From the Sublimely Evil to the Seemingly Ridiculously

First in a series. Edited for electronic publication.

I  recently had a conversation with a highly intelligent 14-year-old about the virtues of incense, which she professed to enjoy.

“It makes a room smell sweet,” I said.

“Yes, and it keeps away the ghosts,” she said.

She knew I was a preacher and a fuddy-duddy. I thought maybe she was going for shock effect, so I decided to do the same. “I am sure it is effective against ghosts,” I said, “Ghosts are easy, but how good is it at protecting you from the principalities and powers?” Much to her relief and much to my chagrin, our conversation was interrupted. I promised myself that I would speak to her again about these things, in person or in writing. Continue reading

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Messages from the Provincial Elders’ Conference

MORAVIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA, SOUTHERN PROVINCE
Provincial Elders’ Conference
459 South Church Street ▪ Winston-Salem, NC 27101-5314 (336) 725-5811 ▪ (888) 725-5811 ▪ fax: (336) 723-1029 ▪ pec@mcsp.org

August 13, 2021

Messages from the Provincial Elders’ Conference

August 13 is the festival day in our Moravian Church when we remember the powerful, reconciling, and unifying experience of the Holy Spirit that brought our diverse church together in the summer of 1727. This is considered beginning of the renewed Moravian Church. From that empowering moment our forebears moved outward in a sustained mission effort to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed to the far corners of the world.

Today the Provincial Elders’ Conference shares the following two statements: “When Moravians Disagree,” and “Why Moravians are talking about Racism.”

We invite pastors and church leaders to share these messages with the members of our congregations and fellowships, particularly as we look forward to the 2022 Provincial Synod.

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Wisdom and Insight–and That Which Is More

Proverbs 9:1-6
1 Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. 2 She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her servant girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, 4 “You that are simple, turn in here!” To those without sense she says, 5 “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” Continue reading

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The Dividing Wall of Hostility in Scripture and…

Today, I want to talk to you about “the dividing wall of hostility.” The Epistle to the Ephesians mentions one and I will mention another.

Before its destruction in 70 A.D., the temple in Jerusalem had four separate courts: 1) the Court of the Gentiles, 2) the Court of the Women, 3) the Court of Israel (aka the Court of Men), and 4) the Court of the Priests. The Court of the Gentiles was the outermost court. It was the only part of the temple where non-Jews were allowed. In it, God-fearing but uncircumcised gentiles could pray, exchange money, and buy animals for to be sacrificed on their behalf. In the gospels, Jesus drove the money changers and animal sellers out of the court of the Gentiles. Non-Jews were allowed to enter the Court of the Gentiles, but that was as far as they could go. The inner courts were separated from the Court of the Gentiles with a wall, and on that wall, priests had posted notices in both Latin and Greek, waring that any uncircumcised person passed over it was liable to be killed. Not unsurprisingly, the wall which bore these solemn warning was known as “the dividing wall of hostility.” This wall was real. It stood in the temple. It was also a metaphor for the animosity between Jews and Gentiles Continue reading

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