Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 15,  2017

The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is life eternal through our Lord Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection. It is that time of the Church year to again meditate on what our gracious God did for you and me. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday on March 1. The Ash Wednesday service will introduce the theme for the Sundays of Lent to follow. The theme this year will be "The Parables of Lent". Each Sunday will  focus on one of Jesus' parable as it applies to us and the message of salvation in Him. Below is the schedule for the Lenten Season:

                                                March 1, Ash Wednesday Worship 7:00 P.M.
                                                               (With Holy Communion)

                                                Sunday Morning Lenten Worship 10:30 A.M.
                                                                (Holy Communion 1st & 3rd Sundays)

                                                Each Wednesday evening March 8 to April 5
                                                                 Fellowship/Food: 6:00 P.M.
                                                                 Bible Study: 7:00 P.M.

                                                April 9, Palm Sunday Worship 10:30 A.M.

                                                April 14, Good Friday Tenebrae Worship 7:00 P.M.

                                                April 16, Easter Sunday Worship 10:30 A.M.

As we ponder the fact that without Jesus our eternal life will be one of everlasting pain and suffering in Hell, we want to know and trust the saving work of Jesus. On our own we could never do enough to  merit Heaven. Jesus has redeemed you and me. Be encouraged to worship the Risen Lord this Holy Season. Bring a friend or come alone!!
There is also Bible Class with the study of Luther's Small Catechism every Sunday at 9:15 A.M. if you desire. I look forward to seeing you.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor James Rhiver

Friday, June 6, 2014


I was asked recently if I preferred the use of a cross or that of a crucifix. The way the question was asked led me to believe the answer was needed more to confirm someone’s position than to really find out what I preferred and why.

The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the shape of a “T”. A crucifix is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself attached to the cross is referred to as the corpus (Latin for "body").

At the time of the Reformation, there was a movement that believed the ‘moderate reforms” of Martin Luther and the Evangelicals (later commonly called ‘Lutherans’), did not go far enough in distancing themselves from the Catholic Church. Rather, they wanted to throw off the “yoke of Rome” and jettison anything that reminded them of the Catholic Church. Lead by Andreas Karlstadt and Ulrich Zwingli, and known later as the Radical Reformation, those reformers believed that since the Catholic Church used images and objects to foster superstitious religious beliefs among the people, they needed to be suspicious of all images and religious objects—they were iconoclasts of varying degree. Many of the radical reformers thought this was related to the way the Catholic Church understood and emphasized the visible and material parts of the Church. So, for example, they could be suspicious of statues and paintings, holy water, relics, crossing oneself, genuflecting and so on. You will recognize that some of these abuses were also done away with in the Lutheran churches. However, as an example of how the radical reformers, and later John Calvin among others, could (and would) take things too far, many of them also saw the doctrine of the Real Presence as part of the superstitious belief of the Catholic Church.

While the Lutherans retained the use of the crucifix, many of the abuses surrounding it were reformed. For example, the Catholic Church’s mandated devotion and prayer before the crucifix (which is seen as sacramental) is abolished. Crucifixes, not plain crosses, are seen everywhere in Lutheran churches throughout the world. Only in America, where Lutheranism came under the influence of Calvinism, is the plain cross seen as preferred.

American Protestants object to the crucifix because it is Roman Catholic and to condone or display the crucifix is to make a statement in favor of Catholicism. For many, the issue of cross vs. crucifix now simply distinguishes between Catholic and Protestant. No American Protestant would want to be identified as a Catholic. I think most Lutherans have historical amnesia and don’t know why they do or don’t many things, this issue among them. 

The reality is that historically, the use of the empty cross alone is simply not part of Lutheran practice.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What Does the Liturgy Mean?

[NOTE: This article was moved to FAITHpages. Please see the listing in the right-hand column.]

Monday, August 5, 2013

Breakfast at Rothschilds

Everyone is invited to join us for 
Breakfast at Rothschilds

Saturday, August 10th  -  at 8:30  

then following breakfast
we'll be working together to
clean up in and around the church.