October 2021
From the Pastor

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[a] and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of[b] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2, NRSV)

The end of September and the beginning of October always reminds me of my dad's side of the family, my cousin Cheryl, and the important celebration of Oktoberfest.  Actually, I think about it quite often, not only in October but especially this time of year.

Cheryl played the accordion. She was that person who was quite talented musically and never had to work at it. She simply could hear the tune and would be able to play from what she heard. The reason that Cheryl was so much different from my other cousins is that she played the accordion.  She was a part of a band. The band would travel around to nursing homes and senior citizen centers to play their music. We had a family friend named Roger who had a polka band. The band also traveled and played at all of the Rosin family weddings. The music was amazing--at least for this kid.

When I was a little kid, I loved to hear my cousin Cheryl and Roger and their friends play.  Mostly they would play polkas which filled my heart with joy.  But they would add a few songs into the mix, and I would sing.  I could not wait for the next family wedding.  I was ALWAYS asked to dance with my aunts and female cousins.  Now, as a little kid, I was sometimes reluctant to dance with these people who seemed so old to me.  I was usually talked into it by my mother. Once I entered the floor, I ended up being there the rest of the night.  I also was met with the approval of not only my aunts but especially my Oma (Grandma).  Never mind that I probably stepped on their feet more than I didn't.  But little did I know that I was dancing with the cloud of witnesses that would surround and support me throughout life. Little did I know that I was bringing smiles to faces that maybe hadn't smiled much in recent memory. Little did I know that I was carrying out God's work in the world by sharing love and compassion with others.

I tell you all of that to say that the more important part, is that we are gathered as a community in joyful celebration in worship. We gather together to be reminded of how much we are loved and how we are surrounded by God's never-ending compassion, grace and forgiveness.  That cloud of witnesses of my childhood understood the importance of being together in community.

No matter what, know that you are loved, and you are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who are always there to support and encourage you.

Servants together, Pastor Paul <><

 

p.s.  Did you know??  I have often been asked questions about Liturgy and why Lutherans follow a Liturgical, even more important the Historical Liturgy form of worship.  So here now is reason #2.

 The liturgy is bigger and older than us.  
As I reflected on my family gathering of witnesses, something hit me -- when my family was together in church, we were completely unified.  Even though I was much younger, we were completely united through the liturgy.  We were inserted into something bigger and much older. Indeed, every time that all of us participate in the liturgy, we are implanted into the songs, melodies, singing, and theology of the historic church from the past, as well as the present.  We all attend the same church, while simultaneously joining together with the voices of millions across the world on every continent and in every language.  Why do we love the historic liturgy?  The liturgy is bigger and older than we are.  It is truly multicultural and multigenerational. 

p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ???  "God writes His Gospel not in the Bible alone but in trees and flowers and clouds and stars." -- Martin Luther