3rd Annual Salem Lion's Club 1K Walk For Hunger to benefit four Salem, NH Food Pantries.
Saturday May 30, 2015, 12-3PM
(One week after Memorial Day)
Tuscan Kitchen Parking Lot, Salem, NH
T-Shirts and refreshments given to all walkers after the walk
Help us help them!
For information call:
Chairwoman Phylis Marchulaitis
"View From The Pew" is here for you! With this spot you, the user of this site, may write in to have posted a spiritual, social or biblical thought, an observation or an idea on just about any topic at all. The intent of this is to give voice to our membership - you. Here it is hoped you will be encouraged to share your thoughts, feelings and/or understandings with us, your brethren. An exchange of ideas and an understanding of the thoughts and views of others will undoubtedly edify and strengthen our church community.
To submit your thoughts, ideas or comments, fill out the from below and click "SUBMIT". (Pasting a message from a word processor is very convenient.) In a day or two your message will appear here on our Home Page following Pastor Moore's Weekly Devotional, "Thoughts From Our Pastor".
...but do you know about God's Week, God's seven day/seven thousand year Week? Consider what Peter wrote in his letter: 2 Peter, Chapter 3:3-4,8-9
"...scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.' "
"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness..."
To read a series of essays on this fundamental and important doctrine of God's biblical 7000 year plan for mankind:
May 20, 2015
Last week my wife and I saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and we would agree with the critic who wrote, "it is one of the most magnificent and original masterpieces in art history. Michelangelo organized the space into a celebration of divine creation and the beauty of the human body. He introduced writes the critic, "the concept of terriblita (awe) to painting.
One's eyes are taken to the irresistible power and will of God the Father who dominates the ceiling. The creation of Adam is at almost the center of the painting and you sense the power of God coming from the finger of God reaching out to Adam who is lifeless or so it appears.
This Sunday the church celebrates Pentecost and the birth of the church and once again the power of God is behind the action of the Spirit. For me, I see the power of God in the creation of nature around me and in the power of caring from people. A suggestion is that each day we review our time and think about where did we see God in action this day...for as one of the favorite parts of a daily prayer of mine is "new every morning is the Love of God and all day long God is working for good in the world."
Blessings of Awe for All of Us
A must see video. Check it out!
(Click lower right of screen for full view.)
Below is a link to a YouTube video of poor visual quality, but of immense informational content. It is about the Star of Bethlehem. However, it is much more than that; it is about our time, and how we, today, can understand things of Scripture, because of present technologies, that none in the past could fully comprehend. Truly, it is, in the opinion of this writer, an indication of our special place now in the Plan of God. The video is long, 1hr5min, and of poor quality, but indicative of what the angel said to Daniel: "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end." (Daniel 12:9)
Sunday School has started up for its new season. Be sure to visit the "Sunday School" page (see above) for all the happenings going on with our kids and with any ways you might help out the staff. They work hard for our little ones. Let us give them all the support they need!
At the Last Supper, the last Passover Seder meal Jesus shared with his twelve before His crucifixion, Jesus initiated the present sacrament of Communion.
We all know what happened at that Seder. Jesus took bread, thanked God, broke the bread and passed it among the twelve. And He did something else, something quite unusual at the time. He told the twelve that the bread they held was his body, that his body was given for them and that they should continue the new and unusual ritual in remembrance of Him. (Luke 22.19)
Of course, the bread Jesus broke and gave to the twelve at that Seder meal was from a special recipe and only consumed for one week out of the year. Other than the newly added ingredient of spirituality (the bread representing Christ's body) an ingredient was blatantly missing from this bread that made it so special -- leavening. It was unleavened bread, commonly known today as Matzah; and Mosaic law demanded such be eaten at the Passover meal and, moreover, for the entire following week.
The Jews of Jesus' time did not know what the unleavened bread fully signified. They did know that their ancestors when fleeing from Egypt, were command to make their bread without leavening so as to not delay their departure from bondage waiting for their bread to rise. And thus the use of unleavened bread was a way of reminding them every Passover of God's great work in setting Israel free from Egyptian servitude. But the unleavened bread told, and still tells of something far greater than just Israel's liberation from bondage.
