“Why do you think there are so many references in the Bible to food and actions associated with eating and drinking?” (Feeding the Flock by Russell Chandler.)
If you spend some time thinking about why food is mentioned in the Bible, you’ll probably find yourself coming up with several answers, and perhaps those various answers will then take your thoughts in many directions. That’s exactly what happened over dinner tables this autumn when small groups from OSA gathered together for the Food & Scripture studies. We found our conversations traveling down many paths to discover the meanings of food references in the Bible.
Dear People of God
In December – which in our faith communities we call Advent – we prepare with joy (and sometimes with trepidation) to celebrate the Christ-Mass, the birth of Jesus. We prepare in many ways: some by heading to the stores to buy, buy and buy until exhausted; some by planning a trip home to family; some by bringing out the heirloom crèche and decorations; and some by quietly reflecting upon hopes for themselves, family, friends, and the world.
Amidst this preparation comes the Word of scripture that in a manner so common and yet so unique the Word of Hope, the Word of Joy, the Word of Family, the Word of Life has come and is even now in the world. Jesus, born of Mary, discloses to the world that the Word has flesh and blood and through flesh and blood the world will know the depth and breadth of love. The Word reveals to us and in us what we always have been and shows us how to live fully into our potential as children of God, born of God. God redeems what God takes on. Even more radical: what God takes on becomes part of God.
This Advent practice being a part of God: in your frantic shopping smile at your fellow bargain hunters and cashiers; buy an extra gift for Toys 4 Tots or the food pantry at Emmaus House; when traveling home give everyone you know a greeting and hug of great warmth – they are family; when setting up that crèche, whether heirloom or newly purchased, do so by bringing to mind what each piece represents; and when sitting quietly meditate upon how the Word brings life and meaning and joy and hope to your every moment.
We are children of God. God – truth, love, justice, mercy – comes alive through us! May our Advent journey bless us as we gather on Sundays at 11:00 AM or Thursdays at 7:00 PM for worshipping our Lord. Pausing in Advent to intentionally love God, we gain a deeper understanding of the majesty, mercy, and mystery of God.
Dear People of God
I keep trying to put some words of wisdom on paper, but my thoughts are all jumbled. Coming back to NYC from a lovely cruise to Bermuda, my wife and I (along with millions in the tri-state area and beyond) had our lives turned upside down with SuperStorm Sandy. We’re more fortunate than most of our neighbors as we never lost electricity. Even now as I’m writing I hear Mayor Blumberg providing another update on recovery/repair operations: Alleluia! It seems as subways are returning on a limited basis. Nature’s power has jumbled our life and it will take a long time (much like with the 2008-9 Great Recession) to put the pieces back together. Nevertheless, as we sang on Reformation Sunday, we have the eternal Word:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;
though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Then the coming election adds to my jumbled thoughts. Although we’re spared endless ads in this “non-battle ground” city we know this is an important election. There is a cultural tension between communal support and individual initiative. Sadly it seems our choice this time is between the two when it should be a celebration of both. Our lives need creative, energetic individuals providing solutions to our problems and goals for our nation. And we need to work together to implement them. We must have both private and public sectors.
On November 1 we remember the saints of the church. All Saints Day celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who make up the body of Christ. Many saints are individuals whose lives are an example for being God’s Hands doing God’s Work. And many saints gathered others into communities to have an immense impact for good and holy life in God’s creation. We memorialize both private and public saints
As we are pulled forward by our God into the work set for us may we celebrate the gifts each of us have been given and exercise them for the well-being of God’s creation. Some of us are gifted to lead, motivate or guide others in our communal journey. Some of us are gifted with skills that sustain our community in worship and service: we sing, we bake bread for our Lord’s Meal, we tend the garden that brings delight to our neighbors, we visit the sick. Growing as a disciple of our Lord – being pulled forward by God – means we give away our gifts so others experience the joy of receiving.
In November our Lord’s disciples gathered around his Word and Meal at Our Saviour’s Atonement are invited to fill out and return to church a Commitment Card indicating their support of his ministry through OSA in the year ahead. During this time of pastoral transition your financial support is vitally important. Please consider growing your giving by one percent of your income. Gathering each disciple’s gifts into communal ministry will enable OSA to provide a strong foundation for new ministry with your next pastor.
Sovereign of the universe, your first covenant of mercy was with every living creature. When your beloved Son came among us, the waters of the river welcomed him, the heavens opened to greet his arrival, the animals of the wilderness drew near as his companions. With all the world's people, may we who are washed into new life through baptism seek the way of your new creation, the way of justice and care, mercy and peace, being your hands doing your work; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. (ELW)
In the Name of our Lord
Pr. Bill Eggers, Coverage Pastor
Dear Members and friends of OSA,
The OSA Call Committee met Sunday, October 28, after worship to discuss the four candidates for the office of pastor. After an hour of conversation and prayerful thought, the committee decided not to recommend any of the four.
The Committee wishes you to know that it spent careful time considering the needs of OSA and the gifts of the candidates. From the beginning the ministry site profile (MSP) guided our decisions. The MSP, as you know, was itself carefully constructed with input from you. It was, and is, the “organizing principle” as we read the candidates’ profiles, interviewed, and listened to them.
The Committee stayed in touch via email and telephone, traveled to other churches to hear two of the candidates preach, and with honesty and forthright discussion weighed the pros and cons of each candidate. In the end, the decision was that each candidate had strengths but none had the combination of skills, based on the MSP that would serve OSA best. None of the candidates, although all were highly qualified and are excellent pastors, entirely met the expectations that you/we established.
When the candidates were informed of the Committee’s decision, each was gracious and thankful for the opportunity to be considered.
The next step is to await further candidates from the Metropolitan New York Synod office, our Bishop and his staff. The Synod was informed the following Tuesday after the Committee’s decisions. The Synod office has informed us that they are immediately working to give us the next slate of candidates.
The Call Committee requests that you remain patient during the process, even as we ourselves seek to do the same. Although we wish the Holy Spirit would reveal to us quickly who our next pastor will be, we believe that everything happens in God’s good time. OSA has an excellent coverage pastor in Rev. William Eggers, dedicated lay leadership, and a host of committed members to see us through this transition.
God bless you all!
-- The OSA Call Committee
Bob Wollenburg, Chair
A Visit with the Lawlesses by Eleanor Hill
In front of Shakespeare's home
A month spent in England would not be complete without a stop at the Lawless family compound. I was in London to write, to experience the culture, the Olympics, and of course, a home cooked meal from Lois Ann. My class and I were staying in London, so finding the time and the energy to take the 45 minute train ride to Banbury was hard, but well worth it.
Aboard the train I told them stories about Domingo Gordo, Christmas, and the amazing garden Lois Ann had built. Cassie and Joanna, my travel mates, are Agnostic and Conservative Jewish History majors (respectively) – so I knew they would have plenty to talk to Barrie about. We met them at the train station, the couple just as bright and warm as always, I no longer felt like a stranger in a foreign country.
Paraphrasing Garrison Keiller: “It was a quiet month at Our Saviour’s Atonement.” I’ve always wondered – and marveled – why he used the word “quiet” when he’d continue with an amazing story involving pastors, lovers, family, children, or Norwegian farmers, adding layer upon layer to Lake Wobegon’s “quiet” week.
At OSA the “quiet” month was filled with the laughter of children and the sour notes they brought forth from instruments they were learning to play. Add the layer of their singing and the precious vitality of a prodigy pianist I overheard one afternoon and El Sistema / WHIN Project was an amazing story! Ask those who attended the final musical presentation. The church council received a report regarding the ongoing relationship between OSA and WHIN Project (led by David Gracia) at its September 16 meeting.
More about children: Sunday School began with teacher preparation, curriculum selection, class planning in August and pancakes on September 9. Great to see a full turnout that day and to meet the “shy puppet.” Thanks to many who are heading up this ministry! Everyone can help by assisting with a class from time to time and by encouraging only children less than eight years of age to participate in “quiet time activities” during the worship hour.
More about education: Thanks to Brent Ness a multi-place & multi-time adult ed based upon the theme of food and gospel – “Feeding the Flock” – is in preparation for October. He is also preparing a series of stewardship temple talks leading up to Commitment Sunday on Nov. 4th.
Going on below these layers of children and education were the continued work of the organ installation, Building and Call Committees. While they may be out of sight, accomplishing their ministry behind the scenes, the results will be fully gratifying. For now we can look at the newly painted gym and the amazing clean out of the Knepper/Project Room, hear the fuller tone of the organ as more registers come on line and in due time Our Saviour’s Atonement will celebrate the call of their next pastor .
Another layer to add to this “quiet” month was the sudden death of Susan Stevens, made difficult with her time spent in the hospital with no brain function. Our community thanks the Crossmans and Hills for their vigil at her side as Susan’s sister, son and ex-husband grappled with medical decisions. God’s blessings were poured upon her at a Memorial Service on Saturday, September 15, 2012.
The last Sunday in September is UDUGO Sunday in our MNYS. What might we do this year to encourage support of our companion synod – the Northwestern Diocese of the Lutheran Church of Tanzania?
My day a week at OSA is quiet - in the literal meaning of the word. Marisol keeps Cornerstone ministry moving forward and handles all the communication we send her way.
I will be gone the week of October 21st, preaching that Sunday, but not the 28th. The Rev. T. Crossman will preach and preside at the Reformation/Renewal celebration.
In the Name of our Lord
The Rev. William Eggers
Dear People of God,
At Our Saviour’s Atonement we’re in Pentecost. One way to look at this church season is that it’s what’s left over in the year after we’ve walked with Jesus from birth, through his ministry, death, resurrection and conclude with his gift of the Holy Spirit. The general theme of the readings at worship now concern the church’s mission in the world. So in Pentecost we focus on what Jesus does through us! Having received Jesus’ witness of creation’s love and being empowered by God’s Spirit we walk forth with love, justice and humility.