Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gloriously Down to Earth

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

This Christmas Day message from Pastor John points us to think of just what the term 'glorious' really means. Do you associate glorious with God? Well, God wanted to reveal His glory to us in the form of Jesus Christ.
Listen now to Pastor John as he reveals, from the Scriptures, the 'Glory of God' to us at Christmas.

Click here to download: Gloriously Down to Earth

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
24th December 2006
Advent 4 & Christmas

Prayer of the Day
Thank you, loving heavenly Father, for coming with power to the Virgin Mary and making her the mother of our Lord. Come to us with your Holy Spirit, so that we receive your saving word and rejoice in our Saviour. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points.
  • The poor and the helpless
  • The homeless, the hungry and the oppressed
  • The lonely and the unloved
  • Those who do not know Jesus and his love
  • Those in our community who continue to battle illness: Helga S., Fritz T., Christine F., Linda F., Wolfgang G., Wendy & Hardy B. and Horst M.
  • Give thanks that Wolfgang G. is now able to talk and eat and is out of intensive care.
  • Those on the land who have suffered because of drought and bushfires.
  • Police men and women and those in the ambulance service.
Todays Readings.
Isaiah 52:7-10
Hebrews 1:1-4
John 1:1-14

Major Festivals and colours this week:

Dec 24: Christmas Eve-White
The entire liturgy of Christmas Eve is consecrated to the anticipation of the certain and sure arrival of the Savior: "Today you shall know that the Lord shall come and tomorrow you shall see His glory". Throughout Advent we have seen how the preparation for Jesus' coming became more and more precise. Isaiah, John the Baptist and the Virgin Mother appeared throughout the season announcing and foretelling the coming of the King. We learn today that Christ according to His human nature is born at Bethlehem of the House of David of the Virgin Mary, and that according to His divine nature He is conceived of the Spirit of holiness, the Son of God and the Second Person of the Trinity.

Dec 25: Christmas Day-White
Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas. Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Savior. Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity. Christmas time begins on December 24 with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ. White vestments reappear in our churches as a sign of joy.

Minor Festivals and colours this week:

Dec 26: St Stephen-Red

Today is the second day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles; he was "filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude."

Dec 27: St John-White
Today is the third day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist. Born in Bethsaida, he was called while mending his nets to follow Jesus. He became the beloved disciple of Jesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse. His passages on the pre-existence of the Word, who by His Incarnation became the light of the world and the life of our souls, are among the finest of the New Testament. He is the evangelist of the divinity of Christ and His fraternal love. With James, his brother, and Simon Peter, he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration. At the Last Supper, he leans on the Master's breast. At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusts His Mother to his care. John's pure life kept him very close to Jesus and Mary in years to come. John was exiled to the island of Patmos under Emperor Domitian.

Dec 28: Innocents-Red
During this octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the memory of the small children of the neighborhood of Bethlehem put to death by Herod. Sacrificed by a wicked monarch, these innocent lives bear witness to Christ who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which would not receive Him. It is Christ Himself who is at stake in this mass-murder of the children; already the choice, for or against Him, is put clearly before men. But the persecutors are powerless, for Christ came to perform a work of salvation that nothing can prevent; when He fell into the hands of his enemies at the time chosen by God it was to redeem the world by His own Blood.
Our Christmas joy is tempered today by a feeling of sadness. But the Church looks principally to the glory of the children, of these innocent victims, whom she shows us in heaven following the Lamb wherever He goes.

Things to Do

Basic Sweet Dough
This is a basic recipe for sweet dough to use in other recipes, such as Christmas Stollen or the Christmas Braid.

· 2 packages active dry yeast
· 1/2 cup warm water (105°-115°)
· 1-1/2 cups lukewarm milk
· 1/2 cup sugar
· 2 teaspoons salt
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 cup soft shortening
· 7 to 7-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, and salt. Add eggs, shortening, and half the flour; mix with spoon. Add rest of flour; mix with hands. Turn out on lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and blistered — about 5 minutes. Round up in greased bowl; bring greased side up. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise in warm place (85°) until double in bulk — about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down; round up; let rise again until almost double in bulk — about 30 minutes. Divide dough for desired breads. Round up each part. Shape as desired. Let rise in warm place (85°) until double in bulk — 15 to 20 minutes. Bake according to directions for chosen bread.

Arroz Dulce (Coconut Rice, Sweet Rice)
This following recipe from Puerto Rico may be used with coconut milk; but it is equally delicious as plain rice pudding when cow's milk is used. Prepared ahead of time, it I gives a mother a chance to enjoy Christmas morning. (Coconut milk may be purchased in stores or may be made by soaking a package of dry coconut for an hour in one and a half cups of water and then straining it.)

