“THE “DISPATCH

First Presbyterian Church

                                 In Orange, NJ

 

 

Volume LXVII No. 7                                                    September 2009

Who’s Got the Power

 30They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.   33They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" 34But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.  35Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."   36He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."  Mark 9:30-37

Let’s try to imagine this situation.  If we look back just a few chapters from where the above text begins, we will discover that the disciples have just witnessed Jesus feeding no less than 5000 people.  That was followed by Jesus walking on the water of Lake Gannessaret.  And if that were not enough, Chapter 9 of Mark’s Gospel begins with the Transfiguration.  The disciples were privy to all this grace – all this power – all this glory.  All the proof in the world that they were walking with the One who fully possessed the Words of eternal life.  And now, beginning at verse 30, the disciples find themselves again on the road with their Lord.  It was Jesus’ intent to teach them certain things for their benefit, which the rest of the world was not yet ready to hear. Jesus was unpacking for them the most important information they would ever hear.  Perhaps the most important information ANYONE would EVER hear:  God’s plan for reconciling humanity to God’s self.

 

And when presented with this truth, they did not understand it, were afraid to ask what Jesus was talking about; choosing instead to ignore that truth and concentrate on what was really important to them:  Who among us is the greatest? (vs.34)

 

Of course it sounds like a pretty silly thing to do.  We would never take it upon ourselves to act that way, would we?  Imagine a congregational meeting where everyone began shouting, “I’m the greatest!”  “No, you’re not, I am!”  “No, none of you are… I am!” 

 

Pretty silly indeed.

 

If we began to act like that, we might as well change our name to the First Church of Saint Cassius Clay…!  Of course we don’t do exactly that.  But when we are presented with the Good News of our reconciliation to God and to each other do we meet this most important information with lack of understanding, and like the disciples, unwilling, or afraid to ask what it all means, instead concentrate on what is really important to us:  who is the greatest?  (or, in language we are more likely to use…) Who is in charge? Who gets to tell whom how it’s going to be? Whose rules shall we follow?  Whose idea, program, or methodology are we going to utilize?  Who’s got the power?

 

While Christ stands at the door of our hearts – or at the door of our churches in the embodiment of those whom He loves – do we sometimes find ourselves too busy with matters of consequence to hear the knocking?  Do we become so entangled in the business of church, or our daily lives, that we fail to see the Incarnate Deity in the eyes and the sighs, the tears and the smiles of those all around us?

 

 

                           Published                                                                                                  

THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN ORANGE                                                                 Periodicals

              Main Street and Scotland Road                                                                                 Paid At Orange, NJ

              Orange, New Jersey 07050

                        (UPS 572-000)

                        Issued Monthly

      Editorial Staff:          

           May D. Smith and Joan B. Daly

                       September 2009                

                    DATED MATERIAL                                                           


(Continued from page 1)

 

So Jesus goes on to tell them how it’s going to be (vs. 35) because, after all, He’s got the power – and He’s really the One who gets to call the shots: If you want to be first, you must be last. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all.

 

This could be a polemic against pride.  And in one sense it is.  We certainly understand pride.  We know it can make us feel good.  But we also learn pretty quickly it’ll tear us down just as easily:

 

There once was a certain young preacher.  He was just a few years out of seminary and very bright and eloquent.  All of his seminary instructors thought well of him.  His congregation admired him for his wit and beautiful turn of phrase.  One Sunday he preached a sermon that he felt was so good that this was his turning point.  This is where he knew he was destined for greatness.  On the way home, he asked his wife, “Honey, do you ever wonder about such things…?  I wonder...  how many truly great preachers do you suppose there are in the world?”  His wife though for a moment and then said flatly, “I’m sure I don’t know, dear.  But I imagine how ever many it is, it’s one less than you think it is.”

 

Pride.

But in here I think Jesus was imparting something even more significant than the pitfalls of a prideful attitude.  Talking a little child and holding that child in their midst, he told them (vs. 36-37) “whoever welcomes one such as this welcomes Me… and in welcoming Me, you welcome Almighty God…”

 

There are those who think Jesus might be a Republican.  He’s not.  But then he’s not a Democrat either.  Jesus is a Radical!

