Monthly Archives: January 2016

Kirkin’ o’ tha Tartans

For thousands of years tartans have reflected the preferences of particular weavers and the tastes of particular regions, and families who lived in those regions. Following the Dress Act of 1746, when the British government attempted to suppress wearing tartans,particular designs became associated with clans and bear the names of the clan.

Tartan09On January 31st, in the year of our Lord 2016, on the Sunday following the birthday of Robert Burns, the Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church will celebrate Scottish heritage with grand pageantry, parading tartans of clans that have worshiped in this congregation.

This service will emphasize Scottish influence: we will repeat portions of the Scots Confession of Faith, prayers from the Scottish Book of Prayer, and hear the Lord’s prayer in Gaelic. This service will also emphasize honoring family heritage.

Please join us at 10 am on Sunday, January 31st.

God’s Mission Needs a Church

I found a box of letters from my father among my mother’s possessions. I doubt she kept them for the quality of my father’s prose nor for their content. None the less they were carefully stacked and most were tied with ribbons. My father had written them during his training and subsequent deployment to England during World War II. Yet they had been retained through multiple moves while other possessions had been discarded or sold.

My father had kept other items, none of which had any practical use decades later: the loan terms for purchasing my mother’s first sewing machine, records related to the purchase and sale of various houses we had long ago lived in. He did not keep every scrap of financial record, for I do not recall finding records about the various cars he had owned.

Had they been alive, I would have enjoyed talking with them about why they had kept these records when they had moved into their much smaller retirement home. I perceive that these letters and records were symbolic for them of their relationship, of the love that they had shared for one another. Love that I had seen through the way they lived during my first 40 years.

Luke records Jesus beginning his ministry by reading then talking about Isaiah 61:

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the captives,
and recovery of sight to the blind,

    and to let the oppressed go free;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
— Isaiah 61:1-2 as read by Jesus and recorded by Luke 4:18-19 (NRSV)

Luke summarized Jesus’ teaching as: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Since scripture only records Jesus giving sight to a couple of blind men, without any overt instances of letting the oppressed or captives go free, one might conclude that Jesus’s mission had been fulfilled merely by the preaching of good news, the preaching of release, and the preaching of the year of the Lord’s favor without doing any of those tasks, without actually engaging in the mission Isaiah prophesied.

Bible: Greek, English, and CommentaryBut for the Church to have kept these writings from Luke, from Isaiah, and from dozens of other prophets and apostles for nearly 2,000 years, through wars and through peace, through famine and through prosperity, and to have carried them around the globe and to the moon and back, there must also have been significant acts of love that gave and continues to give lasting meaning to these writings.

What have you done, what are you doing, and how do you intend to live out the love in your relationships with your family, with your friends and with your neighbors in ways that gives meaning to your words, meaning that will live longer than the printed page or especially an HTML file?

Bring your dinner to our discussion of Luke 4:14-21 at 6 pm on Wednesday, January 20th. I will have more to say about this passage on Sunday, January 24th, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor

Serve the Good Wine

Should the changing of water into wine be called Mary’s miracle?

When the Mother of Jesus (John never refers to her as Mary) tells Jesus that their host has run out of wine, he objects saying: “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

But she ignores his objection, demonstrating her trust that he can accomplish all things, and tells the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”

wine-glassesWhat might we also accomplish if we could thoroughly trust Jesus to order our life’s circumstances? For Jesus does not stop with changing a little water into wine. He does not stop with just enough so the party can come to a reasonable end. He changes about 150 gallons of water into wine, enough for 4,000 servings!

The host for this dinner did like most would for a large party, he had served an adequate wine. One that people would readily drink (they did run out), but when compared with a great wine, the better would clearly stand out. Jesus did not give more of this adequate wine, even though the palates of many of those present might have been numbed by the host’s wine, he gave them a wine clearly better than adequate.

Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church again held a no audition, no rehearsal Christmas pageant, trusting that God would provide children to fill all of the parts, and that we would have costumes for every child who came. The “animals” danced with joy, the “angels” and “shepherds” watched in awe, and the “magi” brought gifts to “Mary” and “Joseph”. All resulting in a worship service that was more than adequate, and involved far more children than normally attend worship.

How might you trust God to provide an abundance in your future?

Bring your dinner to our discussion of John 2:1-11 at 6 pm on Wednesday, January 13th. I will have more to say about this passage on Sunday, January 17th, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor