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Messages - Eileen Smith

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Your Turn / Re: Meatless Wednesdays in Lent
« on: April 11, 2011, 04:18:37 PM »
Actually, I don't get why Wednesday supposed to be a day (or night) of abstainence -- Friday is the day of the crucifixion -- I never got Wednesdays.

The early church fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays to commemorate both Christ's betrayal (Wednesday) and death (Friday). 

Your Turn / Re: Burying the Alleluia
« on: March 08, 2011, 08:11:35 AM »
Charles Austin:
Some Sunday Church Schoolers in the parish I attend yesterday took an "Alleluia" banner and - with some attendant ceremony and prayer - folded it and stashed it in a small casket which was then toted to a place at the foot of the font where - I guess - it will remain until the word is resurrected.

We bury the Alleluia banner - after the service is over (benediction and Deacon’s blessing) - so as not to "begin Lent" during this service.  With the singing of “Alleluia, Song of Gladness,” two young people take the banner down and bury it in a shroud of fabric.  Later, it is placed under the pulpit until (and through) Good Friday.  On Good Friday, after the slamming of the book and tolling of bell, a young person processes in with a lighted candle, kneels down, and places it at the shroud containing the banner.  I, personally, find this to be a beautiful way to say Farewell to Alleluia and as a reminder that the light of Christ is never extinguished, and a reminder that our vigil has now begun (Good Friday)

But to your point... which seems to be that you are wondering why all of this is done:  I recently became friendly with a woman here in NJ who has the reputation of being "brilliant."  (Words of others who know her.)  She's written several books on addiction and has worked with children and addictions.  She's highly regarded in the field.  She will claim she is not brilliant - for she had a learning disability. She doesn't learn with words...she needs pictures.   I find the that the words from the Ambrosian Rite, "Alleluia, seal up and enclose the tomb..." say it all.  But for my friend and others like her, the picture tells the story.  Burying the Alleluia or Farewell to Alleluia - whatever one wishes to name it - is a beautiful gift of tradition to us.

One final note - in my former congregation we used Calvin Hampton's, "Repeating Alleluia."  That hymn would then be the first prelude, sung by choir and congregation on Easter Sunday.  It is an amazing piece.

With apologies to Jerry Kliner, I did not see your post until now.  I commented that these issues (ordination of women, recent decisions on homosexuality, etc.) are not at the "heart" of the ELCA as there are those of us who have chosen to stay in the ELCA, though we do not embrace the actions taken on some of these "social issues."  I've spoken with heartbroken pastors and lay persons over the past 10-15 years or so on some of these issues.  I am grateful for the ordination of women as I've been blessed by the ministry of women pastors.  I wept - as did others - when it was voted to allow the benefit package in the ELCA to pay for abortions.  We've exhausted views homosexuality herein, I believe.  Yet I love my church and the faith it professes.  I simply don't see how the church views abortion or homosexuality as the heart of what we profess - it is not embraced by all within the ELCA.  Our governance is of of human design.  Our election of bishops - our election of those who will "vote" on issues that I believe we shouldn't even be voting on is, again, of human design.  Do I believe that a decision taken by a body of people where Scripture is not the basis of the decision, but emotions are defines who we are as a church body - is at the heart of our faith? No, I don't.  This is why I say we both (LCMS and ELCA) need to move beyond those things that divide us and continue to serve those in need as one - not LCMS or ELCA, but as a child of God, faithfully living out our baptismal calling.  BUT, let me clarify that while I don't believe that some of the issues that divide us are at the heart of what we profess when it comes to cooperation in human care ministries, I do think some of these issues are important enough that those of us still in the ELCA should never stop working to turn around. 

I'm an analyst - I analyze companies, emerging markets, emerging and developed government agencies.  Pieces are always moving - always changing - and I need to stay on top of it.  It's a complicated process.  My faith is simple - I'm not seeking to complicate it.  Perhaps that's child-like - but I don't really care. 

