Musings from the Pastor’s Desk for March 12, 2023
Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month is an annual worldwide celebration held in March. The observation highlights the contributions and achievements of women throughout history and in contemporary society. It started as Women’s Day, which was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909, by a group of Manhattan socialists and suffragists in honor of the one-year anniversary of the garment strike led by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.
The idea for Women’s History Month originated in the United States, where it was first observed as a week-long celebration in March of 1980 and later expanded into a month-long event in 1987. In recent years, the celebration has gained prominence. It is now recognized in many other countries as well, often with a focus on highlighting the remarkable achievements of women who have broken barriers and made significant contributions to their fields.
We can include female biblical characters too. The genealogy of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, includes several women, including Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (referred to as Uriah’s wife), and Mary. These women had imperfect pasts and played important roles in the family history of Jesus. Some scholars suggest that including women in the genealogy may have been a deliberate attempt to challenge the patriarchal cultural norms and values that traditionally marginalized women.
Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah, one of Jacob’s sons. After her husband died, she disguised herself as a prostitute to trick Judah into fulfilling his obligation to give her a son.
Rahab was a prostitute from Jericho who helped the Israelites conquer the city. She later became part of the line of David and, ultimately, Jesus.
Ruth was a Moabite woman who married an Israelite named Boaz. She is known for her loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi and her faithfulness to God.
Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, a soldier in King David’s army. David committed adultery with her and then had her husband killed.
Mary was the unmarried virgin mother of Jesus. She played a crucial role in the history of salvation by giving birth to the Savior of the world.
This Sunday, we meet another important woman in the life of Jesus. The woman is unnamed, but we call her the Samaritan woman at the well. The gospel message invites us to listen to how Jesus transforms her with living water and inspires her to spread the good news.
Join us for worship on Sunday, March 12, at 10:30 AM or via live stream on our Facebook page HopeClinton or our website Hopeclinton.org.
All are welcome!
Musings from the Pastor’s Desk for March 5, 2023Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, the children’s author, and cartoonist better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, entered the world. To honor his birthday, a reading celebration, “Read Across America,” will occur nationwide in thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers. My favorite Dr. Seuss book was “Green Eggs and Ham.” I loved how the dialogue rhymed, and it was a bit silly! But it made me want to read.Geisel was a master at inspiring children with dialogue as a literary technique. Dialogue, a conversation between two or more people in a narrative work, helps advance the plot, reveal a character’s thoughts or feelings, and show how the characters react in a moment. Dr. Seuss’ simple words and rhythmic patterns easily captivate young minds and bring them into the character discussions.The genius use of this device to draw readers to the chit-chat between characters demonstrates the importance of conversation. An open one-on-one casual conversation between two characters creates space for thinking, empathy, and for the critical communication tools we need to live a successful life. Moreover, dialogue can genuinely change the world. Take, for example, “Horton Hears a Who!” In that book, the main character, an elephant named Horton, hears a tiny voice coming from a spec of dust, which he discovers is a small planet called Whoville. After dialoguing with the mayor of Whoville, Horton concludes, “a person’s a person no matter how small,” and Horton goes on with the adventures of trying to save Whoville from being incinerated.In my favorite Seuss book, the dialogue occurs between a character named Sam I Am and another unnamed man who relentlessly tries to persuade him to change his mind. Finally, the ongoing conversation concludes with the success of opening one’s mind: “I do so like green eggs and ham!”The backstory of “Green Eggs and Ham” also includes an example of the success of dialogue. The author’s publisher challenged Seuss to write a book that contained fewer words than his previous best seller, “Cat in the Hat,” which included 236 words. Seuss won the bet by writing this new masterpiece with only 50 words, and only one of the words has more than one syllable: anywhere. That dialogue resulted in his new book selling more than eight million copies worldwide.As schools celebrate Dr. Seuss this month, remember the importance of dialogue. This Sunday’s Gospel message invites us to listen in on one of the essential dialogues recorded in Scripture, a conversation between Jesus and the pharisee Nicodemus. We will hear the discussion as we gather for worship on Sunday, March 5, at 10:30 AM or via; live stream on our Facebook page HopeClinton or our website Hopeclinton.org.Will you join us? Would you? Could you? I promise I won’t ask you to eat green eggs and ham!
