There are two subjects I would like to address in this Christmas column: the light of Christmas and the Apostles’ Creed article of Christ’s descent into hell. While it may not seem to be the case initially, these two subjects are very closely related – really, neither subject can be understood properly and fully without the other.
One of our great Christmas texts is from the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, which says, Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the glory of the Lord will arise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. [vss. 1-3]
The “you” in this text refers to the people of God. The prophetic text calls for the people of God to take courage for God will shine His light on them and they will show forth His glory. That is one way to describe what began to happen at the first Christmas.
Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem there had been no prophetic word from God for almost 400 years. The Jews lived as a subject people even in their own land. Most had forgotten who they were called to be. They had very little light; they had very little hope. It seemed as though God had forgotten them, or, for those of a more doubting nature, it seemed as though there really was no God at all, no substance to the promises made in the Scriptures.
While there were still some true believers in Israel – think of Zacharias and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist, to say nothing of Joseph of Nazareth and his fiancée Mary – even they were quite dispirited.
The dawning announcements of God’s intention to intervene began with Zacharias’ encounter with the angel Gabriel in the temple. Six months later Gabriel came to Mary in Nazareth to announce what God was about to bring to pass in her life. Nine months later the Judean hillsides around Bethlehem suddenly lit up brighter than a night-time work project on the PA Turnpike. The trump of an archangel was the opening fanfare for an angelic chorus singing great good news of faith-staggering revelations. A brilliant, supernatural star shone over the village of Bethlehem and in a darkened world, light and hope began which would not end until a certain Friday afternoon over thirty years in the future.
Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God, was born.
The people of God were illumined with this good news. Their hopes were kindled afresh, and their testimony of God’s faithful promise of deliverance was taken up again. In due time, nations and kings and peoples of all lands would be drawn to and changed by their testimony of God’s glory in Christ Jesus.
That’s what the lights of Christmas are all about. The Light of God shining, illumining, encouraging, helping, cheering up, comforting, aiding, calling all to receive and rejoice in God’s great goodness to us.
That’s the view from man’s side. What about the view from the Son of God’s side? It was just the opposite. He was leaving pure Light and coming to a world of darkness. Instead of becoming more light, it became more dark. When we recite The Apostles’ Creed, the natural reaction is to think of each article detailing Christ’s life and ministry as showing the order in time in which they occurred. Indeed, except for the article about the descent into hell, such is the case. They are better understood, however, when we understand them as reflecting the deepening severity of Christ’s battle against the world-suffocating darkness of evil.
The first step is His conception. From our perspective the miraculous conception of Jesus is a flash of light. From His perspective it was a laying aside of certain divine prerogatives and taking on the limitations of humanity. It began the descent into darkness.
The second step is His birth. He begins His life of suffering the indignities of human frailties. For instance, despite what the Christmas carol says, the Son of God bled and cried when He was circumcised. The Son of God, whom Psalm 145 describes as the One to whom all look to give them their food, experienced hunger. Our Lord Jesus Christ could be bruised in His body and tempted in His soul. He shared our experience of being flesh and blood human beings.
Next, the Creed says He suffered under Pontius Pilate. This is a deeper humiliation as the completely innocent One is condemned by an earthly judge. He is deemed not worthy of living. He is rejected and condemned by the rulers of the earth. The darkness deepens.
It gets worse. A staccato burst of terms like bullets from an assault rifle declares Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried. This is steep spiral downward into darkness as He is nailed to the cross for all to see and mock. What all flesh experiences, Jesus experienced: He died. The One who gave life, had His life taken away. He was buried. Given up on. Sealed in darkness.
The deepest depths of darkness, though, are reached in His descent into hell. That took place during the final three hours He hung on the cross. While Jesus was on the cross the Father turned His face away. For three hours a preternatural darkness fell across the heights of Jerusalem. The devil had his way and did all he could to the Wretch hanging on the cross. Denied by His followers, rejected by mankind, condemned by civil and religious authorities, and abandoned by God, Jesus was at the will and whim of the devil. That was hell. That was the final and ultimate humiliation. That was the wrath of God poured out.
In terms of chronology, once Jesus said, “It is finished,” and committed His spirit to God, the next step was Paradise! It wasn’t hell. He tells the repentant thief, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:43] And that was the case. As is the case when we die, His body lay in the tomb, but His spirit was with God.
