"From the Pulpit" - Reflections on the Weekly Texts from Pastor Greg at Living Lord Lutheran Church
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, [Jesus] said, 6“As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.
9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14S o make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.” from Luke's gospel for Sunday Luke 21:5-19
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whoa! Reading this text for Sunday from Luke, it's a little frightening, right? The temple is destroyed; false prophets; wars; insurrections; plagues; dreadful portents; great signs from heaven; jail time for believers; and more. And, oh, by the way, have a nice day. (Smiley face here!!!)
Jesus is identifying challenging times, both then, and now. Times when we feel like the world as we know it is coming to an end. Here's what I take from this, for my message on Sunday. Things were bad then, things are bad now.
Who would ever have imagined that two towers in lower Manhattan would some day not be there? Who would ever have imagined that the great ice sheets and snow capped mountains, the glaciers around our world largely will be gone in our lifetime? Who would ever have imagined that it's possible to literally walk across the Mississippi River at places now, due to drought and shrinking water supplies? Who would have ever imagined that there would, in our lifetime, not be enough water in Lake Mead (NV) to flow over those massive turbines at the Hoover Dam? Who could ever have imagined that our democracy would be in peril maybe? And worse, who would ever have imagined that Tom Brady and Gisele Bundschen would get divorced? I mean, really? The world as we know it is coming completely unraveled. Nothing is sacred or permanent it seems.
But...but...remember my message a few Sundays ago on this little word? But, all of this means that it is a good time to be the church. Why, you ask? Why, in the midst of such upheaval and turmoil, is it a good time to be the church? How can this possibly be a good time to be the church, you ask? Think about that, and come up with your own answer. Take a look at Announcement #4 below, and you'll get a hint. I'll give you mine on Sunday during my message.
Check out the bulletin cover below. How do you think it represents the gospel message for Sunday? What's going on in this artwork? Dove (think peace, love, etc.) caught in barbed wire. Military planes overhead. Hmmm...
1. Memorial Service for Philip Moyer - Friday afternoon (tomorrow) at 3:00 pm. All are invited to attend this Service of Holy Communion at the church. There will be a military presence during worship and his interment. As most of you know, Phil lived a pretty amazing life, both in his work life and his family life. And he loved his church.
2. Piano and Organ Recital - Saturday afternoon Nov. 12th, at 3:00 pm at the church. Join us (and bring a friend or two) for an amazing 75 minutes of organ and piano music, brought to you by Nancy Trievel, Pastor Greg's musician at his former congregation in Reading, PA. This amazing musician will be sharing her musical gifts with us on Saturday, and will be joining Adria Ryan, our own musician, for worship on Sunday. You won't want to miss either of these. Saturday's program will feature both sacred and secular music, along with music of the season and some favorite church hymns that we can all sing along to. Free will offering proceeds will benefit Lutheran Disaster Response, in their ongoing assistance in the cleanup on our FL west coast after Hurricane Ian.
3. Church Clean up - Next Friday (18th) at the church. See the Love Letter for details of this morning rally to clean up the church outside and in, as we prepare for Advent and Christmas. There is a sign up sheet in the church lobby/narthex.
4. Church Planning and Visioning - Saturday, November 19th at Our Savior Lutheran Church - 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. You are a stakeholder in the future of our church. The church's mission going forward, is in your hands, as well as God's. You are invited to attend/participate in this three hour visioning meeting on Saturday morning Nov. 19th (see above) as we together as the people of God, discern what God has in store for our congregation. This will be a fun, enlightening exercise for us all. If you've ever participated in a planning session, you know it can be challenging, fun, and invigorating. Pastor Neal Hively has been retained to lead us in this next phase of our planning and visioning. Join us. You have a stake in what happens! Sign up in the lobby of the church this weekend, or respond to this email. We're just using Our Savior as a little "getaway" site, to get us off campus, so to speak. They have graciously donated their space to us.
5. Honor Our Vets this Sunday - On Sunday, during the prayers, we'll stop to honor all our Vets who have served. If you're one, or if you know of someone who is, please plan on attending worship.
6. Thank someone this week...this month! Take a minute to thank someone who has made your life more...complete. More enjoyable. Easire. More fulfilling. See our little display in the church narthex the next few weeks, and see how you can do this. Write a thank you note to someone - the checkout clerk at Publix; your mailman/person; your healthcare provider; your banker; accountant; and more.
There are more events going on this month in and around the church. Check out the Love Letter for a complete schedule of activities. Jump in. Engage.