Prayers to God for the People of God

This Wednesday, September 14th at 6:30 pm we will gather to offer prayers for our country, our neighborhood, and the world. Join us for praise and personal prayers. This is the first of  weekly Wednesday evening prayer meetings.

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Theology through music

Our Sunday worship includes hymns from the American Hymnal of 1940.  Here is one example:

 

Alleluia! sing to Jesus! His the scepter, his the throne.

Alleluia! his the triumph, his the victory alone.

Hark! the songs of peaceful Sion, thunder like a mighty flood;

Jesus out of every nation hath redeemed us by his blood.

 

The words are by William Chatterton Dix, an Englishman who (according to Wikipedia) lived from 1837 to 1898 and varied his career in marine insurance by writing hymns.  He also wrote “What Child Is This,” a Christmas carol sung to the tune of Greensleeves.

What a wealth of theology is here in just the first verse!  We begin with the ancient Hebrew cry of praise to God, Alleluia!, followed by royal references to scepter, throne, triumph, and victory.  These point to a great mystery, namely, that Jesus, a man who lived and died 2,000 years ago, is still alive and is God, through whom the universe was created.  The next line recalls the final book of the Bible, Revelation, describing the culmination of God’s plan for a new holy city (called Sion or the New Jerusalem) where multitudes extol God’s greatness with voices like thunder.  The final line touches on another great mystery, namely, that God’s plan was carried out to benefit people of all nations through Jesus’ sacrifice of himself in a bloody death by crucifixion, followed by his resurrection from the dead.

 

These things are not myths, they are true and of eternal importance.  If you want to hear more, come and join us!

 

Choir of Angels, 19th century stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones,

Church of St Michael, Forden, Wales

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Have you read a good book lately?

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Reading the Bible

The Bible is a whole library of books divided into two parts.  The Old Testament books were written over centuries (mostly in Hebrew) by Jewish historian, poets, prophets, and philosophers and together they tell the story of God’s work in the world, choosing one people to know and love Him.  The New Testament books were written in a short period (in Greek) to tell about the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth and the early days of the Christian Church.  We believe that these books were inspired by God, so that together they paint a reliable picture of God’s relationship to us and His purposes for us.  They tell that we were made to love God and to live eternally with Him, and that death is not the end.

Are you familiar with Handel’s musical masterpiece, Messiah?  Its text is a collection of quotations from the Bible, telling this story. If you want to hear more, we read from the Old and New Testaments every Sunday, and the sermon is always focused on explaining a Bible passage.  Moreover, our form of service relies in large part on quotations and paraphrases of the Bible.  If you want to learn about the wonderful things that God has prepared for you, we welcome you to our Sunday services.

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Will I need to check my brain at the door?

In some organizations, even some churches, you need to “check your brain at the door,” meaning that you must turn off the inquiring part of your mind and simply accept what is being offered.  The Anglican tradition is different.  Here, when you enter you need to check that your brain is functioning and ready for service.  We welcome questions and want to talk to you about why loving and serving Jesus is the most intelligent thing you could choose to do.  Do you have doubts or questions? So did Jesus’ own followers from time to time (see the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 28, verse 17).  Do you want to know why we think Jesus is the source of life and light?  We welcome that conversation.

Cefalù cathedral, mosaics, apse, Pantocrator blessing, detail

This is a detail of the huge figure of the Pantocrator in the semidome of the apse at Cefalù. The mosaic was completed by the time of the dated mosaic inscription of 1148. D’Emilio photo archive no. s19780713_1919u (13.4.20/JD)

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Praying the Psalms

The Psalms
People experience a wide range of emotions in their relationship with God.  Those emotions are captured in a powerful way in the collection 150 Psalms in the Bible.  The Psalms (the name comes from a Greek musical term) are poems that include praise (“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!” Psalm 113:1) and longing (“O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you” Psalm 63:1), holy fear (“O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor chasten me in your wrath! Psalm 38:1) and even despair (“O God, why do you cast us off for ever?  Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? Psalm 7:1).  Do you want to learn what a relationship with God, the creator of the universe, could be like?  Pick up the Bible and read a Psalm or two a day.  Or come and see us.  We read at least one Psalm during every service on Sunday.
The Psalms are considered to be a model for prayer. To encourage us in that model, the prayer book divides the psalms as daily devotions for morning and evening. In the 1928 Book of Common they appear as the translations written by Miles Coverdale, a  16th century reformer. Here’s a link to follow the way of the psalms: http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1928/Psalms_1928.pdf.
Tradition attributes the psalms to  David the boy shepherd who became king.
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Saviour of the Universe

In a poll by “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” more people believed in Aliens than God. The poll revealed the following:

Top beliefs among adults: 

Ghosts (55 per cent)

Aliens (51 per cent)

UFOs (42 per cent )

Angels (27 per cent)

God (25 per cent)

 Top belief among children (aged 8 to 12): 

Aliens (64 per cent)

Ghosts (64 per cent)

UFOs (50 per cent)