The account does not stop there, nor does the Creed, nor should we. The Creed says that on the third day He rose again from the dead! The light that had gone out, now bursts forth with a brilliance and power that will never be stopped. The lights of Christmas prophetically proclaim that such is the case.
But Christmas is just the beginning of the story. That story is the story of Christ’s victory over sin and death and the devil. Without those steps of descent into darkness, we would have no light to proclaim, no glory in which to delight. We say Merry Christmas because we know the whole story! Thanks be to God! Abundant praise and adoration to our Savior, the Babe of Bethlehem!
In the Joy of the Lord,
John HC Niederhaus
December Pulpit Schedule
4th – Quodlibet – Psalm 119:33-40; Luke 1:26-38; Ephesians 1:15-23
It’s that time of year again, time for the annual Quodlibet sermon. In case you’ve forgotten, or have never heard of this phenomenon, here’s what it means. The pastor does not prepare a sermon for this Sunday. Instead, in each bulletin there will be a slip of paper on which attendees may write a question. Those slips of paper will be collected just prior to the sermon, then the pastor will take them into the pulpit to read and respond to as many as time allows. The questions can be about anything – that’s what Quodlibet means: ask what you will.
11th – The Promised Hope – Genesis s.v.; Luke 1:46-55; Acts 25:23–26:8
Jesus told His followers they would be persecuted and brought before kings and governors for His name’s sake. They were not to be upset by such events, but to recognize such times as opportunities to share their testimony. That’s exactly the situation with Paul as he is brought before King Agrippa and Governor Festus. So, he tells them how he got to be where he is. He says it is because of his belief in the promises made to the people of God. We’ll hear Mary reflecting on those same magnificent promises made to Abraham and the other patriarchs of old.
18th – Blinded to See – Isaiah 55:6-13; Luke 1:67-79; Acts 26:9-15
Paul relates how he was convinced he had to suppress, root out, and destroy the errant teaching about Jesus of Nazareth. It was clear as a bell to him that what some were saying about Jesus was entirely wrong. Such folk were misguided and wrong-headed. He went to great lengths to stomp out this new teaching. He was unstoppably relentless. Until he was blinded. It was while he was blind that he began to see clearly. Zacharias had to be muted before he could begin to proclaim the excellencies of God. It’s really God’s word that is relentless; it does not fail.
24th – Rescued: For a Purpose – Luke 2:8-20; Colossians 1:9-14; Acts 26:15-18
As Paul tells his testimony to King Agrippa and Governor Festus he details some of the specifics Jesus spoke to him during his Damascus Road experience. Jesus’ words are startling and informative even down to our day. He speaks in a very commanding way, impelling Paul to stand up and get ready to receive new directions for his life. Jesus says He has rescued Paul! It is interesting to find out from what it was the Jesus rescued him. But Jesus rescued Paul for a purpose. He assigns a task to Paul. It’s a task the Shepherds had. It’s a task we have too.
25th – Proclaiming Light – Isaiah 42:5-13; Luke 2:25-32; Acts 26:19-23
It’s Christmas Day! A day to celebrate God’s great gift to the world. As he concludes his testimony to Agrippa and Festus, Paul says he has not proved disobedient to the heavenly vision. That vision provided the focus for all his life; it’s what he’s all about. He lives to call folk from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Though he’s been imprisoned for two years(!), his passion for fulfilling the vision is undiminished. He wants to see folk turned from darkness to light. That also is the burden of the Christmas message. It is the proclamation of Light!
From the Youth Pastor
Should we be good for goodness sake?
Have you been naughty or nice this year? We often ask this question at Christmas time to invoke fear in children as a way to modify their behavior based on their moral standing before Santa (and his apparent special knowledge of it). Some of us have been known to sing the song about Santa Claus coming to town intentionally to foster “nice behavior” in the little ankle biters. We promise to reward the “goody two shoes” while making subtle threats regarding any naughtiness that seems to rise up naturally in the kiddos – especially around the holidays.
Listen to some of the song lyrics, “You’d better ⌚ out, you’d better not L, Better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus 🎅 is comin’ to town! He’s making a list and checking it twice, He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. He sees you when you’re 😴; He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake!”
The observer of this madness may be correct in calling this good old manipulation, that is, attempting to coerce children to conform to certain behavioral expectations. Many a parent will resort to desperate measures to have some peace and quiet at Christmas!
