Posted on Wed, Mar 20, 2013
There are several special days that we celebrate throughout the Church Year: The Transfiguration, the Baptism of Jesus, the Ascension, Pentecost, Christ the King. They commemorate events in the life of Christ. There are also seasons encompassing more than one day or one Sunday: Advent, Lent, Ordinary Time.
What many people do not realize is that Easter is not a single day, it is a season. The Season of Easter stretches from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. The Gospel readings for this time period include the accounts of the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus to his followers. The Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus appeared to Peter and John, to the Twelve in the upper room, and, in an event not recorded anywhere in the Gospels, to over 500 of his followers in one place. It is possible that this was the Ascension, since the Gospel account and the account in Acts do not tell us how many people were present at that event.
Easter is a season because Jesus did not rise from the dead on Easter Sunday, washing away the sins of those who had lived up until that point and then disappearing from view. In the language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, “to have” and “to be” are both auxiliary verbs. In the King James Bible account of the Resurrection we see that “Christ is risen.” In today’s English, that would be “Christ has risen,” but I believe the older language is more correct. Christ IS risen. It is an on-going event. Christ rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven in order to defeat death and sin. But death and sin are still out there, waiting to snag us. Nobody is perfect. We sin constantly in large ways and in small. The Resurrection of Jesus, the forgiveness of sin, the coming of Salvation, was not a one-time thing. It continues. It was not for those who had sinned and died before Jesus came. It was for everyone who has ever lived, is living now, and ever will live.
That is why there is no truly Presbyterian answer for the question, “When were you saved?” with an expectation that we will answer with a particular day and time. It is not a valid question because the process continues. The correct answer is, “I am being saved: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” We will never stop being saved until we stand at the foot of the Throne of Glory. Salvation is not something we received once and have to constantly worry about losing. It is ours now and forever.
This doesn’t mean that we should just give up and embrace sin. Paul says, “Shall we sin all the more, so that grace may abound? By no means.” Grace, salvation, should make a difference in our lives, should take away our desire for sin, and should help us to resist. That we are unable to totally resist is not a cause for comfort.
Peter asked Jesus, “How many times should I forgive my brother?” The Torah scholars had said seven times. This was not a literal number. Seven was considered a perfect number, a number of great significance. Seven times meant over and over. Jesus answered him either seventy-seven times, or seventy times seven, depending on the translation of the Bible that you read. (The Greek is ambiguous.)
But just as the seven times of the Jewish scholars was not a literal number, Jesus’ 77 or 490 times was not a literal number, either. It didn’t mean that you should forgive someone 490 times, but on the 491st time you can smack him or her. It really meant, “As often as necessary.” Never stop forgiving. And don’t keep count, either.
The Resurrection of Jesus continues. Salvation continues. Forgiveness continues. God never stops forgiving. And God does not keep count. Let us resolve to live as Easter people, not only forgiven, but also forgiving.
Rev. Randy Nolen
I would like to thank Connie Berckes for taking Harriet Pinkerton’s place as both Lesson Leader and Hostess for our March 11 meeting. We missed the ladies who were ill and not able to be with us.
Our next meeting is on April 8, at 9:30 am. We will be studying Lesson #8, “The Bad Seeds.” Our special Lesson Leader for this meeting will be the Rev. Randy Nolen and our Hostess will be Peg Stokes. Hope to see you all there.
Our library has recently acquired several books from various sources. Here is a sample:
Collected Works of St. John of the Cross. This is a fortunate acquisition—so great to have on our shelf one of the great classics. St. John of the Cross, a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest, was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and considered along with Saint Teresa of Avila as founder of the Discalced Carmelites. St. John is considered one of the foremost poets in the Spanish language. Although his complete poems add up to fewer than 2500 verses, two of them—the Spiritual Canticle and The Dark Night of the Soul--are masterpieces, both for stylistic point of view and rich symbolism. They, as well as several others, are included in this book, which not only contains all of his poetry but also delves at length with explanations and commentary, a real education in itself.
To God Alone Be Glory, by Harold M. Daniels, for many years director of the Joint Office of Worship for the PC(USA) and the UPC(USA) and editor of the current Book of Common Worship. This book is the Story & Sources of the Book of Common Worship, a fascinating depiction of the history of Reformed worship in America, from the 1600s to the present. Describes the development and objectives of the Book of Common Worship and explains how the book itself serves as an agenda for liturgical reform. Great source for study of what we Presbyterians use in worship, Scripture, song, and prayer.
From Sea to Shining Sea, God’s plan for America unfolds, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Marshall is the son of the famous Peter and Catherine Marshall, minister and writer; Manuel joins him as co-author of a number of books. This one gives us behind-the-scenes’ look at our nation’s spiritual heritage during her formative years—those trying times that followed the inauguration of our first President. The authors tell us that “The reader will come to know the pioneers and presidents, the missionaries and mountain men, the soldiers and circuit riders who kept the vision of American’s destiny in their hearts and the flame of freedom alive.”