· 1/2 cup raw rice
· 2 cups boiling water
· 1-1/2 cups milk or cocoanut milk
· 1/4 cup sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 cup seedless raisins
· 1 egg
· 1 teaspoon butter
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wash rice. Put in a saucepan with the boiling water and boil 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Scald milk in top of double boiler over boiling water. Add the rice, sugar, raisins, and salt, and cook, covered, until rice is tender — about 40 minutes. Beat egg well, and add to it 2 heaping tablespoons of the rice mixture. Mix well and pour back into remaining rice mixture in the double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and mix well. Serve warm or cold.

Thought for the Week
"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties."-Sir Francis Bacon

Photo credit: 'Stained Glass Nativity 2' by George Bosela, Wellington, Ohio, United States

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rabbits and Repentance.

Hi Everybody,
This week, Pastor John continues on the Advent theme of John the Baptist about making things ready for the coming of the Lord.
Kids always ask the tough questions, usually at the wrong time! The ad from Telstra (the major Aussie telco) about the Great Wall of China really strikes a chord for most parents!!

Do you 'pretend' to know the answer to 'What does repentance look like?' Join Pastor John as we find out how to answer this one without having to bluff your way through!

Click here to download: Rabbits and Repentance.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
17th December 2006
Advent 3

Prayer of the Day
Jesus, our promised Messiah, John the Baptist went aheadof you and proclaimed the good news of your coming. Encourage us to recieve you with joy as our Redeemer and faithfully follow you. For you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points
  • Pray for safety for those under threat of bushfires and for all those who are fighting the fires.
  • Pray for rain.
  • Pray for those we know who are in hospital or suffering illness: Wolfgang G., Wendy and Hardy B., Harold M., Christine F., Linda F., Fritz T., Helga S. and Josepha K.
  • Pray that the spirit of Christmas-that is, God's Holy Spirit-would fill our hearts.
  • Give thanks for opportunities to show generosity.
  • Pray that the Christmas message of God's love for all people would reach those who need to hear it most.
  • Give thanks for the children in our church and pray they would continue to grow in faith.
  • Pray for a faith that is alive and active.
  • Pray for the fruits of the Spitit to be evident in our parish and in our lives.
  • Pray for safety on the roads over the holiday period.
Todays Readings
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

Minor Festivals and Colours this week
None this week.

Thought for the Week.
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
Galileo Galilei

Photo credit: 'Bunny in the Zoo' by layoutcom, Ukraine.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Road Works Ahead.

Hi Everybody!

Welcome once again to Pastor Johns' weekly message. In this, the second Sunday in Advent, we listen to how John the Baptist called for us to do some 'heavy roadworks' in preparing the way for the Lord.
My apologies for no posting last week. I had a last minute family obligation to attend to on Sunday so I was not able to attend Church.

Click here to download and listen: Road Works Ahead.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
10 December 2006
Advent 2

Prayer of the Day.
Merciful God, you sent your messenger to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Turn us away from our sins, so that we greet our coming redeemer, Jesus Christ, with joy. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points.
  • Pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to prepare us to celebrate Christmas, acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
  • Ask God to show you ways of being generous this Christmas.
  • Pray for those in our community suffering illness or hospitalization: Christine F., Harold M., Wolfgang G., Hardy B., Fritz T., Josie K., Linda F. and Mac C.
  • Pray for those those whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by fires.
  • Pray for rain!
  • Pray for Mr Kevin Rudd, new leader of the Labor Party and for all politicians in our country that they would represent all people fairly and justly.
  • Pray for the people of Fiji facing an uncertain future and for peaceful rule in that country.
  • Pray for Nurima H., (child sponsored by St John's Sunday School) that she would have a healthy life and also that she would have opportunites to hear the Gospel.
Todays Readings
Malachi 3:1-4
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6

Todays liturgical colour is

Minor Festivals and Colours this week
None this week.

Special Feature: Cooking for Advent!

Whole Wheat Sweet Porridge
Thick, sweet and satisfying, this whole wheat porridge was easy for our ancestors to whip up whether at home or on the road. It makes a delicious and nourishing breakfast, a comforting snack on a winter's night, or even a dessert at the end of a light meal.

Rinse the whole wheat and bring to a boil with the water. Cover pot, lower heat to a simmer and cook 1/2 hour. Add the milk, raisins and nuts. Continue to cook till the wheat is crunchy-tender, about 30 minutes, depending on size and age of wheat. Prepare little dishes of cinnamon and honey for setting on the table. Pour the wheat porridge into a casserole dish, or spoon it into separate bowls, and serve. Let guests add their own ground cinnamon and honey to taste.
Recipe Source: Foods of the Bible by Phyllis Glazer

Thought for the Week.
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain

Photo credit: 'Road Work Ahead' by Mark Brannan, USA