June 21, 2018

Dear friends,

In the past few weeks and months I have grown a little concerned, if not worried, when observing how people use the biblical scripture for moral and political arguments. This is why I want to share some reflections on how to read scripture: There have been many examples like the use of Psalm 139 (I have formed you in the womb of your mother”), but recently it was a couple of verses in Romans 13 (which you find at the sidebar).

You may ask why that is so worrisome, since one of the reformation’s main efforts was to have the Bible translated into the common language so that everybody would be able to interpret scripture. This goal, however, also transfers the responsibility to the single person to be critical and to ask questions.

Subsequently, in an era of enlightenment, scripture was interpreted critically, putting it in its different contexts. People started to argue for moral issues not based on the argument: “because the Bible says”, but on the question why the Bible says what it says. As one example, one would put Romans 13 in its various contexts.

In its historical context, Paul tries to calm the congregation down as there have been many protests against the current tax collection in Rome. As a Roman citizen, and being afraid of consequences for the Christian community, Paul asks them to obey. And he gives a reason to obey: He assumes the government is doing good for the people; he assumes that by doing that good it does God’s will through the law.

Another context is the context within scripture: the irony in his remarks is that in verses 8-10, Paul gives the answer what the law he was talking about really is and what the government should do: Love your neighbor as yourself .
The Scripture gives us this direction, not because it says so; but because in following that commandment, we are creating a better community.

Peace and grace! 
Romans 13: 1-5:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval;  for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority [ a ]  does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
Pastoral Intern, Domenik Ackermann, M. Theol.
Evangelical Reformed Church, UCC
15 W Church Street, Frederick MD, 21701

Sunday Worship
  June 24
During the Season after Pentecost, we learn of God’s deep desire for wholeness, justice, and peace in all creation. In 2 Corinthians 6:1–13, Paul teaches us to persevere in faith through times of trial and difficulty. When the disciples cry out to a sleeping Jesus, in Mark 4:35–41, during a storm, Jesus stuns them by bringing calm to the situation.  We will be receiving new members this morning. 
A dult Education, Sunday,  June 24     
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so.  
Esther Ziegler will lead this morning. No need to read the book prior to the class.
Construction/Building Update
It's great to see the progress this week.
CLICK HERE to see the video. Thanks to Jenna Duranko for her weekly update.

Our Vigil for the Children!
Sunday, June 24
from 7:30 PM - 9 PM
on the steps of

Hosted by  Stand Up Frederick
Bethany Beach All Church Retreat
September 8-10
REMEMBER TO RSVP for the Retreat! Spaces are filling up quickly. RSVP by August 1 to be included.
Click HERE for more details

If you are interested, contact the church for more details.
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Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street
Frederick, MD 21701