Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Vault in The Vault

Yes, we call our meeting place The Vault. But we call it that because the big old vault is the main piece of furniture in the room. That room is now completely empty, and ready for painting.

Thanks to Mike Pelletier and his hard work, and for that old forklift he owns. Thanks to his hired help. Thanks to the guys from church who helped out. Glenn is a beast of a worker. Tom has been there for some good old dirty work, and yep that's me with with the crew. Jeff Menasco is not pictured, but he helped Glenn level the floor.

These pictures were taken by Kirsten who was visiting Tom and Mary. Thanks Kirsten.

I sure am looking forward to what this old vault space will become.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Service - Sunday, August 16th

This morning Carl lead worship. We began with a recitation of the Apostle's Creed (the Lutheran Version), and the Celtic Prayer "Come I This Day."

Carl and Melissa ended the worship music with the song "Continue." Oh my gosh they are good together, and this was one of the sweetest worship songs I've heard done in quite some time.

I preached my portion of the message first (Pastor Phil writing here). We have been talking about Knowing God for the month of August, and this week we are talking about that very Christian word "sanctification."

I outlined a history of sanctification very briefly, and hopefully with a minor degree of accuracy. I will outline that later, as Ryan is preaching now, and I want to capture his thoughts.

Ryan started with an illustration from the movie "The Mission." If you are familiar with the moment the pack off armor is cut off "the missionary" you will know the illustration.

After this beginning Ryan takes us to the story of The Good Samaritan, and has told that Jesus will turn the idea of sanctification upside down. The religious leaders pass the guy who has been beat up, and Ryan ties this into the laws of sanctification - the fact that you can not touch the dead or you will be unclean, and so there is this complication with helping the guy who might be dead on the side of the road. But the "syncretist," outsider comes along and helps the guy left for dead.

So the Samaritan is more an instrument of reconciliation and the ways of God than the religious leaders.

So, in conclusion Ryan asks, "what does this say about how we live?"

The religious leaders tried to serve God in sanctification from unclean things. He loved God, but did not love His neighbor, and therefore served God in a faulty, broken way.

Reaching out across barriers to serve people with mercy is part of being set apart for God - sanctified.

Now 6 hours later I am completing the part of the message I promised earlier:

A quick breakdown of the some thoughts about sanctification in different Christian traditions:

Roman Catholicism: Sanctification is received as a divine gift. This shows itself clearly in Augustine's confession. The idea of suffering as part of the path of our drawing close to God also plays a part in the Catholic concept of sanctification.

Orthodoxy: (I know a bit too generic to place it all in one big box, but hey, I'm a Pentecostal boy. This will be the best I can do.) Theosis (partaking of the Divine nature in oneness with God is the dynamic reality of our sanctification. There is an impartation of divine life into the human being.

Lutheranism: Luther spoke of the work of the Spirit through the power of God's Word as being the transforming element.

Reformed: Jesus is our Sanctification, and our union with Him is what creates dynamic character change in movement toward honoring, loving, serving God more fully.

Methodism and John Wesley: Wesley's thinking sparked the transition toward what become the Holiness and Pentecostal movements. Sanctification was viewed by many proponents of his theology as a second work of grace. This occurs instantaneously and is an experience happening to believers after their salvation. Others view the work as ongoing through life with moments of seeking God and receiving transformation in sudden releases of grace.

These views of sanctification were shared with the approach that none were wrong, none were the full picture, but that each presented elements we can value and incorporate into our belief system, and spiritual practice.