Absecon Presbyterian Church
Verse of the Month: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live’” ~ John 11:25
Communion dates are as follows:
May 8th, June 5th, July 10th, Aug. 7th, Sept. 4th, Oct. 2nd, Nov. 6th, Dec. 4th, Jan 1, 2012, Feb. 5th, March 4th
Session to Meet with Deacons May 3
Our elders and deacons will have their annual joint meeting on May 3. Pray for them as they plan for our church’s future together.
Spring is finally here and many of our programs are entering the home stretch. But be on the lookout for some exciting events to carry us through the spring and summer!
Our next Christian Education Committee meeting will be on Tuesday, May 24th, at 6:30 pm in Cobb Lounge.
It is with reluctance and a great deal of gratitude that we say goodbye to our A2J Youth Group Co-Leader, Janna Beth Cobb, who will no longer be leading the group after it's final meeting this spring. Janna Beth and Jim McManus took on the huge responsibility of leading the A2J group when it was without a leader and on the verge of being dropped altogether. Janna Beth's dynamic leadership, dedication, and enthusiasm have been instrumental in making the group a success, and she will be missed. Thanks again for all you have done, JB!
Yours in Christ,
Sunday School and Related News for May
In April we were proud to present “Memories of the Resurrection”. I would like to thank Gia Esposito, Sam Burgess, Bud Burgess, Mike McManus, Chris Harvey, Bob Hudak, Jeremy Wong, Elisa Wong, and Terri Villegas for all their hard work. It wasn’t easy memorizing those monologues. Thanks go to all who helped with the Easter luncheon and Easter egg hunt. Leo Ransone did a great job preparing the meal for the luncheon, and everyone’s baked goods were a big hit.
Up Coming Events
See you on Sunday,
Naida Burgess finished the year with a terrific verse-by-verse Bible study, peacock feather exercise, and ways to use our bodies to worship God. Many thanks to Sam Burgess, who put together a beautiful and heartfelt Bible study with only one hour's notice, complete with props that each member personalized and took home. Dawn Duran faithfully hobbled around the kitchen with crutches to feed us each week, one week preparing food for about 50 people as Lions and Lambs joined us. Jason Imlay was always available as a go-fer.
An additional thumbs up to John Harvey for daring to host 13 of our disciples in an overnight Lock-in after they served at our concert and dinner April 2. We had pizza, a variety of games, an awesome Christian movie, very little sleep, and, most importantly, a chaperone who was a very light sleeper.
A2J officially ended for the year on April 10. Each member received a personalized certificate and Bible verse. Congrats to the 5 of our members who began confirmation and will be moving up to Senior High--you're ready. We are very grateful for everyone who helped all year. We never felt alone, and most youth leaders can't say that.
Janna Beth & Jim
A2J Parents Meeting
There will be a brief meeting for all parents of children entering 5th through 8th grade to discuss plans for next year's A2J youth group. Other interested church members are also invited to attend. We will meet in Madden Hall after coffee hour on May 15. See you there!
Lions and Lambs Heads to Imagination Station
We will leave the church on Sunday, May 1st, at 11:00 a.m. for an adventure at Imagination Station in Galloway Township. We will all bring picnic lunches and share a meal over some picnic tables at a pavilion. Some games and activities will be planned along with time for free play at this wonderful playground. We hope that everyone will join us. Friends are always welcome, and our Pre-K brothers and sisters would probably love to come along too. People can caravan or carpool over to the park. Our activities will be finished by 1:30 and families can head home from there. We hope you can join us as we bring Jesus with us to the park.
Our mission project has begun. We planted tomato, green pepper, and cucumber seeds. So far we have a few tomatoes and one cucumber sprouting. They will go in the ground after Memorial Day. What ever grows will be proudly taken to the Food Bank.
The May dinner schedule is:
4/2 Kendal 4/9 Karen 4/16 Amber
The 16th will be our last formal meeting.
Karen Muldoon co-director
Weeknight Bible Study –
Still going strong! All are invited to join us for an informal "prayer and share" experience on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30 in Cobb Lounge. Childcare is provided.
Up to this point in our Bible Study, although Esther is queen, Mordecai, her guardian has been faithfully advising her from a distance. But in this month's study, Mordecai is no longer in charge of things. Esther boldly steps up to the responsibility of speaking up to her husband, the king, on behalf of her people. She is the one on the inside of the palace and is the only one in a position to act.
