The Museum of Divine Statues is offering guests the opportunity to visit on Sunday, December 8, for half price admission, $4, to honor the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and to celebrate the Christmas season. The museum hours are noon till 4 p.m. with the reciting of the rosary, led by Father Ron Wearsch, at 3:00 p.m. The museum is located at 12905 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. For additional information, call (216) 228-9950. The museum is open each Sunday from noon until 4 pm. Group tours are available during the week upon request. Make a visit to the Museum a part of your holiday tradition.
Grace Lutheran Church, located across from Madison Park on the corner of Grace and Madison Avenues in Lakewood, will be celebrating their Sunday School Rally Day on September 8th with a special guest. Mark Rein, radio personality at WFHM 95.5 The Fish, will provide contemporary worship music and the message at the 10:30 a.m. worship service. He will also bring greetings and a brief presentation to the Sunday School Children & Staff during the Sunday School hour beginning at 9:15 a.m.
St. James in Lakewood is celebrating the first anniversary of the reopening of its parish on Thursday, July 25. The festivities will begin at 7:00 p.m. with Mass. A reception will follow immediately afterward in the courtyard. Kristie the balloon-twister will be on hand to make balloon animals for the kids. This event is free and open to the public. Come and celebrate this happy occasion with us.
It’s that time of the year again when Grace Lutheran Church of Lakewood puts up a big white tent on their front lawn and holds activities and services to serve the community in the Name of Jesus Christ. In years past, the congregation has hosted a three-day evangelistic crusade, but this year they are trying something a little bit different. Instead of being a blessing to people only, they will seek to be a blessing to people’s pets as well. The Greater Lakewood Community is cordially invited to come to a Blessing of the Pets service on Tuesday, June 25th at 7 PM under the tent. Grace Lutheran Church is located across the street from Madison Park at 13030 Madison Avenue. All animals are welcome! The Rev. George Hansell, Pastor of Grace, requests that the owners please ask their animal companions to be well-behaved.
The story of young Isaac Monah's escape from the war torn nation of Liberia in 1989 and of his subsequent arrival in America, is in and of itself a story of biblical proportions.
When civil war erupted in Liberia in 1989, the Monah family fled to the Ivory Coast where Isaac worked for a time in the Tai National Forest where he met Scott McGraw who helped him emigrate to America. Isaac settled in Philadelphia, and eventually moved to Cleveland Heights where he began attending Noble Road Presbyterian Church.
In 2007 Isaac returned to a Liberia still recovering from the wounds of the war, and recognizing that one of the resources unavailable to those living in the Konobo district of Liberia was education, Isaac embarked on a crusade to bring a school to the citizens of the Konobo District of Liberia, the rural area which was his home. Returning to Noble Road, he allied himself with several resourceful church leaders including: Pastor Francis Miller, John Luttermoser, Ted Roos, John Benko and others; together they formed the organization that became known as the Dougbe River Presbyterian School of Liberia or DRPSL.
As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity. During this time in the calendar of the Episcopal Church, we celebrate the “Great Fifty Days of Easter.” Also called, “Eastertide,” this is the period lasting from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. These fifty days represent an especially joyful time for us as we remember the wonderful gift of Jesus’ salvation given to the whole world in His life, death, and rising again to new life. The seven Sundays of Eastertide are commemorated at The Church of the Ascension, here in Lakewood, at 13216 Detroit Avenue by the seven crosses dressed in white and adorned with flowers. These same crosses had been dressed in purple during Holy Week and used in a rite of the church called “The Way of the Cross” on Good Friday. Jesus’ victory over sin and death is now celebrated with crosses that shine white. During Eastertide, we also celebrate the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, the festal day of our own church, and one of the “Principal Feasts” of our faith tradition.
You are invited to a special presentation to be made at Lakewood United Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon, March 3 at 12:15 p.m."Put Your House in Order" is the topic, which will focus on plans for leaving your estate and personal affairs in order at the time of death. There is no charge for this event, and there are no reservations necessary.
Leader for this seminar will be Dr. William McFadden, a retired United Methodist pastor. Dr. McFadden frequently serves as an adviser to individuals and local churches on matters of Christian stewardship.
The church is located at 15700 Detroit Ave., at Summit, in Lakewood. For additional information, call 216-226-8644.
Carolyn Rummery is in charge of publicity for Lakewood United Methodist Church.