I’ve found within this thread and often see within others, references made to teachers, seminary professors, pastors or others who have shaped our faith.  To begin this response, may I add to that list:  Dr. David Benke.  When studying in diakonia, the process study and spiritual formation in which one may begin the process towards the diaconate, Dr. Benke taught (still teaches?) Old Testament.  He taught us in words - and truly by example.   Given the various hats Dr. B wears, he certainly comes into contact with “important folks” - but his heart is truly with those whom the world would deem unimportant - and he never equivocates when it comes to Scripture.  One of his greatest gifts is to equip people to ministry.  Dr. B and his colleague in ministry, Bishop Stephen Bouman, provided a model for cooperative ministry between judicatories in the New York area.  While 9/11 and the ensuing days, weeks, months, and even years might serve as an example of that cooperation, there is so much more in this neck of the woods. We had a pan-judicatory committee which addressed end-of-life issues - providing seminars for clergy and lay ministers. I’ve just completed a story for “The Lutheran” on “The Lutheran Care Network” (and since the publication has the rights, I won’t copy it herein  ;)); however, through the cooperative ministry of both the LCMS and ELCA we have a network of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities and low income housing.  Does the ELCA have a more “liberal” interpretation of Scripture when it comes to areas such as homosexuality, the ordination of women, abortion?  Yes.   But are these issues are the heart of the ELCA - or the church catholic, for that matter?  No.  First and foremost, we, like the LCMS, preach Christ - our crucified, risen, and ascended Lord.  I pray that together we will continue to follow our baptismal calling, in the words of Bsp. Bouman, into the breach. 

Your Turn / Re: Freedom for the Forum!
« on: January 03, 2011, 09:53:31 AM »
Dear Pastor Mozolak,

I certainly am not angry with you - nor have any angry retort.  You comments make sense.  I do go on-line often, and check out the Forum - but I don't post often, that is true.  To that end, perhaps I am not in the best position to comment on this thread.  But as such things have not stopped me in the past.... 

One of the reasons that I don't comment is that I am often saddened by what I read.  I do heartily agree that we may disagree - and we do.  Good discussion ensues.  But there are times, maybe too often, that the disagreement of the subject matter turns into a personal attack and that saddens me. Maybe we can find Robert's Rules for Posters.  :) Another reason I don't post often is that i find it is more difficult to say things in such a form - not face to face, one can't see expressions, know when one is joking, etc.  I posted something a few weeks ago - unoffensive, I hope.  It was meant to be light and it wasn't taken that way by at least one poster.  I tried to rectify that, but did feel badly.  Finally, there are certainly non-negotiables in our communal journey of faith - be with LCMS, ELCA, RC, etc.  We know that Christ was born a man, was begotten of the Father, was crukcified, died and was buried and we rejoice in his resurrection - his ascension gives us hope that we, one day, will ascend to be with him.  There are other issues we face that I don't believe are that settled by Scripture - perhaps we'll have clarity in heaven - or we WILL have clarity in heaven, e.g., the role of women in the church.  I think we all have our opinions, yet some post as if by divine inspiration and as if any other opnion were wrong. I simply don't desire to respond - until, that is, I'm divinely inspired.   I'm using my precious hour to vent when what I really wanted to do was to let you know that I respect your opinion and if you intend to post more of your beautiful poetry, I do hope the "Hour Rule" is put aside.

Of course, I also had to wait an hour to rectyify:  Pastor ERMA not EMMA!  Sorry...

Blessings on this day - Eileen Smith

Your Turn / Re: Freedom for the Forum!
« on: January 03, 2011, 08:25:04 AM »
I'll admit to not having rather strong feelings when I read through some of the posts yesterday.  This morning, I thought that Bergs had it right - if you don't like it, don't read it.  I tend to do that here.  There are some names that pop up that I immediately seek out:  Pastor Emma!!  And there are others..well, if I think it is going to be a series of one-line arguments between two people, I simply move on.  Sometimes, I'll admit, I've stayed off the Forum for weeks because of the tone of some postings.  But then I read Father Williams' post.  If this stops negative remarks between/among posters - and posters put serious thought into their contribution - I say brilliant idea, Pr. Johnson.

Your Turn / Re: My Son Received a Papal Blessing This Summer
« on: December 29, 2010, 08:23:31 PM »
What a wonderful experience for your son.  I'm sure it will remain with him for many years to come.

Your Turn / Re: Women Lectors
« on: December 17, 2010, 03:42:50 PM »
I don't doubt any of your claims, but there are some of us who do not take the Word of God lightly, but in, fact, take it very seriously.  The issue is what the Word of God says for those of us not in favor of women lectors (and nothing more).  Thanks.
  I do take God's Word seriously, very seriously.  And I see it as inclusive - very inclusive.