The Sarah Circle will meet in Cobb Lounge at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4. The Ruth Circle will meet at 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 6th at the home of Betsy Cunius. The Martha Circle will meet at the home of Carol Thomas at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, May 12th.
The ladies of the Women's Circles prepared and mailed care packages to 23 students on March 23rd. The postage was paid through a memorial to Barbara Maurer. Here are the thank you notes we received:
Dear Ladies of Absecon Presbyterian Church, Thank you so much for the care package of food and supplies in the mail. I just returned from Spring Break and haven't been able to go food shopping yet (and probably won't be able to until the end of the week), so I've been living on the food that you sent in the care package. Thanks for taking the time out of your days to prepare these special gifts. They mean so much. Colin Lehman (grandson of Jim Maurer)
Hey, I just received the care package. To say the least this was really hard for me to see the label in someone else's handwriting. It's the little things that you now notice that you never thought of before. Thanks for continuing on with the packages. This one will always be the hardest, but yet at the same time my favorite. Patrick Maurer (grandson of Jim Maurer)
Ladies of the Absecon Presbyterian Church, This package was so bittersweet to receive, because my grandmother's handwriting was not on the address label, as it always has been, and also I know it is my last care package I will receive from you! You have been so faithful in your kindness of providing these packages twice a year to me all throughout my college career, and I cannot thank you enough for them, your time, and the goodies you place in each box!
It was a joy to get to meet some of you and be able to put a face to some of you that bless me with this package! Thank you for all that you have done and do! I always enjoyed receiving your packages and cards, and will do the same with this last gift box! God Bless! Jamie Lee Maurer (granddaughter of Jim Maurer)
A few days later, we received this additional message from Jamie: So I just needed to say thank you to the ladies of your church again, because they do not know what a difference their packages make! This week was my big senior paper due date week....the week that I have been dreading....and to top it off I ran out of tooth paste on a study night before a big test. I didn't want to waste time running to the store to get tooth paste and leave my studying. When I saw the tooth paste in my care package box, I was overwhelmed by joy and God's goodness! This is the first time I have ever received tooth paste in my care package...! have always loved the tissues, chap-stick, etc. that has been in there, but I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the tooth paste! Thank you so much! Just had to share the difference and joy you and your work brings! Jamie.
We received this e-mail from Lee Wolff: Alex just texted me that he received the care package from the church and would I please extend his thanks to all. Hey, the package fosters communication! I didn't initiate the text or inquiry. Yeah!
Dear Absecon Presbyterian Church, Thank you for the care package you made for me. I can say that it will be enjoyed greatly. Also I wish to thank you for being of great assistance to my grandmother in this difficult time for her. I know that she will be in need for support and greatly appreciates all everyone is doing for her. Shauna Crowley (granddaughter of Iisa Smith)
To the Absecon Presbyterian Church, the Ladies of the Sarah, Martha and Ruth Circles, Thank you so much for the package! Everything in there is perfect and also very helpful. I always appreciate them! Thank you again! Have a Happy Easter! Kelly McGlynn (granddaughter of Loretta Metz)
To the extended church family, It was truly a delight to receive this box of goodies, which happened to arrive on my birthday. Thank you all very much for your thoughtfulness. Rich Wolcott (grandson of Roger & Jinny Wolcott)
To the Lovely Ladies of the Women's Circles, Thank you so much for my wonderful care package. It means so much for you ladies to think of me year after year and support me as I am in school. I really appreciate all you do! Love Always Jennifer Thomas (daughter of Scott & Mary Jane Thomas and granddaughter of Carol Thomas)
The ladies of the Sarah, Martha and Ruth Circles, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your generosity and thoughtfulness. I appreciate my care package so much and I look forward to it every semester. Only 5 more weeks to go! With finals coming up, the snacks will certainly come in handy. Many, many thanks and God Bless. Always Sarah Krchnavek (granddaughter of Ron & Joyce Pfeiffer)
Ladies, Thank you so much for your care package. I always receive them right when I need them and wholeheartedly appreciate them! Paige Pfeiffer (granddaughter of Ron & Joyce Pfeiffer)
The Ladies of the Sarah, Martha & Ruth Circles, Thank you all very much for the lovely card and foodstuffs that you sent to me. I truly appreciate receiving such gifts from you all; especially since I am taking full credits and three labs this semester. I like the fact that everything you sent was snack sized. Snack sized items are easy to carry and eat out on the boat and in the field which is awesome for me, and of course raman noodles are a staple in any college students diet. The Kleenex is also great since its packet sized and fits easily in my backpack and dive bag. I am also grateful that you put some hot chocolate in the box. I've been homesick for hot chocolate for a while now since not too many people here in Florida drink it due to the warm climate. It's always so nice when I receive a box of "goodies" from you all. It definitely puts a smile on my face. Thanks again, Erin Nassif (daughter of David & Naida Burgess)
News From the Christian Readers Book Club
The next book up for discussion is Pearl Buck’s classic The Good Earth, which won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize. This moving, classic story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-lan is a must reading for those who would fully appreciate the sweeping changes that have occurred in the lives of the Chinese people during this century.
Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions and rewards. Her brilliant novel -- beloved by millions of readers -- is a universal tale of the destiny of man.
The discussion will take place on Wed., June 1, at 7 pm in the Cobb Lounge.
NEWS FROM MAYBERRY
“Deputy Otis” sparked more questions, answers and thought-provoking commentary than any episode we have ever had. And the food was not bad either!
Our final get-together for the season will be Friday, May 13th, in Madden Hall. So, everybody get out your “Aunt Bee Cookbook” as we say goodbye to Andy, Barney, Opie, Gomer and the rest of the residents of Mayberry, for a while at least. Come on out and be a part of our final tribute of this, our 10th anniversary year. As usual, we start with a potluck supper and follow with a screening of the final classic episode from our first year of “Back to Mayberry.”
So join us on FRIDAY, MAY 13, as we continue on the road Back to Mayberry.
And remember, the door is always unlocked and the lemonade is always cold!
Doug Jablonski Men’s Fellowship to Meet May 7
The Doug Jablonski Men’s Fellowship will meet for breakfast on May 7 at 8:30. Come and evaluate our Good Friday service and to plan for our next event.
Breakfast will be pancakes. Cost is $3.00. All men of the church are welcome!
I would like to take this opportunity to say what an incredible job everyone did at the Family Worship. WOW, the band, the dancers, the readers, everyone. You put a lot of work into it and it showed.
Our next worship meeting is scheduled for May 14th @ 10:30 a.m.
Baptism of Corinne Evalyn Saindon to Take Place May 15
Corinne is the granddaughter of Jerry and Joanie Hoenes. Corinne was in church on Easter Sunday with her parents, Cynthia and Mark Saindon.
From the Choir Loft
I want to commend the Choir for the effort made in learning some difficult pieces, and making it look easy! The music for Palm Sunday and Easter had special meaning to us. Both of these days’ music was offered to the Glory of God and in memory of the much beloved Barbara Maurer. The anthems were purchased with money that the choir and congregational members gave as memorials. All the copies of these anthems and the CD accompaniment are labeled and stored in a separate area.
With spiraling costs of music and electronic accompaniment, this type of memorial or gift is a wonderful way to remember your loved or a special day in your life. Each new anthem we sing costs on average $40.00 per title, and then add $30.00 for electronic accompaniments. The anthems would be sung and announced to the congregation in the bulletin. So, when making a memorial or gift in recognition of something special in your life; think about our music ministry as you do.
Happy Spring and until next time…….. see you in the choir loft. ~ Tom
Mothers to be Honored May 8
Mother’s Day is always special in the life of our church, and this year will be no exception.
Moms, as a token of our love and appreciation you will receive a pocket sprayer of hand sanitizer with clip for those summer days on the go!
Stepping into the Flow - Moldovan Moments
First of all - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all who prayed for me and our team as we set off to Moldova last month. It was an amazing trip and I fear this short note will not do justice to all that God did during our outreach.
I found Moldova almost frozen in time - so much of the country seemed like Russia when I first went there 20 years ago (not counting the McDonald’s Corporation that has managed to show up all over the world!). There are even a few statues of Lenin still standing - which is VERY unusual in the former Soviet republics.
We truly felt like we were stepping into a flow of God’s Spirit in the nation. From the first day, we saw God’s hand at work as we met with a wide variety of people. We discussed the country’s needs with government officials, medical staff, pastors, missionaries, Peace Corp workers and many everyday citizens. Over and over again, I heard people asking for help, open to hear truth, inviting us to come and be a part of rebuilding this broken nation.
