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April 2010—In this Issue:
Christ is risen! He is Risen Indeed!
In 2008 Garrison Keillor wrote an article about his Holy Week and Easter experience. He confessed to having “weaselish thoughts” about the whole affair and entertaining a certain skepticism as he sat in his pew singing “O sacred head now wounded.” He mused,
“Holy Week is a good time to face up to the question: Do we really believe in that story, or do we just like to hang out with nice people and listen to organ music? There are advantages, after all, to being in the neighborhood of people who love their neighbors. If your car won’t start on a cold morning, you’ve got friends.”
One can certainly understand how the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection might seem fantastic or even a fairy tale. Yet, each Easter morning, Christians around the world gather to proclaim that ancient truth, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” Are we victims of a mass deception, rubes for jokers of history who planted a cosmic joke and watched as the world slipped on a religious banana peel? Or is there something real there?
Keillor may be, in some subtle way, asking the wrong question. He queries, “Do we really believe in that story?” He wonders if the story—or even the whole Biblical narrative—is true, or at least factual. The resurrection goes against much of our modern scientific knowledge, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of non-biblical historical documentation about the events of Holy Week and Easter, and it just seems a little far-fetched. Such questions are healthy and needed fodder for reflection in the modern Christian community.
But it is not the story in which we believe, but God’s presence with us in a unique and continuing way, and the promise that the story delivers as we hear about Jesus. The story of Holy Week draws us again and again into the truth of a God who chooses to be engaged with God’s people in a life-and-death drama of love. It is not the story we believe in; rather, we believe God’s promise to “tabernacle with us” in Spirit, in Christ, in the cross, and in the body of Christ we call the Church. The fundamental question to ask while singing “O sacred head now wounded” is “Do we believe God?”
The answer is more important and thoughtful than a simple “yes” or “no.” As we sing the hymns and hear the story, we are called to ponder how this fantastic tale calls us to live a life that is true. We are led to wonder how the unthinkable and almost obscene actions of Holy Week, which culminate in the joy of Easter, might lead us to love those who are un-loveable, serve those who we do not know, and feed those who hunger for food, companionship, and hope. We might even wonder how, in light of God’s unfolding story, we might engage the world in a new and just fashion where love is a watchword and peace is a welcomed commodity. Some may be skeptical of the story, but the story’s truth is transformative and powerful.
Garrison Keillor ends his article with,
“Skepticism is a stimulant, not to be repressed. It is an antidote to smugness and the great glow of satisfaction one gains from being right. You know the self-righteous—I’ve been one myself —the little extra topspin they put on the truth, their ostentatious modesty, the pleasure they take in being beautifully modulated and cool and correct when others are falling apart. Jesus was rougher on those people than He was on the adulterers and prostitutes. So I will sit in the doubter’s chair for a while and see what is to be learned back there.”
There is much to learn, and it begins with the proclamation, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Pastor Jeff Lilley
The LCH Council met on March 16th. Here is a brief recap of the items discussed:
Come join the children
On March 28th (Palm Sunday) at 9:15 between services, the children of the Sunday school will again host a Seder meal in Isenberg Hall. This is a traditional part of our Easter preparation in the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. The Seder meal is the meal of Passover Jesus was celebrating with his followers when he first gave us the Eucharist. It is the Old Testament remembrance of God’s special relationship with his people and his freeing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Come learn more on the 28th.
Once again there will be an Easter Egg Hunt for the Sunday School children at 9:15 between the services on April 4th. We will start with a puppet show while the older children will hide the eggs for the younger children. Bring a basket if you can, but there will be some extra baskets available for those who forget.
Everyone is invited to an Easter brunch on April 4th, between services, in the Hörmann Courtyard. If you’d like to contribute to the meal, please bring any breakfast breads, fruit, cheese/crackers, and the like to go with the ham and rolls that will be provided.
See the sign-up sheet in the courtyard for help with setting up tables and for help with dish washing in the kitchen. You can also contact Mary-Jo Estes or Jeanne Castello through the Church Office (941-2566) to volunteer.
The March in-gathering for the Angel Network was satisfying. A shopping cart with saimin, canned goods, Spam, and personal care items was collected for the Angel Network located at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church. Thank you for all your support. In-gatherings are scheduled for the first Sunday of each month, so your next opportunity to participate is April 4th.
Sunday, April 4th, at 11:15 AM, following the 10:30 service, the chairperson or another representative of each committee will meet in the Boardroom with Pastor Jeff and Council President Olivia Castro. This meeting, repeated the first Sunday of every month, is to enhance communications among committees. See you there!
Writers’ Workshop will meet next on Monday, April 5th, 7:00–8:30 PM in the Boardroom (or the Rainbow Room) at LCH. Our Spring schedule will conclude with a meeting on May 3rd. All are welcome. For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
Food for Thought will meet next on Saturday, April 10th, 6:00 PM at the home of Irmgard Hörmann, for potluck supper and discussion. All are welcome. For information, please call Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
“The Mission of Process Thought in Africa”
Process Thought in Africa is the focus for our April session, Saturday, April 10, 9:30–11:00 AM at Lutheran Church of Honolulu. University of Hawaii Professor Njoroge Njoroge has agreed to assist us in our discussion of this topic. Professor Njoroge teaches African, African-American, and Caribbean history. He also knows a great deal about the music from these areas. A short 1½ page article on the topic is available from Fritz or at the church office. Repeat session on Sunday, April 11, about noon.