But why should kids be good? Why should anyone be good? And who defines goodness anyway? Many people live life with this mindset: somewhere out there is a cosmic Santa who gives us lumps of coal when we are bad and cookies when we are good! It smells like a works-based moralistic system to me. Sadly, it’s how many people understand and relate to God.
They are not wrong in thinking they should be “nice” before God, but they are wrong in thinking they can be “nice enough” in how they relate to God. How “nice” is “nice enough” for God? Your good deeds simply can’t outweigh your bad deeds. Your bad deeds still happened. They don’t go away because you would like them to. The other side to this might be expressed this way: what level of naughtiness is bad enough to warrant some coal in the stocking and what just gets a wink? I still remember getting a stocking even though I had been a bad boy! Just think, if God were Santa then we would all be on the naughty list for our behavior and nobody would ever get a stocking.
Seriously though, more important than a fictional list is the debt of sin our lives incur through going our own way apart from God. The problem every single one of us has is the debt of rebellious sin and our own inability to pay it off. You are NOT nice enough! There is no wink at your sin, and you don’t get an eternal “heaven” stocking anyway. Nobody can be nice/good enough to earn a favorable standing before God. I’m very glad Santa is not all-knowing; God, however, is just and loving, indeed, omniscient. He sees and knows all our debt of sin, but the great good news is His provision (think gift!) to take away that debt.
His provision is what the Christmas holiday is really all about: God providing the gift of His son Jesus, to graciously pay our debt of sin on the cross. There is no winking at sin. It must be paid for at some point by someone. Jesus has come to save sinners, and we all fit the bill.
Would you trust Jesus to pay your debt and save you from your sin and its wretched consequences? Would you turn and repent from going your own way and receive Jesus as your savior this Christmas? Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
We are all on the naughty list. Not one of us can ever be good enough. We need to receive the gift of Jesus to pay our debt and grace us with eternal life with God. The stocking system doesn’t work to change us very well, but the gift of Jesus in our lives changes us from the inside out so that we can be good for God’s sake. Merry Christmas!
New Members to be Received
On Sunday, December 4th, new members will be received into the fellowship of Leidy’s Church. If you or someone you know is interested in joining Leidy’s Church and has been through an Inquirer’s Class in the not too distant past, please contact the church office or Pastor Niederhaus.
Getting in Gear with Christmas
As you push in the clutch and begin putting in place your plans for all your Christmas activities, here’s some info that may help prevent the gears from clanging. Here are some gears we encourage you to engage:
* Each Sunday in December there is worship happening at Leidy’s Church. Yes, it will be great to have you present for worship during Advent!
* On the afternoon of December 11th carolers from Leidy’s Church will be out spreading Christmas cheer. This is a service project that morphs into a fun project that morphs into a worship project. Caroling is a tradition Christians continue to perpetuate, and rightly so.
* During the Sunday School Hour on December 18th a children’s cantata will be presented in the Fellowship Hall. Kids from iBlast will give their all in the presentation of Follow the Star. Afterwards, enticing edibles for all – singers and audience!
* That same day, the 18th, the pre-school classes from our Sunday School will provide special music in our service of worship. This would be the two, three, and four year old classes. Their singing can be spotty, but their presentation always is memorable.
* At 3 pm on that same day, the 18th, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra will be in concert at Leidy’s Church. This is a ticketed event, so consult the article in this Newsletter for further info on getting tickets.
* At 7 pm on Christmas Eve, a Saturday this year, Leidy’s Church will celebrate the birth of The Light of the World. It is another musical event arranged and directed by Curt Lockman telling the how and why of the Christmas story with songs, congregational carols, and instrumental music provided by many of the musicians from within our fellowship. Pre-service music from the instrumentalists will begin at 6:30.
* At 10:30 a more formal service of worship will take place. It will be a preaching service, this year with the focus on God’s purposes in sending the Redeemer that makes Christmas a big deal for each Christian. There will be some special music as well as an anthem from the chancel choir and the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. Our time of worship will end with the candle light singing of Silent Night.
* Christmas Day is the last Sunday of 2016. There will be no Sunday School that day, but coffee and snacks will be available during the Sunday School Hour. The service of worship will be at the normal 10 o’clock hour.
