This is the place in our Newsletter to come if you want answers, not excuses! This is the front page, this is the Pastor’s Column. It’s not possible to get any more authoritative! So, let me tell you right off the bat what it is that really gets me irritated. Then I’ll answer your questions.
I’m still backward enough that I don’t pay my bills online. I get paper billings with the tear-off perforation slip on the bottom panel of the three-fold piece of paper. I have this question: why can’t they make the perforation line coincide with the fold line?!!! Instead, the lines are separated by about 1/32nd of an inch and inevitably the tear is never neat and clean but has wretchedly ragged, ugly edges. It makes me want to hurl my rock collection through the window.
Whew! Now I feel better, having gotten that off my chest. I’ve suppressed those sentiments for years. How about you? Do you have any minor irritations threatening to crank up the pressure in your soul to the exploding point? Surely you do; surely I’m not the only person with such raging emotions about such minor matters. I need some company.
My wife, Pat, said she would offer me some company. She told me what really irritates her, what it is that causes her pressure gauge to head toward the red line. It’s when she drops her car keys (or something similarly important) in the space between her seat and the console. She wants to know why that space is wide enough to let her keys fall down there, but not wide enough to let her put her hand down there to extract them? She’s been known to teeter on the brink of losing her verbal sanctification when this happens!
Well, I told her I have the answer to that one. It’s because car manufacturers want her to buy a newer model car, the kind that is keyless. You carry a bob-a-thing around with you that has a key-stick that can flip out like a switchblade if necessary. 99.994299367% of the time, though, all you need to do is have the bob-a-thing in your pocket or purse – never in your faltering, fumbling fingers, for sure – and just push a button while your foot is on the brake. Presto! The car starts without having to try and extract the key from the bottomless pit between the seat and the console. She told me she’s willing to receive a newer model car for Mother’s Day this year. I told her I’d tell the kids.
What’s that? You say I promised to answer your questions. Yes, I did; yes I did. OK, no more fooling around. Here’s the answer to your main question: When will we be able to worship together as a corporate church body again? Answer: May 17th.
You may ask, “Well, how do you know that, Preacher?” Because that’s the Sunday when our text from Revelation describes the casting of the Beast and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire! We know the Beast represents oppressive governmental leaders and the False Prophet represents oleaginous, unctuous expert officials who provide expert support for what those inexpert oppressive governmental potentates dictate! What could be more clear, more transparent? Besides, I have a commentary on Revelation that was written in Latin in AD 1163, but was translated into English in 2018, and that’s exactly what it predicts!
Still not convinced? You are a bunch of hard cases. But here’s the clincher. I have a good friend who lives in eastern northeast Minnesota. He’s very spiritual. He has contact with an Asian Christian who has extraordinary experiences. This man regularly has visions of going to heaven where he sees and hears about things that are going to take place here on earth. He told me certain things about a governor named Moon-Howler [not to be confused with one named Moon-Beam]. He heard about mandates that Governor Moon-Howler would issue, right down to the dates. He also heard when those mandates would be rescinded. It was very specific, in a general sort of way. So there. Now you know. Now you gotta believe me.
I trust by now that you’ve figured out what really irritates me is not being able to tell what is going to happen when on the church calendar and on my personal calendar. This make me very uneasy. Fidgety. I suspect that more than a few of my readers can identify with my frustrations. The problem, of course, is that we want to be in control, we want to know what’s going on. Maybe not in the whole world, but certainly in our lives. Not possible under present circumstances!
We all need to be reintroduced to pi. That’s not a typo. I did not mean “pie” like what Agent K in Men in Black goes to eat when he is flummoxed and needs answers. I mean the constant that’s plugged into all sorts of equations to make them work. The actual numerical value of pi is 3.1415926535897932384626433ad infinitum. Pi is just the letter “p” in the Greek alphabet. It’s the constant that defies final definition. It just is.
