Friday, May 27, 2016

Remembering Taps

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you (Deuteronomy 32:7).

The tapping stopped on Christmas Eve. The year was 1941. The place was Pearl Harbor. By then the fires had burned out. The memories, however, would burn for lifetimes.

The sight of the dead on December 7th, the moans of the wounded, and the smell of the burning ships would be seared into the minds of those who were there and survived. It was indeed a “day of infamy.” But it did not end when the sun slipped under the edge of the Pacific on that day. Sailors were trapped inside of the capsized vessels. They tapped on the hull of the ship to let would-be rescuers know that they were still alive—and waiting.

Heroic efforts ensued. With blowtorches and jacks and sweat, swarms of sailors attacked the walls of the steel prisons. Many were freed. Many were saved. But not all.

It was heart-wrenching to hear the tapping come from places that the rescuers could not reach. It was gut-wrenching to listen to the taps echoing out day after day, becoming softer and softer—until they finally stopped.

Those sailors would always remember the shock of the sound of bombs exploding. And they would never forget the anguish of the sound of shipmates pitifully tapping. They would spend the rest of their life remembering.

It is well for us to remember, too.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past…” This is not just wise advice; it is the command of the Lord God.

The past teaches lessons about ourselves and our God. We learn about human pride and viciousness—and frailty. We learn about divine justice and power. We learn the meaning of grace, of amazing undeserved love.

We learn about the need for help from heaven; the need for a divine Rescuer.

We need to remember the sorrow that is part of Memorial Day. And then we need to remember Christmas, Good Friday and Easter—the answer to all sorrow.

The echo of the repeated taps on steel that came from below water still reaches America’s shores.

On this Memorial Day a somber sound will float over many a place where our warriors rest. To the 1941 tapping on steel we somberly reply with the sound of Taps—this time played with a trumpet

Those who know the closing words to the melody may whisper them softly:

Thanks and praise, For our days,
’Neath the sun, ‘Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Where to Turn When Life Goes South

Problems are nothing new. People have struggled with health issues, family crises, financial meltdowns, etc. since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. It’s not a question of whether or not we’ll face stormy times in life, no, the only uncertainty is when they’ll hit.

But there is another important question to ask and that is, “Where do we turn when life goes south?” Several thousand years ago a man named David wrote a type of spiritual diary narrating his journey through the ups and downs of daily living. Today, we call his work the Psalms. It’s the longest book in the Bible and one of the most read. Why? Because the psalms deal with life as it is. There’s no sugar coating, no pretending. There are times when reading this book you can almost picture the writer on his knees, face buried in his hands, pleading to God for help, crying for answers.

This summer we’re going to spend studying the Psalms, learning how believers of the past dealt with the tough times in life. It will be a journey well worth the effort as work through the unforgettable passages of Psalm 23, 46, 90 and various others. Join us this weekend as we begin our series with Psalm 1 – God’s blueprint for blessings.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, May 13, 2016

Does the Church Still Matter?

Maybe the simplest answer to that question is, “Because Jesus said so.” And really, if Christ rose from the dead, then that should be enough. But we live in a culture which ridicules the Christian church, never missing an opportunity to point out its faults and shortcomings. According to millennials, churches are full of half-committed people who are overly judgmental of the rest of society. With such scorching criticism, how is a Christian to react? The only response is to go back to Christ. While the way Christians live reflects either positively or negatively on Christ, our behavior does not change in one iota the truth about him – that he is God.

The night before Jesus was crucified he spoke at length about the coming of the Holy Spirit. At that time the Spirit would open the minds of the disciples so that they would fully understand what was all going to happen over the next few days and then be able to take the message of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection to people throughout the world.

Fifty days later, what he promised happened. We call it the Day of Pentecost and it is the day the New Testament Christian church got its start. This Sunday we’re going to be studying what happened on that first Pentecost. We’ll see that the principles on which the early church was built remain the same for 21st century Christians. If the church was the body of Christ then, it still is today. If the church was the instrument through which God worked in the world at that time, it is no different now.

If you’ve been turned off by recent church experiences. If you question the value of being part of the church or are disgusted by the hypocrisy you see in it, give the church one more chance. Join us for one of our weekend services and maybe you might agree, the church still matters.

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Friday, May 6, 2016

Pandora’s Box

In ancient Greek mythology there is a story about a woman named Pandora who received a box with a “Do Not Open” note attached to the lid. Unable to control her curiosity, one day Pandora felt overwhelmed with the desire to open the box and see what was inside. When she did, out flew all the bad things in the world today – envy, sickness, hate, disease, etc. She tried to shut the cover quickly, but it was too late.

The story of Pandora has been used through the years as a warning that there are some things which are better left alone, no matter how much we might have the desire to experiment with them. There is no more tragic example of this truth than the changing sexual values in America and the effect this change has had on the family.

Sunday we will be celebrating Mother’s Day. This holiday gives us the opportunity to look at God’s plan for the family and see that his way continues to be, far and away, the best, regardless of what so many in the media are telling us. At a time when the lines between men and women are being blurred, Christians need to reaffirm God’s great idea for the different but complementary roles he created men and women to carry out. Join this weekend for one of our services. Celebrate with us God’s gift of family!

Saturday evening worship: 6:00 pm
Sunday morning worship: 10:00 am

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

My photo
Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.