It would seem that the use of unleavened bread in our memorial of Christ's last Passover meal lost its significance and importance not long after gentiles became the majority and dominate force in the Christian fellowship. That, of course, is not surprising. As gentiles we are just not “Jewish enough” to consistently understand Hebrew/Jewish history, culture, customs and historic traditions. The worse of it, however, is that we often think we do have such an understanding when studying Scripture. Revisiting the story of the first Passover can reveal much to us about the significance of unleavened bread in the Passover, then and now, and how is should play a role in our Communion memorial today.
In Exodus Chapter 12, within verses 8-20 unleavened bread and leavening is mentioned ten times. Five times leavening and/or leavened bread is declared as prohibited, and five times unleavened bread is commanded to be eaten only -- and not just for one night, the night of the Passover, but for seven full days! Moveover, the first and seventh days of the unleavened bread commandment are declared to be Sabbaths! The commandment to shun leavened bread and consume unleavened bread for an entire week casts unleavened bread in a rather significant light. And to have that week of unleavened bread bracketed by TWO annual (high) Sabbaths makes the focus of the event special indeed.
"8 They shall eat the flesh (of the Passover lamb) that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. 18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
It has long been held that leaven in the scriptures represents sin and/or deviation from the Torah/Scriptures. Jesus warned of the leaven of the Pharisees, their traditions and customs perverting and superseding the Scriptures so as to enhance the standing of the religious leaders and creating a distance between the common man and God's written word-- a distance the leaders presumed to fill for their own prestige and advancement. But fundamentally, leaven, as it pertains to the bread of the Passover Seder and of our Communion, symbolizes sin -- or more revealingly -- the lack of sin, the lack of sin in the body, the very person, of Jesus!
But the significance of the Passover unleavened bread goes further than just a reminder of Israel's escape from Egypt and as a representation of the Christ's sinlessness. For hundreds of years prior to the Passover Seder of the "Last Supper", the unleavened bread also foreshadowed what the Christ would undertake and suffer on our behalf.
Unleavened bread, Matzah, displays on it surfaces markings that are likened to the marks, bruises and wounds of a flogging. These marks, or stripes if you will, speak of the wounds the Christ received from the flogging He suffered prior to the crucifixion. (Modern day, bakery made Matzah can display these marks/stripes even more dramatically.) Moreover, Matzah in its preparation receives piercings through its surfaces, tiny holes poked through the bread that speak of the piercing of Christ's hands, feet and side. And finally, the act of "breaking" the bread speaks of the death of the Christ. As the scripture declares regards the Christ:
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
And Psalm 22:16
“For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet -
So, with the unleavened bread, the Matzah, we have a visual reminder of who Jesus is and what He suffered for our sake.
Jesus instructed his twelve and, presumably, all christians to break the Passover bread in remembrance of Him. And not only in remembrance, but also (in the thinking of this writer) in continuance of its witness to who Jesus is and what, exactly, He experienced in our place. Since our Lord instructed us to remember Him through an act He performed at a Passover Seder, then should we not be eager to carry out that instruction as He, Himself, performed it?
It is true, of course, the breaking and eating of the Communion bread is done in many different ways wherever Christians gather. Some, without any thought or intent to be contrary, use regular, everyday, leavened bread, some use specially prepared bread dedicated solely to Communion and which is believed by its Communicants to be supernaturally transformed at some point. Some do use unleavened bread in their Communion while even others purposely use leavened bread to symbolize spiritual growth from Communion with Christ.
Although I understand there is a wide array of traditions as to what type of bread is used in Communion, I can only concluded that Matzah, the very unleavened, marked and pierced bread that was used at the Last Supper, that last Seder meal before Jesus was crucified, is unquestionably best suited to fully reveal to all in Communion who Jesus is and what it was He suffered for our benefit. The purpose of unleavened bread from the time of the Exodus until the crucifixion was to foreshadow God's provision for salvation. And since the crucifixion, its purpose has been to be a reminder of and continual witness to the saving work of God through the person of Jesus. As it is so readily available, or so easily made, why use any other bread at our Communion memorial than the unleavened bread our Lord, Himself, used for this very purpose?
The matter of the other element of Communion, the “Fruit of the Vine”, is a very interesting subject, too -- and a topic of some surprising facts. Be assured, that matter will be addressed in a future essay.
(Click lower right of screen for full view.)