For where we are right now, we see most clearly that God is our pi. He’s the Undefined Definer, the Unscheduled Scheduler, the Unmoved Mover. He’s our constant. He’s the great I AM WHO I AM as He revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush. [Ex. 3:14] We remember that Jesus said not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. [Matt. 10:29] According to the American Museum of Natural History there are between 200 and 400 billion birds alive right now, but not one of them dies without God’s will. With regard to Governor Moon-Howler, we remember with gratitude Proverbs 21:1 which says, The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Just like everyone else, I cannot say when we’ll have corporate worship in our sanctuary again or when the Rummage Sale will be held or if we’ll be able to do Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday [May 31] this year. So we hold things loosely and have a bit of fun with our imaginations. And we give thanks to God, the Almighty, the Sovereign Lord, because He knows the answer to each of our questions and that’s good enough for us.
In the Joy of the Lord,
John H.C. Niederhaus
P.S. When I’m CEO of my company the perforation line and the bottom third fold line will match exactly! Or, heads will roll! At their perforation point!
May Pulpit Schedule
3rd – Reality and Reactions – Jeremiah 51:1-10; Matthew 12:38-45; Revelation 18:1-24
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! That’s what John heard an angel descending from heaven proclaiming with great authority. No one believed it would really happen, though warnings for such a fall were prevalent for years. Then, one day, it did happen. This was a direct judgment of God on a land committed to immorality and sensuousness. One set of people do escape: those who had not participated in the sins of the land. Reactions rolled in rapidly accompanied by crocodile tears of woe. In this Babylon was found the blood of saints and prophets.
10th – Righteous Rejoicing – Psalm 98:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14; Revelation 19:1-10
Though it’s hard to believe, the word Hallelujah is only found in the NT in our text today from Revelation. Then it occurs in rapid, staccato fashion four times in just six verses. What is the occasion for this sudden outburst? The ultimate, final triumph of God. That means the defeat of all His enemies. The first thing that takes place in celebration of His victory is the marriage feast of the Lamb. The fourth Hallelujah is the introduction to begin the banquet. We hear it each time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Communion points to Calvary, but it also points to the marriage Feast.
17th – The Sword of the Word – Psalm 2; Hebrews 4:12-13; John 12:44-50; Revelation 19:11-21
Our text from Hebrews describes in scintillating detail what it is the Word of God does. It is a sword able to judge the thoughts and intentions of our heart. That’s something few of us can do with complete accuracy. No posturing can turn it aside. Self-delusion has no effect upon it. Not a thing is hidden from it. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the One who comes riding in on the white charger in Revelation 19 with a sword coming out of His mouth. He rides through all the nations of history. He treads the winepress of God’s wrath. The Beast and false prophet are doomed.
24th – We’re All Millennials – Mark 3:20-27; Acts 14:8-18; Revelation 20:1-10
The book of Revelation has multiple controversial passages. Someplace near the top of that list are the first few verses of chapter 20. On this Memorial Day weekend, since everyone will be gone down the shore or up to the mountains, it seems like a good time to slip this passage by folk without many paying attention. We’ll do a survey of millennial positions and then indicate what the passage really teaches! We’re all millennials, that is, we have millennial positions. Only one position is the correct one, however. Fortunately, it is held by our Preacher! He’ll explain it.
31st – Before the Throne of God Above – Genesis 3:14-15; Acts 2:1-13; Revelation 20:7-15
This is Pentecost Sunday. That’s the day the fire fell! It appeared as tongues of flame on the heads of those gathered at the Upper Room. It was a purifying fire. The fire of the Holy Spirit is a cleansing agent. Fire also is a means of torture and punishment. That is best exemplified by the fires of hell. On this Pentecost Sunday we’ll see how the promise of God in Genesis 3 is fulfilled as fire falls down from heaven just prior to the Great White Throne Judgment. The plain fact of the matter is that all who have ever lived must appear before the Judgment Seat of God.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
My wife and I have some differences. She likes cheese, and I do not. When we met, I was in seminary, and she was astounded that I regularly went to bed at 9 in the evening. She was even more astounded that I was working by 5 in the morning. Though we have differences, we also have many similarities. We both enjoy cooking, we enjoy learning, and we both wear corrective lenses. If either of us does not have our glasses on or our contacts in, we are in trouble.
