Satur-deja Vu

The Atlanta Braves victory parade attracted hundreds of thousands of fans. Staged in two locations, the parade began in downtown Atlanta at noon and ended at Truist Park in the Battery at 3 PM. Then the program started, followed by concerts and a party that lasted well into the night. You probably know the Braves won the World Series in 6 games, shutting out the Houston Astros 7 – 0 at Minute Maid Park Tuesday evening. It’s the Braves second World Series title since moving to Atlanta in 1965. They made a remarkable worst to first run in the National League West Division (it’s a long story) in 1991 and won the World Series for the first time in Atlanta in 1995.

I found this hard to believe but it’s true. Their record was 44 – 45 at the All Star Break. They finished the season 88 – 73 so they did in fact win exactly 44 games after the break. The 44th week of 2021 began Sunday, October 31st and ends today.

Saw an online poll this week about how different churches take communion. Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran churches take real wine during their communion service while others, such as Baptist and Methodist, abstain from the use of alcohol and take unfermented grape juice instead. You’ve heard of Welch’s Grape Juice, right? That company was started to provide 100% grape juice for use in communion. The original product name in 1869 was “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine, Pure Grape Juice.”

It’s too early to celebrate Christmas but it’s not too early to start making plans. I have long promoted Advent as a season of preparation before Christmas that keeps the focus biblical and worshipful, an alternative to the fast-paced shopping fiasco claymation Christmas we have gotten used to. Lifeway kids has an Advent Guide that includes discussions, scripture passages, prayers, songs and a family activity for each week of Advent plus Christmas Day. Click here to learn more about this resource and consider downloading the free 13 page booklet.

Here is a question I posed this week: What is the place of the altar in a New Testament church? Some talked about the altar as the place of communion (?) while others considered the whole elevated platform the altar. Others described the altar as being symbolic but still where we meet Jesus to do business with God. What I meant by altar is the piece of furniture shown above, or something similar, where people come forward during the invitation and kneel to pray. That is the altar I grew up with. Throughout the Old Testament altars were used for sacrifice. Animal parts were burned on the stone altars and blood was thrown against them by priests. Nearly every New Testament mention of altars is a reference to an Old Testament event or person, or prophecy in Revelation of what will happen at heavenly altars during the end times. Christ offered the ultimate sacrifice. We do not bring our offering to the priest to be slain, burnt or poured out on an altar. It was never a place to pray and we can literally do that anywhere, anytime. As a matter of fact we are told to (i.e. pray without ceasing). So, food for thought: If your church has a physical altar and gives an altar call, what is it we believe really goes on there? And does it have to be there?

Facebook is not changing its name. Clarification: the social media app and website will still be called Facebook. The company founded by Mark Zuckerberg is being rebranded as Meta as the company’s focus shifts to the Metaverse. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and a few others you probably haven’t heard of are all under the Meta umbrella.

Then earlier this week headlines claimed that Zuckerberg discovered there was already a company named Meta. An Arizona based tech company MataPC was a new business startup just last year. They filed to trademark their name in August. They announced they would not be parting with the name for any less than $20 million. I believe that poor unsuspecting small business is about to learn a lesson in capitalism. Recall if you will that a few years ago the powers that be at Google forgot to renew their URL. Some regular Joe was surfing the web in the early hours of the morning and discovered he could purchase “google .com” and for a few bucks and did so. Google was not amused. The details were never made public but suffice it to say they came to an agreement.

Someone asked this week if candy corn could go away for another year now that Halloween was over. I said “Sure, but it will be replaced on store shelves by this delightful old people hard candy from now until Christmas.”

Christmas is not stuck on a container ship. That was a meme going around and I posted this week using that title. I had preached on Ecclesiastes Sunday morning, making the point that happiness does not come from stuff. As I was writing the blog post I mentioned the Grinch in a moment of inspiration that had not occurred to me before. Then someone comes along with the same idea and created the meme seen above. I don’t know who to give credit to but brilliant good fellow (or lady). Well done. You’re still going to see the news media talk about supply chain problems leading to bah humbug this Christmas but for the believer Christmas should be and always should have been about something more.

Imagine getting the epic poet Homer mixed up with the cartoon character Homer Simpson. Now imagine being a school teacher and making the same mistake on a television game show. There’s also the contestant that thought Lee Harvey Oswald shot J.R. in Dallas and the woman on Family Feud who thought Popeye’s favorite food was chicken. I apologize for asking you to try the CNN video player but be patient, wait for it, it’s the only way to see this piece. I think it’s worth it. Click here to link.

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