There were many moments when I realized God was speaking to me or to us in a much greater way than just the moment. One young woman asked us point blank - what is prayer and how can I pray? Her openness and hunger for God seemed to reflect a cry of the whole nation. We visited an orphanage in the disputed territory of Transnistria. Though the children appeared to be taken care of - we were struck with the truth that this orphanage was one of 100+ in the country - most of which have well over 300 children. We saw Moldova as truly a nation of orphans - a country abandoned by those who were created to nurture and care for it.
I sat in the office of the Children’s Protective Services. The woman I spoke with began to tell me all the vulnerable groups of children in the country due to no parents - street kids, after school care, older siblings parenting younger ones, children with medical needs that are not being addressed and the list went on and on - I was with this woman for almost 2 hours - I could hear her plea for help.
The good news is that when you step into the flow of what God is doing - though the need may be great, it is not so overwhelming, because you can see the hand of God at work. You can sense the hope that is bubbling to the surface as God orchestrates His body to pull together and make a difference. I am happy to report that we currently have a Discipleship Training School going on there (it started during our trip), we have 2 outreach teams there, 3 more teams committed to go this summer and just the other day I was speaking with another outreach team from Oregon whom God had spoken to about Moldova! Yes, He is at work - God sees the orphans, God hears the cry of the people of Moldova - and the unbelievable thing is that we get to be a small part of the amazing transformation that God is doing in that nation!
Have I mentioned lately how much fun it is to listen to God and step out in faith? Scary sometimes? - YES, unpredictable at times? - YES, misunderstood by others? - YES, rewarding, fulfilling, amazing, incredible, faith-building and life-giving? - YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES!
Thank you again for joining in the journey!
This is a picture of our team meeting with the mayor of Orhei to ask him to allow an anti-trafficking event. He not only approved the event, but also promised to sign some papers for a transition home for orphans after they leave the government orphanage!
News from the Deacons
Deacons had a busy April. We participated in spring-cleaning of our church and put together 16 Easter bags that were then distributed to various members of our congregation. A big thank you to all who helped bake, set up and clean up for Jill Williamson’s service on April 20.
Deacons will meet on Tuesday, May 3, at 6 p.m. and stay to report to the Session at 7 p.m.
In Christian love,
Carol Thomas Vice Moderator and
Naida Burgess Moderator
Stewardship Committee Report
The good news is that Sunday collections for March remained strong when compared to last year. The bad news is that our income level continues to suffer from the Stopfer building not being rented. This will be a problem that we will have to address sometime in the near future.
Hint when putting multiple envelopes in the plate: If you have missed church or forgotten your envelope, there is no need to place your offering for the week in each week’s envelope. You may place the check or cash representing all weeks in the most recent envelope and then attach the unused envelopes. This will reduce the workload of both the counters and Bob Wilkenloh who records each member’s giving.
Statistical Report for March
Budget for 2011 $222,419.00
Budgetary needs through March 27, 2011 $ 55,614.00
Our giving through 3/27/11 $ 44,399.89
Investment Income $ 4,416.62
Rental Income (net) $ 900.27
Total $ 49,716.78
Amount under budget $ 5,897.22
Average weekly giving by month
January $3665.34 $3261.49
February $3126.90 $3059.14
March $3126.90 $3166.79
Gerald W. Hoenes
Stewardship Committee Chairperson
Thank Yous for April
Thanks for a Job Well Done!
Our windows sparkle! The woodwork shines! The kitchen gleams! The outside garage is clean! The leaves and weeds are gone! The grass is fertilized! All this and more was accomplished on Saturday, April 16th, by many faithful servants who came together to clean and glorify our church. It was great to see and be a part of this camaraderie, and the Property Committee would like to gratefully thank the following people who helped to make this day so productive: Dave Cobb, Jack Heil, Russ Adkisson, Vic and Rita Abelson, Karen Muldoon, Jean Delesantro, Gayle Ackerman, Ginny Davenport, Edith Budd, Carol Thomas, Naida, Bud and Sam Burgess, John and Chris Harvey, Betsy Eberhard, Tina Brown, Jim and Michael McManus, Bob Hunter, Melvin Washington, Jim Maurer, Mary Bew, Jack Schultz and Darlene Lombardos, Roger and Jinny Wolcott, Carol Jorgenson, Norm Johnson and Marjorie McGuigan, and Greg Hamaty.
Good Job, Everyone!!!
Jan Jorgenson and Kris Jenoriki
Thank you to everyone who helped make the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble Dinner/Concert a great success! Everything from the great meal prepared by Nancy Sooy and her kitchen crew, to the people who helped set up, serve, and clean up worked very well to ensure that the evening was enjoyed by all.
Once again, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the Fellowship Committee for their constant support and efforts to ensure that all of our events are enjoyed! You are all priceless!!
Lunch Bunch to Travel to Pirate’s Den May 4
Lunch Bunch will meet at the church on Wednesday, May 4, to travel to the Pirate’s Den Restaurant in Brigantine. Or if you prefer, you can meet us there at noon.
Evergreens Wednesday, May 25th, 12 Noon
Toshie and Richard Legg will be giving a photo presentation of their recent trip to the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands located off the coast of Ecuador, to which country they belong. The only living tortoise on Pinta Island is estimated to be 100 years old. We are looking forward to this armchair adventure.
Bring a friend and a sandwich, we provide dessert.
Praise for Him!
Pastor to Pass Gavel to New Moderator on May 24
Our pastor has been moderating the Presbytery of West Jersey this past year. It’s been a busy year for him, but it comes to a close on May 24 when Elder David Large of the Marlton Presbyterian Church becomes the new moderator. Our pastor wishes him the best.
Wanna Help the Pastor?
Spring is when the pastor cleans his fish tank. Everything has to be scrubbed and the gravel boiled. Call if you want to help him some week day.
Carol and Sonny Kleiner proudly share the following letter received by their grandson, Andrew Townley:
I am delighted to inform you that the faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have selected you for the Moore School A. Atwater Kent Prize and the William L. Everitt Student Awards of Excellence.
The A. Atwater Kent Prize in Electrical Engineering is awarded each year to that member of the senior class in the Moore School who, during his or her junior and senior year has, in the opinion of the faculty of the Moore School, shown the greatest progress in judgment and in the general grasp of the broad principles of electrical engineering, greatest development in personality, and greatest promise of success in this field.
The International Engineering Consortium (formerly known as the National Engineering Consortium, “NEC”) developed a program for the purpose of honoring students majoring in electrical and computer engineering and computer science. The William L. Everitt Student Award of Excellence is awarded to two outstanding students annually from each IEC affiliated university.
On behalf of the faculty, I salute you for the passion and dedication that you have demonstrated. I am sure these qualities will serve you well throughout your life and career.
Deputy Dean for Education
Jill Williamson Interred in Our Cemetery April 20
On April 14 a great saint and leader in our church, Jill Williamson, slipped away quietly at home into the arms of Jesus.
Jill and her husband, Harry (Red), were regulars around our church. They were involved in everything from Mayberry to Lunch Bunch. Jill was also in a Circle and Bible study. She was known for her watercolors, poetry, and numerous dinners and parties. Her infectious smile said “welcome”, and we know she is welcomed into the arms of Jesus today with the saints.
Memorials may be made to the church using the envelopes in the pew racks.
Thanks Church Family
Many thanks to the Deacons for that beautiful gift bag full of Easter treats. You all never neglect an opportunity to serve.
May God bless you all for your caring and thoughtful acts and for all that you do for the church.
Paul and Marjorie Hamer
FLOWER CALENDAR HANGING IN VESTIBULE
Our 2011 flower calendar is hanging in the vestibule. If you would like to purchase altar flowers for any particular Sunday of the year please sign up to reserve your date! The cost for a single urn is $25.00 or $40.00 or two for $40. Order forms are available in an envelope next to the chart to be filled in and returned to the church office with your payment. This will help the secretary know what you would like printed in the Sunday bulletin.
Do we have your email address? If not, email the church office (email@example.com) and ask to be added to our list of contacts to get weekly updates, announcements and information.
Remember, Deadlines are Important!
“Good Morning” (Sunday bulletin announcements) – Noon Thursday
“The Presby Post” (Friday email) – 9:00 a.m. Friday
“Good News” (Monthly newsletter) – 20th of the month
Articles are to be in writing and submitted to the office (email preferred) by that day. Please keep in mind it may be necessary to edit due to space limitations.
Work Continues Out Front
May promises to be a month of construction mess as sidewalks are replaced and prick patterns added. Please bear with us as the City of Absecon gets a facelift. It will look really good when it is finished.