Recently, I rose well before sunrise and trudged to the bathroom to brush my teeth, put in my contacts, and get ready for the day. In the darkness (without my glasses) I saw a soft haze of poorly defined shapes. Using a combination of sound and the braille method, my fingers made their way to the contact case. Slowly I unscrewed the caps and delicately raised the lenses to my eyes. (This has to be done carefully. Searching for a dropped lens in the dark without glasses could take hours.) After sliding the lenses onto my eyeball, I blinked and blinked again. Something was wrong. Though my corrective lenses were in my eyes appropriately, my eyes had not been corrected. I was confused and I looked around the bathroom to see if I could find the cause of the fuzziness. Finally, I removed the contacts and returned them to their case thinking some infection had attacked my eyes during the night. As I examined the contact case more closely, I realized that it was not mine. It was Sarah’s and our prescriptions are QUITE different. Though I needed contacts, I needed my contacts. No other pair would do.
As I reflect upon my contact mishap, I am struck by how myopic we humans are. We do not see the world clearly. As a culture and a people, we do not recognize even basic truths about God and the nature of world. God has made Himself known through creation. Though people see these facts, they do not value them. Paul describes people of his day (and ours) saying, Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. [Rom. 1:22-23] Instead of acknowledging God with gratitude, this fallen and sinful world has pursued “personal truth”, “authentic joy”, and a “fulfilled life”. This is no different than my attempts to see with my wife’s contacts in my eyes.
I have a specific vision problem that can only be corrected with my contact lenses. In the same way, I have a self-righteousness problem that can only be corrected by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have a joy problem that can only be solved when I am worshipping the one true God by the power of His Spirit. I have a life-purpose problem that can only be defeated when I am in fellowship with my Lord following wherever He leads.
During this shelter-in-place moment, let’s examine our lives and the world in which we live. Do we recognize God’s creation and providential care of all things? Do we know our need to be in fellowship with Him and follow where He leads? Do we know the Lord Jesus, and have we been washed in His blood? Then and only then will we see the world as God intended, that is, see it rightly and in focus.
To the praise of His glory,
Within the Fellowship
Congratulations to Cameron and Chelsea (Weiss) McDonald at the birth of a daughter, Molly Elizabeth. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Our sincere Christian sympathy to family and friends at the death of Jean Clarke. May God be with them at this time.
Vacation Bible School: What’s Up?
EEK! No one has signed up to help with VBS! To be fair, no one has been at our church facility in order to sign up. In fact, no sign up sheet has been put up. What does all this mean? Are we even going to have it? The answer is a resounding YES! We feel strongly that VBS is important. Not only is it an opportunity for our own children to hear the gospel, it is a chance for those from outside our church to come and hear the good news about Jesus. Even more, after all this time at home, we think both kids and parents will be eager to be up and out in order to come to VBS.
What does all of this mean for you and your household? VBS is for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade and will take place June 22-26. If you have kids, grandkids, nephews, nieces, or neighborhood kids, get them signed up.
We plan to be up and running each evening at 6. The kids will enjoy lessons, games, songs, and more up til 8:00. For those who might be interested, we’ll have a family meal starting up at 5:30.
This year we are going to look at the life and times of Jonah. This fascinating book of the Bible tells not only about life as it was lived more than 2,000 years ago, but also about God, His Word, and His people.
Please be on the lookout for volunteer registration forms as well as forms and sites by which you may register your kids. We will email opportunities to serve and register in the coming weeks.
Ruminations of Pastor Steve: Unprecedented Times
The nationwide COVID 19 quarantine has changed all our lives. Most believe these changes are all negative. But I would like to have us consider some positive aspects. The biggest advantage is people are recognizing they are not in charge. God is in charge! That an unobserved diffusing virus has shut down their plans and their ability to plan. We know that if the virus continues to spread, we will stay in lockdown. The reason why we can see a positive light is people are being challenged to consider what are the true values in life. I have heard that families are having meals together and playing games together in their homes. I have seen parents walking down the sidewalk having a close conversation while their children ride bikes just ahead of them. All this sums up to this one fact, with the busyness of our schedules curtailed we are witnessing the family unit coming together in ways that were all but lost.
