Friday, October 31, 2014

Do We Still Need the Reformation?

You be the judge. This was taken off a Roman Catholic blog I sometimes read:

----------

From the Handbook of Indulgences
Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day
A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day.
Will you not, for love, try to gain these indulgences?  Make a plan.
Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (2 Nov)
  • Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
  • Say one “Our Father” and the “Apostles Creed” in the visit to the church
  • Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions (that is, the intentions designated by the Holy Father each month)
  • Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
  • Make a sacramental confession within 20 days of All Souls Day
  • For a plenary indulgence be  free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).
You can acquire one plenary indulgence a day.
A partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed.  You can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between 1 November and 8 November. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.
A plenary indulgence, applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when you visit a church or a public oratory on 2 November. While visiting the church or oratory say one Our Father and the Apostles Creed.
A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when saying the “Eternal rest … Requiem aeternam…” prayer.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Way Home

The last day of our little trip . . .

Sunday morning we packed up and drove up to Springfield, MA for a brief visit with my son at college. We went to church with him (Trinity Lutheran) and then to lunch before giving him the supplies we had brought with us and saying farewell until Thanksgiving. The church has a familiar story: a beautiful old little church in a declining part of town with now small membership. It was nice to be able to go and not carry everything up from our closet in the basement and just sit and receive. We also looked at their beautiful stained glass windows. Sadly they are in need of a very expensive repair that the congregation cannot afford. I hope they do not break and fall apart.

After that we began the long trek home. We decided that even though it would be dark and again take a little longer, we would go back through the mountains of Pennsylvania again - less traffic and a more pleasant drive. However, if I had to do it again, I might have taken the shorter route. No problems - just got home really late.

One good thing, however, was that we found a great little restaurant to stop in for dinner . . .


It is in Port Jervis - a little town off I-84 and right at the junction of PA, NJ, and NY. It was a warm and friendly place and not expensive. It was very homey and relaxing. So if you're passing through those parts, I would highly recommend it.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful . . . just long. Good to be back, but it'll be hard doing a lot today (except maybe a nap!). Overall, though, a good weekend.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wedding

The wedding here at Immanuel Lutheran in Bristol went off without a hitch. Well, actually one hitch, as we "hitched" the happy couple! :-)

The old church is beautiful. It was my first time preaching from an elevated pulpit. The organist was amazing. And I didn't get lost driving! (Okay, my wife drove to the reception . . .) But all in all a good day. We spent the morning relaxing and visiting with my sister who drove up from Stamford for the morning. Today we leave for Springfield, MA to visit my son at college and go to church with him. Then we'll drive home. So looking forward to another good day!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Road Trip

My wife, youngest daughter, and I are in Connecticut this weekend for a wedding. Two of my member are being married up here at his home congregation, a beautiful old church in Bristol. We left early yesterday morning to get here for the rehearsal and purposely went a little out of our way to make the drive nicer. Our choice was: (1.) I-95 and the NJ Turnpike - mostly cities, industrial, and lots of traffic, or (2.) up through the mountains in PA - country, scenic, and less traffic. We went for . . .


The only traffic we really hit was for the last 15 miles in Connecticut, which took us about an hour! But, I was to find out, driving around here was going to be like that. Well, actually, like this:


Yeah, the roads here are tough. I got a little lost going to the church for the rehearsal, coming back to the hotel to pick up my family for the rehearsal dinner, going to the rehearsal dinner place, AND coming back to the hotel! Maybe it's just my age, but I used to be good at driving and finding things! But we got everywhere we needed to be and relatively on time - thanks to my smartphone and its navigation app. Without that, I'd still be out there driving around somewhere!

Here's an interesting tidbit for you all: in New York, they don't just have Rest Stops off the highway anymore - they have:


A sign of the times, I guess.

The hotel we're staying in - Homewood Suites - is very, very nice! Not too far from the sprawling ESPN campuses. (I don't think I've ever seen more satellite dishes in one place before!) 

So, takin' it easy this morning. I'll rehearse my sermon a few times, my sister is driving up to hang out with us a little (she lives about an hour from here), and then off to the church. Should be a good day . . . as long as I can get back to the church! :-)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Two Things

Two rather eyebrow raising things for you this morning . . .

#1: The front page, front and center, above the fold, prime location, lead story of the Washington Post Sunday paper yesterday: "When No Gender Fits." Really? With all that's going on in our country and world, that's the story you lead with? C'mon!

#2: In our study of the book of Romans (chapter 1) last week, we came across this passage:
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

What surprised us in that right in the midst of that lengthy list of sins was "disobedient to parents!" How lightly we take that in our day and age. It's almost seen as natural. Teenage angst. Part of growing up. No it's not! God includes it here as part of this list of serious sins. Maybe we should think about that a little more . . .

Friday, September 19, 2014

An Early Description of Christian Life

In reading for my exams I came across this quote, an early description of Christians living in this world in "an amazing and unexpected" character and paradox (a kind of "being in the world but not of the world"):
"They are at home in their own countries, but as sojourners. They participate in all things as citizens and they endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign country is their homeland and every homeland is a foreign country."  (Epistle to Diognetus 5:4-5)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

For You

Jesus died. That's history.
Jesus died for our sins. That's doctrine.
Jesus died for ME. That's the Gospel.