By Barb Mazarakos
The life of a teenager can be a busy one: school, sports, jobs, friends, and social activities can fill a calendar in no time. Fortunately, for many young people church remains a priority and fills a good portion of that schedule. Parents and teens alike understand the importance of keeping God front and center in their lives and reflect His light to the community by being involved in groups just like the LYTES (junior high) and VOYAGERS (high school) right here at CLC.
For me personally, I think of my time in the youth group (as it was simply known before it became VOYAGERS) as a sort of saving grace. Encouraged by friends to go, I went the first time to get them to leave me alone about it. I was fine, after all. My calendar was full, I had friends, and I went to church. I didn’t “need” this. At least, that’s what I thought then. But as with so many other times in my life, God was speaking to me in ways I didn’t even realize. Soon this group I didn’t “need” became the focal point of my social time. I made good friends, I became more involved as a youth and eventually an adult leader, and I learned more about my faith than I ever knew I was missing. Without those lessons in service, humility (have you ever trekked on a bus without air conditioning to Texas in July with 50 other people? It’s a lesson in perseverance for sure!), and God’s love I’m not sure I would have come through those teen years quite as unscathed.
I was thrilled to hear that, with the guidance of some wonderfully dedicated adults, the LYTES and VOYAGERS programs here at Christ Lutheran are running as strong as ever. In just a few weeks they will be continuing the tradition of preparing and serving breakfast on Easter morning for the congregation. A spread of pancakes, egg strata, sausage, muffins and fruit will be available in the gym of Ledogar Hall from 8-9am for a free will offering. Other upcoming events include a trip to volunteer with Feed My Starving Children in Libertyville on April 29, Great America on June 25 (8th grade and VOYAGERS) and a summer service trip to Indianapolis from July 9-14 (also for 8th grade and VOYAGER aged students).
With a full schedule of upcoming activities, the Board of Youth could always use new members. Current leaders Kathi Sterling and Jason Borgstahl would be happy to talk with anyone interested in helping our youth strengthen their relationship with the Lord. For some kids, it could literally be the difference maker in the path they take to adulthood. Are you moved to help them walk it? Then take the step to help them reflect the light of God to the world. You will be so glad that you did, and the impact you have will stay with them for years to come.
By Pete Schrank
Members of the altar guild are servants of the liturgy.The Lutheran Liturgy is the fixed set of ceremonies, word, and orders of service we use each worship opportunity. Christmas/Epiphany, Good Friday/Easter, and Pentecost, followed by the Time of the Church, make up the seasons on the Church’s liturgical calendar (details can be found at www.lcms.org). We use different service settings based on the worship planning done by the Pastors, the music director, the elders and the office staff. These periods of worship have different altar parament colors as well.
An Altar Guild can be made up of men, women and couples who serve the Lord and the church by caring for the altar and the ceremonial aspects of church services. They keep the Chancel area in good order, prepare for Holy Communion, change banners and paraments, and clean Communion vessels as well as the linens.
The CLC Altar Guild also set up the Christmas Poinsettias, Easter flowers and the greenery around the altar. The draping of the cross in the colors of the season draw our eyes to the reason we are there in Church. Many modern Churches make the cross a minor element of the altar setting, but we do not. The guild keeps the candles burning and the communion ware shining. They will help care for the altar during all four to six weekly services, as well as funeral services and weddings as they occur.
These servants of the liturgy help make our worship time here at Christ Lutheran Church more thoughtful, reverent, colorful or somber, and help us glorify our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. They are yet another example of a small group with a big heart that help make Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church our church home
By Barb Mazarakos
There are so many groups and committees that are instrumental in keeping Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church going and growing. Over the next number of issues we will continue exploring what began with the Trustees and last month featured Stewardship, looking at just “what” these committees do and how your God-given gifts may fit into His bigger picture.
As time and the world around us changes, it’s not unusual to see some of those adjustments make their way into the church. Contemporary music has been added to some of our services, programs that had been traditionally done on a certain day of the year have been moved to encourage higher participation, and offerings can be made electronically as well as through our offering envelopes. But while some things may have changed, one thing has remained constant as Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church strives to be a place that not only welcomes but encourages family participation.
Leading the way by coordinating many of the activities we enjoy is the Evangelism Committee, currently co-chaired by Karen Delcourt and Diane Linkowski. Along with a team that includes their newest members, Judy Venkus and Judy Ross, the Evangelism Committee puts on events such as the CHOICE Pie Bake in November and Cookie Bake in February, both used as fundraisers to help those in need (and Karen’s favorite events as she enjoys the fellowship of different generations working together for the same cause); Girl Scout-Boy Scout Sunday; New Member Cake Reception; and their newest family event, Pumpkin Palooza, which was first held in 2016. This event is Diane’s favorite, as she really enjoyed watching the children decorate the pumpkins they picked and the interaction among the families (the food was pretty good, too!)
