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April 2011—In this Issue:
In an article about Paul’s understanding of Sarah and Abraham’s call to birth a people for God, Lucy Lind Hogan wrote that the archetypal couple had to learn to look at God in a new way after God promised that they would become the parents of a nation. As an illustration, she recounted a recent trip to London where she went walking on a sightseeing trip. As she prepared to cross at an intersection, she looked left as she always did to make sure there was no oncoming traffic. Of course, the traffic in London would not be coming from the left, but from the right! She later learned that there are many injuries to pedestrian tourists, especially Americans, because they are conditioned to U.S. rules of the road. Out of long habit (and constant reminders by vigilant parents and teachers) we instinctively look left when crossing the street—a habit that may get you creamed in Britain. As a result, many street corners in England are painted with huge letters that read “LOOK RIGHT!” to give unwary visitors a fighting chance to survive their afternoon stroll.
Hogan used that story to illustrate how Abraham and Sarah had to see life in a completely different way so that God could make of them a new nation. Unlooked for and unearned, the gift that God gave them would redefine life for them and for many generations to come. In the same way, God’s incredible gift given to the whole cosmos in the life, death, and Easter resurrection of Jesus may require us to “look right” even though we may be accustomed to looking a different way.
As Easter approaches, perhaps we would benefit from a sign painted on our curb that calls us to “look right.” It is easy to fall into the habit of years and go through the motions of Holy Week and Easter on autopilot, without fully appreciating God’s radical gift bestowed on us in Christ. What couldn’t be more foreign to us is the idea that we are being given what we most need (grace) without doing what we should do (obey commandments) for the sake of a man we have never met (Jesus) through the power of God we cannot see (the Holy Spirit). Yet we sometimes act as if we are strolling along our own quiet, average, suburban street on an unremarkable spring evening, seeing the same old neighbors and the same old manicured lawns. We don’t always realize the rules of the road are different in God’s kingdom of grace. Yes, we still go to work, we still have families, we still eat and drink like everybody else; but God’s gift of grace is meant to transform us.
Abraham and Sarah had to learn to “look right” so that they could believe that they would become the parents of a nation “more numerous that the grains of sands in the desert.” What do we see when we “look right”? To what vision are we being called in this radical new country where law and Gospel team together in grace, where love trumps self-interest, and where God pours out mercy and grace without cost? Can obligatory church going give way to joyful and spirited worship? Can reluctant service be transformed into enthusiastic willingness? In this new country of grace can we “look right,” see what God is up to, and follow?
In Easter God has given a great gift. May we be fed and feed others with that gift.
Council met Tuesday, March 15. Here are some of the highlights of the meeting:
Food for Thought will meet next on Saturday, April 2, at 6:30 PM at the home of Irmgard Hörmann, for potluck supper and discussion. All are welcome. For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
The April session for our Process Thinkers Forum addresses a key concept called “prehension.” It is not a magical term, but once understood, it can help explain many crucial ideas, such as the relationship between mind and body and the occurrence of memory, causality, temporality, and moral and aesthetic values.
The John Cobb, Jr. article entitled “Prehension” will provide the basis for the discussion. It can be found at <www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1944>. We will meet on Saturday, April 9, 9:30–11:00 AM at Lutheran Church of Honolulu. A repeat session will be held on Sunday, April 10, around noon.
The May meeting will be devoted to select poetry.
It’s time for the Spring Pledge Drive for Hawaii Public Radio, and the station has reserved Saturday night, April 9, for LCH to staff the phones and take pledges. Again, this year we have claimed “Prairie Home Companion” as our night to help with the drive.
In addition to enjoying a fabulous dinner of tuna hot dish and green jello salad, we get to meet like-minded folks on the phone.
This is also a great way to expand the name recognition of LCH to those who may not know about us. We are acknowledged throughout the night by the on-air hosts, and we issue a challenge to other listeners.
If you are planning to make a pledge any way this spring, please contact Josie Bidgood through the Church Office (941-2566) to let her know. We’ll add this to the amounts that others traditionally pledge, including that stalwart who always throws 25 cents into the pot.
If you are available to help with the phones, please also let Josie know. We are on duty from 5:45 PM to 9:00 PM on Saturday, April 9.
Writers’ Workshop has changed the date of its April meeting to April 11. This meeting was formerly scheduled for the 18th. This meeting will also be the last of the spring; we will resume in August or September (TBA).