Musings from the Pastor’s Desk for February 26, 2023
Counting the Days in Lent
On Wednesday, the Western church celebrated Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40-day Lenten journey to Easter. That means today, Friday, we have 43 days before we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord on Easter morning.
How can that be? If there are 40 days in Lent and Wednesday began the countdown, we have 38 days to go, right? Wrong. Easter arrives 43 days from today. You may think this is new math, but it isn’t. I’ll explain.
The earliest Christian followers were faithful Jews who honored the Sabbath as the Day of the Lord. Based on the creation story in Genesis, the seventh day was celebrated as a day God rested. Therefore, it was considered a blessed and hallowed day. However, the early church leaders viewed the death and resurrection of Christ as a new creation and consequently transferred the Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week. As a result, the Lord’s resurrection is celebrated not just on Easter Sunday but every Sunday.
The Lenten fasting season of forty days is to reflect upon the forty days Jesus fasted in the wilderness before he began his earthly ministry. However, since the Christians declared Sunday a day of celebration of the Lord, they would not permit fasting or penitential acts on that day. Therefore, fasting could only be allowed six days a week before Easter. That provision added six Sundays in Lenten Season, pushing back the start of the forty-day countdown to what we now observe as Ash Wednesday. That’s why we have 45 days remaining in our 40-day Lenten journey!
Some people may look at this as the opportunity to break their fast every Sunday. So, if you want, chose to eat that piece of chocolate or have a piece of cake every Sunday before Easter you won’t break your fast! Of course, you will be breaking the spirit of what the fast means. “Darn Pastor, why did you have to say that?”
Join us for the First Sunday in Lent, the first time we pause the Lenten fast and penitential observances, this Sunday, February 26, as we celebrate the resurrection and affirm our baptism. Join us for worship this Sunday at 10:30 AM or via; live stream or on Facebook or our website Hopeclinton.org.
Musings from the Pastor‘s Desk for January 29, 2023
Delivering the Good News!
Wednesday, the church commemorated the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, a day we celebrate Saul’s sudden, dramatic change from the evil persecutor of the church to Paul, history’s greatest evangelist of Christ. In case you missed it, no worries. You can read all about it.
Among Paul’s many gifts, he was a master of follow-up. If you didn’t understand his message or weren’t there at the time, you would likely receive a note afterward. As proof, take a look at the Bible: the New Testament contains letters he wrote to the early churches he founded. Today, the day after we recognized his conversion, the church celebrates Timothy, Titus, and Silas, companions of Paul’s and presumably letter carriers. Among their duties, they were messengers.
Timothy accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey as his young apprentice learned to spread the Good News throughout the Mediterranean. He was Paul’s “frontman,” traveling ahead of him to prepare for his arrival. Timothy also circled back to places following Paul’s departure to verify the ministry’s mission. In doing so, he occasionally carried Paul’s letters, notably the First Letter to the Corinthians. In case you missed it, it talks about “love is patient, love is kind,” and a noisy gong and clanging cymbal. Titus, who seems to be Paul’s next deputy, was the bearer of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. That diddy of Paul tells the good people of Corinth, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Besides their duties as letter carriers, Timothy and Titus were apparently writers in their own right, having their names accredited to other letters in the New Testament canon.
Silas, the third Paul companion honored Wednesday, didn’t make it in the Bible as a bearer of his own book. Maybe that’s because we were never clear on his actual name. In the Acts of the Apostles, we know him as Silas, but in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, he is called Silvanus. So perhaps Paul was a more formal guy, referring to his pal by his Latin and Hellenistic name. Although it is unclear whether Silas/Silvanus served as Paul’s courier, Silvanus is credited with delivering Saint Peter’s first letter.
Today we celebrate these three couriers: Timothy, Titus, and Silas. Come to worship, Sunday at 10:30 AM to hear Jesus deliver the good news from the Sermon on the Mount.
Worship with us in person or on Facebook live. View the recorded worship anytime on our Facebook page HopeClinton or on our website www.hopeclinton.org.
Peace and blessings!