Virtual Bulletin – 5/8

May 8th, 2022 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Happy Mother’s Day 

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 9th – May 15th

Monday……………….. .           Job

                                                 6:00 PM           Men’s Group

Tuesday……………….            9:00 AM          Pastor’s Circuit Meeting

Wednesday…………….           Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries

                                                 6:00 PM           Women’s Group

Thursday……………….          10:00 AM        Bible Study

Friday: ………………….           5:00 PM           Confirmation

Sunday: ………………….          10:00 AM        Worship

                                                 11:15 AM        Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

The Lutheran Service Book added a bunch of Old Testament personages to the commemorations calendar. I kinda get it.  My assumption is that with the declines in Sunday Schools and general Biblical Literacy they desired to inject something that would give a handle for a pastor to write a paragraph and encourage your personal study.  So on Monday, maybe read a chapter or two of Job.  The middle sections are slog without a group, but the beginning and ending (Chapters 1-2, 38-end) are graspable.  And the are relevant to concerns many have today about the faith in this world.

Cyril and Methodius were brothers in the 800’s. The lived in Thessalonica – the city of the Letter to the Thessalonians – which was part of the Byzantine Empire.  At that time a group of people known as “The Slavs” were often coming into the Empire and the brothers labored to teach the migrants the Christian Faith.  At the invite of a minor prince they would eventually be dispatched to the area of the Slavs itself to nurture and build the church.  They ended up creating the first alphabet and written language for this group of peoples.  We know it today as the Cyrillic Script of Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh, Turkmen and over 50 other languages or dialects. They translated the bible into this written language.  They also created the liturgy of the Slavic church. It is this bit of history that would create tension.  It was authorized by Pope Adrian II and they continued in the vernacular while the Western Church used Latin everywhere.  Eventually areas that bordered some of the Slavic places, like Jan Hus’ Czechia and Luther’s Germany, also wanted to use more of vernacular in the liturgy and have the scripture in their tongue. The acts of two brothers to preach the gospel continue to have implications to this day.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

The core of the book of Revelation has three great cycles of seven: seals, trumpets and bowls. There are various interpretations, but the one that I’d hang my hat on is that each cycle is a repeat of history from the Ascension to the Final Judgement.  Each cycle with a slightly different focus. In the first two cycles, between the sixth and the seventh happening, there is a pause.  And in that pause there are these passages of hope.  As the chaos of the end hurtles closer and the powers that be know their time grows shorter, the message pauses to remind Christians that they are good.  Our Epistle Lesson (Rev 7:9-17) is from the first of those pauses. It is the vision of the divine election.  No matter what else is happening there are 144,000 sealed. That 144,000 has caused a lot of mischief.  Think of it like 12, the complete number from the old testament, times 12 the complete number from the NT, times 1000 a large complete number.  As Paul would say in Romans, “all Israel will be saved.” They have been chosen by God.  And just to make this clear, that the number is not literal, the vision of the great multitude is given.  “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and languages.”

John, the visionary, gets asked “who are these?” John doesn’t claim to know so the Elder tells him.  ‘These are the ones coming out of the tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.” These are the full number that were sealed before eternity.  The chaos as maelstrom of history were paused so that God could seal his own.  Regardless of what the powers would do, these would be enabled to stand.

And how does this happen in history?  “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water.” Your Baptism in history is the sacramental reality of that election.  You have been lead to the spring of living water.  Likewise Christ has become your shepherd.  You have heard his voice and followed.  And the Father who has given you to the Son from before all time has made it sure that no one is able to snatch you away (John 10). Whatever judgments hit the earth from the seal and trumpets and bowls of wrath, you have been sealed.  The Good Shephed leads you beside still waters and restores your soul.   

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Exodus pt 1
  • Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 16th, 6PM, Zoom
  • Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
  • Catechism Moment: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer