News and Notes
One of the greatest gifts of this 500th Reformation celebration has been reading the articles our church members have written “On being Lutheran. . .” It is a beautiful thing to hear someone’s faith expressed in such honest, down-to-earth, open and enthusiastic ways. In one of these articles, a member shared her faith journey, her ups and downs, her quest to find peace with God, and finally her experience in the embrace of God’s grace. It reminds me of Luther’s personal faith journey.
Martin Luther himself spent many years fearing what he viewed as an “angry” God. Having experienced a harsh upbringing, Luther developed an image of God reminiscent of his father, a strict disciplinarian whom Luther both feared and tried to appease. Luther hoped to find spiritual peace when he joined the Augustinian monastic order, the strictest of all orders in the Roman Catholic Church of his day. There, he took their asceticism to the extreme, denying himself any comforts in daily life and physically punishing himself in hopes of finding peace by experiencing the suffering of Christ. This led to “anfechtung” – a German word meaning spiritual trial, deep despair, or hopelessness. Everything he did to try to justify his worth before his Heavenly Father (and earthly father), left him in anguish.
Yet in 1515, while preparing a lecture on Romans, he stumbled upon a passage that changed everything, Romans 1:17: “The righteous shall live by faith.” This one simple sentence opened the way to a whole new understanding of his relationship with God. Further developed in Romans 3, it says: “For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. . . . For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.”
This revelation totally changed Luther’s understanding of the nature of God. Instead of a God full of wrath and judgement, Luther experienced God’s grace for the first time, grace in which he found the peace, love and purpose he sought. He finally understood that his salvation (or justification, as Luther termed it), was not up to him. It was a freely given gift of God’s grace. This freedom in the Gospel turned Luther from a person defeated by despair into a person on fire for his faith; risking his very life in order to share this good news with others. Both his life, and the world’s, were totally re-formed in God’s grace.
If you ever wonder if a faith relationship with Jesus Christ can have an impact on an individual or a culture – just look at Martin Luther. Just read Susan’s story below. Just spend some time reflecting on how your faith shapes your life. As we celebrate this 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we not only celebrate God’s re-forming power in the past, but God’s transforming power today and in the future!
Reformation happens – let’s celebrate!
+ Pastor Terri +
Reformation 500 Classes
The series continues in the 10:00 Sunday School hour in the Conference Room. Upcoming topics include:
Women of the Reformation
Pastor Terri will discuss the life of Katie Luther, Martin Luther’s wife, and the role she played in the Reformation.
Women of the Reformation
Deacon Mary will talk about other women who played important roles in the Reformation.
Pastor Terri will lead a Q&A session about what Lutherans believe.
Service of Common Prayer
Wednesday, October 25
This worship service will be hosted by St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church.
Pastor Terri and Father Dan will jointly lead the service, with a short sermon provided by each.
The service will replicate the joint prayer service shared by Pope Francis and leaders from the Lutheran World Federation on
October 31, 2016 in Lund, Sweden. It’s an event you won’t want to miss!
Reformation Day at the Kessler Collection, Emory
Thursday, October 26
Our pastors and deacon are attending this day-long event where we will be able to see 1st edition writings of Martin Luther,
woodcuts by artist Lucas Cranach, and participate in theological dialogue between Bishops of the Lutheran, Roman Catholic and United Methodist churches.
There will also be performances by the Candler Singers and the Emory Chorus. Follow this link for more information and to register: Reformation Day
Reformation Sunday Morning
Sunday, October 29
We will have festival worship here at Cross of Life at all our services, complete
with special activities during Connections Hour for all ages
to learn about the Reformation.
Combined Lutheran Reformation Service
Sunday, October 29
Held at Christ the King Lutheran in Peachtree Corners on Reformation Sunday afternoon,
this service will have a joint choir and musicians from a number of
Lutheran congregations across North Atlanta.
Upcoming in Worship
Manna from Heaven
Stewardship Temple Talk — Treasure
I Samuel 3:1-21
Here I Am Lord
Stewardship Temple Talk –
Time and Talent
I Samuel 16:1-13
A Consecrated Life
(Pledges of time, talent and treasure are presented to God.)
Psalm 46 and Romans 3:19-28
Reformation Sunday – 500th Anniversary Celebration
I Kings 19:1-18
All Saints Sunday
All Saints Sunday
On November 5th, we will have a time of remembrance of your loved ones who have entered the Church Triumphant in the past year. Please submit the names of those you wish to include in the prayers to Donna by October 29th. There will also be opportunity to add additional names to the special All Saints paraments we wove together last year.
Sample materials for adults and children will be available in the Fellowship Hall from Oct. 15- Nov. 5. You can browse the samples and then order copies to be shipped directly to you. These high quality materials are a great way to learn more about what the Reformation means in our modern world and for the future of the church!
Lutheran Disaster Response: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria
Recent hurricanes have hit Texas, Florida, numerous Southern states and Puerto Rico, impacting millions of people through wind, flood and storm surge damage. Gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response designated for “Hurricane Response” will be used entirely (100 percent) for these disasters until the response is complete. Together, we can help provide immediate and long-lasting support. Give today to support the needs in this response and others like it. Click here to donate. You may either designate which area you wish to support, or leave it open to be used where most needed.
Cross of Life Book Club
The Cross of Life Book Club meets on October 17th and will be discussing The Muse by Jessie Burton. This group meets regularly on the 3rd Tuesday of each month in the Adult Center at 7:00 pm. For more information, please contact the church office.
Your Social Concerns Team would like to provide another service to our community. We will be providing a monthly evening meal on the last Monday of each month (except December which will be the 18th due to Christmas holiday). Our first “Breaking Bread” community meal will be October 30 from 6- 7:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. We are recruiting volunteers to help us every month to provide this meal. If you would like to provide food, help cook, set up, serve, or clean up, please contact Mary Thank you!
Property Workday – Oct. 14
All hands are needed on deck as we spruce up our building and grounds for the fall and winter seasons. Like your personal home, our house of worship requires the tender care of many hands to keep it a beautiful and welcoming place for members, visitors and friends. For those of you who are unable to commit to a long-term project or leadership role in the church, this is a great opportunity to serve your God in tangible ways. We begin at 9:00 AM at the church. Sign-up here.
Hot Breakfast will be served on October 8th from 8:45 to 10:30 – offering a time for fellowship and conversation. Donations are accepted, with this month’s net-proceeds going towards our Property fund.