Another reason why we need to see this unprecedented time in a positive light is that people are acutely aware of the brevity of life, which they formerly ignored or crowded out in their self-confident and/or self-reliant pursuits for more. Now this unseen virus, that indiscriminately infects the wise and the unwise, the strong and the weak, the young and the old, has deadly effects that cannot be forecasted by anyone nor medically prevented by anyone to date. This demands all of us to consider our mortality in the light of this cloud of uncertainty. The positive light is that in the midst of the uncertainty is the certainty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is proclaimed person-to-person or through technology can cause people in uncertainty to repent and receive God’s gift of eternal life. May we take this moment of uncertainty to proclaim Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, to people living under the shadow of COVID 19.
An Informed Perspective
The last time Leidy’s Church met as a corporate body was on March 8th. As part of our Mission Month activities, we met a new missionary family that’s been added to our church budget and our church prayer list: Andrew and Megan Nairn along with their four children. Recently we received an update letter from them. It included Megan’s reflections on uncertainty, anxiety, and depression in times like these. It is reproduced here (by permission) for our encouragement.
by Megan Nairn
What an interesting opportunity we have right now to come together in prayer. The whole world is facing the same situation of unknowns. How long will this virus be a threat to us? How long will we be under social distancing? How will this affect our economy? Maybe more questions come to your mind. It’s a time where stress levels are higher, and there’s some anxiety surrounding all the uncertainty.
I (Megan) am no stranger to uncertainty. In some ways, uncertainty, change, and unpredictability are a big part of my “normal” everyday life. I’ll try to give you a taste of what that looks like.
First of all, I have experienced a lot of change, just with the sheer numbers of times that I have moved or transitioned between countries, or between cities. I recently sat down to count all these transitions and the number surprised even me: 36, in a total of 11 countries, spanning from 1 month to 4 years.
That’s a lot of change! That’s a lot of times of adjusting to new housing, new cultures and language environments, and different types of Church communities, among other things. Now on top of all that, I’ve lived with some degree of unpredictability or danger or even trauma, in many of those places. For example, gun violence and kidnap threat in middle school. Government coups, volcanic eruptions, and transportation strikes in high school. In some other countries it is just dealing with the general inefficiency and unpredictability with public transportation and utility systems.
Life is so unpredictable, you never know what’s coming next.
Has all this change been easy for me? Am I some kind of wonder woman able to take on anything? No way. I am weak. The stress is real. It takes a toll on me. I need to grieve losses and changes, just like anybody. I need to take time to rest, to find refuge in the Lord. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, and while I have experienced a significant change and progress in healing and recovery in the last 5 years, it is still hard sometimes.
Why do I share this with you? Because God has given me many experiences to teach me in extremely obvious ways that I am not in control and I need to trust Him. I need to find my hope, my help, my worth, my confidence, my security in Him. In the midst of all this, God has given me great comfort and encouragement, and countless blessings. Therefore, I hope to be a comfort to you. (See 2 Cor 1:3-4)
There is much I could share with you, but let me give you two main ideas for reflection in times of stress and suffering.
1) Grieving losses and unmet expectations
Be honest with yourself and with God about your fears and worries. Take note of your unmet expectations and let go of them by grieving. This could be done through praying out loud or journaling, but emotions can also be released in helpful ways like singing, dancing, other forms of art and exercise, and of course tears. Crying is so healthy, but it’s not always popular.
I personally like to journal. When I write down what I was expecting, what I’m feeling at the time, I get it out of my head onto some paper, and then I feel a slight sense of freedom in having named the problem.
But don’t stay there. Don’t stay in your grief. Move on to step two.
2) Taking stock of blessings around you
Paul was no stranger to stress and danger, but he talks about the secret to being content in Philippians 4. He really means that it’s possible to be content no matter your circumstances. You can be content living in luxury or living in prison. How? By the strength that Christ gives. But he gives some practical ways to approach this: praying through your anxieties, and rejoicing with thanksgiving.
How do you rejoice with thanksgiving when your circumstances are really difficult, like prison? You have to pay attention. You have to look for the positive and dwell on it. Philippians 4:8 says to think about whatever is lovely, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Complaining is easy. No matter how good things are, we can always find something wrong. Rejoicing is what’s more difficult, isn’t it? We have to train ourselves to pay attention to what’s good around us, to what’s beautiful.