The Parables Of Our Lord, (Illustrated Edition), by John Everett Millais and engraved by the Brothers Dalziel.
Acknowledged to be among the treasures of British black-and-white art, along with the full text of the thirty-three Parables, there are twenty superb designs that depict nineteen of the Parables. Famous as an artist, especially for his wood engravings, Baronet Millais was a model and award-winning student of the Royal Academy and later its president.
The Unexpected Teachings of Jesus (Encountering the Gospels All over Again), by John Coleman. M.A., M.Div, Lutheran father, teacher, and minister, he wrote the book out of his search for peace and hope in a sometimes despairing world. “Brings to light the tremendously good news that comes from a source that has sometimes been misappropriated and often forgotten: the stories of Jesus that appear in the Bible.” The book is filled with scripture readings, thoughtful devotions, and questions for reflection designed to help us all return to the message of the original Gospels. Good for personal use or as a class study.
Just a sampling. More will follow later. None of the books are cataloged yet, but can be made available for borrowing if the librarian is consulted on Sunday mornings.
Check it out!
Anne the Librarian
We had a great time at the St. Patrick’s Day potluck dinner. There wasn’t much of a crowd, but the ones who were there had a wonderful time.
Don’t forget! Easter Sunday we will be having our Easter Potluck dinner starting at 11 am. Be sure to attend!
It’s that time again, time to help out Hungry Harold. He says for April 2013, he is in need of Kool-Aid and/or Powdered Drink Mixes along with Dried Pastas/Macaroni and Dried Pinto Beans.
He gives thanks for the many blessings he has received from members and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
One of the features of the new Presbytery of Sierra Blanca design is the idea of clusters, and one of the features of the cluster model is that the churches in each cluster will join together in ministry projects in the cities of the cluster. On March 9, Larry and Dixie Loy and Pastor Nolen met with members of the Hobbs and Carlsbad churches in Hobbs to join in a Habitat for Humanity workday. Despite high winds and blowing sand, we managed to accomplish most of what we had planned, which was to put up the siding on the house. Afterwards, we met at the Hobbs church for fellowship and worship, followed by a dinner prepared by the members of the church. There are two more workdays with Habitat for Humanity planned: one in Carlsbad and one in Roswell. The dates are not yet set, but they will be publicized. Please come join us for the next two.
“I want to thank all my friends at Westminster for all the caring and kindness shown to me since my recent health problem. The cards, phone calls, visits and food has been so wonderful to receive. I am so glad I belong to the most caring group of people at Westminster Church, which is also the greatest church in Roswell!
On Sunday, March 17, we were blessed with a visit from Doug Burger of the Gideons, who gave a brief presentation on the work and ministry of that group. The Gideons are the people responsible for placing Bibles in hotels, motels, hospital rooms, and prisons. They also provide Bibles and New Testaments to military chaplains, military personnel and, when allowed, to students in schools. They have camps in nearly every country on Earth, and distribute Bibles in more than 150 languages. Thanks to all those who contributed to the work of the Gideons. We donated $304.00, enough to buy nearly a full case of Bibles.
At its meeting on Sunday 10 March 2013 the Session conducted the following business:
Pastor’s Report: . Randy has been appointed as the chaplain for the local Civil Air Patrol squadron.
Committee Reports and Recommendations:
COMMUNICATIONS – Annual Reports from committees are due NO LATER THAN 05 May
PROPERTY – Church “PRIDE” Day will be 04 May 9 am – breakfast served at 8 am
WORSHIP – written report – Motion from committee FAILED to have Easter Sunrise service. There will be an Agape Meal at 6 pm and service, including Tennebrae, at 7 pm on Maundy Thursday 28 March 2013. Church will be open for prayers on Good Friday 29 March from noon till 3 pm.
March 31, 11am. Easter Potluck!
April 3, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 4, 9:00am. Community Kitchen
April 5, 3:00pm. Worship Committee Meeting
April 6, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 7. Communion Sunday
April 8, 9:30am. PW Circle
April 8, 2:00pm. Mission & Stewardship Committee Meeting
April 10, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 13, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 14, 11:00am. Session Meeting
April 17, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 18, 9:00am. Community Kitchen
April 18, 5:00pm. CASA
April 19. CHIMES Deadline
April 20, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 21, 10:45am. Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting
April 22, 9:00am. Piece Maker’s Day
April 24, 6:30pm. Choir Practice
April 25, 5:00pm. CASA
April 27, 8:00am. Men’s Breakfast
April 28. Cents-Ability Collection
March 3 . . . . . . 57
March 10 . . . . . 57
March 17 . . . . . .56
Liturgists for April 2013
April 7: Nancy Armstrong
April 14: Loris DeKay
April 21: Dorothy Straley
April 28: Ann Dye
Ushers for April 2013
All month: Sharon Cutrell
April 7: Larry Loy
April 14: Marilyn Nolen
April 21 & 28: Margaret Johnson
All month: Joe Albrecht
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