 

The thing that Jesus was saying to his disciples, and through the words of Scripture, He says to us; that kind of behavior and lifestyle He called them and calls us to is so RADICAL it can only be described borrowing the words of James: to be friends with God is to be an enemy of the world.  (See James 4)

 

Embrace the child – the one who is powerless, of no account, without worldly power, who cannot pay you back for your kindness, who perhaps cannot even understand the good you do.  That’s the one to hold up and count as the most valued.  It’s true, it makes no sense in the eyes of the world where we’re all concerned about who’s got the power.  But then again, such is friendship with God.  Such is the abundant life we are called to (John 10:10). 

 

I believe that as a church and as individual followers of Christ, we are being called to something radical – a new way of looking at our lives and our faith.  Perhaps we might consider the words of  poet Carol Wimmer:

 

 

 

 

When I say..." I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I am saved"
I'm whispering "I get lost"
"That is why I chose this way"

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need someone to be my guide

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak
and pray for strength to carry on

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting I have failed
and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
my flaws are all too visible
but God believes I'm worth it

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
which is why I seek His name

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I do not wish to judge
I have no authority
I only know I'm loved.

 

Wishing you peace and every blessing in Christ our Lord.

 

Anthony Mark LaMort - Minister of Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missions

The Presbytery of Newark is asking each congregation to participate in helping to send a team of health workers to Jamaica in October.  This health outreach started in 2005, the first year of a three-year endeavor.

 

This year, in addition to health - related activities, the team will be emphasizing evangelism, using a large tent purchased last year.  They found that -young adults are hesitant to walk through church doors, but are willing to enter a tent meeting.

 

The Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Livingston is sending a team of doctors to Jamaica as part of this outreach.  They will be joined there by a Pediatric Dentist who is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montclair, plus two assistants.

Several other volunteers from Newark Presbytery will be in Jamaica from October 23 – 31, conducting Revival Services, which will be the highlight of this mission venture, emphasizing and church growth.

 

Special envelopes will be available on the next three Sundays for anyone here at First Church who wishes to help to sponsor this health/evangelism event.  Checks should be made out to Newark Presbytery, with the notation For Global Mission.

 

 

Christine’s Kitchen

Many thanks to all who joined in helping the hungry at Christine’s Kitchen on Saturday, September 19th.   We had a good response here at First Church of people who provided food, helped to serve it, and participated in the clean-up after the folks left. 

 

 

                                 IHN

Our regularly scheduled week of IHN, sheltering and feeding homeless families, will be the week of October 4th – 11th.  Watch for the sign-up poster to go up for volunteers, and join in this outreach to those who have no homes.

 

The Jamaican project later in October will be doing great things for many people, and we encourage everyone to help support it as you are able.   However, we also encourage our congregations to support this program, reaching out to those in need right here in our own church building.

 

As a side note of interests, our own Elder Margaret Douglas is part of the Caribbean

Medical Mission Team which travels to Jamaica each year to help with health issues.  She has done this for thirteen years!  The Rev Dr. Johnson (Clinton Ave. Presbyterian in Newark) is part of this project as well.

 

 

Jamaican Medical Mission

The Presbytery of Newark has invited each congregation in the Presbytery to join in supporting Medical and Evangelism teams who will be traveling to Jamaica Late in October. The Rev. Dr. Alfred Johnson, a long-time friend of First Church, is coordinating this outreach program for our sister denomination in Jamaica.

 

A team of volunteers from Newark Presbytery will be in Jamaica from October 23rd through the 31st, conducting Revival Services, emphasizing evangelism and church growth.  Many of these services will be conducted under a large tent donated by Newark’s Presbytery’s three-year initiative.

 

During October 26th – 28th, these Revival Services will include a Health Fair.  Workers during these three days will include a team of doctors from the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of North Jersey in Livingston, and a pediatric dentist plus two assistants from Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montclair.

 

For the next 3 Sundays, envelopes will be available in your bulletins.  You can also mail a donation to the church.  Checks should be made payable to Newark Presbytery, with a notation “For Global Mission/Jamaica”.  We will forward all donations to the Presbytery Office through Sunday, October 18th.