As always, all are welcome. For information, please contact Kathryn Klingebiel through the Church Office (941-2566).
On April 17 (Palm Sunday) at 9:15 between Sunday 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 at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.
The Seder meal is the Passover meal 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 join us and learn more on April 17!
LCH Scholarship Committee announces that applications can be picked up from the church office for school year 2011–2012. LCH scholarships are available for community college, college, vocational school, seminary, and most other such endeavors. Pick yours up soon!
All are invited to attend and take part in interesting discussions—spiced with fun, films, and faith studies—in our weekly Adult Forum, between services on Sunday mornings, beginning at 9:15 AM in the Boardroom.
The LCH Choir will lead an augmented force of choristers, soloists, and instrumentalists in two performances of the monumental B-Minor Mass by Bach on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14. This is the summation of Bach’s lifework—his final and most profound statement of faith through music. He never heard this work and died a year after completing it.
We expect sold out audiences of about 250 each night, and we need lots of help in offering hospitality to these guests while they are on our church campus. Some of the areas to consider are:
A separate team of volunteers for each evening will enable each of us to enjoy a performance on the alternate evening without being distracted by hospitality responsibilities.
Signup sheets will soon be available on Sunday mornings in the Hörmann Courtyard. We love to offer homemade goodies at such events, so if you like to bake, consider cranking up your oven and freezing your favorite cookies until the concert dates arrive. Please reserve the weekend of May 13 to 14 to assist the LCH ‘ohana with this significant undertaking, and to attend the performance for your own enjoyment. It will be a wonderful event for all!!
Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, 2011 • 7:30 PM
Lutheran Church of Honolulu Festival Chorus
Bach’s Mass in B minor is the culmination of his artistic and devotional inspiration, the synthesis of earlier works and fresh composition in a single architectural masterpiece. Carl Crosier, in his final year as Cantor at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, brings 38 years of experience directing Bach’s Cantatas and Passions to a special interpretation of this monumental work, featuring:
Preferred seating $35; general admission $25. Reservations are strongly advised as seating is limited. Call 941-2566 or purchase online.
The children of LCH would like to thank all of those who have pledged or donated to the “Fill the Ark” Heifer Project! We are about half way to our goal of $5,000.
Our concert was a great success and well attended. Our youth presented eighteen separate dance, voice, and instrumental numbers. Pastor Jeff Lilley opened the program by reading a poem specially composed for the occasion by Pastor Fritz Fritschel.
If you have not yet made a pledge, please consider a donation to help impoverished people around the world become self-sufficient through the gift of an income producing animal, organized by Heifer International. Pledges can be made on the sign up sheet in the courtyard, or donations can be placed in the offering plate. Checks should be made out to LCH, with “Heifer Project” written on the memo line. The Lenten season is an appropriate time to consider putting aside $1 a day ($40 total) to aid others in difficult situations.
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!
You have often heard the phrase before,“Give the gift that keeps on giving.” When you give a gift to your congregation or a ministry, the money is usually used immediately and you are delighted to have been helpful. Would you also like the joy of giving a gift to your church “that keeps on giving?” That is possible through an endowment fund. When you make a gift to our congregation’s endowment fund, your gift is pooled with other gifts to be invested, and the earnings are utilized to provide for the church’s various mission ministries. Your gift remains invested in perpetuity and “keeps on giving.” For further information on current gifts, or a future gift as part of your estate plan, contact our congregation’s gift planner, Greg Shepherd at (909) 910-6823 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Gunnery Sgt. Stephen Schmidt holding up the guava jam from his care package.
Former LCH member Stephen Schmidt is again serving in harm’s way in Afghanistan. LCH has been sending care packages to Gunny Stephen, his circuit-riding chaplain, and one of his forward unit men this past month. Pastor Steve receives regular emails from several of the Marines who benefit from these gifts of aloha, and two were particularly poignant.
After participating in a ceremony returning the remains of a 19-year-old marine to his family, Stephen was reflecting on the spiritual and personal feelings such an event engenders. He returned to his office to find another box of care package items from LCH and was reminded that his LCH family of faith continues to be there for him.
