Greeting to you all in the name of Christ!
It is my esteemed pleasure to introduce myself as your new pastor! I want to start off by saying how truly blest my wife Betsy and I are to be members of this community of believers. It will be wonderful getting to know each and every one of you. Betsy and I both grew up in the Twin Cities area, her in a southern suburb of Minneapolis and me in St. Paul. It took us till the fall of 2004 to meet each other in Fargo as we were both attending NDSU. While at NDSU we fell in love with each and also with the state of North Dakota. It truly is wonderful to be back after four long years on the East Coast.
Over the next few weeks in worship you may see a few things that you may not be use to seeing. One of those things is a garment that I will be wearing during the celebration of Holy Communion. I want to take this opportunity to explain what this garment is and what its significance is to the celebration of Holy Communion. This garment is called a chasuble and it is a garment that comes to us from the ancient Christian communities that is still used by many Christian clergy today. The first thing you will notice is that it looks like a poncho; this is because in the ancient church the chasuble was worn as a traveling garment or cloak. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he requests that his “cloak” be brought with Timothy when Timothy comes to see Paul (2 Tim 4:13). It is understood by biblical scholars that this “cloak” is indeed a chasuble.
The chasuble has since found its way into the worship service as a garment that is worn by the presiding minister at the celebration of Holy Communion. One explanation as to the significance for the chasuble during Communion is that it stands for God’s love that covers all as Saint Peter wrote: “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). This is a love that we experience every time we eat of Christ’s body and drink of Christ’s blood in Holy Communion.
As we move forward there may be other worship practices you may not be familiar with. I will do my best to explain these, but if there is ever anything you would like to understand I am happy to have those conversations with you.