Grace Lutheran Church, located across from Madison Park at the corner of Madison & Grace Avenues in Lakewood, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2013 under the theme “More Grace to Come.” “The congregation is planning a number of special worship services, servant events, and other activities during the course of the year,” says the Rev. George R. Hansell, Jr., who has served the congregation for eight years of its ten-year history.
The congregation came into existence on January 1, 2003 when the congregants of Pentecost Lutheran Church and Saints Peter & Paul Lutheran Church, both of Lakewood, decided to come together as one congregation to more effectively carry out mission and ministry in Lakewood. The congregation adopted as its mission statement, “Grace Lutheran Church shares the Good News of Jesus Christ with all people.” To help advance that mission, in 2008 the congregation organized Grace Preschool under the auspices of the Lutheran Development Ministry of Lakewood, a separately incorporated entity of the congregation. The congregation will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the preschool ministry in a special service on April 28.
In nearly 14 years since her son's death, Rachel Muha of Westerville, Ohio, has learned much about walking the path of forgiveness, even in the face of tragedy and adversity.
On May 31, 1999, her son Brian, 18, a freshman at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and his friend Aaron Land, 20, were killed when intruders randomly broke into their off-campus house. The intruders assaulted them and ultimately killed them, leaving their bodies off an abandoned stretch of Route 22 in Washington County, Pa., nearly 20 miles from Steubenville. The killers were caught soon after and convicted.
The eighth annual Dorfmeyer Memorial Advent Concert is set for Sunday, December 9, at Faith Lutheran Church. The concert will feature pianist David Robison playing the music of George Gershwin.
The music begins at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a gala reception in the church's Ada Doepker Lounge. A freewill offering will be accepted. Faith is at 16511 Hilliard Road (at Woodward) in Lakewood.
Mark Rollenhagen is the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Lakewood.
Calvary United Methodist Church
Birthdate: November 9, 1912
"God calls us to reach out to the spiritually and physically hungry."
The Calvary United Methodist Church will complete her year-long celebration of 100 years of mission and ministry in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ at a special banquet, program, worship service and potluck dinner to be held on the evening of Saturday, November 10 and the morning of Sunday, November 11.
The Saturday evening banquet and program will begin at 6:00 PM and will feature a catered meal, remarks from former pastors, a power point presentation and the singing of the "Ambassadors." The "Ambassadors" will be coming to Calvary and Lakewood from Detroit. In addition to sharing the love of Jesus through song, the "Ambassadors," a group of men who have overcome great challenges in life, will praise God through personal faith testimonies. They are and they will be an inspiration to all who see, hear and interact with them. The following morning, at our 11:00 AM worship service, their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Faith Fowler, will deliver our morning message. Rev. Fowler, who is the executive director of Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, is the senior pastor of the Cass United Methodist Church and is a preacher in great demand.
Cross Point Church will be hosting a marriage conference Friday and Saturday, November 2-3, 2012. The Art of Marriage event is a video guided conference divided into six dynamic sessions. This event will provide couples with the opportunity to grow and strengthen their marriage relationship.
Location for the conference will be held at The Winchester Music Hall, 12112 Madison Ave. The event runs from 7 - 9:30 p.m. on Friday, November 2 and 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 3. Total cost for the conference is $40 per couple, which includes manuals, refreshments and lunch on Saturday.
Registration deadline is October 15. Visit www.crossptchurch.com for more information.
A half day retreat entitled "We Remember How You Loved Us" will be held at St.Clement Church, 14401 Madison Ave. on September 11, 2012. Sponsored by the Lakewood Cluster Parishes consisting of St.Clement, St. James, St. Luke and Transfiguration Church. The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Continental Breakfast served in St. Clement Hall where the Rev. Joachim J. Pastirik, O.S.B. will talk about forgiveness and remembrance. Next we will move to the Church for Mass and Anointing. We will conclude afterward with a catered hot chicken lunch back in the hall. Elevator available. Cost for the retreat is $10.00.
Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Ave., invites all children 3 - 11 years of age to get ready to dive into fun at Operation Overboard: Dare to Go Deep With God. Dive in and discover God's underwater universe at Vacation Bible School, July 16 - 20 from 9:30 am - 12:00 noon.
Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Avenue, is partnering with LakewoodAlive for a summer mission project that continues the work begun in its "Change the World" project. They are identifying Lakewood homeowners in need of yard work, painting, porch repair, and other maintenance.
More than 80 youth, adults, and children from Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Avenue, fanned out from one end of Lakewood to the other as part of the global "Change the World" effort on May 20. The Lakewood church partnered with the local community development organization, LakewoodAlive, and the Department of Aging to identify houses that needed extra care. A total of thirteen houses received care in the form of yard work, mowing, weeding, and planting.
Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Ave., will be changiing the times of its Sunday worship services as of June 17. The new times will be: 8:30 a.m. Awakening contemplative service in Yoder Chapel; 9:45 a.m. Traditional service in the Sanctuary; and 11:05 a.m. Impact service in Daniels Hall. For additional information, call 216-226-8644.
Sermon: “Out of This World”
Gospel Lesson: John 17:6-19
Many moons ago, when I worked at Salem State University, I had a colleague named Steve who was a Born Again Christian. Steve took every opportunity to tell others about his faith, how he was saved by Jesus, and if others (namely his colleagues) wanted to be saved, then they needed to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior as well. What he really meant was that we had to believe exactly the things that he believed in order to be part of the club.
Lakewood United Methodist Church located at 15700 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, will join with other United Methodists on May 20, 2012 in the Change the World movement. Members all around the globe will be in service with simple acts of kindness to build community locally and to fight malaria globally. Lakewood United Methodist Church will participate with the Lakewood Department of Aging and Lakewood Alive to go to homes around our community to help with mowing lawns, cleaning and pruning flower beds, and planting flowers.
I recently received an interesting query from a reader. He asked, “Is atheism considered just another belief system?” He qualified his question: “I’m not talking about the actual beliefs of atheists, or whether or not believing in a deity is the same as believing there’s no deity. I’m talking about, according to the way the socialized human brain and mind works, and in the instance of two or more people defending the same claim, is atheism a belief system the same way Christianity or any number of other philosophies are considered belief systems?”
I write these words from the waiting room of Beverly Hospital in Massachusetts. My father is still in surgery for blocked, carotid arteries. As some of you know, my Dad recently had a stroke — his third in recent years. He also had a couple of heart attacks and suffers from severe diabetes.
His options are limited.
His doctor informed him that if he did not have this surgery, he would more likely than not have a massive, fatal stroke in the near future. The surgery, though, is risky and comes with no guarantees; he could die on the operating table.
Tenebrae: A Service of Darkness by contemporary composer Hal H. Hopson will be offered at the Community Service at Lakewood United Methodist Church on Good Friday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m. It will feature combined choirs from Lakewood churches, organ, oboe, and strings. Dr. Gene Willet will direct with Hal Lissow at the organ.
Everyone is invited to attend this special evening. The church is located at 15700 Detroit Ave., at Summit. For additional information call 216-226-8644 or visit www.LkwdUMC.org.
Love, heart health, and Lent seem to be February notions. With Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Month, our culture has connected the old love holiday with red blood cells and heart arteries. It’s a good match…a connection between what some call a “Hallmark Holiday” and a current reality. The culture sees red in February and realizes more and more that the stresses of life and heart attacks are connected. And why not? All that chocolate will definitely affect weight and weight affects heart health (or lack of health as the case may be). And you know those diamonds are found/mined by people so poor they will never own even one uncut rough…maybe not even a hut…and might be killed if they try to keep a piece of their find.
Take a look at Matthew 4:1-11. This is the text around which the Christian Church modeled the Lenten season. Jesus journeys into the wilderness right before he begins his public ministry. He is tempted by Satan for forty days and forty nights.
In biblical parlance, “forty” signifies “a really long time.” According to Genesis 7:4, it rained for forty days and forty nights when Noah and his family were in the ark. That does not necessarily mean forty calendar days. It means a long, long time. (Being inundated with the stench of a floating menagerie for one week would be too long for me!)
This is it: Lent is about to begin. February 22 is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. Many people will gather in sanctuaries and cathedrals across the world to share the bread and cup of Holy Communion and to receive ashes on their foreheads to mark the start of our contemplative journey.
I recall that my Catholic childhood friends had to give something up for Lent, be it chocolate, or television, or drinking soda. The idea was to identify with the sufferings of Christ. “How does denying ourselves a Hershey bar and a can of Coca Cola help us identify with the crucifixion?” I remember asking myself. Although I better understand how denying one’s self a routine pleasure is a spiritual practice, it made little sense to me as a child.
They are the fundamental questions asked by any journalist: Who, what, when, where and why?
Those 5 W’s will provide the basis for an exploration of the Christian faith, beginning Saturday, March 3, at Faith Lakewood, at the corner of Hilliard and Woodward in southwest Lakewood.