When you come for worship on Christmas Eve, whether it be for the earlier service or the later one (or both!!), it always is a beautiful sight to see the luminaries glowing as you arrive and leave. We’ll see how they are arranged in our new setting! We extend our thanks to the Special Services Committee for their oversight and care in decorating our church property in such an appropriate way to celebrate the birth of Him who is still the Light of the world!
Christmas Eve: The Light of the World
The 7 pm service of worship on Christmas Eve will be a musical presentation titled The Light of the World. Arranged and conducted by Curt Lockman, it will be a celebration of Jesus’ birth with carols, hymns, and spiritual songs.
The original purpose of Christmas was to provide a season to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, a specific time to give thanks to God for His great gift to us. The Light of the World will give plenty of attention to how Christ came into the world and the wonders that complemented His coming. Sometimes, though, we can be consumed with all the wonders and forget the reason why Jesus was born. Why is the world dark? How is it that Jesus is the light of the world? How does this darkness and the light of Jesus apply to us as individuals? All those questions will be addressed in The Light of the World.
Leidy’s Church is blessed with many persons possessing exceptional musical talents. A good proportion of them will be participants in this presentation – as well as the gathered congregation! There will be instrumentalists, a treble choir, soloists, and some candles.
An offering will be received, but it will go to a special cause. Another article in this Newsletter sets out those details. Come prepared to share.
Childcare is not provided for this service, though the nursery will be open for parents who need to use it.
Kids Cantata Coming
The iBlast crowd of kids has been singing up a . . . no, not a storm, rather a cantata! They’ll be singing the Christmas story interspersed with narration by Caleb DiLenge. It happens at the 8:45 Sunday School slot on the 18th of December. The narration, by the way, is written by Gary Filson and is a series of rhyming quatrains. What’s that like? Well, here are the details for the cantata written in a rhyming quatrian format:
Come to Leidy’s Church and see, with all the lights aglow,
A musical reminder of a birthday long ago.
Find yourself a comfy spot, and listen as they tell
The greatest Christmas story – the very first Noel!
Filled with poetry and songs, (beloved, both near and far),
It’s a joyful celebration, and it’s called “Follow the Star.”
Mark your calendars today, and be sure to remember,
To come and see this pageant on the 18th of December.
At 8:45 that Sunday, come to the Fellowship Hall,
And we’ll celebrate in music, this holiest time of all.
That Time Already?
Yes, it is time to make your plans to be part of the Caroling Caravans that set out from Leidy’s Church to bring Christmas cheer far and near! Because Christmas Day is a Sunday this year, we’ll be out caroling a bit earlier than normal, namely the 11th of December.
To facilitate the planning of the caravans, there will be caroling sign-up slips in the Sunday bulletins. Please fill one out, drop it in the offering plate, or put it in the basket on the Welcome Desk. Without sign-up slips we would not be able to organize the teams and determine the itineraries for each one. Included on those slips is a place for you to suggest persons/places we should consider being part of the caroling route.
Carolers will gather in the Fellowship Hall about 1:45 to get their team assignment and itineraries prior to the 2 o’clock departure. As the Caroling Caravans go their respective ways, the teams will weave their way throughout our community singing Christmas carols to a wide variety of folk. At each stop a different variety of carols will be sung, requests will be taken, and with a hearty and joyful “We wish you a Merry Christmas” they will head to their next stop.
When the Caroling Caravans will arrive back at the church, hot food and good drinks will be waiting for them.
Want to be blessed by being a blessing? Sign up for caroling on the 11th and you will be!
Christmas Eve Offering
The 2016 Christmas Eve offering will be going to Duncan and Shay Forbes. They are doing church planting in a multi-cultural setting in London. Their family stayed in the Mission House for three or four months a couple of years ago. Duncan preached one Sunday in February of 2015. He had a great message, and delivered it with that wonderful clipped British accent. They became part of our mission budget in 2016.
Duncan is afflicted with a condition known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This is an inherited disease that affects one’s joints and connective tissues. With Duncan, it particularly affects his joints. He has joints that dislocate frequently each day and cause severe, chronic pain. At this point, Duncan has to use a wheelchair to get around and has extreme difficulty getting any sleep because of his pain.
One thing that could help would be an adjustable bed where the head and feet move up and down and in many different positions providing good support for the body. An adjustable bed will not heal Duncan’s condition, but it may help a lot in managing his pain, helping him get more sleep, and allow him to be more involved in ministry.
