Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

2/28/2007

Jesus is not rolling in his grave

Photo from a press conference on the film about so-called The Jesus Tomb
In entertainment news this week, Titanic director James Cameron is touting a film he produced called The Lost Tomb of Jesus which airs to much carefully orchestrated fanfare this coming Sunday on The Discovery Channel. Much ink will be spilled in hyping the documentary this week. At the risk of giving more undue publicity, I want to weigh in with what we do know.

In 1980, construction is Jerusalem led to Archeologist Amos Kloner’s discovery of a tomb in the Talpiot section of the city. He described the tomb as belonging to a well-off family. It was not much remarked on for a decade as this newly found tomb was only one of 900 such burial sites found within a few miles of the Old City of Jerusalem.

That ten ossuaries (vaults made to contain the bones of the dead) were found there is not disputed. Nor is the fact that the name Jesus (the Hebrew name, “Yeshua” actually) is written on more than one. The fact that the tomb contained the names Jesus, a variation of Mary and the inscription “Judah son of Jesus” was also not remarkable. The name Jesus is found 71 times in the 900 graves. The name Judah son of Jesus was also found in other sites.

What is disputed is not the bare facts. As so many times in archeology, it is not the artifacts that cause arguments, but the interpretation of their meaning. Israeli-born, Canada-based filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and his producer Cameron claim that inscriptions, DNA and other cold hard facts point to the world-changing truth that this is not a Jesus tomb, but The Jesus Tomb and it was never empty.

They further claim that this is not just the tomb of Jesus, but also of his wife Mary Magdalene and their son Judah among others. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the film claims at one point that there is a
1 in 97,280,000 chance of the Talpiot burial chamber at issue not being the final resting place of Jesus, his mother, his wife (yes, wife), his brother and other relatives.
Amos KlonerOne archeologist voicing opposition is Amos Kloner, who you will remember found the Talpiot Tomb to start with. In a separate recent article in the Jerusalem Post he said,
It makes a great story for a TV film. But it's impossible. It's nonsense.
Kloner also told the Post that
There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb. They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle-class family from the 1st century.
The show will go on to make the claim that the ossuary claimed five years ago to belong to James, the brother of Jesus was one of the ten from the Talpiot Tomb. This is the shakiest claim as at least the other ossuaries and their inscriptions are not contested so much as the interpretation of their meaning. But this claim is one contested on different grounds. Kloner says, that no inscribed ossuary was unaccounted for and none of them had the same measurements as the James ossuary despite what Sunday's film will assert.

So where does all this leave folks of faith as this Sunday approaches and the documentary will be aired? First, it leaves us Sunday morning same as always with our faith in Jesus quite undisturbed. There will be no need to cross our fingers as we reaffirm our faith through reading scripture, hearing the sermons and reciting the ancient words of the creeds. Then come Monday, the controversial film will leave us with a conversation starter for our non-Christian friends and we won't have to be the one that starts the conversation. But just add these thoughts to the mix as you discuss the tomb:
  • There was a claim to have found Jesus' tomb in the 1940s. That tomb, also bearing a Yeshua (Jesus) inscription, has long been discredited. No one consider it to have been the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, including the makers of the new film.
  • The Talpiot Tomb already created a stir 10 years ago and with articles in the Sunday Times of London. That excitement died down until now as no scholarly consensus immerged in support of the claim. In fact, the opposite occurred.
  • The easiest way to pass off pseudo-science is with a documentary in which you get to control who says what. The harder way is in peer reviewed, scholarly articles, none of which yet make the claims found in the film.
The bottom line is this: relax. Jesus of Nazareth's reputation has survived worse critics than these and our Lord will survive this as well. The current controversy is a combination of bad science and great publicity. Such concoctions grab headlines and then fade into the shadows. Good science will be our ally here, but give it time.

The entrance to the Talpiot Burial SiteYou and I know the fact that the filmmakers apparently have missed. Christians do not believe that Jesus tomb was empty because of the claims of the apostles. We believe that Jesus’ tomb was empty because of our own very real experiences of the risen Jesus in our own lives. I know this may not sound any more substantial than the ungrounded claims of the movies creators, but there it is. We know that Jesus is not there in a tomb in Jerusalem, because he is here in our hearts and lives, just as he has been for generations of Christians around the world.

So do not fret. But do use this new opportunity for discussion to let others know of your faith in the crucified and resurrected Jesus.

One good overview of this is the article in the Jerusalem Post: Jesus Burial Saga: raiders of the lost tomb. And for an opposing view of a very different nature, go to tombofjesus.com which claims that Jesus was buried in India.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2/27/2007

Catching Up with Clones

click here for a humorous take on cloning gone wrong
A recent article at NPR.org, Human Cloning May Be Just Around the Corner, brings one up to speed on what is taking place in research related to cloning including its goals and obstacles. The report says in part,
Here's why: If a skin cell is used to make a cloned embryo, any stem cells from that embryo would be genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cell. And thus, that person's immune system wouldn't reject tissue grown from those stem cells.

This promise of tailor-made stem-cell therapies has prompted several teams of scientists around the world to try to make embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos. But Robert Lanza of the biotech firm ACT says no one's managed it — yet.

There have now been at least a dozen … species cloned, but for each species there's been a unique set of problems, and the human is no different," Lanza says.
The article also says,
No reputable scientist is attempting to clone a live human being. That said, several teams around the world are trying to make cloned human embryos with the intention of deriving embryonic stem cells. No one has succeeded yet.
And it notes,
There's still no question that most people consider attempting to clone a human being unethical—at the very least because the cloning process seems to create animals with health problems.

