“Jesus never asks for admirers, worshipers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching, but followers of a life Christ is looking for.” — Søren Kierkegaard
There are many reasons why people attend a church. Some attend out of habit, some because they like the music, the pastor or the programs. Others attend because they think an organization will save them, or because the church represents their specific ethnic group, or because it suits their political or social views.
People attend various churches for all sorts of reasons, but there is really only one good reason — to be a follower, a disciple of Christ. That is what we are all about at Holy Cross parish. We seek to be genuine disciples of Christ, living by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and worshipping God in spirit and in truth; accepting everyone right where they are, and growing together in Christlikeness in the school of charity (love) that is the local church.
There can be no place for sinful pride, for self-righteous arrogance, or for legalism, judgmentalism and a spirit of condemnation in such a church. For we know that God is love, that He loves each of us as though there were only one of us, and that the mission of the church is simply to tell the thirsty where they can find living water:
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10-14, KJV).
SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC
Good News! Our annual Summer Church Picnic is only about five weeks away!!! This year we will have our Summer Church Picnic on Sunday, September 8th, in the beautiful community of Blair. As always, we will omit Matins on that day, and celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 9:30 AM rather than 10:00 AM. Immediately after the Liturgy we leave to enjoy ourselves in Blair. There will be grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, food galore, desserts of every kind, and warm fellowship.
As usual, there will be no cost for the event. We always have a wonderful time at our annual Summer Church Picnic so be sure to invite family and friends. Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 8th, and save the date. Details will follow as the date approaches. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there!
ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION BEGINS IN SEPTEMBER
Adult Christian Education will resume in September, and the date will be announced soon. I will be teaching the course, and class will run from 8:30 to 9:10 AM.
This class may well run through the entire Fall 2019—Spring 2020 term. It will be an in-depth look at Second Temple Judaism and First Century Christianity. This is the era into which Jesus was born, ministered, died and rose from the dead, as well as the era of the Apostolic Church.
You will learn many things that you never knew before, and unlearn some things that you thought you knew. Thanks to the explosive growth in knowledge of this pivotal era we have more information today than ever before. We know more about this era, and its beliefs and practices, than anyone has know since the Second Century.
We will take a close look at the earliest Church, study the Scriptures within their proper cultural context, review the latest archeological discoveries, learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls, study in detail the Didache (cir. AD 45) the original church manual, and much, much more. The “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) is not found in the 1950s, the 16th century, the 11th century, or even the fourth century. It is found in the first century — and it is that century that we will be studying in depth.
If you would like to get a good overview of this important time in preparation for the course, I can highly recommend a book to you. It is titled, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, by Shaye Cohen, and published by Westminster John Knox Press.
The book is now in its third edition. The eighth chapter is new, and may or may not be as good (I have an earlier edition of the book), but I know that the rest of the book is excellent. You can buy it through Amazon. Here is the link;
I hope that you will consider purchasing and reading this book. It will give you the historical background needed to get so much more from your reading of the Holy Scriptures, from what you hear from the pulpit and what we will be studying in our Adult Christian Education class this Fall. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah covers four centuries, from 200 BC to AD 200. Believe me, it is not a difficult read, and is well worth the investment. Enjoy!
35TH ANNIVERSARY IN MINISTRY CELEBRATION
In September I will be celebrating thirty-five (35) years in ordained ministry, and Cheri and I will be celebrating thirty-five (35) years in ministry together. We can hardly believe it. The time has gone by so quickly. We have served in the ministry in four States. I have pastored, done para-church ministry, taught in college, edited a national Church periodical, been a Provincial Ecumenical Officer, and more. We have been blessed in so many ways, and we hope that we have been a blessing to others. We know that you have been a blessing to us.
We have not yet set a date to celebrate our 35th anniversary in ministry, but it will probably be on the last Sunday in September so we can celebrate it with our monthly potluck luncheon. We will keep you informed. Cheri and I genuinely love you and we always will. Thank you for being a part of our lives. We are not just a congregation, we are family.
PARISH FOOD BINS
Our parish food bins are about three quarters full. If we all make an effort we should be able to fill them them to overflowing on Sunday so this much needed food can be taken to the Open Door Mission where it can bless those most in need. Food of all kinds is needed, but right now the Open Door Mission is asking especially for boxed macaroni and cheese dinners, and canned fruit. Thank you!
Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with fellowship and refreshments after the Liturgy. Everyone is invited to attend and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you. We hope to see you on Sunday!
Fr. Victor Novak
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127