For more information about the Forbes family or about Duncan’s condition, speak to a member of the Mission Committee.
At the turning of the year, Leidy’s Church always has opportunities for folk to help in all sorts of ways. Below is a list of some ways each of us should consider being part of the volunteer crew that makes ministry happen in our church. Read through them, see what suits your gifts and/or your fancy, and then take action!
- Committee Sign-up: Leidy’s Church has a number of Committees that do a ton of work. Membership is for one calendar year. Sign-up sheets will be on a table in the narthex near the Fellowship Hall entryway. Each sheet has a brief description of the work that Committee does. If you need more info, just check with the friendly ladies in the church office or one of the members of the pastoral staff.
- Sunday Coffee Preparation and Clean Up: This is a year-round sign-up, not just the end of the year. We’re always in need of folk to sign-up on a week by week basis to make coffee and then another crew to do the clean-up later on. Easy-to-follow instructions are provided. If you drink it, it would be a good idea to help make it!
- Meal Ministry: Volunteers provide meals at various times during the year for folk who have been in the hospital or have some other occasion to need some help with meals.
- Prayer Chain: This ministry is self-descriptive. If you are already on the e-mail prayer chain you will continue to be on this ministry. If you would like to be added, contact the church via e-mail and you will be added to the list.
- Flower chart: Each Sunday the flowers in the sanctuary are sponsored by an individual or a family. Sometimes they are given in memory or in honor of someone, sometimes they’re given just for the glory of God. You can sign-up for the Sunday of your choice on the chart posted on the narthex wall – if you get there first!
Our thanks to all who give of time and talent and energy to these volunteer ministries.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Mary Walbrandt and Dave Walbrandt, and family at the death of her son, and brother, Bill respectively, and to Stan Radcliff and family at the death of his brother. May God be with them at this time.
Congratulations to Tom and Susan Merritt at the dedication of their son, Austin David, and to Karlee Fretz at her believer’s baptism May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Congratulations to Tim and Rachel Leidy at the birth of a daughter, Lenora Elizabeth, and to Jeff and Mary Kirkpatrick at the birth of a son, Cornelius Jeffrey. May God be with them as they grow in Him.
Still Rolling ’Cause They’re Still Trolling
The annual March for Life takes place on Friday, January 27, 2017. Leidy’s Church will have a Perkiomen tour coach rolling down the highway for that event.
The warm and comfortable coach will leave from the Leidy’s Church parking lot at 6 am, with an arrival in DC of around 9:30 or 10, after a stop for breakfast. This year participants will not use the MetroRail system. Instead, our bus will park at Union Station, which is only a short three block walk from the capitol mall. Scheduled departure time for home is 4 pm, with a stop for dinner along the way.
Thanks to the generosity of the Church and Community Committee, some of the costs of the trip are underwritten to make it affordable for all. This year the fee is $12 per person and no extra charge for a MetroRail ticket. Each person is responsible for food and incidentals purchased during the day.
A sign up sheet will be posted on the narthex wall. Consider putting your name on it this year.
While many changes have been effected in our nation’s laws and culture since 1973, the continual trolling for abortion business has not. Twenty one percent of all US pregnancies end in abortion.
Since the release of the undercover videos in mid-2015, the abortion industry has become more bold. Instead of saying abortion should be legal but regretted and rare, now it is asserted that abortion is a positive good. When the Pope recently announced that any Catholic priest can grant forgiveness to a woman who has had an abortion, part of the push-back was that it was wrong to categorize abortion as a sin that needed forgiveness!
[As an aside, Protestants don’t believe the Pope or a priest or anyone else is able to forgive sins; forgiving sin is the work of Jesus on the cross applied by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.]
So, the trolling for abortion continues. Therefore, the bus from Leidy’s Church to the March for Life will keep on rolling. Hop on!
Ladies of Leidy’s
The Ladies of Leidy’s annual pot luck Christmas meeting takes place on Tuesday, December 6th, beginning at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall. All ladies are welcome to attend . . . just sign up for what you would like to make on the sheet posted in the narthex. Following the meal our business meeting will be held. If you have questions, speak with 2016 President BJ Kulp..
A Little Later Than Normal, But a First
According to . . . well, according to what we ordinarily do, the annual Leidy’s Church Congregational Dinner and Business Meeting takes place on the second Saturday of the New Year. In 2017 that date is the latest it can possibly be, namely the 14th of January. By then Christmas will be a faint memory at best. But you should not forget to register for and come out to this meeting. Registration forms will be in the bulletins and on the narthex desk.