For people opposed to destroying human embryos for any reason, cloned embryos present an ethical dilemma: Since a cloned embryo is a potential human life, it's wrong to destroy it.

Click here to see more similarly retouched photosTwo articles in the archives are:
The Moral Morass
of Human Cloning


and two years later

The Ethics of Cloning

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2/26/2007

Giving up Lent for Lent

As a counter point to much I have written in this blog lately as we begin Lent, I thought it would be good to share Diane Butler Bass' essay on the year she gave up Lent for Lent. She writes,
A few years ago, I stopped struggling with my bad attitude toward Lent. I gave up Lent for Lent. I skipped Ash Wednesday, made no promises to God, and instituted no rigorous prayer schedule. I wanted to enjoy one March with no onerous spiritual obligations.

An odd thing happened, however, during my Lenten non-observance. I began to understand and experience Lent in new and deeper ways. When freed from expectations and requirements, sermons and scriptures spoke to my soul. By the end of Lent, I found myself willingly attending extra services, including two Good Friday liturgies.
The full essay is online here: Giving up Lent.

It worth noting that the goal of Lent is to connect one to God. The reformer Martin Luther found that Lent as practiced in his own time was often all show with no substance. Luther publicly ate sausages on Fridays in Lent, advocating inward change, not outward piety alone. This is not so different from the Prophet Joel who wrote, "Rend your hearts and not your garments" referring to the practice of tearing your clothes to show you were repentent. He preferred a change of heart to tearing fabric.

In my experience, the spiritual disciplines of Lent have helped nurture my faith and my connection to God. Yet, we must remember the goal and never let outward signs of faith get in the way of our actual relationship with God. Right?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor+

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1 Comments:

  • At 2/27/2007 7:54 AM, Anonymous kenny said…

    Right.

    Of course, sometimes we can be lacksadaisical and self-righteous and it's hard to discern your own motives. We can all use the reminder.

     

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2/25/2007

How to survive while listening to a sermon

Courtesy of Cartoon Church
by Clement W. Welsh, Warden, College of Preachers

These notes are set down in sympathetic recognition of the fact that most congregations suffer through the Sunday sermons with heroic fortitude. There must be a great number of Christians with extraordinary faith or else preachers would long ago have emptied the churches permanently! I say this as one who both preaches in pulpits and listens in pews. I can testify that it is much more fun to preach than to listen. My predecessor as Warden, Fred Arterton , used to quote the old jest that "a sermon is something a person will cross the continent to deliver but won't cross the street to hear."

As a preacher, then, out of sheer compassion for all listeners in pews, let me suggest some survival tactics to rescue anyone who is pinned down in church during the sermon with no opportunity for dignified escape.

But first, one preliminary point: (Notice how, as a preacher, I elaborate in the obvious before saying anything constructive. Standing there in the pulpit, staring at those rapidly glazing eyes, it is easy to luxuriate in inconsequentials.) The congregation is under an obligation to appreciate anything a preacher says. An unwritten contract requires the listener to be grateful for hearing the Word of God, even when dear rector has throughly obscured that Word by human words badly assembled Saturday night. Ecclesiatical courtesy demands the listener, at the end of the service, to say, "I enjoyed the sermon" (or "your message"). If not, a long tradition says that something was wrong in the listener-sin, perhaps, or sheer cussedness.

Strategy #1.
Wait for at least one idea in the sermon before giving up. You may think, "But the preacher has nothing to say-nothing at all." Sometimes a preacher can stand in the way of God's speaking for a remarkably long time and then inadvertently say something true and memorable. Old sermon listeners can even get a certain pleasure in watching and waiting. In extreme cases, when the preacher repeats the text at the end of the sermon, that may be the moment when light breaks through.

Strategy #2.
Fight back. Disagreement with the preacher is quite permissible; in some cases, it is highly desirable. It is probably best to do this silently or you may be called on to elaborate constructively on your ideas before the congregation; and that is much harder to do than merely disagree. For every sermon thesis there is an antithesis. Preachers are skilled at presenting half-truths. Discover the truth that has been ignored, articulate it (to yourself), and you and the preacher may have put together a respectable fragment of Christian truth.

Strategy #3.
Let your mind wander. The art of mind-wandering is sadly neglected in these busy times. If the preacher announces a subject and clearly has nothing to say about it except plantitudes, let your imagination create the sermon that is eluding the preacher. You have fifteen minutes to ask yourself questions that are so important that they tend, paradoxically, to be neglected. "Why am I here? What do I believe? What do I really want? Of what am I deeply afraid?" If a real question grasps you by its excitement, go see the preacher later in the week and talk about it. Such conversations can be powerful sermons in dialogue and as good for the preacher as for you. (Did it ever occur to you that the preacher is as bored with the sermon as you are? Preachers need stimulation to be enabled to produce stimulating ideas.)

Strategy #4.
Analyze your disappointment with the sermon. It is not enough to relax in the pew and to say, in effect, to the preacher, "Amuse me." When the sermon dribbles off into fuzzy inanities try to decide what need in you was left untouched by it. A sermon presents, however poorly, some portion of the great tradition of Christian experience. Poor sermons fail to link that tradition to your experience. Very well, make the connection for yourself. A sermon that is boring is not neccessarily untrue. Even a dull sermon can sometimes stab a listener with unexpected relevance. "Wasn't that a great sermon?" says your neighbor, to your astonishment. The preacher need not know, "I enjoyed the sermon," that the sermon you enjoyed was your own.