In five sessions, we will examine the roots of Christianity in the world’s broader search for meaning and understanding and explore the development of basic Christian principles and practices and how they do – or don’t – have relevance for today.
Faith Lutheran Church is going to the dogs – and cats and other pets that will be welcome at a new Sunday afternoon worship service.
Faith’s first pet-friendly worship service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. After that, the service will be offered on the first Sunday of each month and possibly more frequently if there is interest.
Pets and their owners will gather for worship on the tiled floor of Fellowship Hall in the church’s lower level. The best entrance is the one facing Hilliard Road, near the driveway exit. When the weather warms, the service will move out to the lawn.
One thinks of the memoir Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. Or the extended essay A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolfe. Or maybe even the CD Solitude Standing by Suzanne Vega. I think of the quote at the top of today’s bulletin. Greta Garbo is often quoted as having said, “I want to be alone.” According to her, though, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is a difference.” Indeed, there is a difference! We all need to be left alone sometimes. We all need space, privacy, room to reflect, time to pray.
An auction will be held on February 18th at 6:00 p.m. at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 15700 Detroit Ave. The proceeds will underwrite the programs at the church that support the community. A buffet dinner will be provided. The tickets are $12.00 for one or $20.00 for two. Childcare will be provided for children under 10 on the premises.
Ministerial Musings: Common Courtesy
When Christmas falls on Sunday, a Church has many decisions to make. Are we going to have a worship service on Christmas Day? Should we do a big Christmas Eve Service instead? We have to do something, right? After all it is Jesus’ birthday!
At CityEdge, we believe that God is always pursuing people. He is always speaking to them in subtle ways, inviting them into a bigger story, into his grander narrative of amazing life-changing love. So instead of calling everyone to get out of bed and short-change their traditional Christmas celebrations with family, we decided to meet people where they are. In this case, it happens to be their couches, via the internet, with something we called the Online Christmas Worship Experience. We had everyone invite their friends and family to join us at www.cityedge.org/online on Christmas Day for a very unique 20-minute Christmas experience.
Dear Church Trailer Thief,
On New Year's Day we picked up our trailer from its regular spot to find that you broke in and stole our equipment. You nabbed our church’s speakers and subwoofers, microphone stands, drum shield, bass cabinet and amp, and all of the cases that carry the items. All in all it was over $7,000 in losses.
My first reaction was anger. I wanted our church’s stuff back. I wanted justice. I wanted nothing more than to hunt you down and find you, but then I remembered why I am a follower of Jesus. I am a follower of Jesus because God paid a great price to put my relationship back together with him and with others. I am a follower of Jesus because he pardoned my offenses and debt against him.
I recall a Christmas story about a seminary professor who, as he reached the end of the fall semester, was exhausted. He was not in the Christmas spirit. Not at all. Having graded one too many mediocre exams — exams that only proved his students paid little attention to his lectures on Reformation theology — he needed a break. Having a month off between semesters was not enough, but it would have to do.
Every Christmas $450,000,000,000 are spent in the United States alone. And every year it seems that we get more stressed and depressed during the holiday season. Is this really what Christmas is about? Spending lots of money and getting depressed? Or is there a different story? A better story?
What was the first Christmas story about? It is a rescue story of a God who so desperately loves his people that he enters in, not as a supreme ruler, but as a vulnerable baby in a manger. The first Christmas is the story of Emmanuel: “God with us.” A God who loves us so much that he enters into our pain and saves us from darkness. By doing this he brings us peace and hope.
“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope of the wrong thing.”
~ T.S. Eliot, “East Coker” (III)
What does Eliot mean here and what does it have to do with the beginning of Advent? The four Sundays of Advent are entitled hope, peace, love, and joy respectively, but this is about more than just the first day of this season of anticipation.
My earliest memories of Christmas involve the Christmas Eve parties my parents still host. While the adults dined on shrimp and meatballs and toasted the Yuletide with champagne and a sundry of cocktails, I would be shuffled off to bed far too early for me. “Santa is coming,” my mother would say. “You better go to bed or he’ll pass by our house.”
So, it is the holiday season. Everyone is out there in 'stress central' perhaps. Making time for job (if one has one), home, family & friends, and self is in itself a juggling act of major proportions. Why then do we often feel hollow inside? Are we rushing from one event to the next? Do we clean our space 5 minutes here and there or one room at a time so we can get out there and meet and greet? Are we so busy we find an online dating service so we can have a five minute date with X number of folks in one evening?
