THE PARISH REGISTER
St. Andrew's-Cheney Memorial Church
May 2002
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Hope

Thursday, May 9, will be Ascension Day. For forty days following His resurrection on Easter Sunday Jesus was with His disciples here on earth. At the end of those days the Lord returned to the Father. As the disciples witnessed that event two angels said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

The Ascension of Christ is inseparably connected to the promise of His Return. The Second Coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom is an essential part of the Christian hope.

All people need hope, for without hope people die. God made us in such a way that we must look forward in hope. Those people who reject Christ as the only basis for hope must fill that void in their hearts with something. Such people create false hope for themselves. These false hopes contain some elements of truth, but they are pale copies of real Christian hope.

The cults and non-Christian religions provide a false hope. As human beings who were originally created in God’s image we have an inner longing for the divine. We intuitively sense that there is something higher in which we may find meaning for our lives. This perfectly good and true desire is distorted by Satan and our fallen condition. Satan is an expert at taking truth and twisting it into a lie. He does so because he is unable to create anything that is genuinely original. In many false religions and cults our instinctive longing for the divine is corrupted in such a way that man becomes divine. It is the teaching of Hinduism and the New Age that we are god. And Mormonism tells us that we might become gods.

The truth is that we are not divine and will never become gods. But we were created to be like God, in His image. Through Christ our Savior we may be adopted by God and the image of God may be restored.

All of us have psychological needs for none of us is completely balanced. Certain types of psychology attempt to correct this by giving us hope based on self-esteem and positive thinking. However, if we don’t have an objective basis for thinking positively or for having self-esteem then we are merely playing games with our minds.

True self-esteem, which we do need, can only come as we know who we really are, rather than pretending to be something that we are not. We can value ourselves because God values us. Without a restored relationship with God through Christ we have no true basis for self-esteem. Without God our self image is only vanity and pride. United to God we have genuine worth.

A positive frame of mind is also good if it is based on objective truth. In Christ we have good reason to think positively. Apart from Christ our positive thinking is an illusion and we are merely whistling in the dark.

Some people try to fill up the void in their hearts with material possessions and wealth. Material security is a natural desire. However, materialism is a weak foundation upon which to rest one’s hopes for all these things will pass away. As someone once said, you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.

The problem is not matter, but material things being elevated to an ultimate position. Actually Christianity is a very materialistic religion, but in a good way. This is so because the material world was created by God and as He created He said it was good. Everything that exists was made by God and belongs to God. Our future life as Christians will be a material, and not merely a spiritual, existence. As Christ had a flesh and blood body following His resurrection so we have been promised a bodily resurrection and life on a recreated earth.

There have also been many people who have placed their hope in politics and the state. Political philosophies such as Communion or other utopian schemes have promised us a perfect world. We do long for a perfect society of peace and love and for good reason. Here again we have remnants of what humanity once had and lost. But such a world will not be regained through political effort. This is not to say that political efforts are bad, but that is not our hope. As Christians we do look forward to a perfect society. We call it the New Jerusalem and the Kingdom of God. That society will come with the return of Christ and it will be for those who know Christ as their Savior and Lord.

As human beings we long for hope and there is a true hope. Satan in various ways promotes false hopes, but in Christ our hopes are fulfilled.

by Rev. F.M. Levi

Parish News

Rev. Levi was away the first three weeks of March teaching a class on Apologetics at Cranmer Theological House in Houston, Texas. In his absence the Rev. Robert Novak and Mr. Wesley White preached at the Sunday services.

Thank you to the ladies of the Woman’s Guild for their work cleaning and organizing during Lent and beyond.

Thank you to all who attended the Lenten dinners and services.

Easter Sunday, March 31, began with a continental breakfast in the parish hall sponsored by the Woman’s Guild. A group of the Sunday School and Preschool children sang and performed musical numbers in the chapel following the breakfast. This was followed by the service of Holy Communion.

Thank you to those who purchased Easter lilies for the chapel In Memory or In Honor of loved ones.

Missionary of The Month

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Domestic Missions

Please remember the Rev. Deacon & Mrs. Gregory Hoffberg (Sally), their children Elijah, Rebeckah, Alyssa, Christine, Victoria, and Jacqueline. Community Reformed Episcopal Mission, in Burbank, California.

Ascension Day

May 9, 2002

Happy Birthday!

May 17 - Walter Sellers May 25 - Jeffrey Stultz

On Ascension Day
by Marion Schoeberlein

The clouds caressed Him on that day
When over the hills and far away
Christ went to heaven to prepare
A home for Christians everywhere,

He left disciples, lonely then,
With a commission to teach to men
Of all He did and all He said;
The resurrection of the dead.

They saw Him lifted to the sky,
The Christ whose love would never die,
But even though He must depart
His memory stayed inside their heart.

Now each year on Ascension Day,
We look to heaven too, and pray,
That our ascended LORD will be
Forever in our memory.


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