Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

October 2022 Newsletter

“And the rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

But he said, ‘No Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
So Abraham said to the rich man, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:27-31

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells a parable in response to the Pharisees who a verse earlier was told about them that they loved money and therefore disqualify themselves from serving God.  This parable teaches us a few things.
First, it certainly speaks of the fact that the standing and positions that we have in this life do not transfer over to God’s kingdom.  There is a flipping of the tables as it were.  The age to come however, has a different social ordering than this corrupted one.  A word to the wise would note for us that we should not seek after this world which is transient, but focus on how God’s kingdom is ordered and act accordingly.

We see this in the parable that Jesus speaks about the rich man, who interestingly enough is not named.  We know the rich by name, but apparently God does not. We also then hear about a poor man who lies ignored in front of the rich man’s gate, named Lazarus, who is the only named character in all of Jesus’ parables.  This speaks volumes to us about who God notices.  As the parable goes on, both the rich man and Lazarus meet the same end, death.  It is what everyone in this world will meet.  Though what happens afterwards get attention here.  Lazarus gets a description of being attended to by angels who carry him to paradise and placed in Abraham’s bosom.
The rich man only gets dull finality.  “The rich man died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.”

What begins then is a back and forth between the rich man in Hades and Abraham.  First, the rich man wants to drag Lazarus down to hell with him in order that Lazarus would serve him still in hell.   “Let him wet his finger and touch my tongue, for I am in anguish.”  Even in hell, the rich man thinks of himself as the one needing to be served.  It is a scene that makes one agape at such spiritual blindness.
After being told that this was impossible for Lazarus to do because the chasm that is between them is too great and also because Lazarus will now be comforted for eternity while the rich man is tormented, the rich man then begs that Abraham send Lazarus to warn his family.  The rich man has 5 brothers.  If it is too late for the rich man, it is not too late at least for his brothers to heed the warning and avoid going into hell.

This tells us here that for as long as we live, the ability to come into saving faith in Christ is open.  Death is final and no transfer is available after death.  

But even here, the request to warn the brothers is denied.  Lazarus will not be sent back to warn the brothers who are in the rich man’s house.  Why?  Because the brothers have all they need to avoid this fate of the rich man now.  “They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.”

Notice the word “hear them.”  Not to knock personal Bible reading which should occur, but this is not referencing that.  This is gathering to hear God’s Word in corporate setting.  Moses and the Prophets (The Old Testament) are read every Sabbath day in the Synagogue. (And still today!)  Perhaps gathering for worship, the rich man would have noticed his brother in need.
So either the brothers have deaf ears that do not consider as they hear God’s Word, or like the rich brother, they “feasted sumptuously every day.”  This implies that attending Synagogue was not in the schedule of events for the brother since days of fasting, especially on Sabbath, was typical for Jews and “feasting sumptuously every day” kind of flies in the face of it.  The need to gather for corporate worship would have prepared them to hear God’s Word, who it proclaims—Jesus Christ—and the life that we are called to live knowing that the present form of this world is passing away.  

God’s Word is able to prepare us for eternity.  It is able to prepare you and grant you the ability to hear God’s Word and to believe.  And to act properly before God in faith and also to act in love for our neighbor.
The man protests this answer thinking along the lines that if people see a miracle they would believe that, and not just the plain old Word from Moses and the Prophets.

But to Abraham and to the redeem, this doesn’t follow in logic.  If they do not believe Moses and the Prophets, neither shall they believe if someone should come back from the dead.
This is a “hint, hint, wink, wink.” From Jesus.  This is why Jesus did not appear to the world, but only to those who would believe from the Word.

And it is now from their Word today, from Moses, the Prophets and the Apostles that we have come to faith as well.  People will not believe the miraculous, but rather have received something far more accessible and simple: The Word of God.  We don’t need anything else.

Despite this, we do have Jesus, who has come back from the dead, and we have the Word from Him that is able to make you and I wise to eternal life, grants us repentance, and through His Word that he connects to simple water and simple grain and wine, makes you wise into eternal life.
Hear the Word, produce its fruits, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And love your brothers.   Amen.

Upcoming Church Year Services
It is getting to that time of the year again!  The Church Year is about to start over again which gets us into all sorts of special services.  So put the dates and times on your calendar and come out and hear Moses and the Prophets and the Apostles and your Lord Jesus!  Below are the services and a brief description of what and why.