So, how I do this, is I ask myself questions. The 4:8 Principle, by Tommy Newberry, is all about Phil 4:8, and how, in a practical way, to get yourself to think more positively and rejoice with thanksgiving more often. He gives a lot of ideas for positive thinking questions to ask yourself. I have cards with positive thinking questions on them, which I keep near my journal. I have questions for the morning or the evening, for thinking about marriage or parenting, for thinking about work, and then even questions while facing adversity:
- What blessings surround me today?
- What’s great about this situation, or what could be great?
- How might this situation be a blessing in disguise?
- What lessons could I be learning?
- What productive steps could I take today?
There is much to be thankful for right now, if we allow ourselves to pay attention.
Youth Fellowship Challenge:
Who wants dinner? We all want dinner. Even better than dinner, we all want a free dinner! With our current mandates to shelter in place and schools not meeting through the end of the school year, there is a once-in-a-COVID-19 opportunity. Youth Fellowship folks are invited to a “free”, all-expenses-paid dinner at the conclusion of our shelter-in-place restrictions.
The skeptical sighs of the youth group are audible at a distance. You are right to be skeptical. The “free” dinner isn’t free at all. The dinner will be the reward for those who have spent some time studying a particular Bible passage and writing about it. Youth seeking to earn a “free” dinner will need to work through an assigned passage of the Scripture, engage all their faculties of thinking, and write about important truths the Lord has revealed. Pastor Michael will be walking alongside those who accept the challenge.
Parents, this is an opportunity for your kids to use their brains to keep their academic muscles from getting flabby in these uncertain times. Youth Fellowshippers, this is an opportunity to think about God’s Word and apply it to your life. What could be better?
Update from the Pulpit Committee
First, the Committee as a whole, as well as individually, would like to thank all of you for your prayers as we navigate through the process of finding the man who will become the new Pastor at Leidy’s Church. Your prayers are certainly felt by all on the committee and without your prayers this task would be impossible.
The Pulpit Committee began meeting in February of this year and began their work by laying foundations for the how to search for a new Pastor. As a result of that foundation we have had over a dozen applications come in thus far. This was encouraging to us as it renewed our belief in the calling God places on certain men to lead and shepherd a church.
We were thrown a curve ball in March with the COVID-19 crisis and had to rethink how to even meet, much less interview potential applicants. Fortunately, we have been able to leverage technology by holding both our meetings and some initial interviews over Zoom. This has been a blessing because it allows all the Committee members to participate in the interview process and has demonstrated the great unity that the Committee has in our search.
So far, we have conducted four initial interviews from the applications submitted. We have a few more still to schedule. Through prayer and the Lord’s leading, we have not asked for additional interviews from the men we have talked with thus far. We want to encourage these men to continue to pursue God’s calling in their lives, but we did not feel them called to serve at Leidy’s Church at this time.
We ask that you continue to pray for us, and that God would reveal to us, in His timing, the man that is He has already selected to serve as Pastor at Leidy’s Church. We know and trust that our God is faithful, and He wants what is best for us as a congregation. We simply pray that we would discern His will.
Here’s What’s Happening (and What Isn’t Happening)
Because everything is up in the air right now, our church calendar is in shambles. Well, a better picture would be the church staff is in shambles and the calendar is almost bare. Unless you specifically know otherwise, you should assume that all meetings at our church facility are suspended. We hope that scenario changes within the next month, but who knows? Below is a brief summary of some of our main May activities and their status as of now:
- The Spiritual Council will meet via Zoom on Tuesday the 5th of May. Invitations forthcoming on the 1st of May.
- The Consistory will meet via Zoom on Wednesday the 6th of May. Invitations forthcoming on the 1st of May.
- Property Committee Mulching Day set for Saturday, May 9th is still on!!! Hallelujah! That’s one activity that takes place out of doors and proper social distancing may be maintained. Bring some gear and come out for mulching fun any time after 8am on the 9th. (By the way, you’re welcome to come and do some weeding in the parking lots islands between now and then. It’s an OK thing to do with the mandate in place.)
- SLMT-Ukraine, scheduled to fly out of JFK on May 12th and return on the 20th, has been postponed. We don’t know the dates for the new trip. That will depend on the availability of our SLMT-Ukraine personnel and conditions in each country.
