Church Family Newsletter | May 13, 2022
Yet, this week, Major Nancy Helms' presentation on Disabilities and Ministries really got me thinking even more. Do we look at people with disabilities as "problems to be solved" or "an opportunity to build a relationship"? Do we look at their "limits" or their "abilities"?
Racism, classism, sexism, genderism, ageism, ableism ... there's no place for that in God's Kingdom. Instead, let's make sure that there is always a "seat at the table" for everyone.
Jesus shared this parable at a Pharisee's house:
"7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:7-14, NIV
Let's love our neighbors, invite them in, and feast together without the expectation that we will get something in return. Our payment will come in glory.
Coming of Age
There are some well-known passages of scripture that we have come to internalize and which have profound meaning for us in our present circumstances. However, we may not realize that the writer, influenced by the Holy Spirit, may have drawn from experiences which are no longer familiar in our culture. Such is the passage from being merely a child to being an adult, with all the rights, responsibilities and appurtenances thereto!
When I was a teenager, the age at which one would be considered an adult rather than a minor was twenty-one. Up until that time I was subject to the dictates of my parents. Or as my father, but more especially my mother, would say, “my house, my rules”. On my twenty-first birthday I was given a key to the door of my parents’ house and was unrestricted by curfew. I registered to vote. I asked my girlfriend to marry me! The law considered me a fully responsible adult — regardless of my actual maturity!
That all seems quite quaint by the standards of today, and certainly so compared to the customs of Jews in the first century A.D.
On the first Sabbath after a jewish boy had reached his twelfth birthday, his father took him to the Synagogue, where he became “A Son of the Law”. His father then recited a benediction,
“Blessed be thou, O God, who has taken from me the responsibility for this boy.” (Yes! Really!)
The boy then prayed and said, “O my God and God of my fathers! On this solemn and sacred day which marks my passage from boyhood to manhood, I humbly raise my eyes to thee, and declare with sincerity and truth, that henceforth I will keep thy commandments, and undertake and bear the responsibility of my actions towards thee.”
One minute he was just a boy, the next, a man!
In Greece a boy was under his father’s care from seven until he was eighteen. Then he became what might be translated as a “cadet”, and for two years he was the responsibility of the state. The Athenian people were divided into ten phratriai or clans and at age twenty-one his long hair was cut off and offered to the gods and he was accepted into one of the clans as a responsible adult. One day, a boy, the next, a man!
Under Roman law the year at which a boy grew up was not definitely fixed, but was always between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. On the appointed day, his family held a sacred festival where he exchanged his childhood toga with a purple border, for that of an adult — which was pure white. He was then noisily paraded by family and friends to the forum where he was formally introduced into public life.
There was a custom that on the day of attaining adulthood there would be a trip to the temple of Zeus, where a boy would offer a ball as a sacrifice and a girl a doll. These sacrifices were to show that they were now serious adults and had put away childish things.
Perhaps my last sentence echoed for you the words of Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
Interestingly, Paul was Jewish, born in a Greek province of the Roman Empire and as such he would have been familiar with the all the rites of passage I described above — as would be his readers in Corinth. It is as if Paul is (not too subtly) reminding his readers that when the Holy Spirit takes over our lives, at that moment we are no longer game-playing infants, but are considered spiritual adults, made in the likeness of God, and responsible for our actions. We can no longer throw spiritual temper tantrums when we don’t get our own way, but rather, as responsible citizens of heaven we are expected to act according to the leading of the Spirit. Since I’m sure you’ve read and heard Paul’s words in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, that means imitating Jesus and his love. The really good news is that the Holy Spirit gives us this love as a gift so we can share with others. It’s as if Paul is urging the Corinthians to “grow up”!
Living in love is a sure sign of a “grown-up” christian. We have to be different than the noisy, squabbling, babbling spiritual toddlers who surround us in our daily lives. Let’s make sure we are always the spiritual adult in the room or church. Taking Christ as our example should be how we become an example of Christ to those around us.
Let’s be that grown-up christian person! Grow up — and then grow some more!
Blessings on you and yours,
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Sunday School - Classroom 3
- 10:00 AM - Senior Soldiership Classes
- 10:15 AM - Prayer Time - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
- 12:15 PM - Refreshments & Fellowship - Fireside Room
- 12:30 PM - Youth Music Rehearsals - Chapel
- 12:30 PM - Music Basic/Theory 101 - Classroom 2
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 7:00 PM - Songster Practice - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Musicians' Devotions & Prayer - Chapel
- 8:15 PM - Senior Band Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Button, Button & Planning Meeting - Hybrid
- 9:00 AM - Women's One Day Retreat - Bethel Baptist Church
- 9:30 AM - Del Oro Chorus Rehearsal - Kroc Center
- 10:30 AM - Del Oro Brass Rehearsal - Kroc Center
Stand Down on the Delta - Antioch
Time: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Location: Contra Costa County Fairgrounds (Antioch)
It has been two years since we've been able to participate in this service to our Veterans. Lt. Perfect Weeden headed up the team of volunteers last time. This year, Mike O'Reilly will be in charge of this event while the Majors will be out-of-town for the Commissioning events and Territorial Encore with the participating families. He will only be able to fulfill this commitment with the help of our congregation and other volunteers. We will have our canteen on site serving snacks and coffee. If you are interested, please let Mike know so that he can create his shifts. Thank you!
- Sports Camp - June 20-25 - Cost $75
- Music & Worship Arts Camp - July 2-9 - Cost $100 (slots all filled!)
We are only asking for less than 1/3 of the total cost of camp. These camps are for kids ages 7-16. Informational flyers are included below. If you have any more questions or you would like to reserve a space for your child(ren), please let Majors Gwyn or AnnMarguerite Jones know.
Save the Date! VBS July 18-22 & 24
International Prayer Focus
- Thank God for the triumph of His word in our lives which has been so evident in our lives individually and corporately as Salvationists.
- Let us pray for the Territorial Commander and the TPWM because they have a lot to do as the Chief Secretary & Territorial Secretary for Women's Ministries are yet not in.
- Pray that all Salvationists would get to know and be sensitive to the Territorial Strategic plan in everything they do, especially in our corps, societies, and the various commands.
- For the success of our Centenary Congress in August with the visit of General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle.
- Pray for leadership at all levels.
- Pray for spiritual revival.
- Pray for development of youth work.