Does God Love Me Just the Way I Am?

The answer to the question above is “Yes, and no.” God loves you, yes absolutely, and he wants you to live with him forever. This is proved by the fact that God sent his Son, Jesus, to take on human nature and to die for our sins. God’s extraordinary self-sacrifice, taking on himself the penalty for our sins, shows that from God’s point of view our sins are literally a matter of life and death.

Sometimes the phrase, “God loves me just the way I am” is used to mean “God loves me and doesn’t care what I do.” But look at the first interaction between God and humanity recorded in the Bible, to story of Adam and Eve. God issued one rule (don’t eat from that tree). Adam and Eve broke the rule. God did not say, “Well, that’s all right, I love you just the way you are.” He expelled Adam and Eve from their pleasant garden and consigned them to a life of work and pain. Look at the history of the people of Israel. When they broke the Ten Commandments, God punished them. God cares deeply what we do. He loves us despite our sins, but he wants us to give up our sins.

Jesus instructed us (in the Lord’s Prayer) to call God “Father.” Think of how a father loves his children. He loves them no matter what, but he does not love them “just the way they are.” He wants them to grow in maturity and good works.

Our liturgy at St. Barnabas reflects both sides of this question. There is thanksgiving for God’s love and there are stories about his mighty works to save his followers in the past. There is also confession and prayers for forgiveness because we recognize that everyone sins in one way or another. This is liberating! It is unhealthy to fool oneself into thinking that one does not sin, and it is equally unhealthy to suppose that our sins have irrevocably cut us off from God.  The fact is that we do sin and that God has done something about it in Jesus, but he wants us to strive for holiness, and he has promised to help that striving.

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Blessing of the Animals

This Sunday – October 3rd at Noon we recognize the stewardship of St. Francis for all of God’s creation. We will have a brief liturgy to recognize our role as steward’s of our animal companions. Each pet will be blessed individually and will receive a goody bag. Join us under the tent, right in front of the church. Everyone is welcome!

Sunday, October 3rd @ Noon
All Creatures Great & Small Invited!
 
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Learning About Anglicanism

St. Barnabas is part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a group of Christian churches that trace their heritage back to the Church of England.  The Church of England began as part of the Protestant movement that arose in reaction to perceived (and acknowledged) abuses in the medieval Roman Catholic Church.  The Church of England has been through many political twists and turns, but at its best it has always emphasized familiarity with the Bible and humble dependence on God’s actions in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the key to salvation. 

In the Seventeenth Century, the Anglican Church developed a beautiful liturgy (a form of prayers and readings for public worship) that has been used worldwide.  In the course of time, however, some words in the liturgy fell out of use and some changed their meanings.  In 2019, the ACNA published a new version of the liturgy that preserves the sense of the original but uses more modern language to avoid confusion.  That is the liturgy that we use at St. Barnabas.

The ACNA publishes forms of daily prayer (called the Daily Office) online at

https://www.dailyoffice2019.com/

 You can find prayers for the morning, for midday, for the evening, and for late evening (compline).  Here is how the morning prayer liturgy often begins:

Dearly beloved, the Scriptures teach us to acknowledge our many sins and offenses, not concealing them from our heavenly Father, but confessing them with humble and obedient hearts that we may obtain forgiveness by his infinite goodness and mercy. We ought at all times humbly to acknowledge our sins before Almighty God, but especially when we come together in his presence to give thanks for the great benefits we have received at his hands, to declare his most worthy praise, to hear his holy Word, and to ask, for ourselves and on behalf of others, those things which are necessary for our life and our salvation. Therefore, draw near with me to the throne of heavenly grace.

There are comforting themes here.  We are all beloved of God, and we strive to love one another.  We acknowledge that we all sin.  Sin separates us from God and we cannot fix that separation ourselves.  We must depend on God to do it, and so we make humble confession, trusting in God’s infinite mercy to forgive.  This is particularly appropriate when we come together to acknowledge all the great gifts of God, including this beautiful world.  Together (virtually together if you are using the website) we hear God’s words in the Bible and make our prayers and thanksgivings.  We draw near to God’s throne, preparing for eternal life in which we will praise God and bask in his love for us in a renewed world without sin, evil, or death.

