November 21, 2021 – Last Sunday of the Church Year
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Nov 22nd – Nov 28th
Tuesday……………….. Clement, Pastor
Wednesday……………. 7:00pm Thanksgiving Service
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
Clement is from what is called the first generation of Church Fathers. The Apostolic Age formally ends with the death of the Apostle John circa 100 AD, but John was the exception. Most of the Apostles had died martyrs’ deaths by the 60s AD. They had established churches and “appointed elders (Titus 1:5) in every town.” The three large figures immediately after were: Polycarp (who followed John), Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome who followed Peter. There is one surviving accepted letter from Clement to the Church of Corinth that for a spell was read as scripture. The main subject of that letter dealt with divisions within the church over leadership. (Some things never change. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians partly about that as well (1 Cor 3).) And Like Paul, Clement urged the Corinthians to “fix their eyes on the cross of Christ.” Clement, like most of the apostles, died a martyr around 100 AD. He was first exiled from Rome and then executed by being attached to an anchor and tossed into the sea. The anchor cross is often called a St. Clement Cross.
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
Jude is a short letter that probably should get more attention. It appears once in the lectionary, today, and we read a spare 5 verses. Those 5 verses capture the encouragement but neglect why the encouragement is needed. Jude 3 is the point of the letter: “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Why is such contention necessary? That is verse 4: “certain people have crept in unnoticed…who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny Christ.” Verses 5-16 give the examples and why this contention for the faith is important. Although saving Israel out of Egypt, that generation lacked faith to enter the promised land and so died in the wilderness. Angels having once been given positions of immense authority were locked in chains waiting for judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah indulged unnatural desires. Yet given these examples of God’s justice to those who fell away from the truth, their actions are repeated today. “People, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme holy ones…these people blaspheme all that they don’t understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.” Unreasoning animals instinctively know things that we by the supposed use of our reason deny. Why do we deny basic truths of creation? Because we have our own dreams. Does any of that sound familiar?
What are we to do? Contend for the faith. We have been told that this is always the case. “In the last time – the age of the church – there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions…but you, beloved…keep yourself in the love of God…have mercy on those who doubt, save others.” That summary of the vocation of all Christians resonates with me. First, watch yourself. James would say not many should be teachers. Paul would say “watchout for yourselves lest you fall (Gal 6:1).” Then, remaining in the love of God, extend that love to others by showing mercy. Peter’s comment “love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)” comes to mind. Because it was the love of Christ shown to us when we were scoffers that saved us. Likewise, we don’t know who might be snatched out of the fire by the love and mercy we show them. What is contending the for the faith? It surely includes arguments, that is what Jude is doing, but the greatest contention is living it. Live it yourself, and then extend mercy and love toward others. This is the example of Christ.
Lord, you are able to keep our feet from stumbling and to present us blameless before your glory. Keep us in the faith once delivered to the saints.
- Thurs 10am: Off Thanksgiving; Starting a New Series – “The Bible Stories Everyone Should Know”. Come Join!
- Confirmation: Work on memorizing the commandments and read the 8th commandment questions.
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): December 2nd?
- Sunday Morning: Off this weekend, last day of box collection!
- Catechism Moment: In hibernation
THANKSGIVING EVE SERVICE: 7 PM on Wednesday
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Thank you to everyone who helped this year. We still have two collection days, today after service and Monday morning. That Sunday afternoon is usually a blitz, so if anyone is willing to help.
RHAFT CHALLENGE ADVENT
The season of Advent is quickly approaching, and so is a RHAFT challenge for giving to our local food pantry. You will find an insert in your bulletin which lists some suggestions for items to give during each of the four weeks of Advent. (Of course, any donations are welcomed any week, but this method helps us give a variety of items to RHAFT.) There are many who are “in need” in our community, especially during this time of job losses and rising prices. We thank you for your past generosity in giving, and we pray that you will accept our challenge to help once again!