The third Sunday of Epiphany brings Susan, Aleksandrs and me to the Indianapolis Latvian Church. Our hymns included Drawn to the Light; Songs of Thankfulness and Praise; What Feast of Love; and Will You Come and Follow Me?. Our readings were Isaiah 9:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; and from Matthew 4:12-23. We met at the table for Communion. Macitajs Lazdinš conducts it by himself when attendance is low. We had about 20(?) parishioners. We meet, kneeling, at the altar rail as Macitajs blesses us each in our main language, mostly Latvian, some English and on occasion, Spanish. Then he starts going down the line again with The Body of Christ. He will either put it in your hand or directly in your mouth. He starts the line a third time with The Blood of Christ from the common cup, wiping it each time with a cloth.
Macitajs preached from the Gospel of Matthew. It included the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, which was based out of Capernaum , a fishing village located along the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in the north, still in Israel but far enough away from Jerusalem to keep from attracting too much attention from the pharisees and leaders before He entered three years later on Psalm Sunday to be crucified later that week. This reading also included some Jesus preaching and some Jesus healing (like it warn’t no thang). Pastor focused on Jesus rounding up his disciples, the first four, who were Peter, Andrew, James and John. Peter and Andrew were brothers. James and John were brothers. Each set of brothers worked fishing boats for their fathers. Each time, Jesus walked up to the boats, told the brothers to come with Him to be ‘fishers of men’ and in each case the brothers walked off the boats leaving their dads holding the nets. As the Bible says, ‘anything is possible with Christ’, so I wonder what Jesus said and how He said it to make four grown men (all around the age of 20 or younger) to drop what they were doing to walk off with Jesus into the ages. ‘Reasonable’ Janis suspects these guys knew Jesus, or of Jesus, beforehand and weren’t surprised when He approached them making it more sensible for them to just up and leave. We know from the Bible that God’s timing is perfect. There are no times when God says, “Oh my Me! I completely forgot to take Jonah out of the whale!” or “The Ethiopian didn’t stop? Oops, I never sent Phillip.” So what does this all mean? It can mean many things. One, be patient when it comes to waiting for the answer to a prayer to come your way. Two, there is no time to be patient when it comes to bringing people to Christ. Jesus wants all to come to Him so that ‘none shall perish’. If nothing else, Jesus asks us to pray for workers because the field is plenty and in need of harvesting. Other meanings? When someone speaks to you about Jesus, at least give a listen. Don’t get agitated thinking someone wants to ‘take away all my fun’. If they didn’t love you they wouldn’t make the effort.
I forgot to add that Aleksandrs read the prayer list in front of the congregation. YaY!
Now for pew+
Last week I was watching a show on Netflix regarding the Catholic Church’s stand on exorcism since Vatican II. A fellow mentioned that the Church performs two types of exorcism; the one you see in movies with demons making the lives of people miserable and the other, baptism. I’d never looked at baptism as a form of exorcism. Who better to get a clarification on this than from one of my pastors? I have never published a personal letter of mine and feel a little awkward doing so but I’m pretty certain Pastor won’t mind if I post his response. So here goes.
Hello, Is baptism a form of exorcism?
Sincerely, Janis A V
Sure! That’s why we do the sign of the cross “both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the Crucified.” Satan can’t stand it when we do stuff like that. Luther had a lengthier version of that as a part of the Sacrament of Baptism. It’s God’s promise that all our sins are gone and He buries the Old Man and a New Man rises up. So…. yes!