Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Blog

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Fame to Shy Away from is the Notoriety that Elevates Self

Here is the poem I used today in the sermon, plus a few thoughts/after-thoughts regarding it.  

The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to the silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth, more famous than the dress shoe, which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
I want to be famous to shuffling men who smile while crossing the streets, sticky children in grocery lines, famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.
--“Famous” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
(Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995) by Naomi Shihab Nye..

          "Famous" is not a word used very often to describe Christian service.  In fact, I would never use it, except in the sense the poem suggests.  The author is not writing about the Christian life, but it instructs my thoughts about humility and what is important about serving others. 
          The fame to shy away from is a notoriety that elevates self.  The emphasis is self-serving and the giver is elevated instead of the author of all good gifts.  What is described in the poem is the value of doing what one can, as one can, for another.  In Christian service we do what we can, as we can, on behalf of others, for the Glory of God.

Still in one peace, Stephen

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Five Solas

The Five Solas

Sola Scriptura ("by scripture alone")

Sola Fide ("by faith alone")

Sola Gratia ("by grace alone")

Solus Christus ("through Christ alone")

Soli Deo Gloria ("glory to God alone")

     This Sunday in worship we begin a sermon series that will use the Five Solas as the topic outline.  The Five Solas listed above are five Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers' basic theological beliefs.  "Sola" is Latin meaning "alone" or "only."  Although these individual phrases have been used for centuries, it is not clear when they were first put together.  They may be found individually expressed in the various writings of the 16th century Reformers, either explicitly or implicitly, but they are not found presented as a list, per se
     Historically these doctrines were developed in response to the then dominant beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.  This is important to know but is not the basis for our discussion.  Note also that though theses doctrines generally describe fundamental Protestant doctrines, there is much discussion and even disagreement about what they mean amongst Protestants.  Nevertheless, they are useful for our study and discussion. 
 Our first tenet will be Soli Deo Gloria (7/15/12).  As the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, "What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever."
Still in one peace, Stephen

We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone,
for the glory of God alone, standing on Scripture alone.