Emmitsburg Council of Churches


  The Holy Gospel according to St. John 8:31-36
Glory to You O Lord. . . .

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 8:33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?" 8:34 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 8:35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 8:36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. This is the Gospel of the Lord! Praise to you O Christ!~

Speaking of Reform...

I got a phone call yesterday from a man whose name is Dr. Stanislav Gergre O'Jack. I'll just refer to him as Dr. O'Jack here. So, Dr. O'Jack wanted to know about Gianna Talone Sullivan, the lady that prophesies for Mother Mary. I asked the man, who was calling the church Number from Wyoming, why are you calling me? He said that his home town paper, and his home town sounds quite small, had an obscure article about Gianna and her experience as a medium for Mary. The man went on to explain that he had spent his life as a clinical psychologist, and had developed a special interest in people who claimed to have prophetic experiences or who felt that God was somehow speaking to them.

I asked him again why he was calling me? And he said that he had picked up his phone and asked the Operator, (told you it was a small town!) if she could give him the name of "any church" here in Emmitsburg - and so the first phone number she gave him was for Elias Lutheran Church! He liked the sound of it, because his wife had an uncle whose name had been Elias and, he figured, the Lutheran Church minister would not think he was so crazy for inquiring about the woman who speaks in the name of Mary.

Well, I was wondering what I was getting into, so I maintained a safe commentary on what I understood had been going on with the Our Lady of Emmitsburg Group and the Catholic Church. What I tried to emphasize most, was that her visions and readings had been discounted by the Roman Catholic Church and that her movement, most recently, had caused a great deal of confusion and pain and a spirit of division within our neighboring congregation at St. Joseph's.

I said that, although I did not think she was evil, yet there were some serious implications of her speaking of the "End of the World" and her continuing on with her meetings in disobedience to the Mother Church. She was, as Luther would say, Trying to Speak of "God's Left Hand" -- Anytime we try to name what it is that God may do, or when Jesus may return, we are moving into territory that does not belong to us. It is out of Order!

My unexpected telephone guest agreed. As he said that in much of his studies of such spiritists and others whose prophecies seem to go on to a conclusion of the "End of the World"

These movements became classified as Cults and their Message became Negative and Not Helpful. I agreed with my new friend.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News. It is the Gospel of Salvation -- even in a World of Darkness. Just as Jesus is telling his Brand New Followers in the Gospel lesson *(who have not entirely understood Jesus yet), that they will find complete, LASTING, and Abiding FREEDOM IN HIM.

But at first they protest, "We Have Never been the slaves of anyone!" Seems these New Converts are having a momentary Lapse of memory. After all, there's the whole Egypt Story!! Just why was it that Moses went to Pharaoh? And demanded, "LET MY PEOPLE GO?" AND OF COURSE, THERE WAS THE LITTLE CONTEMPORARY PROBLEM THAT THE ROMANS WERE RULING ALL OVER THE LAND OF ISRAEL. BUT JESUS WAS NOT NECESSARILY REFERRING TO POLITICAL or militarily enforced SLAVERY, HE POINTS OUT THAT EVERYONE UNDER THE LAW IS A SLAVE TO SIN . . . and THERE IS NO ESCAPE from this inner bondage.

My phone friend said, "Seems like Darkness is all around us these days–would you Agree?" "Most Definately," I agreed, "These are Dark Times we're in. And yet," I went on, "This is where the Church should SHINE!

This is the day when we, who are the people of the Light, Should FREELY Proclaim the Hope in which we live!!


BUT, Jesus says to us. "Look, I have overcome the World!" Or more precisely, "Take courage; I have conquered the world!" (John 16:33). And it is in his authority and victory, as the True Son of God, that we find Hope and Joy and Freedom.

I was enjoying my new telephone friend. He apologized for taking up my AFTERNOON, but thanked me for taking an interest in his life studies and interests. He went on to explain that he was now in his 80's. Here at his retirement he was fascinated with studying and examining persons who had ecstatic religious experiences. In fact, over the course of his life-time he HAD studied all world religions (I found his name connected with an article on the B'Hai faith), and he had even undertaken certain testing in his clinical psychology laboratory to see if there was measurable energy released when a person is in a state of religious or psychic ecstacy, i.e, when they were deeply engaged in a faith-filled practice.

He then said, "Faith, I really like that word.

You know Pastor Jon, some of the greatest psychiatrists in history were not able to comprehend the concept of God. But others did have faith, but they were silent about it due to their professional careers. I know one of them who did have faith. That was Karl Jung who said this to his contemporary, Dr. Sigmund Freud. ‘You know Dr. Freud, you think that people are drawn to religion because they need to make up the difference for their sexual inadequacies (I'm paraphrasing here, but this is true!). And you could be right about that, people will do all kinds of ridiculous things because they are frustrated, or not mature, or feeling unsatisfied with themselves -- physically or mentally. But when it comes to Faith, I don't just believe there is a God, I KNOW THERE IS A GOD!!'"

WHAT A (Strong) FANTASTIC STATEMENT. What a True Declaration my friend made by quoting one of the most classic Psychiatric and Behavioral Scientists of the world. Karl Jung – Declared his faith to his colleague. There was no Shame and No denial here. In fact, we might do well to consider that this man -- whose knowledge and understanding of the Human Psyche is world renown made a solid declaration of faith!

This is what the True Church Does. It holds to the One Faith, the One Baptism, the One Lord and Father of us All!~! On the contrary, these days there are more and more churches who declare that only "believer's baptism" is correct, and require second or third baptisms to become "members of their church." Such teaching is false, it turns the sacrament of baptism, which is the work of God(!) into a human work. Such teaching and action is Counter to the True Faith. Only the Son of God can set us free, we cannot free ourselves. When we baptize, it is done, by faith, in his name. Baptism is not accomplished on the condition of our thorough confession, though we do confess the faith in which we believe, it is only by God's Grace and Trueness to God's Word, that it is efficacious and True.

Before I completed my conversation with my unexpected Telephone visitor he asked me, "Have you ever been to Israel?" "No, I replied." "Have you ever been to Jerusalem?" he asked. "No, but I'd sure like to go (and my wife wants to go there – maybe when she graduates from school." "I've been there," he said. "I've walked the street where Jesus walked and where he turned over the tables of the market vendors and money changers. It's like it never changed. And this is what is important;" his voice got real quiet on the phone). "Jesus never has changed. His message is the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."

This is an interesting point: In Jesus Christ, You and I are free. But also, in God's greater wisdom, he created us as free beings – we're not preprogrammed to obey or do his will. We have free-will! If we don't want to come to church or serve on the Church Council or make up care kits for soldiers or give of our time or treasure to bless a child in Sunday School or some poor kid in Africa. This is our Free Choice. But in Jesus Christ we are Free to be the Children of God and we can exercise that freedom as we choose.

We can choose to do the will of God today, or We can choose not to.

My telephone guest said, What a sense of Humor God has!!

He created us with attributes of Selfishness and Attributes of Generosity . . . and just for the fun of it. He gave us freedom to Choose what we would do with these choices.

I replied, "God must really have a lot of faith in us . . . or does he just hope we'll do the right thing with the gift of freedom. I think that must be the case! And that's why he sent his Son, Jesus, so we would look upon him and find ourselves wanting to serve others, even as he served us. If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. Amen

In Christ you are free!!

Read more writings of Pastor Jon