Our Sunday liturgy addresses these same themes, and centers around the ceremony of bread and wine that Jesus instructed us to follow.  

One way to learn about Anglicanism is to try the Daily Office for a while.  Plus, come and join us on Sundays.  We begin around 9:50 am with some hymns.  The formal liturgy starts around 10:00 am.

Book of Common Prayer 2019
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To Whom or What do you belong?

Which Church Do You Belong To?

Maybe you recognize that there is a “spiritual” dimension to the universe beyond the physical things we can see, but you don’t go to church, or church is not a significant part of your life.

To you we say, “Come and join us!”

Why do we say this? Are we the cleverest and best looking people around? By no means, but we can introduce you to Jesus.

This is a big deal. Jesus is God, and if you want to learn about the spiritual dimension of the universe, it makes sense to get to know the one who made the universe.

Is St. Barnabas the only place you can meet Jesus? By no means, but it is one such place.

At St. Barnabas, we read from the Bible every Sunday, we talk about Jesus and what he means, and we share bread and wine as he instructed us to do.

Come and learn of him.

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ...

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What Do They Do In There?

Welcome to St. Barnabas!

Perhaps you have passed our church a few times and considered attending a service, but you wonder what will happen.

For a preview, it’s easy to find a free online copy of the 2019 ACNA Prayer Book:

https://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/

We usually follow the Eucharist service that starts on page 105. You can read through the service ahead of time to get oriented.

Here’s a guide:

  1. Someone will hand you a leaflet as you enter. Hang onto this. The inside back cover has a step-by-step outline of the service, keyed to page numbers in the hymnal and Prayer Book.
  2. Sit anywhere you like.
  3. About 10 minutes before the service begins (i.e., around 9:50 am) the pianist leads us in four “warm-up” pre-service hymns from the Celebration Hymnal, copies of which are located at the ends of the pews. During the service, we switch to the 1940 Hymnal found in the rack in front of you.
  4. The service begins with a processional hymn (from the 1940 Hymnal) followed by an acclamation found inside the front cover of your leaflet.
  5. The service continues on page 106 of the Prayer Book (in the rack in front of you) with the Collect for Purity. The service then follows sequentially through the Prayer Book, with a few digressions.
  6. On page 108, the Prayer Book indicates that the “Lessons” for the day will be read. There is an Old Testament lesson, a Psalm, a New Testament lesson, and a Gospel lesson. They change from week to week but all are printed in your leaflet. We stand to recite the Psalm. We stand again to hear the Gospel lesson and, to make it extra special, we frame the Gospel lesson with a hymn, typically singing a couple of verses before and the remaining verses after the Gospel. The hymn number is in your leaflet.
  7. After the Gospel lesson comes the sermon hymn (usually announced but also listed in your leaflet) and the sermon.
  8. We return to the Prayer Book at page 109 for the Nicene Creed, then the Prayers of the People on pages 110-111. At the top of page 112, the priest adds prayers for members of the parish, then we continue with the Confession, Absolution, and Comfortable Words on pages 112-114.
  9. On page 114, the priest says, “Peace be with you,” and we respond, “and with your spirit.” Then there is a break while the priest prepares the bread and wine for the Eucharist. A collection is taken during this time and when it is brought to the front we sing: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
  10. Now we are at page 115 for the Sursum Corda (“lift up your hearts”) and then we sing the Sanctus (“holy, holy, holy”). Bells are rung to mark this important moment.
  11. Next comes the Prayer of Consecration on pages 116-117. Bells are rung at additional important moments.
  12. Then we say together the Lord’s Prayer on page 118 and the Prayer of Humble Access on page 119, then we sing the Agnus Dei (“lamb of God”).
  13. Then comes the Eucharist, which is open to all baptized Christians. To protect health, the wafers are distributed using tongs, the wine is provided in individual cups. If you have limited mobility, we will bring the bread and wine to you.
  14. Next we have the post-communion prayer on page 121, then some brief announcements, then a blessing and a recessional hymn. Then a brief prayer and another hymn while the candles on the altar are extinguished.
  15. The final exchange is “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, alleluia, alleluia!” “Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia!”

