Dear Gulf Coast Leaders,
October 25 – REFORMATION SUNDAY
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – The days are coming when I will make a new covenant with Israel and Judah: law on their hearts.
Psalm 46 – The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Ps. 46:4)
Romans 3:19-28 – No one will be justified by the law. Now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed.
John 8:31-36 – You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.
In our Prayers
· Pastors John and Lawrence Bade, their mom and family as they grieve the death of their father Heinie Bade, age 91. Mr. Bade died today (Sunday, October 18) at his home in Cuero, Texas after a long illness. Last week he and his wife Frieda marked their 69th wedding anniversary; Thursday, Oct 22 would have been his 92nd birthday. Funeral arrangements are pending. Looks like maybe Wednesday.
· Betty Hildebrandt, wife of Pastor Walt Hildebrandt, hospitalized
These emails will be going out on Monday mornings for a while until we completely switch over our listserv. Remember, you can visit them at www.bishopmike.posterous.com.
Rerooting with the Police Department
This is for the sake of connecting, and also for the sake of safety. Some recent events have caused us to emphasize the following. But these are also good things to do to establish a relationship with local authorities. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. Learn from them. Be a well-rooted, vital member of the community.
It is well known from many tragic incidents that a determined gunman cannot be stopped from causing harm. Nevertheless, here are a few things that congregations can do to try to prevent their churches from becoming the sites of crime:1) Prevention Steps — Leadership & Local Authorities
— build a relationship with the local police and ensure that they have current blueprints and photos of the church building, including interiors
— in consultation with local police, develop an emergency contact list and distribute it to staff
— arrange to have the police regularly patrol the church property and notify them of upcoming special events
— when traveling to other locations, try to do so in pairs and keep cellular phones handy for emergency calls
— do call the authorities as soon as possible during or after any incident; don’t wait 3) Prevention Steps — Staff & Volunteers
— develop an emergency plan to address threats of violence, including a building evacuation plan
— communicate plans to key staff and the congregation
— make sure First Aid resources are available and offer First Aid/CPR training
— instruct ushers and greeters to establish eye contact with all who enter the church and report concerns
— watch for strangers and monitor persons exhibiting strange or suspicious behavior, including persons with bulky clothing, trench coats and the like
— make sure all ushers have cell phones and are able to call police/EMS immediately in the event of an emergency or unusual circumstance
— recommend that people arrive and depart the church in pairs or groups, especially after dark 3) Prevention Steps — Building & Grounds
— trim hedges and clear any obstacles to eliminate places a perpetrator could hide
— ensure all outdoor lighting on building and in parking lot is bright and operating properly
— limit number of entryways into the church and have ushers continuously monitor entry activity
— ensure that all exits are clearly marked, unlocked, and well lit
— secure any potential access windows and nonessential doorways For further discussion of possible precautions, see these websites:
Advent is only six Sundays away if you can fathom that. Advent I is early: Nov 29. We start a new church year, a Lukan year. I’m tempted today to pontificate John 8’s focus on the freedom we have in Christ. I’ve also of late been pondering how we listen to God’s Spirit in the letter of the Bible, and in the viva vox evangelii. Prayer is indispensable as we ponder what God is calling us to do.
God has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – 2 Cor. 3:6
But Advent calls. Some of the earliest observances of Advent (as it originated in Gaul and Spain) had little to nothing to do with getting ready for Christmas: Christ’s birth. It had to do with the harvest and with eschatological fulfillment. Pope Leo the Great’s Advent sermons (5th century) have nothing to do with the Nativity, even on Christmas Eve. The focus was on judgment day, the end of time, the second coming (not the first).
Accordingly, Advent I picks up apocalyptic images. I frequently took the opportunity to talk about the cheery topic of the end of the world and Jesus as the telos of history, though not in those terms. One of my favorites was getting people to think about craters, like the one on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico that some scientists believe caused the global extinction of the dinosaurs. Or Barringer Crater in Arizona that they say must have been like a gigantic nuclear explosion that would have destroyed all life for many miles. Statistically, it’s just a matter of time till it happens again. People love this stuff. Feeds their paranoia. If you use projection the photos are spectacular. They drive the point home in a second. I’ll dig it up for you when we get closer. But the point is to point beyond the material, not to freak people out. So…
שלומ سلام Peace,
Michael Rinehart, bishop
The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
12707 I-45 North Frwy, Suite 580
Houston, TX 77060-1239
Time after Pentecost 2009
November 1 – ALL SAINTS
Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 – The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God
or Isaiah 25:6-9 – On this mt God will swallow up death. No more tears.
Psalm 24 – The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. They shall receive a blessing from the God of their salvation. (Ps. 24:5)
Revelation 21:1-6a – Holy city coming down. No more tears.
John 11:32-44 – The raising of Lazarus
November 8 – Pentecost 23B
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17 – Ruth and Boaz have a child together.
or Psalm 146 – The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down. (Ps. 146:7)
Hebrews 9:24-28 – More high priest stuff
Mark 12:38-44 – Widow’s mite
November 15 – Pentecost 24B
1 Samuel 1:4-20 – Barren Hannah goes to Eli the priest, then returns and conceives Samuel with her husband Elkanah.
or Daniel 12:1-3 – Michael, the great protector of the people is coming. Everyone whose name is written in the book shall be delivered.
1 Samuel 2:1-10 – Hannah’s song, source material for the Magnificat.
or Psalm 16 – My heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest in hope. (Ps. 16:9)
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18), 19-25 – We have confidence to enter God’s sanctuary through the blood of Jesus.
November 22 – CHRIST THE KING?
2 Samuel 23:1-7 – David’s last words: He has made with me an everlasting covenant.
or Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14– Daniel’s apocalypse: the son of man comes in the clouds to the Ancient One and is given dominion and glory and kingship.
Psalm 132:1-12, (13-18) – O Lord, remember David’s hardships and his faithfulness.
or Psalm 93 – Ever since the world began, your throne has been established. (Ps. 93:3)
Revelation 1:4b-8 – He is coming on the clouds, and every eye will see him. I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord.
John 18:33-37 – Jesus: My kingdom is not of this world. I testify to the truth. Pilate: What is truth?
Wednesday or Thursday November 25/26 – THANKSGIVING
Joel 2:21-27 – Don’t fear O SOIL. Your threshing floors will be full. Your vats will be full with wine and oil.
Psalm 126 – The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed. (Ps. 126:4)
1 Timothy 2:1-7 – Pray for public leaders.
Matthew 6:25-33 – Don’t worry about your life… God will provide.
ADVENT – Year C
November 29 – ADVENT 1
December 6 – ADVENT 2
December 13 – Advent 3