Showing posts from November, 2010

Advent I - Family Connections - St. Matthew 1:1-17

Advent is a time of waiting and a time of hope. During Advent we anticipate the birth of the Messiah, Jesus who is to be born at Christmas and bring the Kingdom of God into our midst. Advent is also a time when we look forward to that day when Christ will come again and bring the Kingdom of God into our midst in its fullness. But who is this Jesus? Where does he come from? These are questions were very important to early Christian communities and for this reason Matthew begins his Gospel with the answers to these question by providing a genealogy. Now, the bible has lots of genealogies – especially the Old Testament (Luke includes one too, but in Luke it is like a footnote to the Baptism of Jesus – see Luke chapter 3). The book of 1st Chronicles, for example, begins with 9 long chapters of genealogy. These genealogies can be tedious, which anyone who has tried to read through even 1 of these 9 chapters in I Chronicles will affirm. But Matthew’s genealogy is different. For o

The Sacraments - Penance

Reflections from the Pastor – Pastor S. Blake Duncan …and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ (St. Matthew 1:23b) For the last few months I have used this space to discuss what it means that we are a Sacramental church.  Last month I discussed the central and formal Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.  Through Holy Baptism we are brought into community and become a part of God’s family and through regular (weekly) participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion we are fed, strengthened and nourished with God’s presence and empowered for our ministry in the world.  These two Sacraments are the foundation of our Christian life and ministry.  But the Roman Catholic Church holds traditionally to seven Sacraments, and this was the case during Luther’s time as well.  What about the other 5? The seven traditional Sacraments of the church are: Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Penance (or Confession and Absolution) and Extr

The Feast of All Saints – Luke 6:20-31 – Called to be a Saint

The Feast of All Saints – Luke 6 – Called to be a Saint …and so with the church on earth, all creation and the host of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn….. Those words, which are spoken each time we celebrate Holy Communion, prepare us for the celebration of the gift of the Sacrament by reminding us that we are joining with the Saints of the past and the Saints of the present at the heavenly Banquet table.  As we kneel at the rail we are there at table with the entire host of the Saints of every age.  What an amazing gift to us this is.  And like many of God’s gifts, this is one that is easy for us to loose sight of. Think about it for a minute – who are your favorite saints?  One of the apostles, St. Paul, St. Francis, Martin Luther?  Or perhaps it is someone more recent – someone famous, or even someone who was important to you in your life as you grew and learned the faith – a parent or grandparent, a Sunday School teacher or pastor, a teacher