It has been awhile since Laura or I have sent out an update out to you all. The pastoral team is feeling the loss of our third member of our team and the early departure of our deacon Beth Scriven at the beginning of February. Being volunteer and thus bi-vocational has its limits and Laura and I are doing work currently designed in Reconciler's structures to be carried out by a team of three with only two. Needless to say somethings slip through the cracks that is simply how it is right now.
The last update came at the beginning of Lent and now we are on the edge of Holy Week. While culturally the feast of Christmas is highlighted for us, really this time of the year is the highest of holy days for the Church. Here we face the central reality of our faith. In these upcoming days we remind ourselves of our human strengths and weaknesses and our human propensity to violence even in the face of God in our midst in Jesus Christ. We also face God's grace love and non-violent power, exemplified in Jesus Christ submitting to the cross and death, and thus gaining victory over death, breaking down the gates of Hell through the Resurrection. To some this might seem to be a strange thing to enter into after our Lenten series on inter-religious relations and dialogue. Yet, what we proclaim while it differs from what Muslims or Jews believe about those events 2000 years ago, the story itself allows little room for a sense of superiority merely because we are Christians, the attitude of some Christians not withstanding. Also, I believe that the best place for dialogue between differing faiths is not some invented common ground nor some adaptation of our faith to be acceptable to the other but in the humble confidence of faith, and of knowing God in Jesus Christ, and his death Resurrection and Ascension. We the followers of Christ did not make the Church appear, nor affect the salvation God brings to the world and offers the world in love, through Jesus Christ. We as followers of Jesus are called to do no more than God did in Jesus Christ and that is to offer what God in in Jesus Christ offers, which means to simply witness to the god who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ. God does not coerce or forcefully persuade but invites all, we can do no more. Thus inter-religious dialogue and relations is simply an aspect of being who we are as the body of Christ in the world witnessing to the one we know to be the ultimate hope and the full revelation of God in human flesh. The coercion and intolerance of many Christians today, and in the past, is, and was, a failure of individuals faith and evidence of the persistence of sin and thus of our need for the event that we proclaim encounter and witness to in Holy Week.
Holy Week and Easter Services with the Immanuel and St elias:
Thursday, March 20th, 2008
Friday, March 21st, 2008
The Easter Vigil Saturday,
March 22nd, 2008 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 23rd, 2008
10:30 am. No service at our usual time of 5PM.
The Rev. Jacki Belile will be our Baptist preacher Sunday March 30th.
Larry and Laura with Pastor Gabi of St Elias and Pastor Monte of Immanuel are giving a seminar at the National workshop on Christian Unity, on the ecumenical relationship that has developed between the three congregations and reconciler as an ecumenical congregation. It runs April 14 - April 17. We will be giving the seminar Tuesday April 15th.
Pastoral Care Roata: Larry is on call for emergency pastoral care needs in March through the firs week of April. Laura is on call from the Second week of April through the First week of May.