.
In Lent, the church calls attention to practices of sacrifice, fasting, unconditional giving and love. The liturgy is changed to give attention to these themes. In many ways the church, and its worship during Lent, reminds us of ourselves. Exposed. Bruised. Facing our mortality. And knowing that we are in need of facing these things honestly, our God understands and follows us on this journey.
In Lent, we may move from a major key to a minor key, but we still sing the same song. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!
Clifton D. Eshbach,
Invite: “To request formally,” “to request the presence or participation of.”
In mid-January, the adult class discussed this word, invite, and what it means within the context of Christian community. What we discovered is that there is “more than meets the eye” than the dictionary definitions listed above.
After all when we invite someone to be with us at church, we are asking them to become part of something more than a nice place to be. We are asking them to be part of an intentional Christian community, in the Lutheran tradition, which worships God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, by which we connect with God through word and sacraments, and are prepared and energized to give witness to our faith through service in the world.
It is a big step for someone to listen to and accept such an invitation. And it can be a challenging conversation to have with another person. After all, one’s faith journey can be complicated.
But having these inviting conversations are something we are called to do. That’s why during this year, we are going to take some time to discuss Christian invitation, and how we can be best prepared to share our own story, as we invite others to share theirs. I invite your presence at these conversations. After all personal contact between people is still considered the best method for introducing someone into a faith community.
Holy Spirit has much to share. And we will share that story with everyone we invite, during this important year of our 60th anniversary.
Clifton D. Eshbach,
Welcome to our special end of the year/beginning of the year, power packed/new and improved/super sized/finger lickin’ good/breakfast of champions/mmm mmm good/just do it/have it your way/I’m lovin’ it/God’s work. Our Hands…Newsletter.
In other words, this is a special issue with a lot in here for you to read and remember.
Like you, I am amazed that we are at the end of 2018 and preparing to start 2019. But what an amazing time it is. To observe the precious season of Advent with its calls to keep awake and alert, as well as hearing the inspiring words coming from the mother of our Lord, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
And then…and then we celebrate the birth of Jesus, raising our voices as loud as the shepherds and angels did on that first night, “Glory to God in the highest!”
These coming weeks are special ones in our spiritual life. I hope you will avail yourself of all the opportunities for worship, prayer and study that Holy Spirit has to offer. And invite a friend to be part of our worship life in Advent, Christmas and beyond.
Thank you for the good year we have had. In 2019 we will take note of our 60th anniversary on this little corner of Columbia Avenue. Let’s find out together how we can further use our hands to advance God’s work.
Clifton D. Eshbach,
This year our acknowledgement of Reformation Sunday will not have quite the same excitement, anticipation and pageantry as did our observance of the quincentenary anniversary last year. After all not many folks take note of a 501st anniversary with great fanfare.
But observe it we shall. This annual recollection of Martin Luther and the other reformers is not just an historical exercise where we recite the key text from Romans, or walk around in a brown monk’s alb holding a long piece of paper and a wooden mallet searching for a door to nail the paper to. It is a bit more substantial than that.
Luther (Martin and Katie) and their colleagues revealed to the world our total dependence upon God’s grace, revealed our inability to live in loving faith without the power of the cross of Christ, and revealed how, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to give and provide out of our abundance for our family of faith, and our neighbors in all locations of God’s creation.
As it turns out, these themes also will show themselves in the gospel texts from the tenth chapter of Mark’s gospel, which we will hear and think about during the first three weeks of October. When heard separately, the texts from this chapter appear to speak to three different topics. But we need to consider them as a complete teaching unit of Jesus, as he journeys closer and closer to Jerusalem, and his fate as the savior of the world.
As always, your participation each week in sacred worship is essential in our life together as a family of faith. God bless you as you live out your call in service to our Lord.
Clifton D. Eshbach,
Sunday, November 4
at Camp Nawakwa
The Quilt Auction will be held at Camp Nawakwa on Sunday, November 4. We will carpool from the church right after Sunday School. Look for a clipboard sign-up sheet on the round table in the narthex if you are planning to go. There is a Silent Auction at 2 p.m. and the Quilt Auction begins at 3 p.m. Pastor Eshbach introduces each quilt and is our “master of ceremonies”. The money raised helps provide camp scholarships. An evening meal wraps up a fun afternoon at camp. See Patti LaPorte if you have any questions.