Thursday, October 26, 2017

From Mother Vicki

Collect for Martin Luther

O God, our refuge and our strength: You raised up your servant Martin Luther to reform and renew your Church in the light of your word. Defend and purify the Church in our own day and grant that, through faith, we may boldly proclaim the riches of your grace which you have made known in Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The 500th Anniversary of the Posting of the Ninety-Five Theses

31 October 1517

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As a thirty-three year old monk and priest, Martin Luther had the courage to challenge the Roman Catholic Church for some of the practices, such as indulgences, which were not scripturally based. His 95 theses became a catalyst for Reformation that led to the formation of Protestant churches and an English Reformation that resulted in the separation of the Church of England from Rome.

Luther also took the music for “A Mighty Fortress is our God” from a popular tavern song of the time and added a new text based on Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Frederick Henry Hedge’s English translation of Luther’s German text is:

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;

a helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:

for still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;

his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate,

on earth is not his equal.”

It is helpful to remember Luther’s clarity about the forces with which we still battle on earth, and how Christ’s conquering of evil through his death and resurrection has made the difference. Our hope in God is real. What I love about this hymn is the strength of the faith that is expressed. Martin Luther had a powerful faith.

We are grateful to Jonelle Ward for her beautiful and gracious presentations about Alzheimer’s Disease after both services last Sunday. The conversations were very helpful and clarifying. She left a great deal of material, so if you would like some further information about Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia, please ask me.

Our Yonkers Basics program led by Dr. Jen Longley and Anthony Johnson will be offered this Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m.-noon in our Library, with babysitting available across the hall in the Sunday School Room. We are hopeful for a great turnout! This course has been sponsored by the My Brother’s Keeper program, a national initiative by President Barack Obama.

We have received the results of the Spiritual Life Inventory for our RenewalWorks Program and are currently processing it with our RenewalWorks Team. For more information, feel free to contact me, Tara Seeley and Carrie Parkey (RenewalWorks Facilitators), Jen Longley (RenewalWorks Communicator), or our RenewalWorks Team (Samuel Akhtar, Linda Brown, Carol Craft, Debbie DeBride, Aaron McKinney and George Morrison). This is an exciting venture and will give us some clarity about future steps that might help us grow spiritually.

We will be praying for all who have died in the last year on Sunday, November 5, All Saints Sunday. If you would like names listed, please turn them in to the Church Office by Tuesday, Oct. 31. Our new Children’s Choir will be singing at the 10:15 a.m. Service on November 5th for the first time. You won’t want to miss this!

Join the Saint John’s Festival Choir to sing on Christmas Eve! Bob Sirota will begin rehearsing with all interested singers (sopranos, altos, tenors and basses) on Wednesday, 15 November from 5:45-6:30 p.m. in the Church. The next four rehearsals are all after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20). For more information, please contact Mother Vicki+ (mothervsirota@gmail.com).

Please add Saturday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. to your calendars! This will be Our Saint John’s Fundraising Concert featuring an excellent string quartet playing the music of Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven in support of the needed repair of our historic stained glass windows. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. preceded by sparkling cider, wine and cheese in the Narthex at 6 p.m. Invite your friends! Ticket information to follow, as well as how to be listed as a Benefactor or Sponsor!

In these present times when it seems as if the forces of evil, anger and hatred have taken control of our world, we need to remember the words that Luther penned at the end of the fourth verse of “A Mighty Fortress”: “God’s truth abideth still; his kingdom is forever.”

In Christ and with love,
The Reverend Canon Victoria Sirota

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