Virtual Bulletin – 6/19

June 19th, 2022 – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 20th – June 26th

Monday……………….            Juneteenth

                                                 6:00 PM           Women’s Group

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

Friday…………………            Nativity of St. John the Baptist          

Saturday………………..          Presentation of the Augsburg Confession

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

                                                 11:15 AM        Bible Study     

COMMEMORATIONS

We are only a few years past the “500th Anniversary” of the Reformation.  People usually tie that to the 1517 95 Theses.  It got buried in all things COVID.  The church just didn’t have the capacity to think about anything else. But 1521 is the other big date that people might remember – the Diet of Worms.  That has been a very popular framing of the “Luther Story”, 1517 to 1521.  The old standard Luther Biography, Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand, covers those years. That is “young Luther” or sometimes jokingly called “thin Luther.” If you think of Luther as a revolutionary who maybe didn’t go far enough, that’s where you stop.  Of course the story is actually bigger than Luther himself and it doesn’t stop.  There is an Old Luther or Fat Luther narrative that is often told contrary to the revolutionary. This Luther isn’t as charismatic or as daring.  He does some things, like tell the princes to crush the peasant’s revolt and defame the Jews, that we judge him harshly for. But he’s putting back together things that he broke.  But both of those narratives – thin and fat, young and old Luther – have a tendency to skip over our Commemoration – The Presentation of the Augsburg Confession in 1530. The Augustana is the real document of Lutheranism.  No less than Pope Benedict mused, when he was the Cardinal at the head of the Old Inquisition Office, that he thought it could be recognized as a Catholic Confession.  That never happened of course. But the Augustana isn’t Luther’s. It was written by Melanchthon, who continued to think he could modify it, which proved it wasn’t his when he couldn’t.  It was presented to Charles V by seven “Lords of the Realm” and two Independent Cities, all laymen.  June 25th is the day the Reformation became not Luther’s or the Reformers’, but was given to the church at large. A truly catholic, meaning universal, confession.  The phrase that starts most of its articles is “Our churches teach…”.  It is a true expression of the faith which is believed.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

Advent to Trinity Sunday was 29 weeks this year, the festival portion of the church calendar.  That gives us 23 Sundays in the church portion – the long green season of the Sundays after Pentecost.  Year to year the numbers can fluctuate depending upon the date of Easter.  The Season of Epiphany gets shortened and a few more get added to After Pentecost if Easter is early.  It strikes me more each year just how abrupt the change is. I sometimes imagine Trinity Sunday being added after Pentecost as one more act of nostalgia.  “No, let us stay in the festivals a bit longer.”  I see that hard break reflected in Paul’s thinking in Galatians this week (Galatians 3:23-4:7).

In the festival season we are “under a guardian”.  The meaning of Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost is clear.  But the days come when we are no longer children, or at least they should.  The facts of the life of Christ must now be applied to our lives, our individual lives and our communal lives. “You are no longer slaves, but children and heirs.” The inheritance is yours.  Use it wisely.

It is not that we have been abandoned by Jesus.  He promised his presence and He is there when we gather.  He is there in the indwelling Spirit. But entering the green season, we are no longer toddlers.  We are not even teenagers.  We can sell everything and squander it in a far country.  We can become misers tripping over Lazarus at the gate. We can even reject the Christian liberty and attempt to run back under various guardians who will give us laws.  That is what the Galatians Paul is writing to were trying to do.  They were going back to Judaism and its laws.  But living by faith is living without a guardian.  Living by faith is taking the mina given (Luke 19:11ff) and working with it. The only failure is hiding it away.  I used to question that part of the parable, or Matthew’s parallel of the talents. Why isn’t there an example of someone who failed?  Who invested the mina and came up empty? But they are parables of adult faith, of the faith of the green season.  Christ is with us.  We will make errors.  But our errors do not hinder the kingdom.  Not from an eternal perspective because the Kingdom is in His hands.  The adult faith he desires us to grow into does not fear the punishment of the guardian, but lives with the confidence of the Sons and Daughters of God.  A God who loves us and has plans to prosper us.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Reception of the 10 Commandments
  • Confirmation: Completed Year 1, return in the Fall
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Summer Break
  • Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
  • Catechism Moment: Baptism, in your inbox