One young marine wrote saying that he had asked Gunny Schmidt why he was getting care packages from a church in Hawai‘i when he is stationed in North Carolina. Stephen explained that he and his family were members of that church in Hawai‘i for some years, and that once you are part of the LCH ‘ohana, they continue to love and support you no matter where you are. The young man said, “I need to find me a church like that!”
Care packages send more than“stuff.” They are concrete reminders that this congregation thinks about and supports others in numerous ways and does what it can to uplift them beyond intercessory prayer. Let’s keep the aloha coming—it is sorely needed.
Mahalo nui loa to Jimmy Castro, Mary-Jo Estes, Billie-Jean Ries, Peggy Anderson, and Audrey Keller for cooking and serving a marvelous meat loaf dinner to the marine Wounded Warriors at K-Bay.
Most of these marines suffered near fatal improvised explosive device injuries in Afghanistan and are now on the long road to recovery. Kindnesses such as this by the community helps them to relax and heal. The tough spiritual questions that arise from such devastation sometimes find small answers in caring people from communities of faith.
They now know that LCH is just one more of these faith communities that is praying for them and willing to demonstrate their love in tangible ways.
Wounded Warriors eating dinner at Pastor Steve’s home.
Bill Potter, Webmaster
March has been a busy month for the LCH website—particularly on the Congregational Life page.
Pictures and short articles were added with information about the care packages being sent to Stephen Schmidt and his company in Afghanistan, Darth Vadar’s appearance on Transfiguration Sunday, the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, the Children’s Benefit Concert on March 12, serving dinner at IHS, and Wednesday evening Lenten suppers.
In several cases, we have expanded the record of these activities by posting additional photos on the LCH Facebook page. This is a good way to let more folks know about what’s happening at LCH.
Another tool available through Facebook are the event listings for activities that may be of interest to folks outside the LCH congregation. I used the event page for the Benefit Concert to let colleagues at work know about this wonderful event. I have already created event pages for the key worship services during Holy Week and Easter, so if you are a Facebook user, you can invite friends to these wonderful services.
If you are not on Facebook or don’t want to use it for your invitations, there is another way to invite friends to church. Just go to the LCH online calendar using the link on the left side of the Home page. Once you are there, choose an event for the current month or use the navigation link towards the top right to advance to the next month and choose an even farther in the future. You will be taken to a page for that event listing the event, day and time, location, and any detailed information supplied for the event. On the left side, you’ll see a section headed “Invite a friend.” Just fill in your name, your own email address, and your friend’s email address. Click on the “Send” link, and a small window will open up where you can edit the subject line and add a personal message. When you’re finished, press the “Send Email” button, and the invitation will be sent.
There is another feature built into the online calendar, and that is the ability to send yourself an email reminder of an event at a designated interval a few days or weeks before an event. Give it a try if you forget about some of the events at church.
Next Heart Beat Deadline is Tuesday, April 19!
Humor for the hard times
A pastor was counseling a stockbroker worried about the market decline.
“Are you getting your rest and sleeping well at night?” the pastor asked.
“I’ve been sleeping like a baby,” the stockbroker replied. “I sleep for about an hour, wake up, and then cry for about an hour.”
Out of the mouths of God’s kids
Nancy Mitchell of Hickory, NC, told this story to Pastor Bob Thompson of Corinth Reformed Church:
“During Christmas we had spent a lot of time looking at Nativity scenes and telling the kids who everyone was in the manger.
“Then on Easter Sunday we were in church with our three-year-old son, Gavin. The cross was all decorated, so I think he finally noticed it.
“He asked me, ‘Who is that on the cross?’ And I said, ‘Jesus.’
“He thought for a while, then looked at me and said, ‘But he was just a baby at Christmas!’”
At an Easter Sunday service, the pastor asked the children, “What is different in the church today?”
A five-year-old child looked up at the cross above the pastor’s head and answered: “Someone left a towel on the cross.”
—via Rev. Dr. Karl R. Kraft, Glassboro (NJ) UMC
“My two-year-old niece was a big talker. Her mom, getting her ready for Easter services at St. John Cathedral, told her over and over, ‘You do not talk in church.’
“When they got to the church and the priest started the Mass, my niece shouted, ‘You do not talk in church! You do not talk in church!’”
—Virginia Riley, Broussard, LA
Copyright © 2011 Lutheran Church of Honolulu
1730 Punahou Street, Honolulu, HI 96822 • 808-941-2566
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