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I love church traditions and I enjoy formal structure and I strive under rules and regulations. Today I am reminded though that the church must not become too attached to its traditions, structure and order. Today is Reformation Day. Actually it is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Today the body of Christ reminds itself that we are not about our traditions but that we are the living body of Christ.
Our church service starts promptly at 10 am and ends no later than 11 am on Sunday morning. But we also know that the church cannot limit worship to a particular place and a particular time.
Our church bulletin shows the order of worship that has roots reaching back as far as the first temple in Jerusalem under King Solomon’s reign 1,000 years before Christ. But we also know that meaning-making cannot be limited to ancient words and traditions.
At our church Holy Communion is celebrated once a month. But we also know that spiritual nourishment must be available 24/7.
In our church elected members of the church council do the announcements. In our denomination a pastor has to have at least a master’s degree to be even considered for office. But we also know that everybody must be encouraged to serve God’s children whenever and wherever the spirit leads them.
Events planned for our congregation have to be scheduled way in advance so they can be put on the calendar. Every dollar has to be budgeted, received, spent and posted meticulously. But we also know that stewardship and commitment have to be reimagined.
The stain-glass windows and the organ are the backbone of our sanctuary. But we also know that sacred places pop up wherever people find meaning.
Martin Luther reminded us to become radical again, in the original Latin sense of the word radix, to go back to our roots. The first Christians did not have a bank account or a church newsletter. They worshiped in whatever place was safe at the time. They were constantly adapting to their environment. Over time we have developed structures that make us feel comfortable. The 500th Reformation Anniversary can remind us that the church is not only the building with the sanctuary. The church is not only the congregation of lovely people. The church is first and foremost the Body of Christ. I do not know what the future church may look like. Martin Luther did not know either. But one thing is for sure: It’s going to be radically different as it always has been for thousands of years. God, I trust you have something wonderful in mind and thy will be done.
Listen to Rev. Haas’s three part sermon series commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
It is based Luther’s three Solas:
Sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia!
Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone!
There are three steps to learning: Know Be Do
The first sermon explores the “knowing” in terms of religious literacy:
The second sermon explores the “being” in terms of lived faith practices:
The third sermon explores the “doing” in terms of graciousness and generosity:
For the third time, St. John’s is bringing St. Martin to Rosenberg, Texas. Celebrating one of Germany’s most cherished holiday traditions please join us for a Saint Martin’s Procession on Friday, November 10th, 2017.
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 6:00 pm. Please bring your own supplies. If you need assistance with that please contact the church.
A Soup Dinner is provided 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.
Zum dritten mal bringt St. John’s St. Martin nach Rosenberg, Texas. Alle sind herzlich eingeladen eine der beliebtesten deutschen Feiertragstraditionen zu feiern am Freitag, den 11. November 2017.
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 18:00 Uhr mit dem Laternenbasteln. Bringt bitte eure eigenen Materialen mit. Wer dabei Hilfe braucht, melde sich bitte bei der Gemeinde.
Zum Abendessen gibt es kostenlose 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.
Listen to last Sunday’s sermon here:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the World!
Sometimes it is hard to see the light. With the holidays coming up there will be all the more occasions to miss the ones you have lost to death and remember the wonderful times you had together.
It is this season of the year, when the days get shorter and it seems like darkness would be able to overcome the light that the church has always reminded itself that All Saints are resurrected to eternal life. The Sunday before All Saints Day is a reminder that the light will cast out every darkness, a reminder that life will win over death.
Please join us at St. John’s United Church of Christ on Sunday, October 29th 2017 at 10 a.m. to celebrate the memory of loved ones who have passed on. Everyone is invited to light candles in memory of people they have lost. Members of our congregation who died since last All Saints Sunday will be lifted up by the entire congregation and next of kin are specifically invited to light a candle for them.
Whether we live or whether we die we will always be in God’s loving hands. May our God be with you also as you are adjusting to a life without having the ones who died around.
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