Pastor Henry's Memo

January 2019

$5 Million!

As appalling as the weather is today and will be for the next several days, and as frustrating such weather is for most people who need to get out and about, something startling of a non-weather issue caught my eye.  A thirty second TV ad for the 2019 Super Bowl will set you back $5 million!  Perhaps you didn't hear me.  I said $5 million!  That's $167,000 per second!  However you calculate it, that is a lot of money for half a minute of air time.  And I do believe every available thirty second slot is sold.  Just under an hour of ad time is fully subscribed.  Soft drinks, automobiles, snack food, fast food, peanuts, beer, Mexican avocados...An array of products will be offered for our consideration. For some of us, the ads will be more entertaining than the game.  But, for me, not during game time.  I won't be watching.  I don't care who's playing.  I'll catch up post-game; maybe Monday.  We live in a great country.  So much money and so much interest and so much hype for so little benefit to how we live and what we cherish.  That is, unless we cherish professional football above all else.  And that is the message that seems to consume us from the beginning of the play-offs until the last second ticks off the clock in Atlanta of February 3rd.  Too bad the game isn't played on February 2nd.  That would give Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell a whole new perspective about repeating their famous day.

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Outrage and Civility

Public outrage is at epidemic levels in our culture.  Road rage, snarky tweets about one's dining disappointments or our latest Uber ride, missed pass interference calls, The Press and The President "wrestling" with the news, yada yada yada.  The ability to find offense around every corner and demanding something be done (so long as it satisfies our particular political or religious preferences) is belittling.  It's demeaning.  It's fatal to our good character.  When did it become permissible to speak or write hateful words just because we have perceived a personal slight?  Or had our sensibilities ruffled?  The easy and often times anonymous opportunity to vent one's spleen is tipping our culture in the wrong direction.  Civility is disappearing.  Humor is no longer gentle.  No one is safe from their past; repentance, reconciliation, and forgiveness notwithstanding.  To turn the other cheek is a rarity in the public square.  For today, this is my two cents worth.  Stay tuned.  The soap box is ever at the ready.

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Be of Good Cheer!

In case you've forgotten, The United States is currently under an official terrorism advisory.  At 2PM EDT on September 14, 2018, our National Terrorism Advisory System issued the following bulletin.  It's not an alert.  It's only a bulletin.  "Since 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used this Bulletin to highlight the continuing terror threat to the U.S. Homeland. The United States is engaged in a generational fight against terrorists who seek to attack the American people, our country, and our way of life.  An informed, vigilant and engaged public remains one of our greatest assets to identify potential terrorists and prevent attacks."  Feel better?  It is, after all, only a bulletin.  It expires on January 18, 2019, at 1PM EST.  In just four days this more than four year old bulletin will expire.  Will a new bulletin take its place?   What color will it be?  Red?  Orange?  Yellow?  Green?  I think there used to be five color levels.  Now, I'm not sure.  Will it matter?  What precautions should we take?  How much more vigilant should we be?  Do we even care to notice a threat level?  Our post 9/11 anxieties have mostly dissipated to the point of vanishing altogether.  After all, 18 years is quite a long time and no one lives on the edge that long.  A new normal has taken shape and we live within it most casually.  It seems our concerns are more about flight delays and icy roads and whether our favorite Survivor will survive.  We go about living and working and playing and being human.  It's what we have always done after every threatening event in human history.  And if you need a word of hope after this memo, remember this: "In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

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Patience: A Christian Virtue

The virtues expected to be practiced by Christians are impressive and challenging.  They reflect a kind of living that bears witness to the faith we have in the Savior of the World.   Chastity, Charity, Humility, Temperance, Diligence, Kindness, and Patience comprise the list of the most recognizable virtues.  There are other lists, but this one will do because it includes Patience.  That is what describes what our Calvary congregation has shown since our tower/steeple was struck by lightning back in July.  As you may have observed in the last couple of days, the plastic and scaffolding is being taken down from around our tower and that means significant progress has been made toward the completing of our repairs.  There is still some work to be done outside.  Most of what still needs to be done is inside.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.  We will be returning to the sanctuary, but that date has not yet been fixed.  We will need to be patient for a bit longer and then we will celebrate as we re-dedicate our tower/steeple.  I hope and pray we continue to be patient in our waiting and faithful, too.   I'm excited we are coming to the end of this particular season of challenge and perseverance in the life of  Calvary.  I believe our patience will be rewarded in many, many ways.   God bless and thank you all.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  A.D. 2019 will bring excitement and surprises to most of us.  It will bring changes and new opportunities.  However, it will be like most years in that what will make it different will not be known to us until after it's different.  Who would have thought 2001 would see the world plunged into paroxysms of patriotism and terrorism and war?  Who could have predicted 2016 would see a billionaire real estate tycoon elected to the presidency of the United States of America?  Surprise, surprise.  The coming weeks and months will bring more unexpected news.  Some of it will be welcomed and some of it not.  That's just one part of the new year that will be just like every other new year.  If we're blessed to live, we'll get older.  Perhaps, wiser.  But that isn't guaranteed.  If, however, our day comes, we'll just have to live with it.  Or not.  If you're PAYING ATTENTION you'll note I've been just a bit wacky these last couple of lines.  But that's OK.  A happy new year should allow for  bit of wacky-ness before the business of knuckling down to get on with life and the inevitable demands it makes on our living and working and playing and all the rest.  I wish you all a very Happy New Year and pray we all grow older and wiser together.

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