Welcome to the family, Jaryd!

Besides celebrating Passion/Palm Sunday today, we were also especially blessed to celebrate Jaryd’s baptism.

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Our prayers and blessings go to Larry and Noree’s family as they raise Jaryd in the ways of the Lord, along with the help of godmother Clarice!

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Hooray for Sunday School!

Here’s Phoebe holding the rapt attention of both volunteer Sunday School teachers and children. She was helping them see the principles of Godly Play in action.

The Children’s Sunday School will be kicking off again in full force soon – stay tuned!

Let the little children come and do not forbid them – Early Communion at BLC

After service this morning, Rev. Augustin held an education session for parents to discuss early communion at BLC.

—“Early Communion” refers to permitting baptized children to begin receiving communion before confirmation. Rev. Augustin delivered a presentation by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Truscott, which took us through biblical and historical views on early Communion. In summary:
  • —Documents of the early church make instruction and baptism requirements for communion
  • —Baptism is understood as the rite of admission to communion
  • —Once infants became the primary baptismal candidates, churches did not exclude them from communion (1 Cor 11 was no hindrance!)
  • —Later circumstances led to their exclusion from communion; infant communion had to be suppressed!
  • —ELCA, LCS and other Lutherans churches have moved to early communion
  • —At first, American Lutherans were concerned about avoiding the perception that confirmation/first communion gave full membership status
  • —Now ELCA emphasizes the idea that baptism admits one to the Supper regardless of one’s age
  • —LCS also emphasizes the relationship between baptism and first communion; talks about faith receiving the gifts of HC, rather than constituting basis of admission

Full slides are available here: Early Communion teaching – BLC

Reminder: 3rd Sunday in Advent – Youth Service

Come early this Sunday, 16 December 2012, 10am, as we celebrate the 3rd Sunday in Advent with a Youth Service!

What does this mean? Well, for starters, the service will be lead primarily by our young people. In fact, we have a special guest speaker in the form of one of our prepubescent young men – Tor! Come and join us this Sunday for what will definitely be an exciting service!

Scripture lessons this week:

  • Isaiah 40:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
  • Matthew 11:2-10

Find out more about BLC’s Advent and Christmas 2012 celebrations here:

3rd Sunday in Advent: Youth Service

Next Sunday, 16 December 2012, 10am, we will be celebrate the 3rd Sunday in Advent with a Youth Service!

What does this mean? Well, for starters, the service will be lead primarily by our young people. In fact, we have a special guest speaker in the form of one of our prepubescent young men – Tor! Come and join us this Sunday for what will definitely be an exciting service!

Scripture lessons this week:

  • Isaiah 40:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
  • Matthew 11:2-10

Find out more about BLC’s Advent and Christmas 2012 celebrations here:

Small Is Beautiful – David Pritchard

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This morning, we had the wonderful privilege of having David Pritchard tell a wonderful story from the Bible with us. David was in town for a conference and also took time to conduct the How To Tell Children Sacred Stories From The Bible Using Godly Play® workshop yesterday.

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Sharing with us the story from II Kings 5, David – with the help of several (impromptu volunteers) – shared with us how the little, unnamed slave girl’s seemingly wistful hope for Naaman’s healing from leprosy set off a remarkable chain of events that involved the geopolitical forces of the day.

Commenting on how events transpired from the unnamed slave girls wishes to Naaman and the King of Aram’s message to the King of Israel, David said, “How strange is it that when adults get involved in a child’s wishes, they complicate things! From a simple wish for her master to receive healing from the prophet, things get complicated: with a show of diplomatic document, displays of wealth and military power; all nearly sparking off a potential international diplomatic crisis!”

David then went on to share from the story about how Naaman had to adjust his “adult” expectations for healing to that of a child: But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (II Kings 5:11-14)

Even as we journey through the liturgical calendar towards Doom/Christ the King Sunday, we are reminded that of simple truths about how small is truly beautiful:

  1. God uses children – He listens to their desires and dreams. The challenge to us as adults is – are we listening to our own children?
  2. We need to become as a little child – far from being “childish” it is about having a change of heart and mind, like Naaman did. Looking at the simple things and not dismissing it’s value.
  3. Valuing the small – in church and mission. We are reminded from today’s Bible story that it’s the small, seemingly insignificant things that God can use to make a difference. Like the little slave girl’s wishful sigh, like Elisha’s instructions to Naaman for healing – these are all things that God can use to bring great miracles and healing to those around us. Like today’s Gospel Reading (Matthew 25:31-46) says – the small things, like playing with children, giving others a glass of water… doing these things (and not doing these things) is akin to doing the same to Jesus.