Happening Now Blog

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

In my Easter sermon I talked about "doing resurrection."  One way of applying that notion is taking action to bring life out of death.  Churches are well equipped to do this.  Especially when we're connected with a national church denomination — the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) — that has such a strong history of overseas mission work, disaster relief, and robust international connections through the Lutheran World Federation.

With that in mind, I want to lift up the plight of Syrian refugees as an opportunity to "do resurrection."  I've been struck by the enormity of the disaster.  We're talking about millions of displaced persons, internally and outside of Syria.  Some go to nearby nations like Lebanon and Jordan — themselves ill-equipped to handle an influx of such magnitude.  Other Syrians go west: Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, eastern Europe, Germany, Sweden. The poverty, precariousness, misery, and hopelessness we witness among these refugees is arresting.  Heartbreaking.  In many cases, deadly.  Can we — People of the Resurrection — work some resurrection here?

Consider the following appeal put out last autumn by the ELCA:

A record number of refugees and migrants from the Middle East are fleeing war and poverty and making a terrifying, life-threatening journey to find a safer, better way of life in Europe. Although they come from different countries, for various reasons, they share a common goal: hope for a brighter future. As conflicts continue, especially in Syria and Iraq, the number of people seeking safety and basic necessities is on the rise.  As a church, we are called to respond. Lutheran Disaster Response is committed to meeting basic humanitarian needs and upholding the rights of those fleeing war and crisis. We are working with our companion churches – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary and the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia – and The Lutheran World Federation to provide food, diapers, blankets, water, health kits, hygiene kits and psychosocial services to assist those who have fled their homes. We are also in communication with our church companions in Germany as they receive tens of thousands of refugees. Your prayers and support are needed now for immediate relief. Gifts designated for the Middle East and Europe Refugee Crisis will be used in full (100 percent) to assist those directly impacted by this crisis. Thank you.

If you don't have the time and expertise to go to the camps and help out yourself, you can donate money through the ELCA, a trusted partner in disaster relief.  Here are a couple links:

Donations: https://community.elca.org/middle-east-and-europe-refugee-crisis

Middle East Refugee Crisis – background and related links: http://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Middle-East-and-Europe-Refugee

Here's your chance to help people who will never be able to pay you back (Matt. 6:2-4).  May the Spirit move you to join Jesus in this work of resurrection.

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Lessons for Sunday, April 10th
Acts 9:1-20
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Chapel
                   10:00 a  Bible Study
                    6:00 p  Men's Nigh at Reedville Cafe

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                    6:00 - 8:30 p  Movie Night
                          Jesus Christ Superstar
                          (potluck soup/bread/supper potluck begins at 5:30 p)

Friday         9:00 - 12:00 p  KOK Preschool
                   1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir practice
                   6:00 - 9:00 p SOV Youth Movie Night
                                       Westside High School Collective group
                                       bring a snack to share and invite a friend!

Sunday    8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Services
                6:00 - 7:30 p Confirmation Class


Please join us for Movie Night
Thursday, April 7th
5:30 p  soup, bread, sandwich potluck
6:00 - 8:30 p Movie Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar emphasizes: The humanness of Jesus, the way that He appeared as one of us even to those of his closest followers. They recognized Him as something more, and yet because He had human shape and because they knew Him as a man, they still had trouble wrapping their minds around the idea of Jesus as God. If we put ourselves in that position of having trouble believing our spirits rather than our eyes, that's when the miracle of Easter has its greatest effect on us. We who know the risen Lord sometimes take his risen-ness for granted – but if we put ourselves in the position of those who thought all their dreams had died on Good Friday, then Easter's glory can really, truly change us in the same way a confused Mary Magdalene sings about being changed not just in little ways, but indeed into "someone else." And not just someone else, but someone better.

Easter should likewise change us all. We now are offered, through the risen Christ, both redemption and eternal life no matter how we sometimes suffer on Earth. Despite Magdalene's confusion, Jesus is not "just a man." And, because of Easter, neither are we. We now can recognize the truth that we are spirit as well, spirit and everlasting soul. We are "changed, yes really changed." And in that change, as Jesus told the Apostles (John 20:21), "Peace be unto you." (pjmedia.com)

Saturday, April 9th
Youth Movie night
Westside High School Collective Group
6:00 - 9:00 pm at SOV