We gathered together as one family in Faith and Love on Monday, January 21, the day selected to celebrate God’s love for each of us. Celebrating this service of unity were:
Rev. Eric Rutten of the University of St. Thomas (who served as “Leader”), Rev. Walt Wietzke of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Rev. John Snyder from St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman of Beth Jacob Congregation and Rev. Dennis Evenson Retired priest of the Archdiocese. Each Minister introduced him/herself and then read a passage from the Bible (both Old and New Testaments)
Rabbi Emma was joining us for the first time, and was scheduled for the Homily. Her topic was “Abraham, the Father of Faith”, and she gave us a brief introduction to Abraham’s response to God. God said to Abraham, our Ancestor, “Go out from everything you’ve known”, and he responded “Yes.” Abraham was getting older in years; God said to him, “You will father a child” and he said “OK.” Then God told him to Circumcise himself; without hesitation Abraham said, “I will.” We look at Abraham as a model of Faith; of following.
Rabbi Emma read a passage from Genesis 22 where Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Addressing those in attendance, Rabbi asked: What is Abraham’s faith in this story? Some of the responses were: “Do what God tells you, and it will work out.” “Trusting a blind Faith” and “Docile Obedience.” Rabbi asks “Did Abraham really know all along that God would provide the sacrifice, as he told his son Isaac”?
Moving on, the Rabbi read another passage from the Bible, i.e. Genesis 18 – the story of Sodom & Gomorra, and posed the same question: “What is Abraham’s Faith in this story”? The responses were “Supplication – willingness to approach”, “Personality of God – God of mercy”; “I don’t want any of these to be lost”; Abraham must have known there were none to be saved.” Abraham’s Faith is two-fold: one of following and of challenge. It was great to see the involvement of all those present.
After the Homily and participation of the congregation, the Prayers of Intercession were read followed by the Lord’s Prayer and the Blessing and Dismissal by all the ministers. It was so wonderful to see so many participating in this Ecumenical Worship Service. After the service, we met in the lobby area for refreshments and conversation.