Strategy #5.
Don't just sit there. Do something! The best somethings to do are done between sermons, by engaging the preacher in activities that can help produce better preaching. Copy out striking quotations from something you have read, and send it on with a note. Take the preacher to lunch and ask a Great Question, such as, "If pride is a sin, why should I try to do my best?" or a Medium Great Question, such as. "What was wrong with St. Paul as a person, if anything?"

Write (and sign) a letter to the preacher every week responding to the sermon. But do your part, as one engaged in the sermon enterprise, to let the preacher know that out there in the pew there is at least one listener expectantly waiting for a sermon that will interest, move, and inspire, and who is anxious to help-one listener, determined to survive. Many a preacher, as anxious for survival as any listener, would be grateful to know that you are there and willing to work out survival tactics with you.

(Reprinted from the College of Preacher Newsletter, Fall 1979)

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6 Comments:

  • At 2/24/2007 10:48 PM, Blogger Dave said…

    Great stuff - thank you. I always enjoy discovering that one of my cartoons has been put to a creative use.

    (Minor point: typo on 'emptied', first paragraph)

     
  • At 2/24/2007 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very entertaining "stuff". But, as a preacher, that is not your job--to entertain. It is your job and calling to preach the Word of God. It is up to us to receive it. That's our job.

     
  • At 2/25/2007 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anonymous.. i always find it much easier to 'receive' a message if i'm being entertained - or at least mildly stimulated. these ideas were great.. thank you..

     
  • At 2/25/2007 8:42 AM, Anonymous FrSteve+ said…

    Fred Craddock, in my opinion the greatest preacher in our time, wrote a book some time ago based on Soren Kierkegaard's statement (and I'm paraphrasing here) "There is no lack of information [in Christianity]. Something else is missing." That statement echoed Craddock's view that there is no lack of information for Christians and there is no lack of information delievered in semrons...but something else was obviously missing.

     
  • At 2/27/2007 1:26 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    I was afraid you were taking shots at me for taking long blinks and staring hard Sunday morning.

     
  • At 3/12/2011 6:01 PM, Anonymous Bob Chapman said…

    No mention of reading the Historical Documents in the back of the BCP? How else would we ever find out about Chalcedon or the Quadrilateral?

    A way to respond to a blog post today could be by a blog post, and sending a link by email to the preacher. One time it even created a dialog between the preacher and me.

     

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2/24/2007

Lenten Labyrinth Retreat

This morning at King of Peace began at 8:30 a.m. with Victoria Logue, our trained labyrinth facilitator, holding a Lenten Labyrinth Retreat that lasted until Noon. 18 people took part in the morning, which included learning more about the Labyrinth, a meditation, then time to walk the labyrinth and then to journal, create art, walk our stations of the cross trail, etc. during the next hour and a half. The group finished with a second meditation.

Victoria speaks on the labyrinth

Victoria speaks about the labyrinth
Some of the group walking the labyrinth


Following the labyrinth retreat, the Women's Faith Walk met at 1 p.m. and then The Artists' Way group held its first meeting at 3 p.m. In just a little while, we we close out this full day with our first Saturday evening worship service which starts at 6 p.m.

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  • At 2/25/2007 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had a wonderful morning and I am thankful to Victoria for putting on such a powerfully affecting retreat.

     

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Fighting Temptations

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, the Gospel of Luke follows Jesus after his baptism as he goes into the wilderness for 40 days and faces temptations. In the late 300s, John Chrysostom (c.347-407) preached the following on Jesus' temptations,

All that Jesus did and suffered was for our instruction.

He consented to be led into the desert and to do battle with the devil so that when the baptized were assailed by greater temptations after baptism than before they would not be troubled as though this were something unexpected, but would remain steadfast, bearing them all nobly. You did not receive weapons so that you might sit at ease, but so that you might fight!

The reasons God does not prevent the onslaught of temptations are these.

  • John ChrysostomFirst, so that you may learn that you have now become much stronger;

  • then, so that you may remain modest, for you will not be puffed up by the greatness of your gifts if temptations can humble you;

  • next, because the wicked demon may doubt at first whether you have really renounced him and the test of temptation will convince him of your total desertion;

  • fourth, to confirm you, who are now stronger and steadier than iron;

  • fifth, to give you clear evidence of the treasures committed to you.
The devil would not have attacked you if he had not seen that you have been raised to a position of great honor.

Notice where it was that the Spirit led Jesus—not into the city or the market place, but into the desert. Since Jesus wished to entice the devil he gave him his opportunity not only by his own hunger, but also by his choice of place.

The devil usually attacks people when he sees them alone by themselves. He does not dare to do so when he sees them together with others. It is for this reason especially that we should frequently meet with one another. If we do not we may become an easy prey for the devil.

And so, the devil finds Jesus in the desert, in a trackless wilderness. Consider how vile and wicked the devil's approach is, and what sort of opportunity he watches for. He does not come near when Jesus is fasting, but only when he is hungry.

You should learn from this the great value of fasting and that no weapon is more powerful against the devil. After baptism you should not be filled with food and drink from a well-laden table, but should rather devote yourself to fasting.

Jesus fasted not because he himself had any need to do so, but to give us an example.