The dinner begins at 6 pm and will be a hearty, hot meal. It will be the first congregational meal prepared in our new kitchen! We’ll see how the culinary expertise of the Kitchen Committee transfers across the street to new stoves and ovens. Please register for this event so the members of the Committee know what all will have to be thawed, cooked, bought, and served that evening.
Following the dinner, the annual business meeting takes place. Please note that if you are the Treasurer of an organization within the church, then your financial records should be included in the Annual Booklet which means you should have that information to the church office by December 30th if possible, and, in no event, no later than January 5th.
Child care is provided during the Business Meeting for children age 11 and under. Those older than 11 are expected to remain for the Business Meeting unless designated as part of the child care corps by the appropriate designating authority – i.e. Pastor Andrew.
This Newsletter column should be considered the official notification to all members of Leidy’s Church of the annual Business Meeting. Don’t be late for this first time event.
It’s a Challenge!
Leidy’s Church has been blessed over the years with Doubling Your Dollars challenges in the months of November and December. 2016 is no different in that regard. Large-hearted donors have pledged $150,000 to match every dollar given to the Building Fund during these months until that amount is met. That’s a challenge!
During the first three weeks of November a total of $24,018.85 has been given to the Building Fund. That mean almost $50k will be applied to our mortgage. But, it still is only about one sixth of the amount we’re challenged to match. Hence, it is a challenge!
Remember, our goal is to try and get our mortgage below the $1 million mark by the end of the year. One piece of the puzzle for doing that is meeting this challenge. When combined with assets we hope to have on hand when all the bills are settled, we should be able to reach that goal – or come awfully close.
One other thing to remember, though, is the intent of the challenge is not to take from our regular General Fund giving to meet this challenge, you know, the proverbial robbing of Peter to pay Paul. Our General Fund depends on regular, faithful giving that allows all our bills to be paid and our benevolent giving commitments to be kept.
Well, we have a challenge. Seek the Lord and see how you might be able to help us meet it.
Hello and Farewell
The last Sunday of the year is when Leidy’s Church ordinarily ordains and installs new Deacons and Elders. There are two persons who will be installed this year and one of those will also be ordained. We’ll also be bidding farewell to two men who have served on Consistory for the past six years.
Peter Martindell will be installed as a Deacon on Consistory. Peter has previously served as a Deacon so he will not need to be ordained. Peter has been meeting with the Consistory since October to get oriented to the issues before that body.
Ken Merritt will be ordained and installed as an Elder serving on Consistory. Ken has not served in that capacity at Leidy’s Church so he will be ordained and set apart by prayer and the laying on of hands. Since October Ken has been meeting with the Spiritual Council and the Consistory to familiarize himself with how those bodies operate and the matters that come before them.
Also elected to serve on Consistory at the same time as Peter and Ken were Matt Harris and Stan Ott. However, they are continuing on for a second consecutive term on Consistory so there’s no need to install them to offices they already fill.
Going off Consistory this year are Glen Tyson and Scott Rittenhouse. Each has served two consecutive three year terms on Consistory. Scott’s faithful presence, sound advice, and consistent work with the Care Committee will be missed. Glen has served as Consistory President for the past five years and his leadership will be missed.
Our thanks to God for raising up faithful men such as these to serve Him in the context of the Leidy’s Church Consistory and Spiritual Council.
Hear the Symphony
On Sunday, December 18th, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra will present its annual Family Holiday Concert at Leidy’s Church. Not only is this a first for Leidy’s Church, it is the first time the Orchestra has presented an indoor concert in the Souderton area. The concert will begin at 3 pm.
Some of the songs to be presented include Ave Maria, Gesu Bambino, In the Bleak Midwinter, White Christmas, and Sleigh Ride. While the concert will have lighter moments, it also will have reflective moments capturing the humanity, humility, and sacredness of the Christmas season. T’was the Night Before Christmas is part of the program and will feature narration by Pastor Niederhaus. It promises to be the fastest narration on record.
This is a ticketed event. General admission tickets are $20, senior tickets $15, under 18 are $5, and students are free. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Symphony’s website (www.spso.info) or at the door the day of the concert. Need more info? See Bob Bugge.
