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Archive for December, 2009

Pastor M. Beecroft, 12/28/2009

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Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 12/27/2009

Probably every Christian child is taught that King David is one of the heroes of the Bible.

After all, David slew Goliath the giant…

David calmly played the lyre as King Saul hurled spears at him…

By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David wrote most of the Book of Psalms—such as Ps 23, one of the most famous passages of Scripture of all time…
David was a man after God’s own heart…

So by all accounts, David was a real hero of Scripture…a man to be emulated.

Yet in today’s Old Testament reading, the Lord slaps David on the wrist, as it were, for going out of bounds…

How can that be?

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Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 12/25/2009

It is one of the greatest archeological prizes of all time…

Of greater importance than the craft that carried Noah, his family, and thousands of animals for over a year, as our entire planet was covered with water…

Of greater importance than the walls of Jericho which tumbled at the shouts of the people of Israel…

A beautifully crafted wooden box covered with gold—roughly four feet long, two feet wide, and two feet high, fitted with carrying poles for the forty-year journey through the desert to the Promised Land.

We are speaking of the Ark of the Covenant, built roughly 1,440 years before Christ. The Ark of the Covenant was the centerpiece of the Israelite Tabernacle and later of Solomon’s Temple.

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Pastor M. Beecroft, 12/24/2009

“The events of that first Christmas were forever etched into the mind of Blessed Mary. St Luke tells us, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Yet I suspect Mary’s memories of Christmas are different from our own. We love Christmas, or the happy holidays of December. Whether people are Christian or not, this time of the year is almost magical. People are filled with sentiments of peace, joy, hope, and love. Fond, warm memories of past Christmases fill us with cheer. We remember special times with family and friends. Even tonight, the children are anxious, filled with anticipation and excitement. Christmas in America inspires mental tableaus of family blissfully gathered around the Tree or table; roaring fires; snow-covered landscapes; ice-skating rinks; children bundled with sweaters, scarves and mittens; babies sitting on the lap of Santa; reindeer, elves and snowmen. As we ponder tonight the meaning of Christmas in this idyllic setting of falling snow, it would be easy for us to be lulled into believing this night to merely be some living Hallmark Christmas Card of family, friends, good food and gifts. It would be easy to reduce this exciting, anticipation-filled night to be all about the warm fuzzies of joy, peace, hope and love. So we must be careful. We must be very careful. The cultural cliches of our modern Christmas are far removed from the scandal and danger that would have filled Mary’s mind as she remembered all the things that had just taken place and pondered on them in her heart. Yes, Christmas is all about memories. Yet Christmas memories, the ones God would have us ponder, are scandalous and dangerous. And until we grasp the scandal and danger of Christmas, we will never understand the true joy, peace, hope, and love of this night.”

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Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 12/21/2009

Our saint of the day, St. Thomas the Apostle, is mentioned in all four Gospels as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.

Thomas is also called Didymus, which means “the twin” in Greek. This indicates that Thomas might have had a twin brother.

In several of the Gospels, statements of questions of Thomas act as a springboard for some of the most famous statements of Jesus.

For example, Thomas states, “Lord, we do not know where you are going,” then asks, “How can we know the way?”

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Pastor M. Beecroft, 12/20/2009

“Who are you?” This simple question can actually be quite complex. It is easily answered with your name or where you are from. I am Mason Beecroft and I am an American. Sometimes we respond with our job or vocation. I am a pastor. Or I am an engineer or lawyer or whatever else it is that we do to make a living. We almost always define ourselves based on our name and our livelihood. Beyond these somewhat immediate, typical, and superficial responses, however, this question can be quite profound. It possesses the ability to probe the farthest reaches of our soul. “Who are you?” In other words, who are you at the very depths of your person? Who are you when nobody else is around? What gives you satisfaction in this life? What makes you anxious and uncertain? Why are you lonely and dissatisfied? Are you committed to someone or something? Where do your loyalties reside? What compels you to action? Why do you do the things that you do? Why do you choose not to do certain things? Indeed, this question can be complex. If we ask it of ourselves and want to give an honest answer, then we are forced to confront the reality of our identity with all the good and the bad. Perhaps this is why we rarely consider it at length and rather settle with the expected, yet glib and uninteresting response of our name and our job.

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Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 12/16/2009

These past few Wednesdays in Advent we have been taking a close look at the three different works of the Trinity.

So far, we have been discussing the Godhead’s first two works—creation and redemption.

And tonight we’ll contemplate the third work of the Trinity, sanctification, that is, how the Trinity works in us.
How can we put together these three works of the Trinity—creation, redemption, and sanctification—in a way that is easy to understand?

***

On March 31, 1909, in Belfast, Ireland, construction began on the largest ship in the world at that time.

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