This evening, we begin our new weekend worship schedule with a communion service at 6 p.m. Tomorrow morning, we will have an 8 a.m. worship service in addition to the usual 10 a.m. service. If you are tempted to skip worshipping God this weekend, don't give in. You now have two more options at King of Peace. Come join us at one of the three services.

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2/23/2007

Stations of the Cross

An altar in the Church of the Holy SepulchreIn the fifth century, a tradition developed for pilgrims to Jerusalem to follow the path Jesus' walked on the day he died. Each Friday pilgrims would gather at the Stone Pavement where Pilate sentenced Jesus to die. Then they would walk through the streets to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which houses the sites of Jesus' crucifixion and his tomb. This tradition spread to cathedrals in Europe where the faithful would walk along from artistic depcitions of Jesus' journey to the grave while reading scripture and praying prayers that fit with specific points along the way.

This is how the Stations of the Cross developed. At King of Peace, we have a Stations of the Cross trail in the woods behind the church (pictured at right with kids from our children's church walking the trail). The trail was created as Jason White's Eagle Scout project. There are depictions of 14 incidents in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death from Pilate’s house to being placed in the tomb.

We use a service called the Way of the Cross, which visits each station in turn with a brief reading, response, collect and on some occasions, a meditation. This is particularly appropriate for Good Friday and all Fridays in Lent. King of Peace will hold a stations of the cross service today and each Friday in Lent at 5 p.m.

You may visit the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem through a website which offers a 360-degree 'virtual reality' format: 360 degree views of the Stations of the Cross

We also have an online version of our Stations of the Cross at kingofpeace.org.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2/22/2007

Genuinely Forgive Sin

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) wrote of forgiveness,

The greatest gift you can give is to genuinely forgive sin committed against you. Augustine of HippoIt is a comparatively small thing to wish someone well or to do good to someone who hasn’t hurt you. But it is much greater to love and wish your enemy well. When you have the opportunity, do good to those who want to make you suffer and do you harm. For in doing this you obey God’s command: “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you,” This is a frame of mind that only the children of God can reach.

All believers should strive after it, by prayer earnestly struggling with themselves to attain this standard. However, such a high degree of goodness should strive after it, by prayer earnestly struggling with themselves to attain this standard. However, such a high degree of goodness can hardly be met by all the people who pray. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” In view of all this those who don’t yet love their enemies can fulfill this command when they forgive someone from the heart who has sinned against them.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses,
your Heavenly Father will Also forgive you.
—Jesus (Matthew 6:14)

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4 Comments:

  • At 2/22/2007 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for telling us HOW to forgive! We have all heard over and over again from our pastors that we should forgive; that we have to forgive. We are told to "forgive and let it go" because that is what the Lord told us to do.

    We are not told that forgiveness is hard work. Though forgiveness can at times be instantaneous, some situations require a lot of prayer and a lot of time. It can take years and a million prayers before we are able to genuinely forgive a sin against us.

    But, that's ok. As long as we continue to pray and strive to forgive God will work with us and through us to obtain our goal of genuine forgiveness.

    The hardest part is not falling into the quick fix of vengeance. That's when we need to pray harder for God's assistance. In time, it will come. Genuine Forgiveness.

     
  • At 2/22/2007 10:00 AM, Blogger Celeste said…

    "Bless my enemies(insert name), change me."
    That's the quickest way to help me ward off the desire for vengence...I have come to realize that me forgiving someone is my choice. I kept waiting to feel something different towards them but that doesn't always happen. I guess that's when we keep on praying for God to change us...

     
  • At 2/22/2007 1:28 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Related to this post is another at Father Steve's Blog in which he talks about an Eastern Orthodox practice they did at St. Michael's last night. It's a Rite of Mutual Forgiveness. I am deeply intrigued. Here is what he has to say: Mutual Forgiveness.

     
  • At 2/23/2007 8:23 PM, Blogger John O said…

    This blog brought to my mind a clearer understanding of the often used phrase "'tis better to (for?)give than to receive". Thank you for this much needed (by me) blog. The Fr. Steve's Blog on MUTUAL FORGIVENESS says much in few words.

     

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2/21/2007

Remember that you are dust...

The sin burning during our Ash Wednesday worship.

Camden County's Episcopal clergy all served at the evening service
They are the Revs. Dick Casto, John Rogers,
(Deacon) Jennifer Highsmith, Frank Logue, and Linda McCloud.

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3 Comments:

  • At 2/26/2007 8:59 AM, Anonymous Jim said…

    Share, if you will, about how you made your rock salt fire work. I was intrested, but I had trouble.

    E-mail

     
  • At 2/26/2007 9:00 AM, Anonymous jim said…

    that email link doesn't work...

    jim.r.morrow@gmail.com

     
  • At 2/26/2007 10:11 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    I fill a quart container with rock salt, then pour in rubbing alcohol until it tops out the container. Let this mixture soak at least 2 hours. The alcohol works into the rock salt and burns off more slowly than an alcohol fire alone. Iget about a 5-10 minute smokless blaze this way.

    peace,
    Frank+

     

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Beauty for ashes

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy oer your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

When what youve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound Ive been set free
Ive been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

—by Crystal Lewis


Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins the Season of Lent, a time of preparation for Easter. We will hold a 12 noon worship service at Christ Church in St. Marys and a 7 p.m. worship service this evening at King of Peace.