It was another balmy November evening when the Consistory met on the 9th of the month. Here’s a brief synopsis of some of the highlights of that meeting:
- A prophecy about the 2016 presidential election was the focus of Francis Weiss’ devotional remarks. An apt subject since the previous day’s voting revealed that Donald Trump would be the next President of the US. The prophecy – given months earlier – stated that on November 9th “another day of God’s perfect sovereignty” would be in place for never has “His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler. And it won’t happen on Nov. 9, 2016.” Examples from Scripture were cited showing such to be the case, and then Francis reminded all present that we should trust God to continue working His perfect plan for His elect and for the USA.
- During the financial report it was noted that $2,000+ had been received for the Buckets of Hope to Haiti for hurricane relief. Work is being done to tie our sewer bill to our water usage rather than a EDU rating.
- In the Building Fund report it was noted that most of our bills are up-to-date. Less than $50,000 should remain to be paid out so far as we know. It was noted that extra funds will need to be spent to address the acoustical needs in the Fellowship Hall.
- A good bit of the meeting was spent reviewing the proposed budget for 2017. Each line item was considered in turn. Some items are only guesses. For instance, our gas bills and electric bills for the new facility have no track record, so a “best estimate” is the only route available. It was decided to include monies for the purchase of a new zero-turn lawn mower. At the conclusion of the review, it seems that a budget increase of between 5 and 8 percent is in the offing. Also, it was noted our mortgage payments in 2017 will amount to $96,425 and that income from the old facility should be around $40,000.
- The Building Project still requires some attention. Penn Builders has a punch list of items to address; nothing that requires a lot of time or expense, just things that need to be done. Several fencing issues were brought up. It was decided the fence along the stone wall outside the main entrance shall be extended the necessary four feet to the end of the wall. It was also noted the fence around the playground area should connect to the building. Panic bars will be purchased and installed for the three doors that open from SS rooms to the children’s playground area. Some additional a/v equipment also needs to be purchased.
- Received reports on the recently concluded Judgement House presentation. Appreciation was expressed for all who volunteered for that huge undertaking.
- Pastor Steve reported he and Joe Sciacca are in the midst of coordinating the distribution of some 50+ Thanksgiving meals.
- The Property Committee has found suitable outside benches for the front of the church. Greg Nase hopes to have them in place soon.
- The Kitchen Committee continues to train folk on the use of appliances in the kitchen. Protocols for the use and care of the kitchen are being developed and posted.
- Pastor Chris announced that Wifi is now available throughout the building.
- The Special Services Committee is planning the decorations for Christmas. It is an entirely new ball game, they say.
Following a time of directed intercessory prayer, the meeting was adjourned by the unison praying of the Lord’s Prayer at 9:59 pm.
Westminster Larger Catechism
As writers and compilers of catechisms have done from the outset, the Westminster Assembly dealt with the Ten Commandments. Whereas the Heidelberg Catechism deals with them under the heading of Gratitude, the Westminster folk deal with them under the duties the Scripture identifies as being required of man. This month we’ll hear them on the Third Commandment.
What the Scriptures Principally Require as the Duty of Man
Question 111: Which is the third commandment?
Answer: The third commandment is, You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
Question 112: What is required in the third commandment?
Answer: The third commandment requires that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the Word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holy and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by a holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves and others.
Question 113: What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works by blasphemy, perjury, all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violation of our oaths and vows if lawful, and fulfilling them if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarrelling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God’s decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the Word, or any part of it; to profane jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or anywise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.
Question 114: What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
Answer: The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The Lord your God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain, are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or anyway abused by us; especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment, albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.
4th Donna Moyer
11th Lori Maxwell
18th Miriam Weigner
25th Ed & Darlene Schmidt
4th Donna Moyer
11th Mary Beth Musselman
18th Ruthie Niederhaus
25th Ede Rupp
4th Jeremiah & Brittany Rizzo
11th Doug & Helen Roberson
18th Andrew & Becca Rosenbaum
25th Denise Kulp, Dorothy Kehs
Usher Captains: Dana Gehman & Stan Ott
Ushers: Bob Bugge, Steve Bandura, Norm Weiss, Bob Peterman, Ron Moyer, Bill Weigner, Jerry Kulp, Sherman Focht, Delton Plank, Jeff Schatz.
The Emergency Committee for December is Ed & Darlene Schmidt.