The supply of ribbon lei we give our visitors is starting to run low. If you wish to get ribbon and make some lei see Linda Miller or come to In Stitches on the second and fourth Saturday of the month 9:00–11:00 in the Boardroom. The next few meetings are March 27th, April 10 and 24, and May 8 and 22. Thank you in advance.
Members and friends of Lutheran Church of Honolulu are invited to join the LCH AIDS WALK 2010 effort. The walk, sponsored by The Life Foundation, raises funds to benefit those living with AIDS and assist in the prevention of this devastating disease.
The event will be held April 18th at Kapiolani Park. Registration opens at 8:00 AM, and the walk begins at 9:00. The 5K course may be run, walked, or rolled, and there will be food and entertainment for participants and spectators alike.
The LCH Team is recruiting walkers and donors willing to support the effort of the walkers. Peggy Anderson and Pr. Jeff Lilley are the LCH team captains. How can you help?
The children would like to thank all those who have pledged or donated to the Fill the Ark Heifer Project! We have almost met out goal of $5,000 to purchase an Ark of Animals. The children are excited each year to present this project, and thanks to your unwavering support, they have experienced the joy of giving, helping, and working towards a goal. It is through your encouragement and gifts that our project is a success. Many thanks to all.
We would like to especially thank the following people for their help, encouragement, and talents towards this year’s Fill the Ark 6 Benefit Concert: Pastor Jeff Lilley, Carl and Kathy Crosier, Linda Miller, Pastor Fritz Fritschel, Carol Langner, Kanani Rosehill, Bill Potter, Peggy Anderson, Olivia Castro, and all the parents of the youth.
If you have not yet made a pledge, please consider a donation to help poor families around the world become self-sufficient through the gift of an income producing animal, organized by Heifer International. Pledge cards are available on the bulletin board, or donations can be placed in the offering plate. Checks can be made out to LCH, with “Heifer Project” written on the memo line.
The Scholarship Committee invites all members to apply for tuition scholarships for academic or vocational school for 2010–2011. At your earliest opportunity, please call Kanani (941-2566) for scholarship applications.
Remember the planning event that didn’t happen because of the tsunami? It has been rescheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, May 2, from noon to 4:00 PM. Join with the council, members, and friends of our congregation to plan LCH’s future in the next 5, 10, and 15 years. We will be discerning God’s call/vision for us.
The event takes place right after the second service, and lunch will be provided. Our nursery attendants have agreed to stay and provide child care. Sign up in the courtyard or call Kanani at 941-2566.
Aloha in Christ,
The Adult Forum meets on Sundays following the early service. We are studying Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer through a dramatic movie, a documentary, and his writings. Bonhoeffer lived and wrote in the midst of Nazi Germany. All members and friends are invited to attend this informative viewing and study.
Bill Potter, Webmaster
There have been a number of additions to the website over the past month documenting the life of our congregation. Check out the Congregational Life page for pictures and stories about Bach Vespers on March 7, the congregational work day on March 13, and First Communion Class on March 14. One new feature of these stories is that each has links to additional pictures on the LCH Facebook page. The pictures of the children making communion bread from First Communion Class are particularly cute.
With Holy Week and Easter coming up, you’ll want to keep track of all the special services. A special page describes all of these services with links to the detailed listing of lessons and special music. The page is available via the Worship page or a link on the left side of the Home page.
The big web-related news has been the growth of our Facebook page, which Rusty Walker wrote about in the March HeartBeat. Our number of fans has grown from just over 20 at the end of January to almost 90 at the end of March. At the same time, activity on the page has increased significantly. Fans of the page are posting about their thoughts and experiences, we are listing upcoming events, and there are additional pictures from our life together.
In case you don’t know it, anyone who is a fan of our LCH Facebook page is able to post on the “wall” of the page. Unlike posts by page administrators (which have our LCH logo), fan posts show up under the name and icon of the poster. These posts let casual visitors see how many people are involved in the congregation, the range of interests and involvements of our members, and the joy we share.
The Facebook (FB) Team encourages everyone to visit our Facebook page by typing in <LCHFacebook.com> or using the link on the Home page or the Social Networking page on our website. Once you’re there, become a fan and add your ideas to this community of LCHers. If you want to become even more involved, please consider committing to posting on a regular basis, sharing your photographs, or becoming a member of the FB Team.