I received a postcard in the mail today informing me that my favorite magazine is going out of business. Quarterly Review of Wines, published by Salem State University literary guru and oeneologist Dr. Richard Elia, regrets to inform it's readers that “After 35 years, Quarterly Review of Wines, one of the country’s oldest wine magazines, will cease publication.” In this brief communiqué, Dr. Elia tells his readers: “The economic climate is depressing, and we at QRW would be unable to continue the kind of quality publication we have delivered to our devoted subscribers.”
When I was a kid I loved the hymn, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.” It sounded very British to me and it seemed to transcend time. It sounded as if it was all about knights, and princesses, and tea time. These are the people of legends and fables and Buckingham Palace. It is not a whole lot different than the characters we see in Disney movies.
Calvary United Methodist Church is please to announce that on November 4, 2011 the Ambassadors will be performing at Calvary, which is located at 16305 Hilliard Road in Lakewood.
Yes, Lakewoodites, as we saw animated in a recent edition of The Observer, I am often late getting my articles on the editor’s desk. More often than not, I run into my good friend and publisher Jim O’Bryan at the Root Café — on our way to our respective offices — and I ask him if I still have time to get my Musings in before the paper goes to print. Jim is always gracious, and I am always grateful.
On September 11, 2011 City Edge Christian Church launched "a church for the rest of us" with 112 people in attendance. City Edge's mission is to Love beyond reason, Journey with God, and serve the City. Since launch the church has averaged 89 people in attendance through September.
Once in a while, a name washes upon our shore: one not heard in eons. With those waves come a flood of emotions — emotions no storm warning could forecast.
Facebook and other social media have enabled people to reconnect with friends from yesterday. Recently, a childhood friend I have not seen in about eighteen years found me in cyberspace. It was great to reminisce with Darrell on-line. We recalled growing up on the North Shore of Boston — how we were street hockey fanatics and aspiring audiophiles.
Three new Lutheran pastors will be ordained Saturday, September 10 in a service at Faith Lutheran Church in Lakewood.
Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will preside and preach at the service and ordain the new pastors as ministers of word and sacrament.
The service begins at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by a reception at the church, which is located at 16511 Hilliard Road (the corner of Hilliard and Woodward). Parking will be available across the street at Harding Middle School.
We are mired in an age where the left and the right are drifting further apart, becoming ever-more polarized. Democrats and Republicans no longer talk to each other. They shout across the aisles and sling pejoratives in self-righteous contempt. Compromises, in the best interest of the citizenry who elected these officials, are rare. The desires of the military-industrial complex take precedence.
What are such “political” musings doing in a “religion” column?
Numerous social programs are on the cutting block as a result of the recent debt ceiling “negotiations.” Don’t be fooled: when all is said and done CEOs will still receive tax breaks on their corporate jets. The military will get all the money they need (and then some) to fight the two wars in which we are currently embroiled. (Or is it five?) Wall Street will still receive bail-outs while Main Street becomes a ghost town.
Acting on a recommendation from its Faith Mission Board, Faith Lutheran Church (ELCA), Lakewood, Ohio, has extended a call to Seminarian Mark Rollenhagen to direct the Faith Mission Project. He began work on July 1 as a lay outreach minister and will be ordained and installed as Mission Pastor on Saturday, September 10, 2011.
A congregational meeting of Faith Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Ohio, voted unanimously on June 26 to call Seminarian Mark Rollenhagen as Mission Pastor with the task of leading and driving the Faith Mission Project.
Dear Representative Bachmann,
Recent news reports have highlighted the work of your husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, President of Bachmann & Associates— work that you fully support, recent retractions notwithstanding. Among his clients are members of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) whom you and your husband claim can become heterosexual through “reparative therapy.” Popular culture refers to such treatment as “pray the gay away.” While such language is inflammatory and offensive, it is no less deplorable than your husband’s claim (on the conservative Christian radio program Point of View on May 12, 2010) that gay people are “barbarians” that need to be “educated” and “disciplined.”
I received a phone call from my eldest brother the other day. He called to inform me that his father-in-law died. He was 82 years old and was in relatively good health. He had an unexpected coronary.
My brother and sister-in-law live on the North Shore of Boston. The father-in-law lived in Florida. My brother and sister-in-law have not seen him in over a year. They were planning on visiting him in just a week and half- ten days too late, unfortunately.
Children in Lakewood Park were treated to games, face painting and hundreds of free snow cones on Saturday afternoon, June 18, as City Edge Christian Church celebrated the warm weather with their Kids’ Summer Kickoff event.
