Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: June 2012


Let me say right off, that as you know, I don’t usually write “sweet” articles. But this one just came to me, so here it is.

I’m sure there is an old song that has in it the line, “I’m always chasing rainbows.” I thought about that while watching a car ad on TV where a father and his little girl chase a rainbow. It’s cute.

Have you ever done that? I have. Actually it was my wife, Jo, and I. It was one of the brightest and vivid I have ever seen. It was in Cincinnati. As I remember (it’s been over fifty years ago) we were going to a store called Swallens to buy one of our first new pieces of furniture, a dining room/kitchen table. It is metal with a Formica top, with a leaf, so it can seat eight people. We still have that table, even though we are not using it. It has a sentimental value for me.

It had rained and then out came the sun shining through the falling water, thus the rainbow. Now, I understand the science behind how rainbows are formed, but if you ever see one and are not taken back by the wonder of it all, you may be dead and don’t know it.

The one we chased (not for long) seemed to end just past that store, so we made a little adventure out of it. And at times it seemed we might actually find the end. It’s a fun memory. As in the TV ad, maybe every parent (and those still kids) should go on such an excursion. Stop for some ice cream on the way home. Once you’ve seen a rainbow you know why the Biblical story of the flood has one. You can even understand why it was seen as a sign from God. You can also understand why it is the theme of so many hymns. I’m not sure there’s any other natural event that compares to it. I’ve never seen the northern lights, but you can be anywhere and see a rainbow. Rainbows know no bounds or prejudice. They will thrill anybody, regardless.

Why are rainbows so fascinating? For lots of reasons, but I suppose mostly they reveal a mystery of light and color that excites and inspires us. As awesome as the universe is around us, a rainbow is ours. It belongs to our world.

But the rainbow has two edges. On one side is the idea that chasing rainbows is a futile, wasted life. There is no end and neither is there a pot of gold there. Get a life!

However, the other side is to remain open to the wonder of it all. To imagine standing, surrounded by the color and hues, at the end of a rainbow. To that extent, the rainbow, as it has throughout history, offers hope. It points to the start of a new day after the storm. It opens up the promise of the future. It calms the soul. And, despite scientifically understanding it, it’s still a gift of nature like no other.

So I think at least once, we should all chase a rainbow, especially while we are young. Maybe even sneak up on the backside of one and catch it by surprise. And, don’t fail to show one to your children, even if they have to stop a video game to see it. They’ll forgive you and even do the same for their kids. Let them see the magic of it all. Let them know it’s a universal wonder that gives its beauty to everyone, regardless of color, wealth, status or origin. You might even remind them, if you’re not afraid they’ll think you’re slipping into one of those embarrassing parental moments, that a rainbow is like God, who gives love and blessings to everyone, regardless of who or what they are. They’ll forgive you for that too, and maybe even tell it to their children, using you as the foil, so they won’t seem as sentimental as you.

Before I go, and while I’m talking about universal wonders, have you noticed all children everywhere in the world, sound alike when they laugh? Laughter, like the rainbow, knows no boundaries. Laughter has no language or dialect, among adults and children alike. Like the rainbow, it offers hope. It colors the otherwise drab and stormy world.

While I’m at it, a smile is also a universal sign of acceptance and joy. So chase a rainbow and maybe even play in the rain. It’ll make you smile, laugh and feel good.

CONCERNS: Connie Crites’ brother (cancer), Jim Hunter is still being treated for cancer. A friend of Martha Foy’s named Lauren, needs our prayers. Erma Williams says her sister in Colorado Springs has been asked to evacuate their home due to the danger of wildfires. Del Bolin asks our prayers for Sharon, also a cancer patient, and a man named Billy, who has thyroid cancer. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child, also Jen McCready who has eye problems. Leena Bolin’s brother is awaiting cancer treatment. Mark McRoy’s friend, Ken Teatino is receiving treatments for lymphoma, Helen Nicklas, Jenni Cullum, Alma Martin, Ron Matney, Joni Beach’s mother, Tim Elder, Health Talents Int. and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: Matthew 6:1-18
Tuesday: Psalm 96:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-34
Thursday: Luke 23:26-43
Friday: James 1:5-18
Saturday: Romans 8:26-39

Monday: John 8:21-47
Tuesday: Luke 22:14-30
Wednesday: Luke 12:13-34
Thursday: Psalm 51:1-19
Friday: Acts 4:32-5:11
Saturday: Psalm 99:1-9; 100:1-5

Congratulations to Laura Abbott Branch and Dillon Thomas Hogan who were married on Tuesday, June 26. We wish them the best for a long and happy life together.