- The Rummage Sale, slated for May 13th and 14th, is postponed. Though the Shelter in Place mandate may be lifted on May 8th, it seems highly unlikely we will be able to have 150+ persons in our gymnasium at one time that soon. As soon as practicable, it will be rescheduled, allowing time for publicity and preparations. Please hold all your rummage items at home until after the Rummage Sale; our Rummage Room is full.
- PA Primary Voting is re-scheduled from April 28th to June 2nd. Since that’s when Gov. Wolf scheduled it, does that mean things will be open by then. Don’t know! But the Primaries will not happen in May.
Hot Flash!! Non-cancelled Event!
Know what is NOT cancelled? Here’s the answer in big bold print: The Ladies of Leidy’s Annual Christmas Craft & Gift Sale! Get your calendar out and mark November 21st, for that’s the date of this event.
Of course, no one knows when all this Coronavirus shutdown will end – or if there will be a recurrence of it in the future. Nonetheless, we do hope to hold the Craft Show on the 21st of November and that many will be excited to come to it.
The reason this is mentioned now is to present you with these questions: Why not use this Quarantine time to hone your skills? Have you learned to knit or crochet? Have you tried your hand at making candy? What better way to fill your hours than by being creative? Think about it!
On Wednesday evening, April 8th, the Consistory of Leidy’s Church met to conduct the business of the church. It didn’t matter what the weather was like outside, since this was the first ever Leidy’s Church Consistory Meeting via Zoom. Below are some notes from that meeting.
- Devotional thoughts were given by Jeff Schatz on the topic of overcoming fear. Jeff is a respiratory therapist and involved with Coronavirus treatment. For the first time in his professional career, he has had to deal with fear about going to work. What he has found is God’s provision for overcoming fear. Citing passage such as Ps. 37:5-6, Psalm 91, Deut. 3:1-6, Heb. 6:17-20, and a number of others, Jeff said fear is overcome by our trust in God and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a very practical matter.
- Peter Martindell reporting for the Pulpit Committee indicated the Coronavirus lockdown has not been an impediment to their efforts. The Committee continues to meet weekly via Zoom. So far twelve applications for the pastor position have been received. The Committee is pleased with the process they’ve developed. Preliminary interviews via Zoom are able to be conducted with the entire Committee present. There is no definitive timetable for their search, but they will not be surprised if their work extends into 2021.
- Discussed arrangements for pastoral ministry beginning July 1st. Pastors Steve and Michael will inevitably take on some extra responsibilities, but the expectation is not for either to try and do two jobs at once. The notion of hiring an Interim Pastor is worth considering. It would also be feasible to develop a lineup of substitute preachers for Sunday mornings. Further investigation and prayer will be necessary before deciding on a course of action.
- The Tim Tebow Foundation issued 2021 Night to Shine applications to churches who hosted the event in 2020. There was a unanimous vote to submit an application for Leidy’s Church to be a host site again in 2021.
- Discussed communion protocol when the congregation is not physically gathered for worship. Leidy’s Church will not seek to do communion via Zoom or other virtual means. Even though communion is ordinarily served on Easter Sunday, such will not be the case this year.
- Shepherding lists are being revised and updated as a number of new Shepherds have been added and some are stepping down from their duties. Revised lists should be completed by the end of the month.
- Pastor Niederhaus expressed deep appreciation for all the music and a/v personnel who have enabled our worship services to be livestreamed. Pastor Steve and Pastor Michael are learning much about the technical aspects of the same! If we had not upgraded our a/v system at the beginning of the year, we would not be able to do livestreaming.
- Discussed the three SLMT trips scheduled for this year. None have been cancelled definitively, but all are on very tenuous grounds. The most likely to occur at this point is SLMT-Ukraine, but it’s also the nearest in time, that is, May 12-20. We will need to await developments and continue to pray for God’s provision and direction.
- The Christian Ed Committee has met and made some plans for VBS, but like the entire church calendar, what will actually be able to take place is still to be determined.
- The Red Cross Blood Drive on the 7th of April was maxed out. Lots of people ready to donate blood because of the current need.
- The Property Committee is planning a Mulching Day for Saturday, May 9th. Prior to that time, a good way to get out of the house and still be properly socially distant would be to come and pull weeds on the various parking lot islands and shrubbery beds!