1 9:30 Dottie McCaffrey
11:00 Joanna Howell
8 9:30 Ruth Champion
11:00 Frances Weir
15 9:30 Irene Hunter
11:00 Olga Davies
22 9:30 Elaine Risley
11:00 Marge & Frank Loeb
29 9:30 Pat & Bob Hudak
11:00 Jean Delesantro
1 9:30 Rev. Gerry Reedell
11:00 Rev. Gerry Reedell
8 9:30 Scott Sabo
15 9:30 Bob Hunter
11:00 Dawn Duran
29 9:30 Bob Hunter
11:00 Shirley Smith & Denise Ott
8 9:30 Bill & Ginny Davenport
15 9:30 Carol Thomas & Elaine Risley
11:00 Betty Lloyd & Mary Bew
22 9:30 Bob & Irene Hunter
11:00 Joanna Howell & Jean Delesantro
1 Edith Budd & Joan Nale
15 Vic & Rita Abelson
DEACONS GUEST BOOK
1 9:30 Irene Hunter
11:00 Mary Bew
8 9:30 Jo-ann Weller
11:00 Mary Bew
15 9:30 Jo-ann Weller
11:00 Mary Bew
22 9:30 Pat Hudak
11:00 Mary Bew
29 9:30 Kris Jenoriki
11:00 Mary Bew
1 Jennifer Platt
8 Gloria Achamizo
15 Alice Malfi
22 Melissa Dischert
29 Fran Tanner
1 John Harvey
8 Barbara Hughes
15 John Channell
22 Vic Abelson
29 Ed Little
1 Betty Price
15 Dawn Duran
BREAKFAST CLUB KITCHEN CREW
1 Set-up – Edith Budd
Cook – Ed Little
Clean-up – McManus Family
8 Set-up – Bob Wilkenloh
Cook – Richard & Doris Wood
Clean-up – Ginny & Bill Davenport
15 Set-up – Roger & Jinny Wolcott
Cook – John Harvey
Clean-up – Joe Marshall
22 Set-up – Dee Heil
Cook – Jack Heil
Clean-up – Olga Davies & Jean Delesantro
29 Set-up – Linda Adkisson
Cook – Russ Adkisson
Clean-up – Gayle Ackerman
“The Only Appropriate Title”
“Thomas answered Him and said, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’” ~ John 20:28-29
One of the ongoing debates regarding the new royal couple – Prince William and Kate Middleton, is the question of their royal title. Queen Elizabeth is in contact with scholars of the monarchy, and early guesses are they will be dubbed “Duke and Duchess of Clarence, Cambridge, Connaught or Sussex. Other options include Kendal, Avondale, Strathearn and Teviotdale. We don’t know, but really, does it make any difference to us? The title will be fabricated so that when William becomes king the world will know he qualifies and so does his bride.
The British have always been big with titles. The title “lord” is especially coveted, and Prime Minister David Cameron has bestowed the title to 117 people who are now members of the “House of Lords”. Problem is the current number of lords is 792, and the chamber doesn’t seat that many. Critics say the proliferation of titles makes the House of Lords unable to function effectively, and their work is flawed. Indeed, it’s becoming meaningless because the title is not earned or elected.
Easter is Jesus’ vindication. He has proved His worthiness, endured the cross, and demonstrated God’s favor when God raised Him from the grave. We rush, like the Prime Minister, to bestow a title – King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Good Shepherd, Immanuel, Redeemer, Savior, Lamb of God, etc. They all fit. But is the proliferation of titles helpful? For some people giving Jesus a title is just a way to give Him a category, a point of identification, and then to marginalize Him. Instead of bringing us closer the title keeps us from really knowing Jesus as our friend.
When John wrote his gospel he saved the identification point for the mouth of one who had originally doubted. But, like Thomas, all the disciples had doubted. Thomas gives Jesus this title, “My Lord and my God”. The word lord in Greek means “ultimate master”. In England when a servant says “M’Lord” they admit that their master has ultimate control and direction. But more than that, Thomas uses the highest word for God – Theós – when he calls Jesus “God” – the one we worship, praise, and trust for eternity. Commentators like to talk about Thomas’ choice of these two words for Jesus.
But the word that stands out to me is the word “my”. Any title we give to Jesus is ultimately meaningless unless the word “my” precedes it. What does it mean to call Jesus Savior without calling Him “My Savior” or Redeemer with saying “My Redeemer”?
If Easter means anything, it means Jesus returned from death for you and me. Whatever title you give Him must be claimed by each one of us personally to have meaning. So claim Him for yourself. He is there for you all the time. Begin your prayers by addressing Jesus as “My Lord and My God”. It’s about relationship with Him.
The only appropriate title is the one that makes Him personal to each one of us. Anything else is only patronage.
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