Dear brothers and sisters in Christ of Calvary Lutheran Church, Wellington, and all readers of the newsletter,
We will celebrate the festival of the Ascension of Our Lord with a worship service with communion on Thursday, May 5th, at 7 pm. The Christian church has traditionally celebrated this festival on the fortieth day after Easter. In the book of Acts, it is written of the risen Jesus that “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1: 3, ESV)
It was important for Jesus to appear before the apostles and His followers after He had risen, to present tangible proof of His bodily resurrection. During this time He invited the apostles to touch Him to confirm that He was not a figment of their imagination. He ate with them, taught them, encouraged them, and prepared them mentally and spiritually for His return to heaven and the sending of His Holy Spirit in power on Pentecost. During the forty days after Easter, Jesus made many appearances. At one time He even appeared to more than 500 people (1 Cor. 15: 6), most of whom were still alive when St. Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians.
Then, when the Lord had finished the appearances He wished to make, He departed into heaven bodily, to reign in all power and majesty at the right hand of His Father. Now we await His return in glory, which God has promised us. ( Acts 1:11). And God never breaks a promise!
In May we also celebrate Pentecost, the day on which the Holy Spirit came in power to the gathered disciples in Jerusalem, enabling them to boldly proclaim the Gospel in many languages, languages that they had not known, so that those gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost from around the world could hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Church continues its mission of speaking the word of hope in Jesus Christ today, through word and sacrament ministry, and through outreach and mission projects.
One such outreach project directed toward those serving in our armed forces is called Faith Comes by Hearing. This organization provides MP3 players with the New Testament and selected Psalms to service members and their families. The players are small. They can be easily carried in a pocket. They come with earbuds. I have listened to the recordings. This is the same recording that I listen to in my car as I travel to Ark City or Wichita. I have a sample military Bible Stick player and a DVD from Faith Comes By Hearing, if you would like to see for yourselves how it works. We will provide a basket for a freewill offering on the 15th of May. Each MP3 player kit is $25 dollars, but it includes a coupon so that the whole family of the service member may get a player. Armed forces Chaplains will distribute them.
If you wish to check out the organization you may do so at: https://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/ The organization provides Bibles in over 500 languages and makes them available for distribution worldwide.
In the book of Acts chapter 8 we have the story of Philip, a deacon in the early Jerusalem church, and an Ethiopian official who was returning from Jerusalem to Ethiopia. The court official was sitting in his chariot reading from the Bible. He was reading from the book of Isaiah a passage about the coming Messiah,
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth.” (Acts: 8: 32b, ESV). Philip asked the official if he understood what he was reading. The official said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” So Philip told him the good news about Jesus, how the prophets had foretold Him from the beginning, and how He had come and fulfilled all the prophecies. After the official heard all this, he asked to be baptized, and Philip baptized him.
We see in this story how faith is spread. The Word of the Gospel is spoken. People hear it. Then, hopefully, they are guided to a true understanding of it through the guidance of faithful pastors, chaplains, deacons, and teachers to come to the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, and salvation through His grace by faith alone. This is why I think this project can be very useful. Lutheran chaplains can distribute these MP3 players, the “Bible Sticks”, and servicemen and women can ask them questions, as the Ethiopian official did. Who knows? Maybe some of them and their families may ask to be baptized, too.
This month will be a joyous month for us at Calvary as four catechumens receive first communion and are confirmed, and as we welcome three new members through transfer and through new member classes. As we celebrate Pentecost on the 15th, the birthday of the Church and the gift of the Holy Spirit in power to all believers, let us remember that Christ is always in charge. He created His Church. He builds His Church. He sustains His Church. He redeems His Church. He calls us, the redeemed in His blood, to trust in Him and hold fast to His promises to the end, for He is coming again–soon.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Blessings in the Risen and Ascended Savior, Jesus Christ,
LWML will not have a regular meeting in May or over the summer. We’ll see you in September!
Ladies of Calvary – You are invited to the Bridal Shower for Callie McNamara on May 11, 2016 at the Calvary Parish Hall. Feel free to come and go from 6:30pm – 8:00pm. Hosted by The Mary’s Society of Calvary Lutheran Church. Callie is registered at Wal-Mart and Kohl’s.
Please remember the homebound
Elmer Naasz: 102 W. Botkin
Frances Meyers: 8300 N.W. Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64153
Otto & Norma Fischer: 750 N. Missouri St. Apt 119 Ulysses, KS 67880-1870