Sin burning during our worshipAt King of Peace we also allow, as part of confession, an opportunity for sin burning. A smokeless fire (made of rubbing alcohol soaked rock salt) is lit and the congregation can consign to the consuming flames whatever anyone wishes to write down on paper, leaving behind those things that separate us from God as we begin the season of preparation for Easter. Though confession of sins is a traditional part of Ash Wednesday, the "sing burning" is not. It was adapted from something done at a middle school retreat to be added to worship at King of Peace.

Please join us as we begin our journey toward the cross and the empty tomb.

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2/20/2007

Mardi Gras Party

Here are a few photos from the start of our Mardi Gras Party. We began with a traditional pancake supper and ended with a rousing game of Bingo for prizes. More than 90 people turned out to enjoy the fun.


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Shrive Me Holy Man

'O shrive me, shrive me, holy man!'
The Hermit crossed his brow.

This line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge comes from that old word for forgiveness, shrive. One sought to be shriven of sins. From that word comes this day of the church year, known as Shrove Tuesday. It is the day to seek forgiveness before the season of preparation for Easter, known as Lent, begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.

Menzer cooking pancakesOf course, there is another approach to this last day before Lent. Rather than seeking forgiveness, some seem to seek sin on Shrove Tuesday. After all, today is also known as "Mardi Gras" which means "Fat Tuesday." Mardi Gras leads to a great deal of excess in places like New Orleans and Rio. But traditionally, it was just the day for finishing off the stuff in the cupboard not eaten during Lent.

Tonight, we'll celebrate Mardi Gras without the wild reveling. Instead, we'll have a traditional pancake supper starting at 6 p.m. Then we'll play a rousing game of Bingo for prizes. Mardi Gras beads, masks and the like are encouraged, but not required.

To find out more about Lent, visit our page Keeping a Holy Lent.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2/19/2007

Winter Camp Out



Photos of our own Boy Scout Troop 226 camping out in the cold on Jekyll Island are now online here: Jekyll Island Cold Weather Camp Out.

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The Self-Proclaimed Antichrist

For many will come in My name,
saying, `I am the Christ,'
and will mislead many.
-Jesus (Matthew 24:5)

Puerto Rican born José Luis De Jesus Miranda has claimed for some years to be Jesus Christ in his second coming. The cult-leader now claims that he is the antichrist though he says that title is a misunderstood one. The Apolegetics Index says of his theology
José Luis De Jesus MirandaDe Jesus teaches that the Devil has been destroyed, and that Hell does not exist. Nevertheless, he claims there are two classes of people: those who reject his message and are therefore predestined, and those who accept his word as true. The latter are saved and can not lose their salvation. Hence they are allowed to indulge in sin.
A recent report on CNN noted 1.4 million dollars in contributions last year to the self-proclaimed antichrist's cult Growing in Grace. The group was in the news late last week due to the trend of his followers having the number 666 tatooed on their bodies as a sign of their connection to their leader. An article in the Houston Press This Man Thinks He's Jesus H. Christ: and a lot of people agree with him will give you more background on the would be antichrist and his followers.

This cult shows all the more clearly how Christians need to proclaim in word and deed the Truth of Jesus as conveyed through scripture and the creeds of the church.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

Then if anyone says to you, `Behold, here is the Christ,'
or `There He is,' do not believe him.
For false Christs and false prophets will arise
and will show great signs and wonders,
so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
Behold, I have told you in advance.
So if they say to you,
`Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or,
`Behold, He is in the inner rooms,'do not believe them.
-Jesus (Matthew 24:23-26)

3 Comments:

  • At 2/19/2007 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He is so antichrist in just looking at his picture. The nice suit, arrogant smile, and all that money and fame. No, not the ways of Jesus.

    On the other hand, he doesn't seem smart enough to be Satan's son either. He proclaims that it is acceptable to indulge in sin and still be saved. Satan's works are more subtle and discreet. He is a master of trickery and it would take us a lot longer to see through him. Hopefully, not when it is too late!

     
  • At 3/08/2007 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is not as though you can read satan on the other side of a poker table. He has been running the show for thousands of years here on earth, and he knows how to play around with the church. I think we must be careful before outright discrediting the effectiveness of this man. To say he is stupid in action is one thing, but Satan might just be checking on a full house.

     
  • At 4/03/2007 10:01 PM, Blogger cHRiS said…

    This man is full of contradictions...first he says he's the reencarnation of Christ, then he says that he IS "The Second Coming of Christ", then, all of a sudden, he says that he's the antichrist...which is it? Antichrist means that you are against Christ and what he has to offer, therefore, this man is nothing but an impostor, hustling people for their money, gaining fame through his vicious lies. The book of Revelations clearly speaks of these type of deceivers, it's amazing to see that we really are living in the times of Revelations...we just might be the last generation that will see the real second coming of Christ.

    cHRiS MaRTiNeZ-04-03-07

     

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2/18/2007

Missing out

If we look to the revelation of God
for knowledge of geology,
we miss the revelation;
but if we look to geology for faith in God,
we miss both Him and the rocks.

—H. Richard Neibuhr

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2/17/2007

Keeping up with the Joneses

Today was King of Peace's main day to provide labor for the Apostles' Build for Habitat for Humanity. It was also our day to provide lunch. We worked alongside the Jones Family who will live in the new home and together we got all the outlet boxes installed, corrected an issue with plumbing, and did the prep work and began installing the vinyl siding.