Thanks to those who cooked and served the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday. It was a great experience. If you have the opportunity at a future time, you should go. This is a wonderful facility built especially for out of town families (usually of children) who have someone involved in a stay at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Also, if you have an opportunity, take a tour; you’ll be awed at how exceptional it is.

Our young folks will be going again at the end of the month, with some help from a few adults. Martha Albert says after that we will look at how we might want to proceed doing it.

By the way, if you get a chance on the tour, be sure to see the “pull tab” room. It is amazing how many people in the Roanoke valley help with this. It is one of their constant sources of income. So don’t forget to turn yours in downstairs.

Hold up on bringing aluminum cans until AC Branch gets back from Costa Rica.

Due to the Fourth of July being a holiday, and some many of our Wednesday evening regulars being gone, there will be no Soup Supper and Bible Study on Wednesday, July 4th.

Since most of you receive the bulletin via mail or e-mail before the published date, remember the clothing drive for the Rescue Mission conducted by the students at VT Carilion Med School and the College of Health Sciences. We have a nice amount to have them pick up and they will be called this week.

Sleiman, (semi retired) Juliette and the family are in the Houston, Texas area now. A note from Sleiman will be shared with the congregation. Their address is 4007 Oakwood Rock LN, Katy, TX 77494-2697. Email:


Were I to write a book or two, one of them would be about how to escape Christianity and still be a Christian. In it I would examine the pain preachers and churches inflict on those who come seeking hope and purpose. If you want material for such a chapter just go out to the public places in the community and ask how people feel about church. The divorced and remarried have to sit and be condemned until they finally either quit or find a more open and loving church. Those who do not hold to the accepted interpretation of some doctrine of scripture sit quietly in pain as they hear their understanding ripped apart as false doctrine. I remember in the church where I grew up a family moved in that everyone liked. The father was a good song leader; the two teen-aged kids were fun to be around. But at some point it was discovered that they were premillennialists. (Shut your mouth!) They dared to believe the Lord would come back to earth and rule for a thousand years! Well, he continued to lead singing, but something changed and a few years later they went to another congregation that “leaned” in that direction. To the congregation and the preacher’s credit, these people weren’t “preached” against. They just knew they were considered to be doctrinally wrong.

I don’t like clichés, like “Thinking outside the box”. It is an accurate description of what is happening, but I’d suggest we have to look over edge in order to see what’s on the other side.

Let’s say the “box” is a view of scripture that says everything is literal and must be understood as it stands. What if that scripture, as understood using this rule, leaves a bad taste in one’s heart and soul? The answer, under the accepted terms is that it’s the will of God, so suck it up. But what if the pain and harm it causes still eats at us? What happens if we dare climb the wall of scripture and look over? What if on the other side we see things, maybe even other scriptures, that make what we’ve climbed up on, look different? What if we see and feel something about the overall love and grace of God, but we don’t have a “Thus saith the Lord”? Dare we say with Paul, “I have no commandment, but by the Lord’s mercy am trustworthy”? (I Cor 7:25)

The answer for a multitude of people is to slide back down into the original understanding, nearly always passed on to them by someone else, and pull the cover back on.

But what if there is still that nagging feeling that where you are isn’t where love is? When that happens, the first thing a person should do is thank God. Why? Because they are on the way to a whole new life with God. The “spirit” of the law becomes more important than the”letter”.

Let’s take an easy example. Years ago I heard a well-known scholar talk about the fact that the early Christians met in houses, i.e., house churches. His point was not to make that the pattern, but to point out that some of these were overseen by women. He did not discuss why the house church was the norm for the Christians. As the years passed, any number of authors came out with books that said the house church was the proper model for today’s church because that’s how they did it then. They even had chapter and verse to prove it. It was as if they had found the Ark of the Covenant. But to say that the house church is the model for the church today is like saying because Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, we should all ride donkeys to church. Was it a donkey? I don’t know. The Greek word is “onos” so you decide.