 

The Global Mission Partnership hopes that each congregation in Newark Presbytery will prayerfully consider supporting this Evangelism/Health Program.  Thank-you in advance for any donation you make for this project.

 

 

CROP Walk

Finally, the Annual Crop Walk . . . Communities, Responding to Overcome Poverty . . . is scheduled for Sunday, October 18th.  Walkers will be walking several laps around the lake at Cameron field in South Orange, and your support of this activity by either walking or sponsoring a walker will be much appreciated.  If you would like to be a walker, see Elfriede Ehricke or Jean Lancaster for the necessary paper – work involved.  If walking that is not your “thing”, please consider being a sponsor.  The names of all the walkers will be on “footprints” on the walk in the hallway leading to the Esty Room. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                               

           Concert Series Continues

The First Presbyterian Church in Orange concert series continues on Sunday, October 25th at 4pm with a program presented by former First Church choir soloist John Hammel and his Ensemble ‘Serious Fun’  in afternoon of re-envisioned American popular songs.  A reception with refreshments will follow the concert.  Future events scheduled as part of our ongoing concert series include:

  • 1. November, 4 PM Adam Scott Neal, Composer and Pianist - New Music
  • 22. November, 4 PM Recital for Flute and Harpsichord - Music of Handel, Mozart
  • 13. December, 4 PM Vocal Recital - Soloists of First Presbyterian Church - Seasonal Favorites
  • 10. January, 4 PM Recital for Cello and Harpsichord - Vivaldi, Bach
  • 7. February, 4 PM Organ Recital, Anthony Mark LaMort - Various composers, organ improvisation
  • 21. March, 4 PM, Bella Cantare Ensemble - American songs
  • 11. April, 4 PM, Peter Biedermann - Acoustic Guitar - Original Music

First Presbyterian begins “Poet’s Corner”

On October 18th, in conjunction with the Concert series we begin a  monthly feature called ‘Poet’s Corner’ featuring the poetic offerings of a featured reader and an ‘open mic’ for audience participants.  Upcoming performances include:

  • 18. October, 7 PM - John Hammel with Peter Beidermann on Guitar
  • 15. November, 7 PM - Rob Nolfe, singer-song writer
  • 20. December 7 PM - Holly Bianchi - Poet, Author, member of the Orange Bicentennial committee
  • 17. January 7 PM – Kyle McCoughlin – Founder, Poets in the Round readers group, Philadelphia, PA
  • 21. February 7 PM - John Trause, Poet - Co-founder of the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative

 

 

 

 

 

Drop-by Recitals

In addition to the formal concerts the church also offers a series of ‘Drop-by Recitals’ on the second and fourth Sunday’s of each month at 12:30 pm. These brief programs feature the church’s 4 manual Austin organ in themed programs of organ repertoire:

  • 11. October - Telemann Chorales
  • 25. October - M. Praetorius - We All Believe in One True God
  • 8. November - Organ Music of Frescobaldi
  • 22. November - There's More to Pachelbel than the Canon!
  • 13. December - Advent Orgelbuchlein (J.S. Bach)
  • 27. December - Improvisations on Hymns of the Season (tunes chosen by the audience)

                  

 

 

 

 

We recently learned of the passing of former First Church member Barbara Hutchinson.  For many years Barbara assisted with the children in the pre-school Sunday school Department.  She leave one son, Richard, and three daughters – Anne, Deborah, and Susan.

 

Prayer Concerns

Abiding Peace Throughout the World.

 This month we seem to have a need for special

   prayers.

 

 Phil Lindquist (nephew of Rev. Dr. Raymond   

   Lindquist who served as Pastor at First Church   

   1934 – 1953) recently underwent major heart

   Surgery

 Phoebe Nwangw (mother of Elizabeth Achebe)

 Chiemezie Okobi

 James Oswald  (Joan Daly’s Brother)             

 The Pierce Family

 Roosevelt Jr. and family –Toni’s son

 Emmanuel Shu (Joan Shu-Osobo’s brother)

 Barbara Zeevalk

 

 

 

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                          The First Presbyterian Church

                                                     of Orange, NJ                        

                                              Main St. and Scotland Rd.

                                                    (973)678-1719

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