For many days now I have been trying to understand the organizational method to my father’s three binders full of his “Hello from the Pastor” writing. I want to carry on with my Ernie Project (which is based solely on these bits originally written for the bulletins of Grace Community Church where he was the Pastor) in a manner that he might use if he were doing this project himself. Since he numbered the binders in his own handwriting – one, two, three, I naively thought that this was a message to start in binder number one. Talk about mixed messages! Page “1” of binder one is dated 28 Sept 86, then if you flip midway through this binder there is a random 1990 dated page thrown into a bunch of what appear to be more chronologically arranged 1986 pages. That one 1990 page is an anomaly maybe? Well, no – because then there is a page, still in binder number one, nearing the end of it, a page on which he has hand written “Mother’s Day 12 May 91” after which the binder holds a smattering of 1991 until the very end when it reverts to 1986.
So, in keeping with that unfathomable arrangement, I applied what little I learned from the organization of binder one to binders two and three. And guess what I found? His very first one – the inaugural “Hello from the Pastor” is in the mid-back of binder three! It appears to be from February of an unknown year. 1985 perhaps? So, why is number 1 in the midst of binder three? Who knows? Not I. This is now a writing project with a real (albeit bland) mystery.
Here then, on day three of The Ernie Project, on January 7th, 2016, I present to you Dad’s inaugural “Hello from the Pastor”. (Based on his binders, I think he would be very pleased with this odd sequence.)
Hello from the Pastor (by Reverend Ernest Richter)
This is a new page in our bulletin.
I hope you’ll find it interesting. Even helpful. Anyway it will give me a chance to talk to you on a variety of subjects. Like the church.
Do you ever wonder about the church? Like what is it and why is it? I’m sure you do. Well, let me tell you a few things about the church.
The church is like a building. And like a building, the church has a foundation. It actually has at least three foundations. The first foundation is Jesus Christ. The second is the Apostle Peter. The third is the Apostles and prophets.
Matthew 16:28 introduces us to the first two foundations. Here Jesus says to Peter, “I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades will not overcome it.” Jesus uses a play on words here. Here’s how it goes with a little amplification. “You are petros (a small, garden variety stone) and upon this petra (a massive rock formation like the Rocky Mountains) I will build my church.”
(By the way, Christians are never called petros or petra in the Bible. They are called lithos, which means a small, hewn, shaped stone or gem, a jewel.)
But Peter is called petros, a small stone. Why? Why does Jesus use this pun to speak of the foundation of the church? For at least two reasons. First, to emphasize the importance of Peter in the founding of the church. Second, to show that Peter is a piece of the Rock, a chip off the old block. Peter is the petros, Jesus is the petra.
Jesus is the divine bedrock that the church rests on. The unshakable foundation. Peter is the human foundation that is built on the divine bedrock.
More of this next week. (- The End)