Kenn gets some prep work done for siding
Robert watches Kyle install an outlet box The Jones Family at lunch
Pete's tattoo
Kenn and Kyle haul ladders around back to work take the siding higher Pastor Linda from Our Savior lent a hand
Zachary and Kelly helped provide lunch
Linda and Pete work on prep work for siding The Jones' children working with us on their own home
The Jones' family home is taking shape

Work continues next Saturday and every Saturday through March 17. We begin each week at 9 a.m. and finish about 2 p.m. Come join in the fun as we build a safe, decent, affordable home for this wonderful family.

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Prepare for a mountaintop experience

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus is transfigured in a mountain top experience with Moses and Elijah visting him and disciples Peter, James and John looking on. In a sermon on this passage I once noted,
The TransfigurationWhen the voice had spoken from the cloud, Peter, James, John realized that Jesus was now alone. Jesus who had come to complete all that was predicted by the Law and the Prophets was all done with looking back. Now was the time to look ahead toward the teaching and ministry remaining before his death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus’ transfiguration was far removed from the usual mountaintop experience where everything seems to come together. Jesus' experience on the Mount of Transfiguration revealed that glory lay on the other side of suffering.

The next time Jesus has a mountaintop experience, the mountain is Calvary and the mountaintop experience is that God’s Messiah, his chosen one is put to death. Instead of having Moses on one side and Elijah on the other, Jesus is crucified between two thieves. Below the cross, someone mocking Jesus cries out, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” But they had missed the point. The Messiah would suffer, die, and be resurrected before he came into his glory. The Law and the Prophets had told that it would happen this way.
Jesus' mountaintop experience in the Transfiguration did serve as a way to prepare him for the mountaintop of Calvary. This coming week will begin the season of preparation for Easter known as Lent. The glory of that celebration lies on the other side of the suffering of Good Friday. During this time, we look back on our lives and make adjustments as we move ahead with God toward the joy of Easter. We offer some information online about Lent, Keeping a Holy Lent, created to help you make the most of this time of preparation. I encourage you to consider now how you might keep this season in a way that will allow you to more fully experience the joy of celebrating Jesus' resurrection.

In the archives is the Tribune & Georgian religion column Preparing for Easter's Joy.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2/16/2007

Mmm...Crow




Eating crow. I've done it before and here it goes again. An email pointed out an error in today's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian. I wrote in my column,
And don’t start at Genesis with a plan to read the Bible straight through to the end. That usually doesn’t work much farther than Leviticus, the second book of the Bible.
Now I know better than anything that Leviticus is the third book of the Bible. But I first wrote,
That usually doesn’t work much farther than Exodus, the second book of the Bible.
Then I reflected that one could probably get through the first two books before losing steam in the third. But I changed only the book name and not the number. Yikes!

This is not to make an excuse. There is no excuse for my getting a simple fact like this wrong. What makes this more appropriate than not is that I wanted to rework the sermon the column was based on into a format to share in the paper with an ulterior motive in mind. Yes, I wanted to encourage Christians to follow a pattern of daily scripture reading. But I also wanted to let our fellow Christians know that we take the Bible seriously at King of Peace.



So pride once more goeth before the fall. If I wanted to show our love of scripture, perhaps its only fitting that I got humbled in the process.

See y'all Sunday in church when we will once more read four passages of scripture. I'm easy to spot at this point. I'll be the one with egg on my face and my foot in my mouth.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

  • At 2/17/2007 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I thought the paper made the error.(They usually make one or two per issue). Now I know! LOL

     
  • At 2/17/2007 4:14 PM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    Remember Babe Ruth, who had lots of home runs and lots of strikeouts. So far, your batting average is remarkably good.

     

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Are You on the Go?

Here is an ad running in next week's Wednesday and Friday issues of the Tribune & Georgian:

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3rd Grade Parable

Come with me to a third grade classroom for a parable.....

There is a eight-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet.

He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it.

When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, "Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat."

He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered. As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap. The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!"

Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else - Susie.

She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. You've done enough, you klutz!" Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, "You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

Susie whispers back, "I wet my pants once too."

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2/15/2007

Shi'ite and Sunni—what's the difference?

At the heart of the strife currently tearing at the fabric of the Middle East are tensions between the two major sects in Islam—Shia and Sunni. Much of our current events stem from the division between these groups just as violence in Ireland fell along the Catholic/Protestant fault line. So it is helpful to understand these differences. There is an article at NPR.org The Origins of the Shia-Sunni Split which fills in some helpful information.

a picture of the Imam Hussein held aloft at a rallyThe short answer is that the split occurred in naming a successor to the Prophet Muhammad on his death in 622. Most wanted a group of Islamic leaders to decide while a minority felt that the Prophet's brother-in-law, Ali, was the rightful successor as it should be someone from the prophet's family. This issue of succession left two leader's of the nascent faith and a growing divide among the faithful. Fighting broke out between the two groups in 661 in present-day Iraq. Ali's son Hussein together with a force of 72-family members took on the army of the Caliph selected to lead Islam. His group was slaughtered and Hussein was beheaded. The NPR article notes:

"An innocent spiritual figure is in many ways martyred by a far more powerful, unjust force," [Islamic author Vali] Nasr says. "He becomes the crystallizing force around which a faith takes form and takes inspiration."
The Shi'ites came to have a Messianic hope in looking for a spiritual leader they call the Twelfth Imam. This expectation is not held by Sunnis who have often been the ones with political control. Today, those partisans of Ali are the minority within Islam, but the majority in Iran and Iraq. Belief in the messianic Twelfth Imam was a key component of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