CityEdge Christian Church is a new church in Lakewood with a focus on public service and community outreach. According to lead minister Kevin Rush, events like the Kids’ Summer Kickoff are one of many ways CityEdge Church seeks to enrich the lives of Lakewood residents.
As some of you may know, I am a poet. Poetry, for me, is one of the ways to capture the indefinable — however partial. It is a means of tapping into the divine essence that surrounds us and infuses us, yet, ironically enough, often goes unnoticed.
Last night as I watched the final embers fade to ether in the fire-pit in my backyard, a few lines came to mind. This is what I scribbled on the back of an envelope when I went into the kitchen:
Fire. There is nothing sadder than a fire going out. Embers struggling to breathe. Gray smoke rising. An ashen dance beneath. The patient on the bed, motionless. A gulp of air. A hiss. Little more…
Apparently, Harold Camping was wrong. Family Radio’s president’s prediction did not come to fruition. The world did not end at 6:00 pm on May 21, 2011, just as it did not end in 1988 and 1994 as Camping previously surmised. This eschatological prognosticator has since said that a symbolic rapture took place on May 21; the physical one will occur on October 21.
This chant bellowed from my television in the waning hours of May 1. CNN reported that Osama bin Laden had been assassinated in a secret Pakistani bunker by a covert, United States military task force. A few dozen people gathered outside the White House waving Old Glory and singing "The Star-Spangled Banner.” The ad hoc gathering swelled as fast as the news spread nationally. Similar celebrations took place in New York City, near Ground Zero, and others erupted in bars across America. Napkins shredded into confetti. Pints of beer hoisted for a toast. Beaming smiles carved into patriotic faces.
Saxophonist John Coltrane, perhaps the greatest icon of jazz spirituality once said, “My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being… When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang-ups… I want to speak to their souls.”
Saturday. 10:32 am. Lakewood, Ohio.
I open the door. “Hello.”
“Hi. How are you this morning, sir?”
“I’m fine,” I say. “Can I help you?”
“I was just wondering if you ever read The Bible at all,” the nicely-dressed, handsome gentleman at my front door asked. I did not have the heart to tell him what I do for a living.
“A bit,” I said.
“Well, if you read it regularly, then you would realize that all ‘the signs’ are happening.”
Like many communions, the United Church of Christ has a Statement of Faith. It is not so much a test of faith, as many of the historic creeds are, but rather a testimony of the common faith shared by the 5,320 autonomous congregations that comprise this united and uniting denomination.
Theories abound about the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. There are some who claim that it never happened. “People do not rise from the dead today,” they say, “So I doubt that it actually happened in Jerusalem two millennia ago.”
Others claim that it occurred in the experience of the disciples. Jesus did not physically rise from the dead, proponents of this theory claim, but he did live in the communal experience of the disciples after his death.
And then there are those ol’ stalwart traditionalists like me who believe that it really did happen as it is chronicled in the Gospels.
I remember being at a clergy meeting once. I was sitting in a room with about a dozen colleagues from my denomination; the meeting was during Lent.
“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” ~ James 2:26
What is the point of this life? Why do people suffer? What happens when we die? Is forgiveness possible? Find out the answer to these questions and more by participating in the Alpha Course.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan religious organization Sojourners, founded by Jim Wallis of God’s Politics fame, circulated a bumper sticker and hosted an on-line petition during the 2004 campaign under the mantra, “God is not a Republican…or a Democrat.” That’s true. God may be a Socialist, though — at least Jesus of Nazareth was.
I am very sorry for my recent extended absence. I was finishing the dissertation for my Ph.D. and was under a colossal deadline. My thanks to those of you who wrote and called asking for me to come back; it feels so good to be wanted.
Well, the New Year is here. Actually, as I write these musings, it is not quite here yet, but it is on the horizon, and not the “distant” one. For many people, resolutions conjure up images of working out more often, eating healthier foods, quitting smoking, developing a new hobby, or spiritual discipline.
While I was getting dressed this morning, the Today Show was on television. The feature story that I half-listened to was about baby boomers heading into retirement. They listed, by percentages, what retirees were hoping to do as they approached their golden years. Ten percent of those surveyed wanted to deepen their spiritual life.
I love Lakewood, Ohio. Why? There are several reasons…
First of all, our public services are second to none. We have amazing police and fire departments (not to mention a quality hospital right in the center of town). These civil servants keep our community safe with proactive programs and responsive service.