Pastor Henry's Memo

February 2019

One Lord, one faith, one baptism

Remember this: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Ephesians 4;5)  Saint Paul speaks an eternal truth for the Church.  Eternal, as in everlasting, world without end, amen!  This we have as our great hope amid all the controversies and disagreements and even schisms the Church has endured over the two thousand years of its life.  Were it not true, we would be mere marauders across the plains of history.  We would have no firm anchor, no promised land, and no guiding light.  But we do have these things.  We have Christ as our anchor; we have Heaven as our land; we have the fact of our unity as baptized children of God as our light.  Whatever momentary disgruntlement that presses upon us will not keep us from being sustained by the love and mercy and grace of God.  Across the span of time that marks our life, we need to hear words of comfort and challenge and reconciliation.  And remember, reconciliation is a ministry for all members of the Church. (II Corinthians 5: 18)   We are mortal and we are broken and we do not always have 20/20 vision.  Nevertheless, we have no need to despair.  In Christ we have reason to rejoice and be glad.  This day and forever.

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Prayer Password

From time to time, as I travel and have need to log on to the Internet, I try not to use the 4G network that comes with my phone   With my cell phone I need only be sure to be in proximity to a WiFi signal that isn't password secured and let it do its thing, and I'm connected.  News, e-mail, directions, weather, stock market, etc...All at my fingertips.  Most of the networks are names or businesses where I'm eating or shopping.  Lots of places have guest access for free.  Here's where it gets interesting.  As I look at the available networks in range, some very interesting names present themselves.  I won't tell you when, I won't tell you where, but the following list of available networks have appeared at one time or another on my cell phone.  FBIsurveillancevan1, drinksonme, moneysaver, allhugsandkisses, notonyourlife, youtalkingtome...People can be creative and impulsive and funny.  I haven't listed some of the more edgy-named networks; they were all password protected.  I'm sure glad as I go to God in prayer, the only password I need is "Dear LORD, it's David, again..." Not very creative or clever, but it works every time.

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Valentine's Day -- Could be Every Day.

Valentine's Day is the 14th.  It's a day of candy, cards, and cuddles (if you're lucky or in love; or both).  Chocolate seems to be the favorite flavor for this day of exchanging more than pleasantries.  Hershey's Kisses and Whitman's Samplers sell well enough to make most lists of desirable treats.  And let's not forget the flowers.  Roses upon roses upon roses.  And still, more roses.  It was Gertrude Stein who said in the 1913 poem Sacred Emily "A rose is a rose is a rose."  The meaning of which no one can fully agree, so enigmatic is the phrase.  Perhaps better known is William Shakespeare's line from Juliet's mouth in Romeo and Juliet, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."  Truer words were never spoken.  The sweet smell of roses is full of romance and hope and longing.  Whether given as a gift for no special reason or when they lie in a spray on a coffin, love is in the smell, and thus, in the air for all to relish.  For the faithful Christian (and even for the not so faithful one) love is how we come closest to being like God.  When we love others, regardless of their capacity to love us back, we most perfectly mirror the Divine.  Wouldn't it be a blessing if what passes for love on Valentine's Day was just such a divine love as that?  And that it was like that every day?  If that came to pass, we'd soon run out of both chocolate and roses.

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More loving; More merciful; More forgiving

I don't suppose any of my readers will recall the name John Rogers.  Today (the 4th of February) marks the anniversary of his martyrdom.  In 1555, exactly 464 years ago, he was burned at the stake at Smithfield, London.  That quaint neighborhood is also known as a place where William Wallace was hanged and then drawn and quartered in 1305.   What lead to Roger's death was a series of disagreements about whether or not the Bible should be translated into English.  Rogers was all for it, as were other Protestant thinkers and clergy.  Others thought it an abomination.  Rogers was a Protestant and the religious leaders of the day in England were Catholic.  In the end, Rogers was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death.  Given a chance to recant, he refused and thus, John Rogers became the first acknowledged Protestant martyr.  We've come a long way over the last half a millennium.  We no longer hang religious dissenters; nor do we draw and quarter them. (At least I don't think we do.)  But some of our family of Christians continue to shun or shame or make life miserable for those with whom they disagree.  I guess it has ever been so.  But you would think, being disciples of the Risen Jesus, we'd be more loving; more merciful; more forgiving.  And if we cannot be, nay, will not be, why would we dare sing "Lord, I want to be like Jesus, in my heart?"   It's something to think about. 

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