Shias worshipping at the tomb of Ali in Najaf IraqThe split between the two sects is much greater now than it was before that Revolution which sought to bring about Islamist rule across the Arab world with the Shia Ayatollah Khomeini attempting to act as the leader of worldwide Islam. Khomeini hoped that Shi'ites in Iraq would side with him in the Iran-Iraq War, but they did not. But many Sunnis did react against that revolution in Iran by emphasizing the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Now the majority Shi'ite's in Iraq are enjoying flexing their muscles as shown by Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr naming part of Baghdad Sadr City and using his Mahdi Army to enflame sectarian violence following years of the minority Sunnis having political control through the largely secular nationalist Saddam Hussein.

These differences historic and religious help show some divisions we Americans largely don't notice. For example, Al Qaida is a Sunni group that would not associate itself with Shi'ite leadership in Iraq even though they share a common enemy.

Christianity's Split
The effects of this split are not unlike those from the one that occurred in the 16th century in Christianity when many chose not to acknowledge the Pope as the head of the universal church (or even like the earlier split between what we now call Catholics and the Orthodox Church). But Christianity had avoided the early division that still plagues Islam.

Jesus brother JamesJesus' half brother James was never a follower of Jesus in the Messiah's own lifetime. He came to faith through a post-resurrection appearance. James went on to be the leader of the church in Jerusalem, yet no claim to this was made due to Jesus' blood relationship to James. In fact there seems to have been no desire to have one central leader in Christianity at all as the faith claimed the dead and resurrected Jesus to still be the leader. James was put to death for not denying his faith that Jesus was the promised Messiah. The Christian faith was strengthened rather than divided by James' death and Christianity continued with a resurrected Lord as the only central leader. Our deep divisions would come later.

This historical aside is offered to help put the news in some perspective as when religion is the root cause in civil war the fighting is all the more intense. Sadly, no faith seems immune to sibling rivalry and violence among believers.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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2/14/2007

3 of a kind beats a full house

King of Peace in worship
A full house at King of Peace

OK, maybe 3 of a kind doesn't beat a full house in poker, but I am writing about church and not a card game. Lately King of Peace has had a pretty full house for Sunday morning worship. With more than 175 people in our 205-seat sanctuary it is difficult for folks who arrive late to sit together. That could soon make it impossible for us to welcome yet more newcomers who might could get connected to God through King of Peace.

So rather than continuing to have a full house each Sunday, beginning in Lent, we will offer three worship services each weekend. All three services will be communion services with the same liturgy, but there will be other differences, particularly in music. They will be:

Saturday 6 p.m.
This communion service will have Carol playing the keyboard with hymns from several hymnals. No nursery will initially be provided, though it might be added if there is a need. Drop by before heading out for the night, or make this your regular worship service. This service will begin February 24.

Sunday 8 a.m.
This will be the no music, shorter (about 45 minutes) service typically found as an early service in Episcopal Churches. If you have a busy weekend, but don't want to push worship completely out of your plans, this could be your option. This service will begin February 25.

Sunday 10 a.m.
This will continue to be the same worship service as before with guitars, dulcimer and drum for music using a blend of hymns and more contemporary praise music. This is the service to offer both a children's church and a nursery. This service is ongoing.

Each of these services will develop its own particular groove and its own sense of community. We will continue regular church-wide events to keep us all connected, even as we make room for others to experience God through worship with us.

The new schedule is a trial one as we let you vote with your feet (well your bottoms actually) as you decide which service to sit in on.

We will keep a watch on interest in services to see which is most supported. If all three are equally supported, we will keep all three, but if a service does not find a congregation in the trial period, we will discontinue it. But for now, we will see if three of a kind helps lessen the full house as we move toward Easter.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

King of Peace in worship

3 Comments:

  • At 2/14/2007 7:53 PM, Anonymous S Croy said…

    We are very excited about the Saturday evening option! I think this is a progressive move for a growing church. Bless the forward thinkers!

     
  • At 2/15/2007 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree! It's a wonderful option for those whose jobs require them to work on Sundays!

     
  • At 2/15/2007 6:02 PM, Blogger Susan said…

    Not only for those who have to work on Sunday but those of us who have family obligations that take place on Sunday. We are so excited about the Saturday night service. What a blessing we feel this will be in our lives.

     

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2/13/2007

Singing to the tune of Kingsland

The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kingsland, UK
The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kingsland, UK

Our sister parishes in Kingsland, United Kingdom note two hymns sung to tunes named Kingsland. Both hymn texts associated with the tunes concern God being king. They are:

Thy Way Not Mine, O Lord
the text is in part:

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
however dark it be;
lead me by thine own hand,
choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
it will be still the best;
winding or straight, it leads
right onward to thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
choose thou for me, my God,
so I shall walk aright.

The kingdom that I seek
is thine; so let the way
that leads to it be thine,
else I must surely stray.

and

Thy Kingdom come, O God
the text is in part:

Thy kingdom come, O God!
Thy rule, O Christ begin!
Break with thine iron rod
the tyrannies of sin!

Where is thy reign of peace,
and purity and love?
When shall all hatred cease,
as in the realms above?

Click on the links above to hear the tunes and read the full text of the hymns associated with them.