Could it be that the reason the early church met in homes was it was not in their understanding to have a permanent place when they expected the Lord to return at any moment? There would be time for building in the new heaven and new earth. Maybe, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they came together, and as time passed they made adjustments to how they viewed worship. As to if they were always the “Lord’s will” is up for debate.

I mentioned in an earlier article about the idea that literalists believe a 61 year old widow can be put “on the list”, whatever that was, but a 60 year old couldn’t because “their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry”. (I Tim 5:9-12) If you can’t peek over the edge of that one and see the need for more than a surface understanding, well, slide back down and hide from those sensual 60 year old widows. If you happen to be one of those widows, jump over the edge and be free.

I Corinthians 7 is a good place to see the need to see over the edge of stated scripture. Especially good is Paul saying in v.12, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)” Which means he doesn’t have direct statement from the Lord. What? There is something the Lord hasn’t said? What Paul is dealing with is the marriage between the believer and the unbeliever. Jesus had said nothing about that. So Paul had to look over the edge of what marriage was to him, and give some advice. Was that advice to become the law? Probably not, even though it has been helpful. Neither would his advice about “it not being good to marry at all”. But then there’s that sex thing. v. 1,9. We tell people that marriage for sexual pleasure only is an incomplete marriage. How did Paul see it? Or that part about how marriage brings trouble in life so you shouldn’t do it? (v. 27,28)

If we look over the edge of those scriptures we can see reason for them then, and why they don’t belong today. Verse 29 says, “What I mean brothers, is that the time is short.” And in v. 31, “For the world in its present form is passing away.” Paul, like the other Christians of his time expected the soon return of Christ, so advice was given for what was assumed to be going to happen.

Can you imagine what changes in our understanding of Jesus and God would take place if we looked over the edge of the scriptures that cause division and held them up to the light of love and grace? Do we dare?


CONCERNS: Connie Crites’ brother is being treated for lung cancer. Jim Hunter continues treatment as well. Del Bolin’s friend, Steve Mullins has died. Del also asks prayers for Sharon, also a cancer victim, and one of his students’ brother-in-law, who has thyroid cancer. His name is Billy and his wife is pregnant with their fourth child. Remember also Jenn McCready who works in Gel’s office. Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick Nicklas, is awaiting surgery and treatment for cancer. Tony Smallwood will enter nursing care in NC. Mark McRoy’s friend, Ken Teatino is still being treated for lymphoma. Randy Conner has had a reoccurring problem with cancer. Helen Nicklas is about the same. Remember Jenni Cullum, Alma
Martin, Ron Matney, Joni Beach’s mother, Tim Elder, Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: Matthew 2:1-12
Tuesday: Matthew 2:13-23
Wednesday: Genesis 31:36-50
Thursday: Acts 9:19-31
Friday: Psalm 122:1-9
Saturday: Psalm 140:1-13
Monday: II Thessalonians 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-25
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thessalonians 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40: 1-11

After a rather sudden illness and many prayers, Richard Crites’ brother-in-law passed away. The funeral was held in Illinois about two weeks ago. The Crites were visiting both of their families at the time, so Rich had been with his brother-in-law and attended the funeral. Our prayers and sympathy go out to this family.

Today (June 17) is Super Sunday. It is also Father’s Day. Come and enjoy a good meal together after the morning service.

The steering committee will meet in the library after the Super Sunday meal. If you have something you want discussed, see one of the members.

Remember, a group of students from the Virginia Tech School of Medicine and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences are collecting “gently used” clothing for the Rescue Mission Thrift Store. There is an extra need for plus sizes. We already have some clothes and will make a call for them to pick them up soon. So if you can help, do it pretty soon. Of course, they will come any time we have something for them.

The pull tabs from aluminum cans have been coming in very well, so don’t forget to put them in the various containers in the downstairs hallway or in the room to the left at the bottom of the stairs

AC Branch has told us they have nearly reached the goal in collecting aluminum cans to be sold to help out a fellow who is getting out of jail, so when you tear off the tab, put the cans in a bag and bring them with you. You may put them in the same room downstairs as the tabs. AC is in Costa Rica on a mission trip with a group made up mostly of kids from her school. Keep her in your prayers and she will bring us up to date about the cans when she returns.

Do be selective when you park in the parking lot. The large trees along the road have dead limbs and more of them are falling. We are hoping the city will remove them as they are on city property.