God (33 per cent)

Angels (27 per cent)

*According to a poll of 1,500 British adults and 500 British children 

Instead of reading too much of this, it might be good to ask what do Orthodox Christians believe? Across our spectrum, whether Eastern, Western, Protestant, Anglican, or Roman Catholic – all Christians who hold to the orthodox doctrines of the faith believe in a universe with a Sovereign God and loving Savior.
If you are worried about a universe that may be populated with unknown aliens, we invite you to consider the signs closer to home. Perhaps you have seen the signs:  Jesus Saves!  What do they mean?  The answer is in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, verses 16-17:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”  In other words, so many things we rely on — wealth, education, exercise — lead in the end to death.  A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only thing that leads to life.  How can this be?  We offer the same invitation that Jesus did:  come and see! (Gospel of John, Chapter 1, verse 39.) 

No matter what the universe holds, there is a loving Savior gazing over all. If you have not yet met that Savior, we would love to introduce you.

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Permanent Things

We live in exciting times.  The English have voted to leave the European Union and their prime minister has resigned.  Our presidential election campaign is generating anger and fear on both sides:  what dire things will happen if “the other candidate” is elected?  Many people are out of work.  Evil men pick up guns, knives, and bombs to kill the innocent.  Without minimizing the importance of these events, it is comforting to recall that they are not permanent.  What is permanent is God’s love for us and his offer to forgive our sins and build a personal relationship that will last eternally, even after our death, even after the last mountain has crumbled into the sea.  If you want this kind of permanent love we are eager to tell you more about it.

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Bernhard Plockhorst – “The Good Shepherd”

 

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Happy Fathers Day!

A collect for Fathers Day:

O Lord our God, creator of heaven and earth, through your Son Jesus Christ you have revealed yourself as a heavenly Father to all of your children. Bless, we pray, all earthly fathers. Strengthen them to nurture, protect, and guide the children entrusted to their care. Instill within them the virtues of love and patience. May they be slow to anger and quick to forgive. And through the ministrations of your Holy Spirit, may all fathers be strong and steadfast examples of faithfulness, responsibility, and loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 (From: Fr. Bryan Owen, http://creedalchristian.blogspot.com/2009/06/collect-for-fathers-day.html)

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We have a Passion for Christ

When you visit on Sunday morning, you won’t hear about politics or the latest films.  You won’t hear pop music.  You will hear a form of worship that is centuries old.  That’s because we have Jesus Christ in our midst (see the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18, verse 20) and we honor Him.  Jesus was in the beginning with God the Father and all things were made through Him (see the Gospel of John, Chapter 1, verses 1-3).  You are very welcome to join us in deepening your relationship with the creator of the universe.  He is also the savior of the universe, but we’ll talk about that next time.

Jesus Christ Pantocrator (Detail from deesis mosaic) from Hagia Sophia

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Our Patron Saints Feast Day

On June 11, the Church celebrates Saint Barnabas, one of the apostles and a companion of Paul.  In the fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that his name was Joseph and he was a native of the island of Cyprus.  He was called Barnabas, or “son of encouragement,” probably because of his ability as a preacher.  He may have known Jesus personally:  the early church historian Eusebius says that Barnabas was one of seventy disciples sent out by Jesus (Church History, Book I, chapter 12).  When Paul was first converted from a bitter persecutor to an eager champion of Christianity, Barnabas vouched for him to the (not unreasonably) fearful church leaders in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27).  Barnabas and Paul together led the church in Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-26).  Barnabas and Paul journeyed through Cyprus and Asia Minor to spread the Good News (Acts 13).  On that journey the people of Lystra mistook Barnabas and Paul for Zeus and Hermes in disguise (Acts 14).  The mission to non-Jews provoked controversy; some argued that new converts to Christianity must be circumcised and become Jews first.  Barnabas and Paul argued against this position (Acts 15:1-2) and their view prevailed.  Barnabas and Paul later quarreled and pursued their missionary work separately (Acts 5:36-41; Galatians 2:11-13).

Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus, where Barnabas is traditionally honored as the founder of the Church. It seems that Barnabas continued his journeys for the Gospel, because Paul mentions him several times in his letters to the Galatians, the Corinthians, and the Colossians. Tradition has it that he was martyred at Salamis in Cyprus.(see note)

(Church Publishing. Lesser Feasts and Fasts (Kindle Locations 5084-5087). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.)

Tradition says that Barnabas ended his days on his native island of Cyprus.  Luke sums up:  Barnabas “was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24).

St. Barnabas Anglican church of Seattle was the daughter church of St. Paul in Bellevue. This is naturally why the name St. Barnabas was chosen to represent the helpmate that Barnabas was to Paul. As Barnabas was to Paul, so St. Barnabas church was to St. Paul anglican church. There is much history to share about the story of our patron Saint and the story of the planting of this church. We would love to share that story with you and perhaps this community would become a place you can call your spiritual home.

On this day we pray:

O LORD God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From the 1928 B.C.P.)

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