My Faith

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Mom, and her girls all dressed up for Easter Sunday School

I was born into a Lutheran family. My mother's family was several generations of Lutheran going back to the days of Martin Luther in Germany. I was baptized Lutheran at the Grace Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg, NJ.

 

As a child I attended Sunday school there and at the St. James "Straw Church" Lutheran Church that sat across Rt. 22 from our family snack bar "Bud's Snack Bar".

 

However while attending the NY World's Fair in 1965 I signed up for a Bible course in the Vatican Pavilion. There was this compelling painting of Christ coming down from Heaven with angels surrounding him, depicting His second coming.

 

Below the painting was a table with literature and a signup sheet for the Bible course. The prize for completing the course was a Bible. I signed up and several weeks later my first lesson arrived by mail.

 

Once I completed the entire course I was to receive my Bible. Well, I completed it, and one day a very tall dark haired man came into our store and asked my mother if he could see Diane. My mother introduced herself and they spoke. Mom, called for me to come into the store.

 

I was then introduced to the Reverend William Dorn of the Phillipsburg, NJ Seventh Day Adventist Church. He handed me my Bible and invited me to attend his church. My mother was a very devoted Christian, who loved everyone unconditionally. Therefor she trusted all religions. She was very excited for me to attend their church service.

 

For several years Reverend Dorn came to give a ride to me and any other child who would join me in attending their Sabbath Service in Phillipsburg.

I joined the church at the age of sixteen, and they re-baptized me through full emersion. I became a camp counselor at their summer camp, and was offered a chance to attend their private high school, Garden State Academy in Tranquility, NJ.

 

Just as I was about to go away to this private school, I panicked and decided to cut all ties with this religion. I kept hearing comments from one of the ladies(member of the church) that alluded to getting me away from my family. There were comments about them not honoring Saturday as the Sabbath, and other precepts of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

 

These comments were so contrary to my own mother's unconditional love and acceptance of everyone. My family ties were much stronger than those with that religion.

 

It was during a blizzard that I sat down and wrote a letter to the church explaining my feelings, and asking them to please allow me the right to cut all ties. I was quite surprised that they did allow me that right and did not try to pursue me from then on.

 

Although I left the Seventh Day Adventist Church I have a deep respect and love for their followers.  I agree with most of their precepts.  If anything I feel that as a human being I fall short of living up to them, and praise Jesus for dying for my sins.  If not for the Grace of God I would be living in sin. 

 

Throughout most of my young adult life I attended several different churches of several different denominations. My daughters attended a church run school in Phillipsburg for three years.

 

In 1991 I attended a service at Unity of Lebanon as recommended by a mentor Gwen Roquemore PHD. I so loved their "New Age" style of worship, mixed with Christian and Eastern philosophy that I joined their church. Audrey the minister there officiated at my marriage to Roger in 1993.

 

The one thing that I most admired about Unity was its ability to love unconditionally.  I also loved the peace that permiated throughout each service.  Since I am a traditionalist I missed participating in communion while attending Unity.  Once I overheard the Reverend call Jesus a prophet.  That really bothered me, as to me Jesus is the prophetic Son of God, not simply a prophet.

 

Well, we moved to Pennsylvania far away from Lebanon and I started attending the services at St. John's Lutheran Church in Nazareth, PA. Their Christmas Eve candle lit service is the most beautiful service I had ever witnessed. There is an orchestra complete with a harp that plays while everyone sings Christmas Carols. It was so moving, and the church was so elegantly decorated too, which so adds to the overwhelming feeling of joy that one feels because of the birth of the Christ Child.

 

When we moved here to the Hamburg area I sought out a Lutheran Church. Roger and I attended several Bible Study Groups and we eventually joined. I must admit that I have never found any one religious sect that I truly believe to be the "Perfect" one and I suppose it is because all of them were administered by the human touch, and the human touch is fallible!  That is where prayer and discernment come into play.

 

 

My favorite Bible verse was read at our wedding ceremony:

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

 

Palm Sunday 2006
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The day we joined St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church

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Jesus came not from the heart of the circle of Light to destroy the homes and build upon their ruins the convents and monasteries. He did not persuade the strong man to become a monk or a priest, but He came to send forth upon this earth a new spirit, with power to crumble the foundation of any monarchy built upon human bones and skulls.... He came to demolish the majestic palaces, constructed upon the graves of the weak, and crush the idols, erected upon the bodies of the poor. Jesus was not sent here to teach the people to build magnificent churches and temples amidst the cold wretched huts and dismal hovels.... He came to make the human heart a temple, and the soul an altar, and the mind a priest. Kahlil Gibran

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This song written by John Denver explains much of what I believe to be why we are here on Earth and how to accept the transition that is known by this world as dying.
 
Yesterday I had a dream about dying
About laying to rest and then flying
How the moment at hand is the only thing We really own

And I lay in my bed and I wonder
After all has been said and is done for
Why is it thus we are here And so soon we are gone

Is this life just a path to the place That we all have come from
Does the heart know the way And if not, can it ever be found
In a smile or a tear or a prayer Or a sigh or a song

And if so, then I sing for my father
And in truth you must know I would rather
He were here by my side
We could fly on the wings of a dream

To a place where the spirit would find us
And the joy and surrender would bind us
We are one anyway Anyway we are more than we seem

There are those who will lead us Protect us each step of the way
From beginning to end For each moment forever each day S
uch a gift has been given It can never be taken away

Though the body in passing must leave us
There is one who remains to receive us
There are those in this life Who are friends from our heavenly home

So I listen to the voices inside me
For I know they are there just to guide me
And my faith will proclaim it is so We are never alone

From the life to the light
From the dark of the night to the dawn
He is so in my heart He is here he could never be gone
Though the singer is silent
There still is the truth of the song
In the song

Yesterday I had a dream about dying
About laying to rest and then flying
How the moment at hand is the only thing We really own

And I lay in my bed and I wonder
After all has been said and is done for
Why is it thus we are here And so soon we are gone
Oh, why is it thus we are here And so soon we are gone


 

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Click To Listen:"The Power Of One"