You are invited to explore the Christian faith and the ministry of Lutheran Church of Honolulu as part of a New Member Inquiry Class. This discussion-based course will cover the basics of the Christian faith as well as touchstones of the Lutheran movement such as baptism, communion, and teachings of the church. We will also introduce you to the ministry of Lutheran Church of Honolulu. There will be ample time for discussion and questions throughout the course. Anyone interested in learning more about the faith is welcome to attend! The group will meet Sunday afternoons, 2:30–4:00 PM for three Sundays, April 25, May 9th, and May 16th. Those so desiring will be accepted into membership on Pentecost Sunday, May 23. Childcare will be provided as needed. Please RSVP to Kanani Rosehill at <email@example.com>, or speak with Pastor Jeff if you would like to attend. If you are interested in the class, but unable to attend at the scheduled time, please let Pastor Jeff know.
It’s Saturday night. There’s tuna hot dish. Honey, who could ask for more?
The spring pledge drive at Hawaii Public Radio is just around the corner, and LCH has been invited to answer phones again during Prairie Home Companion on Saturday, April 17. Usually 5 or 6 of us go down with tuna hot dish and green jello each pledge drive. Often someone from LCH will be invited to be on the air. This is a great opportunity to talk about our church,
We will also take an “LCH Challenge” comprised of money contributed by individuals from the church. We use this gift to challenge other Lutherans in the community to call in a matching pledge.
Please contact Josie Bidgood through the Church Office (941-2566) if you can help on April 17th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
CHICAGO (ELCA)—The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released March 18 a 49-page draft social statement on genetics, a framework for discussion on a variety of current topics in the field including certain advances in medicine, reproductive cloning, human embryonic stem cells, and animal and plant genetic engineering.
The full text of the Draft Social Statement on Genetics, an executive summary and a question-and-answer document are at <www.elca.org/geneticsdraft> on the ELCA Web site.
The draft was prepared by the ELCA Task Force on Genetics, formed after the social statement was authorized by the 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Individuals and congregations are invited to study and discuss the draft, and provide feedback to the task force by October 15. The draft will be revised based on the feedback, and a proposed social statement is to be released in February 2011.
The ELCA Church Council, the church’s board of directors and interim legislative authority between churchwide assemblies, will review the draft in April 2011, said the Rev. Rebecca S. Larson, executive director, ELCA Church in Society. The council has the responsibility for placing the final text of a social statement on the agenda of a churchwide assembly, she said. The next assembly is in August 2011.
ELCA social statements are theological and teaching documents. They assist the ELCA and its members to reach informed decisions on social issues from a faith perspective. Social statements set policy for the ELCA, and guide its advocacy and work as a public church.
In November 2008 the task force released a study document, Genetics and Faith: Power, Choice and Responsibility, and invited comment. Task force members consulted with ethicists, scientists, sociologists, theologians and others to prepare the study and the draft.
“The draft is not so much a list of specific decisions on particular genetic issues as it is a framework to discuss specific topics,” said Janet Williams, a genetics counselor, Salt Lake City, and task force co-chair. “My hope is that it actually does generate discussion and a recognition that these topics are important.”
The document was carefully crafted, she said, noting that the task force is a diverse group of agribusiness professionals, clergy, ethicists, physicians, researchers, teachers and theologians. “As we came to the end of the draft process, we were very pleased with how we as a group had debated and reached a consensus on the specific set of diverse topics that were critical to include in this draft,” Williams said.
“This document tries to formulate a moral framework that can encompass questions about human \truly Christian in the 21st century,” he added.
The draft has five general themes, said the Rev. Roger A. Willer, director, Department for Studies, ELCA Church in Society:
It’s time again for our young organists to show off what they can do on the pipe organ! Please come and support our young musicians as they play the mighty Beckerath organ. 15 of Katherine Crosier’s students will be performing, including LCH’s Azure S., Colette J., Lillie Jones, Nathalie J., and Jordan M. Offerings will benefit for the scholarship program of the Hawaii Chapter, American Guild of Organists. Poster (PDF)
Attendance and Offerings for Sunday, March 28, were not available at time of publication.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, April 20!
Out of the Mouths of God’s Kids
On Palm Sunday at Allin Congregational Church in Dedham, MA, a three-year-old boy who was in church for the first time sat quietly listening to a soloist singing “Ride On, King Jesus.”
When she finished, everyone sat in appreciative silence. Suddenly, the child’s voice resounded through the church with a rousing but altogether appropriate, “Yeah!” The spontaneous roar of the congregation’s laughter quickly turned into enthusiastic applause.
—via Harry Mahoney
On the way to church Easter morning, a four-year-old girl explained to her aunt that at her church “there are envelopes and little pencils to write with, but you have to leave a tip.”
—via Jeff Totten
On Palm Sunday, a five-year-old boy had to stay home with a sore throat and missed church.
When the family returned home, they were carrying several palm branches. When the boy asked what the branches were for, his mother told him, “People held them over Jesus’ head as He walked by.”
“Wouldn’t you know it!” the boy fumed. “The one Sunday I don’t go, He shows up!”
—Columnist Smiley Anders
After church, an eight-year-old boy told his little brother: “I don’t know all the Ten Commandments. The only ones I remember are 'settle down,’ 'act your age,’ and 'take that out of your mouth.’”
Advice from a little girl to her small sister: “Remember the two places you are always welcome—church and Grandma’s house.”
—Suzan, age 9
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1730 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 • 808-941-2566
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