Your Turn / Re: Women Lectors
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:56:11 PM »
If I may add just one more point - we Lutherans consider ourselves to be a liturgical church - liturgical not being the number of times we reverence or make the sign of the cross in the liturgy - but the involvement of the laity.  What a gift of Pope John XXIII to bring about so many wonderful liturgical reforms. 

Your Turn / Re: Women Lectors
« on: December 17, 2010, 02:54:16 PM »
I've been following this thread and it seems like I've gone back about twenty years to when I chaired a floor committee at the Atlantic District assembly and one of the motions brought forward was to allow women to be lectors!

In liturgical courses that I've taken, the following was referenced in allowing laity for the first and second readings.  I believe the laity read the lessons up until the 4th century when the deacon would read the Gospel.  Until then, I recall reading that the lector (lay) read all the readings.  (Springtime of the Liturgy might be one source.)  This being said, I don't recall anything about this practice [of reading] being limited to men.

The congregation that I was a member of in Queens is in an area considered to be the most diverse zip code in the US.  Our congregation had members from all over the world (new to this country).  Many of them came as a way to learn English.  Many of them were invited to read on Sundays and other worship services.  There were times it was hard to understand them - so one might refer to the bulletin cover.  I know, the readings are proclaimed, we don't read.  But to see how these people felt so welcome, so assimilated into the life of the congregation - it was just beautiful. Truly, they took this ministry seriously.  Bottom line for me - at times I didn't understand these people and yet I know they (and I) are going to heaven.  Our pastor was a woman and I'm convinced that she as well has the gift of salvation.   I'm not suggesting we get "sloppy" about things - but sometimes I do think we need to, well, lighten up!

Your Turn / Re: Christmas Music
« on: December 08, 2010, 08:57:01 PM »
I'll admit I'm teased a lot as often when we sing a hymn and I'll say, "oh that's my favorite."  But, I must say Advent hymns are truly my favorite of all, most especially, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.   It is such a gift to pray the O Antiphons - and I've a wonderful devotional booklet on the Antiphons.  Not to wander too far, but if it is too late for this Advent, may I suggest "O Come Emmanuel, A Musical Tour of Daily Readings for Advent and Christmas," by Gordon Giles.  It was given me as a gift and it is really an excellent devotional.

Pastor Austin, THANK YOU...THANK YOU..THANK YOU for this uplifting thread!!

Your Turn / Re: Halloween: Evil or harmless?
« on: October 20, 2010, 01:34:11 PM »
Kim, have you read all of the posts one might find on these pages!!!! :D :D :D

Your Turn / Re: Halloween: Evil or harmless?
« on: October 20, 2010, 01:13:53 PM »
I'll vote for harmless.  I celebrate Halloween - it's my birthday!  I had costume parties as a child.  When I went trick-or-treating in my Bronx neighborhood my relatives put birthday gifts in my bag.  I believe that we tend to 'over-think' things a bit.  We might find a way to reflect that Reformation Day might be harmful - gosh, what if a bunch of Lutheran dressed up as Martin Luther and demonstrated outside of a Roman Catholic church shouting obscenities! 

Your Turn / 9/11 - Nine Years Later
« on: September 11, 2010, 07:37:38 AM »
There were numerous Facebooks postings urging one not to forget all that occurred on 9/11.  I doubt we ever will. 

Eternal rest grant unto all who perished on that day,O Lord; may light perpetual shine upon them.
May they - with all the saints - rest in peace.

May the knowledge that they rest in the arms of our Lord grant comfort to those left behind.

Your Turn / Re: Sensitive versus Tolerant
« on: September 11, 2010, 07:34:37 AM »
Throughout this entire controversy, I've continued to think of the painting mentioned herein and another painting depicting Mary in an offensive manner.  The fact that elected officials called for tolerance and held up the right of expression of artists with these paintings may be expected.  What I couldn't get over (well, still bugs me) is that the church stood by, for the most part, and was quiet.  It goes beyond turning the other cheek, I believe.  When our Lord and the Mother of our Lord are depicted in offensive ways - be it art or not - we should be outraged.  We should speak out and, yes, perhaps a very civil protest at a museum. 

To the question asked:  absolutely, a double standard exists is certainly exists.  Art is not the only manner in which Christians (especially Roman Catholics) are shown in a very negative light.  The arts, in general, have a field day - movies, television, etc. 

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