Next up for the Evangelism Committee is perhaps the event they are most known for- the Easter Eggstravaganza (held each year on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, which this year falls on Saturday, April 8). Children from all over can gather together to hear a story and songs by Sweet Wine from Valparaiso University before heading out to collect their eggs. This is always a great way to prepare for Holy Week and the miracle that is the resurrection of our Lord, so make sure you mark your calendar and tell your friends about this fun event!
The Evangelism Committee is always open to new ideas and new members. If you have any questions or have a heart for outreach and would like to be part of the team, you can contact Karen Delcourt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 785-7247. They would love to have you aboard!
By Heather Green
Easter. Nothing says Easter like “The Rise of the Guardians” and Cadbury eggs.Wait. What? “The Rise of the Guardians” is a movie where the Easter Bunny, along with Santa and the Tooth Fairy, are superheroes. Or maybe you could watch”It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” or “Hop”? Surely those movies mean it’s Easter.
Unfortunately Easter, like Christmas, has become very commercialized. It’s far too easy to forget the true significance of these holidays because of the secular focus on the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Yet, despite the commercialization of Easter, there are a few movies that are (or at least try to be) faithful to the Christian significance of the season. Two of the most critically acclaimed films are “The Robe” (1953), and “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977). Two of the more disappointing films(but still worth mentioning) are “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965) and “Son of God” (2014). Finally, the two most controversial are “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988) and “The Passion of the Christ” (2004).
“The Robe,” directed by Henry Koster and starring Richard Burton, was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two. Burton played the military tribune Marcellus Gallio, who commanded the Roman unit that crucified Jesus. Galliowon the robe worn by Jesus in a dice game and was told it would be a reminder of his first crucifixion. Gallio slowly begins to believe the robe is having an effect on his life, by causing him to experience excessive guilt and nightmares about the crucifixion. Eventually he converts to Christianity.
“Jesus of Nazareth” was actually a British-Italian mini-series set around the four gospels. Originally the series ended with the crucifixion and did not include the resurrection, which caused some controversy from Protestant fundamentalist groups in the United States. Because of the protests, General Motors backed out of its sponsorship of the project (they had provided $3 million to fund the miniseries). Ultimately a “simulated” resurrection was added to the final project before it was screened in America. The miniseries is shown every Easter and Christmas on the History channel and TBN.
“The Greatest Story Ever Told” was a very ambitious project with an all-star cast, directed by George Stevens. When released, the movie ran four hours and twenty minutes. In addition to its running time, another criticism was that the vast number of stars in almost cameo like roles detracted from the integrity of the film. One of the most criticized cameo appearances was John Wayne as the Centurion. The movie was released on Blu-ray in 2011.
“Son of God”was adapted from the ten-hour miniseries “The Bible” (2013). Where the miniseries focused on highlights from the Bible, the film focuses instead on Jesus’s life, from his birth to his resurrection. The film contains scenes that were not included in the miniseries and received mixed reviews, mainly because it wasn’t exciting enough to be a feature film. Additionally, the film was criticized for not containing any scenes with Satan.The actor who played Satan in the miniseries, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazann, was said to resemble President Barack Obama. The producers decided to scrap the scenes instead of facing additional criticism of the film.
“The Last Temptation of Christ” was directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie was banned in several countries, and in the United States several movie theaters banned the film for being “blasphemous.” The movie departs from the gospels in that Jesus imagines an alternate reality while he is being crucified, in which he is a mortal man and can experience all aspects of life as a man. Because of the controversy surrounding the movie, financially it was a failure, despite several rave reviews from respected movie critics, including Siskel and Ebert.
“The Passion of the Christ” is another very controversial movie. Directed by Mel Gibson, the movie focuses on the last twelve hours of Christ’s life, with flashbacks to other memorable and significant moments in his life. There were several controversies surrounding this film concerning its historical accuracy, allegations that the film was anti-Semitic, and that it is excessively violent. Also notable is that the entire movie is subtitled – the dialogue is spoken in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin, the languages of the time of the crucifixion.
As we approach Easter, you will find many programs that depict the life of Christ on your television screen. As you have seen here, they vary in presentation and are often open to interpretation of the filmmakers and their cast, not to mention the viewer. There is always one place we can look to get the true story of the last days of our Savior, though. Through the Holy Bible the story is told in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the purist forms. Before you turn on the tv, open the Book. There you will truly find the Greatest Story Ever told.
By Sandra Knopp
On Good Friday, April 14th, the Christ Choir of Christ Lutheran Church will perform the Good Friday cantata, “The Rose of Calvary” written by Joseph M. Martin. This Tenebrae includes choral music, hymns, narration, readings, and congregation participation.
The image of a sacred flower, a divine rose, from heaven’s own garden blooming in the shadows of our world is a portrait of hope and comfort. This Tenebrae is of God’s tender love song reminding us that we are all children of the garden. The music of one truly perfect rose who, choosing grace, died for His beloved thorns.