What images come to mind when you hear the words “witness” or “testify”? Maybe courtroom scenes or news reports of trials or Congressional hearings.
I’ll admit that my mind leaps to a couple of great songs – Marvin Gaye’s “Can I get a Witness” and The Greg Kihn Band’s “Testify.”
But how about in a religious context, a Christian context?
There’s some witnessing and testimony going on in this Sunday Gospel reading (John 1:29-42). No theological discourse, just John the Baptist pointing to Jesus and telling what he saw, making a claim, an identification – maybe like a witness on the stand in a courtroom at that climatic moment when they point their finger and identify the defendant as the one who did it.
Writing in the latest issue of the Christian Century, Methodist pastor and professor William Willimon noted this about that passage from John:
“John’s testimonials are lacking in content and repetitious: ‘Look! The Lamb of God!’ Yet on the basis of his witness two of his followers become Jesus’ first disciples. Having seen, John tesified so that other might see. Later, when inquirers ask Jesus what he’s up to, Jesus says simply, ‘Come and see.’”
This week’s reading from John gives us an opportunity to consider how we testify as to who Jesus is. What do we say about Jesus? And, no less important, how does what we do – both individually and as a faith community — point to Jesus as the son of God?
See you on Sunday,
A couple of new worship services are coming in with the New Year:
¨ A weekly 8:30 a.m. Sunday contemplative service, with no music, just scripture, prayer and Holy Communion, beginning Sunday, January 19..
¨ A monthly 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening service with acoustic, folks roots-style music if we can find a musician or two, tentatively scheduled to begin Saturday, January 25.
Find up to date schedule information at faithlakewood.org, follow us on Facebook (there’s a link and feed on the right side of our website) or call the church office at 216-226-6500.
6 p.m. — Christmas music that spans genres and generations — from piano to pipe organ and flute to drum and finger cymbals, featuring Faith’s inter-generational choir and others.
7 p.m. — Worship with candlelight, carols, bells and Holy Communion.
10 a.m. — Scripture and carols in a come-as-you-are casual, 30- to 45-minute worship service.
In last Sunday’s gospel reading, John the Baptist pretty clearly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. This week (and about eight chapters of Matthew later), he doesn’t seem so sure, asking “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” So, what happened in the meantime? And what are we to make of Jesus’ answer? And what does all of this have to do with getting ready for Christmas? You can find the whole exchange here. We’ll talk about it on Sunday.
We enter Advent this Sunday (Dec. 1), lighting the first candle on the wreath as we begin this time of hopeful expectation and anticipation.
The gospel reading for Sunday, which you can find here, might seem a bit odd amid the cheerful Christmas shows and songs that already are popping up. Seems more fitting of this classic from Elvis Costello than the Christmas carols we associate with December.
Seems to me it has more to do with what football coaches would call “clock management” or maybe the hazard of being so focused on what’s coming we fail to do anything now.
We’ll talk about it in worship at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
A few weeks ago we blessed quilts and personal care kits we were shipping off to Lutheran World Relief. Today, they might be on their way to the Philippines, giving comfort and care to people left with nothing in the wake of the typhoon that devastated the islands last week.
You can check out a video update on typhoon relief here and you’ll hear and see where quilts and personal care kits end up.
this Sunday at our 2 p.m. worship service in Fellowship Hall. Pets are welcome but not required at this service of scripture, prayers, familiar hymns and Holy Communion along with individual blessings for pets and their people.
Also, this Sunday at 9:15 a.m. we begin a two-week look at Trinity Lutheran Seminary Professor Mark Allan Powell’s video series “How Lutherans Interpret the Bible.”
This Sunday (Oct. 20) we celebrate and give thanks to God for the work of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, which operates the 2100 Lakeside men’s homeless shelter and many other efforts to help those pushed to the margins in Cleveland. Find out more about LMM here or watch this video.
The Rev. Mark Brauer, LMM’s vice president, youth services, will preach and lead worship at 10:30 a.m.. Mark and Faith members Lynn Schlessman and Bill Fink will talk and field questions about LMM during the 9:30 a.m. adult Faith Walk class.
Discover – or rediscover – Faith this Sunday (October 13) as we celebrate its founding as a mission congregation 89 years and look toward its future as a mission community in southwest Lakewood.
The day begins with Faith Walk and Bible study at 9:30 a.m. Worship is at 10:30 a.m. and at noon we’ll celebrate with an Oktoberfest-style lunch with brats, hot dogs, sauerkraut and such.
If you can’t make it, please support Faith in your prayers and consider a donation to the Faith Mission Fund. Checks can be made payable to Faith Lutheran Church, with “Faith Mission Fund” in the memo line and mailed or brought to Faith at 16511 Hilliard Road, Lakewood, OH 44107. A slip to mark your gift in honor of someone and to indicate whether it’s OK to include your name in a public list of Faith supporters can be found here.
Thank you for your support!
— Pastor Mark Rollenhagen
Faith’s first pet memorial service is at 5 p.m. Saturday in the sanctuary.
No pets at this service, but people are encouraged to bring photos or other memories of a deceased pet. Photos for a video display can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pets are welcome at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 6) for Faith’s monthly pet-friendly worship service, which includes blessings for pets and their people.
The memorial service on Saturday acknowledges the loss people feel when pets die and offers an opportunity to give thanks to God for the love and companionship between people and their pets. A reception following the service will offer time to share memories and photos.