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Archive for November, 2009

Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 11/30/2009

Our saint of the day, St. Andrew, was the brother of the disciple Simon Peter and was born in the Galilean village of Bethsaida.

St. Andrew had originally been a disciple of John the Baptist and then became the very first of Jesus’ disciples.

For this reason, in the Orthodox tradition St. Andrew is also known as protokletos—the “First Called.”

The name “Andrew” comes from the Greek ανδρεία and means manhood or valor. Like other Greek names, it appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century BC. Interestingly, no Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for Andrew.

Both Andrew and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade.

This is why Jesus called these two men to be his disciples when he said that He would make them “fishers of men” in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

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Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 11/29/2009

It is a bright Friday noon and thousands and thousands of people are lining the streets for miles.

As the presidential motorcade—flanked by police motorcycle escorts—rolls west on Main Street, the crowd waves and cheers to the man sitting in the black presidential limousine.

Headed up by his Lincoln Continental, the motorcade arrives at Houston Street and turns right.

Acknowledging the adoring multitudes, the man is in the prime of his life—and at the peak of his presidency.

For almost two years now, he has been attempting to “execute justice and righteousness in the land.”

Many—both at home and abroad—have been looking to him for salvation from the plights of the world.

Then at precisely 12:30 p.m., the motorcade turns southwest onto Elm Street, which opens up to Dealey Plaza—a wide space bordered to the west by a triple underpass.

Here too, jubilant crowds extend from one end of the plaza to the other, waiting to catch a glimpse of their hero.

The black convertible is now passing an old warehouse in which schools books are stored.

Suddenly, shots ring out.

Amazingly, the crowd barely reacts to the first explosion.

In fact, many people later say they thought it had been firecrackers or the exhaust backfire of a vehicle.

However, one witness later clearly identified the explosions as coming from a high-powered rifle.

The president has been hit.

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Associate Pastor Chris Tiews
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Pastor M. Beecroft, 11/24/2009

Thanksgiving in the Church is also all about the food, albeit a heavenly food. It is the Eucharist, which comes from the Greek for “thanks.” God’s spread, His Eucharistic feast, is a little white wafer and common wine. Can you imagine your shock and disappointment if someone served you a Thanksgiving dinner of only some tasteless discs of bread and a shot of cream sherry? How many of you would stick around for the reception tonight if Lisa served rolls of white wafers and some wine you would never serve at your own table? Yet faith informs us that the finest feast we eat this side of eternity consists of such bread and wine. Of course it is not mere bread and wine, but sanctified by the Word of God it becomes the Holy Body and Holy Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the mystery of faith, our Risen Lord’s body, broken on the cross, fills our bellies with His salvation; and our Risen Lord’s blood, poured out on the wooden beams and soil of Calvary, quenches our thirst with His forgiveness. Our Confessions, speaking to this mystery, state, “in the Lord’s Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present and are truly offered with those things that are seen, bread and wine. Moreover, we are talking about the presence of the living Christ, for we know that death no longer has dominion over him (Rom. 6:9).” This confession of faith is a scandal to the modern, rational, spiritually blind person. The notion that we kneel at this rail, believing our Redeemer is present for us in bread and wine, effecting forgiveness and salvation for us, is a stumbling block for many, but we must thank God for it.

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Pastor M. Beecroft, 11/22/2009

In 1970 my Dad was drafted into the Army. After finishing basic training at Ft. Lewis in Washington, he was assigned to serve as an MP at Ft. Gordon. Young and poor, he moved our family into a dilapidated trailer in the red dirt of Hepzibah, Georgia. I was only an infant then so the time there precedes my memory, although my dad tells me I saw Hank Aaron hit a home run at the old Fulton County stadium in Atlanta. I trust I did. Now something my dad learned there in Georgia has remained stuck in my memory to this very day. It was an obnoxious radio song that aired every morning on the local station. Apparently, my dad woke up to this song during his two years there. I will never know why he didn’t just change the channel, or use the alarm. Growing up, he loved to sing that song to my brother and me to irritate and annoy us out of bed. While still deep in sleep, we would hear my dad’s voice echo down the hallway, “Get up, get up, get out of your bed. Get up, get up, you sleepy head. Get up and face the rising sun. Get up, get up, you son of a gun.” He would repeat the song over and over, louder and louder, until you finally roused yourself out of bed. The pain of waking up was much less than the pain of hearing my dad sing that grating song. The whole process was rather disturbing and unsettling.

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Pastor M. Beecroft, 11/15/2009

In our Epistle, St. Paul reminded the Christians in Phillipi that their citizenship was in heaven. In Holy Baptism, Christ had made them citizens of His heavenly kingdom. They now belonged to Jesus Christ, the risen and ascended Emperor of the Universe. As citizens of His kingdom, Jesus forgave their sins and destroyed their death. As citizens of His kingdom, Jesus promised them the resurrection of their flesh. On the Last Day, He would transform their lowly, mortal, death-ridden bodies to be like his glorious, immortal, and resurrected body. Jesus Christ will accomplish this by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself, which is the power of His Word. The Word that created all things, visible, and invisible, would recreate His people from the ashes and dust of death in the bodily resurrection unto life everlasting.

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