The Quick and the Dead

What if there is no big difference between the living and the dead? First off: There is a huge difference! If you have ever lost somebody you know the void, you know the pain and you know that nothing can ever fully replace them. When somebody dies life changes for the rest of us in a dramatic and sustained way. The day of their birth or their death will remain special. The holidays make obvious that the seats at the dinner table are now arranged in a different way. Nothing is the same anymore.

But again: What if there is no big difference between the living and the dead? All it takes is a change in perspective. Most people die within a century of their birth. That is our nature. But if we look at death from God’s eternal perspective things change dramatically:
“For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4)

What if our lives, what if all of human history, what if all of time and space just last for a blink of God’s eye? A few generations up or down the family tree turn into nothing. Ages become seconds. Every person that has ever lived and ever will live can be together in one moment of God’s time.

All Saints Day tries to stress that unity of both the living and the dead.

Is that supposed to tell me that my pain is irrelevant?
– No! Grief is our human reality here and now for us who are left behind.

Is that supposed to mean that my parent, spouse or friend is not really gone?
– No! Death is as real as life is. But when we say that we hope for the Resurrection to Eternal Life it is only fair to assume that this is already a reality for some of us.

All Saints Day is an invitation to relate to the ones you have lost both in loving remembrance of a shared past and hope for a future reunion. And maybe in God’s eyes both are taking place at the same time: Right now!

How to make Paper Lanterns for St. Martin’s Day

With our St. Martin’s Day Celebration fast approaching it is time to get your supplies ready to build your lanterns. We will gather on November 12th at 5pm to build them. Then it’s stew supper at 6:30 followed by a skit and finally our lantern procession. Please RSVP on Facebook.

The most common one is based on a box of Brie cheese. Detailed instructions are over at UK-German Connection.

Another easy way is to use a two-liter soda bottle or a milk jug as your body. Since it’s transparent to light all it needs is stickers as decoration or like this found on Pinterest.

A word on lighting: We will have several pre-lit handles available. But please plan to bring electric tealights or glow-sticks in case we run out.
laternenstab

A great source for more lantern patterns and craft suggestions is Heiliger-Martin.de It has instructions with images so don’t let the German language deter you.

Martinszug in Rosenberg

Martinszug

Rosenberg bekommt seinen eigenen Martinszug!
Die Johanniskirche hält ihren ersten Martinszug am Donnerstag, den 12. November. Jung und Alt folgen St. Martin, der hoch zu Ross unterwegs ist, mit selbstgebastelten Laternen durch die Nachbarschaft um St. John’s United Church of Christ.

Es geht los um 17:00 Uhr mit dem Laternenbasteln. Bringt bitte eure eigenen Materialen mit. Wer dabei Hilfe braucht, melde sich bitte bei mir.

Um 18:30 Uhr serviert die Brotherhood kostenlos Suppe. Wer möchte kann Nachtisch und eine freiwillige Spende dazu beitragen.

Im Anspiel nach dem Essen erleben wir die berühmte Geschichte mit dem Mantel. Dann geht der Zug los durch die Nachbarschaft. Für unsere englischsprachigen Gäste wird das Ganze bilingual veranstaltet.

Bitte meldet euch bei Facebook an.

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Bringing one of Germany’s most cherished holiday traditions to Rosenberg Johanniskirche will have a Saint Martin’s Procession on Thursday, November 12th.
Young and Old with self-made paper lanterns will follow Saint Martin on his horse through the neighborhood around St. John’s United Church of Christ.

It all starts with the making of the paper lanterns at 5:00 pm. Please bring your own supplies. If you need assistance with that please contact me.

At 6:30 pm a Stew Supper is provided by the Brotherhood free of charge. Everyone is invited to bring dessert and a free will offering.

After our meal a skit will introduce the legendary episode of the cloak. Then the procession will circle around the neighborhood. Even though this is a German-language activity the skit will be bilingual for your convenience.

Please RSVP on Facebook.

Pray for one another

prayer
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Prayer is very popular at St. John’s United Church of Christ. Various committees have worked on improving the ways in which we pray for ourselves, one another and the world. The goal is to lift up our prayers of thanksgiving for all which is good and to have God hear our passionate call for assistance where it is needed. The spiritual council had just revised how we handle our prayer request list and now the church council has amended the new policy for even more clarity and a more powerful prayer ministry.

Starting today we will have a prayer list of the month. That means that the list will reset very calendar month. If you want your request to renew the following month please let the office know. There will be two categories:
1. People requesting prayer for themselves
2. People requesting prayer for others
In the second case the person requesting the prayer will be listed alongside their prayer request.

The month of October happens to be focused on Baptisms and Funerals. So it is only fitting to lift up those involved. Please keep in prayers Liam Lingen, Jacelynn Abdi, Ervin Kroll and Gladys Barta.

People can be listed for all kinds of reasons, joys and concerns. The Bible is full of a variety of prayer styles and our prayer life needs to be reflective of that: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” as Paul writes in Romans 12:15.

What must I do?

Flip your Bible open on a random page, point your finger on a random verse and read it out loud.
How would you feel if you had to live your life accordingly?

We are marching in the light of God

exercise
Every other day I run two miles at five o’clock in the morning. I have to do that because I need to be in shape for the Army Physical Fitness Test and I want to do it because I have always enjoyed exercising. Also I believe God calls us to take care of our bodies. Every muscle, bone, joint and organ is a beloved creature of God just as the whole body is. In recent months we have had multiple occasions in the church were staying active came up: Several people share about their experiences on their early morning walks. We have learned that getting your heart pumping can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Strong legs can prevent falls. Being in good physical shape helps you withstand the stresses of surgery better and makes recovery faster and easier. Exercise is a spiritual practice. It is taking care of God’s creation: Yourself!

Here is how Genesis 1:28-31 speaks to this issue:
“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

Martha Grace Reese in her 2008 book “Unbinding Your heart” interprets this as a call to combine physical and spiritual exercise:
“[T]hese powerful stories show God’s joy in what God has brought into being. God is still creating. We can join God in that joy and care-taking. Today, take a ‘Prayer Walk.’ Choose a place – whether in nature, a shopping mall, your office, the library, the grimy bus station downtown, your own neighborhood or someone else’s. Walk through it slowly. Try to see it with God’s eyes. Feel God’s love for the place, the growing things, the people. As you walk, bless the houses, or rooms or paths. Bless the people who will go in and out of them, their families. Pray for God’s healing, guidance, protection. Pray as you feel the Spirit moving you to pray for anyone you see. What did you notice?” (page 128)

Maybe we ought to start a walking group at the church. Maybe we need to walk around this neighborhood and bless all who live in it. Maybe we need to stay in shape together, because after all: It is easier to get moving when you do not have to motivate yourself alone.