Church Family Newsletter | September 30, 2022
It has been another busy week at the corps. We're halfway through our Christmas Sign-Ups. We were blessed to have volunteers from Wells Fargo, corps members, and other members of the community to assist us in the process - interviewing the families and doing the data entry. Volunteers were moved by the stories shared by our clients. This gave them a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And ultimately, we were able to tell them that this is a ministry of our church - meeting needs in Jesus' name.
Our faithful volunteers in Concord and El Sobrante made sure the pantries kept running. Our staff was doing double duty helping with intakes while trying to cover their main areas of responsibility.
A small crew of our CAMEO ladies came out to prep for our Fall Craft Fair. We've got a new floor plan and lunch menu, so we hope that you stop by and visit. The vendors have beautiful handmade items that would be perfect for gifts and special occasions.
And last, the chapel entryway and offices have a new look. Come and worship with us on Sunday and check it out!
This has been a tremendous week. Thanks to those who came out to support! And thanks to those who prayed for us. Let's pray that we have been able to share hope with those we spent time with this week.
God bless you!
It is my privilege to call Envoy Tony Lewis, who serves as a pastor in The Salvation Army, my friend. Those who know Tony know that he is no shrinking violet when it comes to expressing himself, especially when he agrees with some spiritual truth.
Two of Tony’s favorite expletives are “Mercy!”, and “Glory!” What makes them so memorable is the way he draws out the vowels in a southern style with the duration being almost as long as an Hispanic Soccer Commentator announcing that a goal has been scored.
For Tony, that’s “Gl-oooooh-ry” and “M-iiiiiiiiih-rsay!” Once you have heard it, it is impossible to un-hear it! Everyone I know who has heard Tony imitates him. It’s contagious! So now I have to talk about mercy!
Hearing Tony in my head brings to mind one of the famous teachings of Jesus that I think needs to be better understood today than it is:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7
That is a great teaching just on its face and is especially applicable in our polarized society that is so hung up on finding and publishing the errors and foibles of folks as “Gotcha!” moments. However, it is always profitable to tunnel through our English translations to see if we can come across the actual sounds our Lord would have made that made such an impression on his hearers.
Our word “merciful” is a translation of the Greek word “eleēmōn”, but of course, Jesus did not speak in Greek to his followers, he spoke Hebrew or Aramaic. The corresponding Aramaic word for “eleēmōn” is “chesedh”, with the initial “ch-“ sound pronounced in the same way as Scots pronounce “loch” or Germans pronounce “-ach!” — and for completeness, it’s how the Welsh pronounces the initial “Ll-“ in “Llewelyn”!
The bad news for translators is that there is no single word in English that represents all the meanings of “chesedh” in Aramaic. The good news is that in using multiple sentences to explain the concept we get a more full understanding of what Jesus was telling the crowd on the hillside when he spoke to them.
“Chesedh” certainly means “mercy”, but it means it in a way that involves sympathy rather than merely empathy. Empathy implies pity and an intellectual understanding of the plight of the object of mercy, but sympathy implies actually suffering along with them. “Chesedh” could be translated as “inhabiting the skin” of the other, literarily becoming one with them in their plight and going through what they are going through, thinking their thoughts, and deliberately putting aside our own feelings to understand the feelings of the other person.
This deliberate putting ourselves in the other’s shoes helps us to avoid being kind in a wrong way.
Just before Calvary, Jesus visited the home of Martha and Mary. He was concerned with the care of accomplishing the plan of salvation in the following week. He was tired. He needed a safe space in which to decompress and relax. Martha wanted to serve the best food in the best way out of pity believing that was the comfort her honored guest needed.
But Mary better understood that what her guest really was needed was a non-threatening, understanding, and patient listener! Both sisters were kind, but one was relying on her own feelings while the other was putting herself in Jesus’ sandals!
Mercy in this way makes forgiveness so much easier because we come to understand the motives and circumstances that led to forgiveness being necessary in the first place. It’s the difference between being merely involved and being committed. Some wit has used the analogy of ham and eggs to explain the difference - the hen is involved, the pig is committed!