Reformation: Sunday October 30th at 9:00am (and the Thursday prior at 6:30pm)

            Another year of marking the beginning of the Reformation in 1517 is upon us.  This service will feature our choir and bells being a part of the service as well as a potato pancake breakfast put on by the elders following service till 12:30pm.  There is a sign-up sheet for this in the Narthex before you enter the sanctuary as we try and gain an accurate number needed for supplies.
All Saints Service: Sunday November 6th, 2022 at 9:00am (and the Thursday prior at 6:30pm)

            Luther hammered the 95 theses on October 31st in honor of All Saints Day which occurs on November 1st each year.  We always celebrate it the Sunday following Reformation should November 1st not fall on a Sunday.  (Though I would love to have the service always on November 1st regardless, I just worry about low attendance, but maybe we should anyway…)

            At this service, we remember those who have gone on to be with our Lord since the last All Saints Day 2021.  If you have a loved one who was in the faith who has now gone on to be with the Lord in the last year, please forward their name and a picture to our church office so they can be compiled together for the reading of the Saints during that service.
Advent: Midweek Services beginning Wed, November 9 through Thurs, December 22nd

            This is our 3rd year of picking up the Advent tradition of seven weeks instead of four weeks.  This allows us to extend our preparation for Christmas.  Four weeks before Christmas does not let us savor the flavor of Advent, and it also fits smoothly with the schedule, and allows for extra service opportunities.
            The Midweek Thursday Services and the Wednesday Chapels during the days noted in the description will be different than Sunday services (Chapels during this time will be a full length service, same as Thursday night). They will be covering the theme of Worship.  We will cover different parts of worship.  From Confession and Absolution to the Sermon, to the Service of the Sacrament.  We will go over the different parts of the service, why they are there, and how they function and shape disciples into the Word of God.  Join us to get a more rounded understanding of how Lutherans are shaped by the Word during the Divine Service.

Thanksgiving Eve: Wednesday November 23rd at 9:00am & 6:30pm

Like last year, there will be two services on Thanksgiving Eve.  One in the morning at 9:00am and the evening service at 6:30pm.  This will fit into our Advent theme of Worship for the topic, so before you head out to be with family, please come ahead of time to praise God from whom all blessings flow and to receive his gifts in Word and Table.

Next month in the Newsletter, we will discuss Christmas Eve and Day services since those are still a bit off, but suffice it to say for now, services on Christmas Eve will be at 10am, 2pm, 4pm, & 6pm and Christmas Day at 9:00am.  We will also talk about how New Years Eve will be structured and how services will play out during the final week of the year 2022!  (Which is terrifying to write!  It has been a quick year)

Because of generous bequests from two members our checking account is actually looking really good right now, even though the offering has been down. We have also taken steps to reduce our expenses where we can (the new boilers will reduce our energy costs this winter and the switch to all LED lights has already significantly reduced our electric bill). The budget committee will also begin meeting this month. The proposed budget will be available in late December and approved at the January congregational meeting. If you have thoughts or questions on the budget process, please contact the office, Pastor, or talk to the committee chair, Lorrie Krokstrom.

Finally, we have several events coming up.  I do not have the space for detailed notes here, but they are covered in the rest of this Newsletter, so be sure to take a look!  But it doesn’t hurt to mention them here and have you read through the rest of the Newsletter to find them.

Bethlehem Walk is returning on Friday, December 2nd and Saturday December 3rd from 4pm-7pm on both days.  We will need some volunteers and also people to come and enjoy the event!
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is getting started as well.  Each year we pack 150 shoeboxes full of school supplies, hygiene items and other things to be sent out to those children around the world.  You can find more information listed in the Newsletter as well as ways to help out!

Elder’s Potato Pancake Breakfast!  On Reformation, the elders will be putting on Breakfast after service.  Potato Pancakes, regular pancakes, cheese, eggs, sausages and all that good stuff will be served.  Sign up is on the lectern in the narthex!  Hope to see you there!

PUPPETS Sunday and Cinnamon Rolls!  The PUPPETS will be part of the service on October 23rd and will also be selling their delicious Cinnamon rolls during that day as well!  Come hungry and follow your nose to the fellowship hall following the service to support their work and program!
Ark Encounter!  Our church is going on a trip next Summer to visit the Ark and Creation Museum in Kentucky.  The dates are June 11th-14th.  Sign up is in the narthex and more information can be found there.  Limited number of spots so do not delay!

There is more of course and hopefully is evident here, so stay connected and call up the office if you need to find out more! Peace to you all in Jesus Christ our Lord!

In Christ,
Pastor Andrew Belt
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