Following a time directed intercessory prayer, the meeting was adjourned at 9:37 with the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer.
The Second Helvetic Confession
This month we continue with chapter 14 of this Confession written by Heinrich Bullinger as a private devotional tract when he was expecting to die from disease in 1561. In 1566, Frederick III, elector of the Palatinate, asked him to revise it for use as a creedal statement for public use. He did. This month’s selection deals with the Keys of the Kingdom.
Chapter 14: of Repentance and the Conversion of Man
8) Of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Concerning the keys of the kingdom of heaven which the Lord gave to the apostles, many babble many astonishing things, and out of them forge swords, spears, scepters and crowns, and complete power over the greatest kingdoms, indeed, over souls and bodies. Judging simply according to the word of the Lord, we say that all properly called ministers possess and exercise the keys or the use of them when they proclaim the gospel; that is, when they teach, exhort, comfort, rebuke, and keep in discipline the people committed to their trust.
Opening and Shutting (the Kingdom). For in this way they open the kingdom of heaven to the obedient and shut it to the disobedient. The Lord promised these keys to the apostles in Matthew 16, and gave them in John 10, Mark 16, and Luke 24, when he sent out his disciples and commanded them to preach the gospel in all the world, and to remit sins.
The Ministry of Reconciliation. In the letter to the Corinthians the apostle says that the Lord gave the ministry of reconciliation to his ministers. And what this is he then explains, saying that it is the preaching or teaching of reconciliation. And explaining his words still more clearly he adds that Christ’s ministers discharge the office of an ambassador in Christ’s name, as if God himself through ministers exhorted the people to be reconciled to God, doubtless by faithful obedience. Therefore, they exercise the keys when they persuade [men] to believe and repent. Thus they reconcile men to God.
Ministers Remit Sins. Thus they remit sins. Thus they open the kingdom of heaven, and bring believers into it; very different from those of whom the Lord said in the Gospel, “Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
9) How Ministers Absolve. Ministers, therefore, rightly and effectually absolve when they preach the gospel of Christ and thereby the remission of sins, which is promised to each one who believes, just as each one is baptized, and when they testify that it pertains to each one peculiarly. Neither do we think that this absolution becomes more effectual by being murmured in the ear of someone or by being murmured singly over someone’s head. We are nevertheless of the opinion that the remission of sins in the blood of Christ is to be diligently proclaimed, and that each one is to be admonished that the forgiveness of sins pertains to him.
10) Diligence in the Renewal of Life. But the examples in the Gospel teach us how vigilant and diligent the penitent ought to be in striving for newness of life and in mortifying the old man and quickening the new. For the Lord said to the man he healed of palsy: “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” Likewise to the adulteress whom he set free he said: “Go, and sin no more.” To be sure, by these words he did not mean that any man, as long as he lived in the flesh, could not sin; he simply recommends diligence and a careful devotion, so that we should strive by all means, and beseech God in prayers lest we fall back into sins from which, as it were, we have been resurrected, and lest we be overcome by the flesh, the world, and the devil. Zacchaeus the publican, whom the Lord had received back into favor, exclaims in the Gospel: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” Therefore, in the same way we preach that restitution and compassion, and even almsgiving, are necessary for those who truly repent, and we exhort all men everywhere in the words of the apostle: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness.”
- Lay Visitor:
- 3rd Lani Kimenhour
- 10th Mark & Sharon Kostishion
- 17th Patricia Martindell
- 24th Donna Moyer
- 31st Elaine Greene
- 3rd Glen & Rachel Tyson
- 10th Lucas VanDerbeek
- 17th Mitchell & Kaitlyn VanDerbeek
- 24th John & Fern Vasey
- 31st Aaron & Alisha Vogelzang
- Usher Captain Coordinator: Brian Radcliff
- Usher Captains: John DiLenge, Shaun Permar
- Ushers: Dave Doran, Bob Hager, Alex Hager, Brody Keeth, Tim Leidy, T. Dale Leidy, Christian Rau, John Rittenhouse, Lorne Slack, Phoenix Smith, Lucas VanDerbeek, Drew Weiss.
- The Emergency Committee for May is Matt McVaugh.