It’s also important to know that Jesus practiced what he preached. He had “chesedh” for us. He literally got in our skin and walked in our shoes and experienced the problems we do.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8 NIV
And he died as we do — so that we can live as He does!
Professor William Barclay translates the fifth beatitude in this way:
“O the bliss of the man who gets right inside other people, until he can see with their eyes, think with their thoughts, feel with their feelings, for he who does that will find others do the same for him, and he will know that that is what God in Jesus Christ has done!” Matthew 5:7
As we instruct our children — if you want a friend, be a friend! If you want mercy and understanding, be merciful and understanding. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk!
As my friend Tony would exclaim (loudly!) — “Mercy!”
Blessings on you and yours,
This will take you to Jim Black's collection of articles since starting the newsletter.
International Prayer Focus
This initiative of turning our thoughts and prayers towards the same part of the world at some point in the same week is a beautiful way to unite us as a global Army family and I thank you for the commitment that you each give to this.
The Prayer Focus requests for October 2022. We will be praying for the following territories:
03 – 09 October 2022 Malawi Territory10 – 16 October 2022 USA Eastern Territory
17 – 23 October 2022 The Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Slovakia Territory
24 – 30 October 2022 India Western Territory
Territorial Leaders: Lieut-Colonels Samuel and Theresa Baah
- That God will provide his general protection and wellbeing to our Territorial Leaders, Colonels Samuel and Theresa Baah as they settle into their new appointments following their installation in August this year.
- Pray for our new Chief Secretary and TSWM, Lt. Colonels Onai and Deliwe Jera as they settle and work hand in hand with the leadership for the development of this Territory
- Pray for God’s intervention as our nation goes through an economic crisis whereby there are fuel shortages and a high cost of living as a result of this.
- Pray for our Senior and Junior Soldiers who were enrolled by General Brian Peddle in August this year as they journey into their Christian faith with the Lord. Pray that their faith in God should continue to grow.
- Pray for the ongoing recovery of Salvationists who were involved in a road accident as their Lorry lost control and fell into a house as they returned from Territorial Congress which was presided over by the General and the WPWM.
- Pray for Malawi Territory as it implements its first operation of the cabinet system and that God will grant his wisdom and help all the senior Reserved officers to settle and move on so quickly.
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Praise Team Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Sunday School - Classroom 3
- 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets - Classroom 2
- 10:00 AM - Adult Sunday School - Library
- 10:15 AM - Time of Prayer - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
- 12:15 PM - Fellowship Time - Fireside Room
- 12:30 PM - Youth Music Practice - Chapel
MONDAY - THURSDAY
- 9 AM-12 PM & 1-4 PM - Christmas Assistance Sign-Ups (Week 2) - Fireside Room
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 5:30 PM - ROOTED Small Discipleship Group - Hybrid (starting early for Prayer Experience)
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Practice - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: One Beautiful Picture - In Person
- 7:00 PM - Senior Band Dinner with Staff Band - Buttercup
- 8:15 PM - Joint Rehearsal - Concord Corps
- 6:00 PM - Staff Band Concert
NEXT SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9
The Staff Band will be our guests for the Sunday Worship Service.
Click here to learn about specific volunteer opportunities, requirements, and expectations.
If you would like to help with the interviews, please click here to get to the shifts.
Staff Band Concert
NOTE: Friday night, the Staff Band would like to invite the Concord Senior Band to dinner at 7:00 PM at ButterCup. Further details will be emailed to members directly. It will be a time of fellowship followed by a joint practice at 8:00 PM back at the corps.
Trunk or Treat Community Outreach Event
Please contact Major Willdonna if you would like to sign-up: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to share your requests. Requests will be prayed for in our Prayer Room and distributed through our Prayer Chain. Requests can be made anonymously.
Fall & Winter CAMEO Program
You can make a tithe payment, give an offering, or donate towards the World Services fund.