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Category Archives: Newsletter Articles

The Phoenix: Raise into New Life

Jesus’ resurrection is a single moment in human history, but had and continues to have profound significance that cannot be contained in an annual one day celebration. Thus, Easter is a seven Sunday season, which emphasizes the post-resurrection accounts of Jesus and the emerging Christian community.

Yet, Jesus’ resurrection is the foundation upon which the church universal and our Christian claims are built. Thus, our Sunday worship is always a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, even during the season of Lent.

Furthermore, Jesus’ resurrection invites and calls us daily, as individuals and the church universal, to die to self and be resurrected into a future that is brighter than we can imagine.

Resurrection is not possible without death. It is the tale of the Phoenix. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2019 in Newsletter Articles

 

Holistic Stewardship

The word ‘stewardship’ has inherited the baggage of ‘financial campaign’ and has become a dreaded and dirty word amongst communities of faith.

Stewardship seems to invoke the image of church leadership shaking its members for additional funds until they are financial exhausted. This image is disconcerting for those in the pews, church leadership, and the pastor alike.

But, ‘stewardship’ is broader. It encompasses the whole of our lives.

  •  Stewardship is the task of managing and caring for ‘something’.
  •  Stewards are people tasked to manage and care for ‘something’, including:
    finances and property, but also supplies, order at social events, and people themselves.

We, as Christians, are taught that God created all matter and appointed humankind as its stewards. But, what does this mean?

We are called to manage our finances, time, and talents well while striving towards God’s Will by

  • proclaiming Christ in word and deeds;
  • seeking justice;
  • acting with compassion and mercy; and
  • loving and serving all people.

Stewards of Financial Means
Our household and congregational budgets are to be well managed reflecting that baptismal calling.

Scripture and tradition teaches the offering of a tithe (or 1/10th) of all material possessions to be given for the glory of God and to the service of God, which provided for the Levities (priests), the Temple, and God’s mission to care for the poor, the orphan, and the widow.

Stewards of Time, Energy, and Talents
Similar to our finances, we must budget our time, energy, and talents to reflect that baptismal calling.

We cannot permit ourselves to either be self-indulgent hoarding our time, energy, and talents for selfish purposes or becoming emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually exhausted.

Stewards of Humanity
The management of our finances, time, energy, and talents are for the stewardship and care of humanity ensuring that none are in any need (including clothes, food, and shelter) and are able to thrive. It includes family, loved ones, friends, neighbors, and strangers near and far.

Stewards of Creation
The management of our finances, time, energy, and talents are also for the stewardship and care of creation as our home. We should tend to, protect, and clean it in order that it may thrive.

Conclusion
I invite you to ponder this holistic stewardship of your finances, time, energy, and talents for the sake of humankind and the creation as a spiritual practice to embrace moving forward.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2019 in Newsletter Articles

 

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Valentine, Patrick, & the Saints

Often Protestants are misinformed about the Saints existing in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox traditions alone. The Anglican and Lutheran traditions embrace the Saints too.

But, Lutherans embrace the Saints differently…

Martin Luther redefined a ‘saint’ as a forgiven sinner, but continued to recognize that canonized Saints are examples of Christian witness who should be venerated (respected, not worshipped).

Martin Luther taught that the Saints, however, do not possess an abundance of merit and cannot intercede on our behalf. Therefore, Lutherans do not pray to the Saints.

I have been honored and humbled in the presence of relics, including the tomb of St. Patrick. I have not visited seeking ‘merit’ but rather to be connected to the person, their story, and their Christian witness despite the confines of time and space, such as a family photo album or scrapbook might. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2019 in Newsletter Articles

 

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Doubt: Necessary for a Dynamic Faith

 

The celebration of Easter in the Church is 50 days beginning with the Resurrection and concluding with the Holy Spirit poured out onto the people at Pentecost. This Easter season recounts the post-Resurrection accounts of Jesus the Christ, our Risen Lord.

 

The morning of the Resurrection emphasizes Mary Magdalene and additional women arriving at the tomb of Jesus the Christ to anoint his body per custom. These women were expecting to encounter his corpus, but instead are greeted by the Risen Lord. He commissions them to bear witness to and share the good news of his resurrection with the others, including the inner-most circle of the eleven disciples.

 

These other disciples, except Thomas, are fearfully hidden in a dark room behind locked doors. These other disciples did not believe these witnesses of the Risen Lord until Christ appeared within their dark room. These disciples share their experience with Thomas, who similarly does not believe them.

 

We always wrestle with doubt and its relationship to faith the first Sunday after the Resurrection through the narrative of “doubting” Thomas. But, who is this “doubting” Thomas? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in Newsletter Articles

 

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