BIBLE AND BRUNCH
I am excited to announce an important change to our Sunday schedule!
We are making a change to accommodate those who would like to attend our adult Christian Education class, but cannot because it is either too early or it makes the day too long.
Beginning this Sunday, March 8th, we are replacing our 8:30 AM Christian Education class with “Bible and Brunch” immediately after Services. Bible and Brunch will take the place of Fellowship and Refreshments — without giving up either.
With three households providing refreshments each Sunday, our refreshments are far more than the standard church fare of coffee and donuts. In fact, it is no stretch to describe it as “brunch.”
After Services we will bless God for the food we are about to receive as usual, and then everyone can go up to the serving tables and enjoy fifteen minutes or so of fellowship. Then we will have a forty-five minute study while everyone continues to enjoy their food. The study will be more interactive than a traditional lecture-style class. I think you will really enjoy it!
On the last Sunday of the month there will be a Potluck Luncheon as usual, and there will be no study on that day.
Replacing our adult Christian Education class with Bible and Brunch will shorten the day significantly without losing anything. In addition, since a far larger percentage of our church family will be in attendance at Bible and Brunch I will be able to simply preach at the Eucharist rather than preach and teach. This should shorten my sermon by a third.
So invite your friends, bring your Bible, and get ready for Bible and Brunch beginning this Sunday. See you there!
NEW SUNDAY SCHEDULE
9:15 AM Morning Prayer
10:00 AM. Holy Eucharist
Bible and Brunch immediately following Services
This Sunday I will be preaching an important sermon on the Signs of the Times and End Time Bible Prophecy. Who isn’t interested in Bible prophecy? Invite family and friends, including “doubting Thomas’s," it will be a faith-building experience. You will not want to miss this important message!
THE BIBLICAL FESTIVAL OF PURIM — Sundown on Monday, March 9th through sundown on Tuesday, March 10th
The Book of Esther records events that took place in Persia (modern Iran) during ten years between 483 BCE and 473 BCE. That’s more than 2,500 years ago! The Heroes of faith in the Book of Esther are Mordecai and Esther. Every year our Jewish neighbors celebrate Purim, commemorating the deliverance of God’s people as recorded in the Book of Esther, as did the early Christians.
This year Purim begins on the evening of March 9th, and ends on the evening of March 10th. Jews have been celebrating Purim for 2,500 years. The early Christians also celebrated it, but later we tragically forgot and even rejected our Jewish roots despite the fact that we are urged in the Holy Scriptures to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) in the first century.
Purim (Hebrew: פּוּרִים ) Pûrîm “lots,” related to Akkadian: pūru; also called the Festival of Lots, is a Biblical festival that commemorates the saving of God’s people from Haman, an official of the Persian Empire (modern Iran) who was planning to kill all the Jews, as recounted in the Book of Esther (מגילת אסתר Megillat Ester in Hebrew).
According to the Book of Esther, Haman was the royal vizier to King Ahasuerus and he planned to kill all the Jews in the empire. His plans were foiled by Mordecai and Esther his niece and adopted daughter, who had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting, thanksgiving, and rejoicing.
The Bible says that we “should make them [the annual celebration of Purim] days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one to another and gifts to the poor” (Esther 9:22, NKJV).
Purim is celebrated by:
1. The public recitation ("reading of the megillah") of the Scroll of Esther. During the reading of the Book of Esther whenever Haman’s name is mentioned the faithful twirl graggers (noisemakers) or stamp their feet to blot out his evil name. Purim is the only time when it’s a encouraged to make noise during Services!
2. Exchanging gifts of food and drink.
3. Giving to the poor.
4. Eating a celebratory meal. Traditionally, this meal lasts well into the evening. The table should be festively prepared with a nice tablecloth and candles. The festive meal should include wine, discussion of the Scriptures, and a joyous Purim spirit. Sing, drink, laugh, have fun together.
5. Additions to the daily prayers and the grace after meals.
Other customs include public celebrations and parades , wearing masks and costumes, and eating hamantaschen cookies ("Haman's ear"); Adults are also encouraged to drink wine or any other alcoholic beverage.
Hamantaschen cookies are a symbolic food eaten on Purim. Haman is the villain of the Purim story. This triangular-shaped cookie is said to represent either Haman’s ears or his three cornered hat. The center of each “hat” is filled with jam or sweet filling. There are many recipes that can be found on the internet.
Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day following the deliverance of God’s people over their enemies. In cities that were protected by a surrounding wall at the time of Joshua, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month of Adar on what is known as Shushan Purim, since fighting in the walled city of Shushan continued through the 14th day of Adar. Today, only Jerusalem and a few other ancient walled cities celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar.
To commemorate the prayer and fasting for deliverance of God’s people as recorded in the Book of Esther, a Fast is kept on the day before Purim. This Fast is called “The Fast of Esther.” This year the fast is on Monday, March 9th. The fast begins approximately an hour before sunrise, and lasts until nightfall.
Isn’t it strange that as Christians we keep all kinds feasts and fasts that are only centuries (or less) old and established by men, yet we ignore and may even be completely ignorant of Biblical feasts and fasts that history tells us the early Christians faithfully kept? Yet, we are called to live “by every word that precedes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), and to keep “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
This year we are learning about the Biblical Festival of Purim (Lots), but next year, God-willing, we will begin to celebrate it as a congregation — as Bible-believing Christians should. However, we can all begin to incorporate this celebration into our personal and family spirituality this year. A good start would be to read the Book of Esther, and to have a celebratory meal on Monday evening.
TOMB OF ESTHER AND MORDECAI
The tomb of Esther and Mordecai is in Iran (ancient Persia) and until the Islamic revolution in the 1970s the shrine was a place of pilgrimage for Jews and Christians alike. You can see photographs and read all about it here:
MONDAY, MARCH 9, A DAY OF PRAYER AND FASTING — For an end to the COVID-19 Epidemic and for the healing of those afflicted by it
Leaders in the Messianic Jewish community in the Holy Land are asking us to pray with them in the name of Yeshua/Jesus on a day of prayer and fasting against the devastating COVID-19 virus.
The Messianic Jewish community in Israel has designated Monday, March 9, for a day of fasting to ask God for mercy on the people of China and the whole world in the name of our Master. On the Jewish calendar this year, March 9th is the date for the Fast of Esther, a fast day observed in memory of the three-day fast that the Jewish people of Persia undertook before Queen Esther went to appear before the king.
This year that traditional fast day will be combined with a special focus in prayer asking our Father in heaven for mercy on His people and on all of his creatures.
“The important thing is that we come together in unity and agree to pray together in our Master's name and in his merit and virtue. We want our prayers to rise like incense from the censer of the high priest Aaron who interposed between the living and the dead to stop the plague.
“Will you make March 9 a day of prayer and fasting for those who are sick, suffering, and dying from this dreadful virus? Please join us and ask your brothers and sisters to pray, too. May God keep us all healthy and protect his people.”
The Fast begins an hour before sunrise until sundown on Monday, March 9th. Let us fast and pray for the healing of the sick and for deliverance. For more information you can visit this website:
HOLY COMMUNION AT HOLY CROSS PARISH
Last Sunday at Holy Cross we began administering Holy Communion in one kind only, and in the hand only. We will continue this common sense practice until the coronavirus crisis passes. Hand sanitizer will also be available for use before receiving Communion.
Communion in the hand was the original practice used at the Last Supper, and remained the practice in the early Christian communities for centuries as all of history bears witness (See the Catechetical Lectures by Cyril of Jerusalem). There is no reason to endanger anyones health by insisting on maintaining later, purely human, traditions. Additionally, according to the teaching of concomitance, the Lord is fully present in each element and in every part thereof.
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED RADIO BROADCAST
Are you tuning into The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcasts? I hope that you are and that you are inviting family and friends to tune in as well. Each broadcast is an in-depth Bible study. We let the Scriptures speak for themselves rather than reading them through the lens of human tradition. A lot of important information is packed into every 30 minute broadcast. These broadcasts are solid spiritual food, not milk.
We are now in a new series on End Time Bible Prophecy called Truth for the End Times. This will be a long and very important series, so be sure to get your Bible and tune in every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, and can be heard throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem! You can listen live over the Internet. Just go to the KCRO Radio website and click Listen Live:
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — PODCASTS
In addition to the radio broadcast every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, each episode of THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is being archived and can be listened to anytime as a Podcast. You can access past radio programs here:
SUPPORT OUR WORK
Do you appreciate our work, but do not live in the Omaha area or are not able to attend Holy Cross parish? You can still support our work in proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, teaching the faith once delivered in the first century (Jude 3), and preparing a people for the coming of the Lord.
Simply go to our church website. On the Home Page you will find a Donate button. Just click the Donate button and you will be able to donate to our work safely and securely through Paypal. Here is the link: