New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 18, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Advent Vespers practice
Advent vespers choir practice took place Thursday night as the group prepares for their Nov. 26 chorale celebration at First Baptist Church on Cross Street. The next practice takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday. This year’s concert is a memorial tribute to Melitta Frueh, founder and director of vespers. The Nov. 26 performance will begin at 4 p.m. For information, call 625-3875.
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Saturday, November 18, 2000 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 7A
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Kids respond to SOS
Kids from St. John’s Episcopal Church, who donated 289 pounds of food, visited the SOS Foodbank Wednesday to learn about how their donations help others.
The group also donated bibles.
Projected Christians and butterfly ballots
Celebrating Thanksgiving Day with prayer, blessings
As grieved as I am about the events of the past week, I have to acknowledge my appreciation for the wealth of material from which to shed light on Christian living today. Recent political maneuver-ings can be metaphors for current Christianity.
To start, some people are “projected” to be Christians. By all appearances, church exit polls, and external data, some people look as though they’re Christians. Church attendance, membership rolls, and an occasional dollar in the offering plate all lend to early projections of true Christianity.
As we have seen, projections can prove premature. When the ballots — or lives — are examined more closely, some projected Christians may discover that early predictions are deceiving to themselves and others.
On the other hand, some Christians spiritual status is simply too close to call. Their discipleship is so fuzzy, it’s hard to predict any trends. Outside observers try to watch for any lifestyle patterns that might give them a clue to which way the results will fall. Unfortunately, there should be no question as to the leanings of any authentic Christian. The life of a true follower of Jesus should appear as a landslide victory. This is one prediction that can and should be made long before the ballots close.
Lastly, projected Christians may want to rely on a “Butterfly Ballot” defense. When the ballot booths of their lives close, they can stand before the judge and try to plead ignorance and confusion when he denies them access to his presence for not paying attention. They will claim that they misunderstood the process and that they couldn’t figure out the Bible. Simple acceptance of God’s will was just too difficult. It won’t matter to these projected Christians that this process has been around for centuries, and that millions of people did figure it out and have enjoyed an intimate relationship with Jesus both on earth and ultimately in heaven.
Standing before the ultimate election official, projected Christians whose ballots have been discarded due to ignorance, neglect or sheer stupidity will hope they can get a recount of their lives. If possible, they will want to review the parts of their lives that might make a difference in the inevitable outcome. They will hope that by going over their lives again with a fine-tooth comb, they can hope for a different outcome than the one they chose. They will want another chance — but this time they promise to pay attention and take it seriously.
Even if God were to recount their lives over and over, and humor the “Butterfly Ballot” defense, the result would still be the same. The Bible (God’s legal statutes) already defines the parameters of human existence.
People get one chance at life.
God won’t change his laws to suit our desires even if we don’t like the outcome.
Unlike the American vote of 2000, there will be an end to the process of living. I guess we should pay attention and take responsibility for the one life God generously gives us to live.
(Tim Judkins is the Associate Minister of First Protestant Church where he leads the Contemporary Worship Celebration each Sunday morning.)
“But when you have eaten your fill, you must bless the Lord your God, for the good country He has given you.” So Moses ordered his people, and since then, and even before them, it has been natural for man to thank his Creator for permitting him to sharp in the fruits of the earth that He created for him.
The idea of setting aside a day for thanksgiving did not originate with the pilgrims in America, for the custom was practiced in Europe in ancient times. The Puritans of Massachusetts were opposed to observing Christmas, which they regarded as a Catholic festival. Since Christmas was not celebrated in any English colony except Rhode Island, Thanksgiving took the place of Christmas for the orthodox Puritan.
“Atfirst it was not a particularly religious celebration (although it later took on religious overtones) but a period of festivity like the English Yuletide. Thursday was chosen because of its popularity as a lecture day”
The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in the fall of 1621 after the first harvest at the Plymouth settlement. During the week-long festival, the Pilgrims and their Indian guests feasted in the open air on the meat, wild fowl and deer that had been barbecued for the occasion.
Before the end of the 17th Century, Thanksgiving was an annual holiday in Connecticut and Massachusetts and slowly began to spread to other colonies. At first it was not a particularly religious celebration (although it later took on religious overtones) but a period of festivity like the English Yuletide. Thursday was chosen because of its popularity as a lecture day.
As the custom of celebrating Thanksgiving became more firmly established and spread to the south, the state governors began to issue proclamations indicating the days to be observed in their states. In the 1840’s Sarah Josepha Hale, editorial writer for Godey’s Lady’s Book, began a campaign urging the adoption of a uniform date for the entire country — the last Thursday in November. Then, on Sept. 28, 1863, she wrote President Lincoln a letter urging him to proclaim a uniform date celebrating Thanksgiving as an annual holiday, along with Washington’s birthday and the Fourth of July. Four days later Lincoln issued his
Cross prepares for dedication
Members of Cross Lutheran Church recently purchased 17 acres of vacant farm land on Common Street in northwest New Braunfels for a new church and school. At 2 p.m. on Dec. 3, members and friends of the church invited to attend groundbreaking services at the new location across form the Sundance Golf Course.
Initial plans call for construction of approximately 30,000 square feet that will comprise a worship/fellowship center, classrooms to accommodate up to the eighth grade for a Christian day school, administrative offices, senior life center, two kitchens, quilters ministry and youth/music facilities.
Edward F. BILY
eloquent proclamation, inviting his “fellow citizens” to join in the common observance. Earlier presidential calls for a day of thanks or prayer were not annual and had no connection with the harvest festival.
After 1863, Lincoln’s example was followed by all subsequent presidents. The state executives also continued to issue their own proclamations. Thus, the date of the holiday was a matter of annual presidential proclamation until 1941 when Congress, by ajoint resolution approved by the president, set the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, a legal holiday. Although Congress fixed the date, the president continued to issue the customary proclamation which Lincoln originated in 1863.
God, our father, from you we have received generous gifts so that we might learn to share your blessings in gratitude. Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite. On Thanksgiving Day we come to you with gratitude for your kindness; open our hearts to concern for our fellow men and women so that we may share your gifts in loving service. Amen.
(The Rev. Msgr. Edward F. Bily is the Parochial Vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Church.)
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