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2/12/2007

God's Love Toward a Radical Muslim

Robin D. sent along a very engaging link from everystudent.com called God's Love Toward a Radical Muslim in which a man from a wealthy Pakistani family tells of his time as a radical Muslim and how he came to find out about Jesus. The testimony read in part,
I had read about the prophets in the Quran and Hadiths, but Jesus Christ was the only personality that really touched me more than any others. I found out that Christians believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I very much wondered why they believe that. I started searching for Jesus Christ more and more. I had a Christian friend who used to study with me. I asked him one day if I could have his Bible. He was surprised and said "Sorry, you cannot have it." I assured him no one would ever know, "It will remain between me and you."

But my father came to know that I read the Bible and that it was in our home. He was very angry and he knew I have only one Christian friend. So he took me with my uncle to this friend's home and warned them saying, "If you do this again and try to preach Christianity to a Muslim child, you'll have to suffer a lot and you know it. We will complain about it to Islamic Police (Mutawa) and you could be exiled from this country forever." I was a bit worried. I shouldn't have done this to my friend's family.

My father warned me, and so did my uncle, to pray five times a day as I used to pray, and one time in the mosque. I kept going, and many times when there was no one in the mosque I used to cry and ask God to show me, "who is this Jesus and who are you?"
Jesus is not only referred to in the Quran, but that holy book of Islam tells that he was born by virgin birth. Jesus is generally seen in Islam as a great prophet and teacher who did miracles.

The full story of the Muslim's conversion is online here: God's Love Toward a Radical Muslim

3 Comments:

  • At 2/12/2007 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow! I read God's Love Toward a Radical Muslim. What a phenomenal journey this man has been on! What a Gift he's been given!

     
  • At 2/12/2007 4:01 PM, Blogger anything but typical said…

    "I am no more than an ordinary man who has been spending life as if knowing nothing."

    Wow! How much better off would we be if we who call ourselves Christians realized that we are also spending their lives as if we knowing nothing and instead of basking our pride at being Christian we would actually seek God?

    Proverbs 9:10 says “ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

     
  • At 2/12/2007 10:09 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Just goes to show you, truth is truth no matter where you find Him.

     

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2/11/2007

Woe to You!

As promised, here is my take on Jesus' words from yesterday's blog post: Woe to You!

It would seem that Jesus' promise of blessings to the poor and woe to the rich would give one cause NOT to get ahead or to do anything much at all. But that might not be all that is being said and I think rather than ignoring Jesus words of condemnation, we better listen as they apply to us more than the blessings in this passage.

What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

2 Comments:

  • At 2/11/2007 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always viewed these words from Jesus as symbolic. The "Blessed" are those who are need--in need of the Lord. "Woe" to the ones who are merely fullfilled with earthly things, for they are not seeking the Lord.

    You can be a wealthy person and still humbly serve the Lord with blessings to others. Or, you can be a wealthy person completely satisfied with your house, yatch and extravagances and never seek the Lord. That's "Woe" because that person will never know true happiness in Him.

     
  • At 2/12/2007 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I thank you for this sermon.
    Lots to think about.

    Robin Rapp

     

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2/10/2007

Up on the Roof

Today, five of us from King of Peace joined with others from our community and some RV Care-A-Vanners to dry in The Apostle's Build.

Austin works at nailing down the plywood roof.

3 of the 5 King of Peace workers. The father/son
McCaulley team are working in the forground.


Tar paper goes on once the roof is completely secured.

The last of the tar paper goes on. The windows were done.
The house is dried in with three days of volunteer labor!

While the four of us men worked on the roof, Sandi was next door working on the Board of Realtors House, which was painted today. That Habitat House can be seen in the background of the bottom photo above.

Next Saturday, February 17, is King of Peace's day to provide the main work force (8 people should be enough) as well as offering the work site meal. We'll start at 9 a.m. The house is at the end east end of Douglas Drive in St. Marys, where it dead ends near Point Peter Road.

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Woe to you!

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus gives a group of blessings followed by a group of woes. He tells his disciples:
Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.

Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.

Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.

Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
Bass Mitchell has said of this passage,
In those days people tended to see illness, poverty, suffering as signs of God's displeasure, of sin. Likewise, having wealth and prosperity were signs of God's favor. But Jesus, as usual, turns it all around. Poverty is no barrier to God and God's. Indeed, often the poor are the very ones most open to trusting in God. And prosperity is no sign of divine favor, either, but a very strong temptation to place trust in it rather than God.
Methodist Bishop William Willimon has said with some disapproval that, "In our preaching, Jesus is worked over into one who always blesses and never condemns."

So what do we do with these words of Jesus? This sermon of his must have resonated deeply with those first disciples and then with the persecuted early church. They were (in many cases) poor, hungry, and mourning. They were certainly persecuted for their faith. But now we are relatively rich, positively full, laughing and generally well thought of. How do we hear these words now? How do we do more than shrug our shoulders and move on to the parts of the Gospel we like?

I've been praying about this in preparation for the sermon tomorrow and if you think and pray about it a bit too, I wonder what God will do. Rather than jumping to the answer, consider how these passages of blessings and woes may apply to you. Tomorrow I'll share what I found in Bible study and prayer in this space. But I know that what God shares with you in the meantime as you prayerfully consider these words for yourself is likely to be more meaningful than what I will have to preach in the morning.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

1 Comments:

  • At 2/12/2007 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I look forward to reading this sermon online. Wish I could be there to hear it.

    Robin Rapp

     

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