It can be a bit complex working with two hymnals and a Prayer Book and a leaflet, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. The people sitting around you will be happy to help.

Don’t be shy! If you have been meaning to come to church, this is a good time to do it!

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“You have taken your first step into a larger world.”

That is what Obi-Wan Kenobi says to Luke Skywalker when he  introduces him to the “force” in the first Star Wars movie ( Episode IV, A New Hope). When that movie came out, many people noticed that there were strong overtones of Christianity. There is no “force,” of course, but Christians do claim to have glimpsed a larger world.

Consider: after years of broken New Years resolutions we may moderate our ideals to “realistic” levels both for ourselves and for others. We may become resigned to the expectation that the best we can do, personally and collectively, is to make a few things a little better, maybe, in the future.

Jesus challenges this world view. He says that there is a loving God who has made everything and who has made us to live with him forever. What we do has cosmic consequences. Our world is not limited to minor improvements. The time is coming when evil will be defeated, death will be destroyed, and those who follow Jesus, including those who have died, will enter a re-created world of eternal love, beauty, and bliss. A larger world, indeed. 

This may not come to fulfilment tomorrow, or this year. But the question right now is: whose side are you on? Are you not sure? Then come and join with us in learning more about Jesus and the larger world he offers. 

We meet for worship on Sunday mornings at 10:00 am. , come join us soon!

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS HERE NOW - Acts In Motion
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Summer Worship

In Seattle we have just passed through record-breaking heat. In years gone by, preachers could have used this as a mild foretaste of the hellish flames awaiting the ungodly.

The modern Anglican style may be less colorful, but we should not lose sight of an important fact: all of us will live eternally (that is what we are made for) and we will live either with Jesus or without him.

We can’t earn our way to eternity with Jesus by being good people or by doing good deeds. It’s both easier and harder than that.

Easier because Jesus offers eternal life with him for free, harder because to accept that offer we need to acknowledge that we need Jesus, that we are not God.

Some strong impulse in all of us fights against that acknowledgement. That’s what the Church calls “original sin.”

One way forward is to join with other Christians on a weekly basis to hear God’s words in the Bible, confess our sins, and receive the bread and wine as Jesus instructed.

Now where could one do that?

St. Barnabas welcomes you at 10:00 am on Sundays.

Summer Worship - Hope Lutheran Church Port Coquitlam
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The Feast of St. Barnabas

June 11 is the day set aside by the Church to remember St. Barnabas. He is described in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. His name was Joseph. Barnabas or “son of consolation” was apparently a nickname. Acts 4: 36. He probably knew Jesus. After the Resurrection, to help the infant Church he sold a field he owned and donated the proceeds for. Acts 4:37. He was from Cyprus and he accompanied St. Paul on a missionary journey to that island. Acts 13:1-12. Barnabas and Paul continued to the mainland of Asia Minor (now Turkey) where they established churches in many towns, though often against opposition. At Lystra, Paul cured a man who had been lame from birth and the townspeople were convinced that “the gods have come down to us in human form!” They called Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes. It was with difficulty that Paul and Barnabas convinced the people not to sacrifice a bull to them. Acts 14:8-18. Barnabas is depicted in the Acts of the Apostles as consistently helpful and supportive of the Church.  He is a good model for Christians and a good patron saint for our church. Here is a prayer for the feast of St. Barnabas.

Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well-being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor, and went forth courageously in mission for the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and everAmen.

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Ordinary Time

We have completed the great cycle of Lent, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. Now the Church enters “Ordinary Time.” This does not imply that the time is undistinguished, only that we are now counting Sundays by their relationship to Pentecost (the Second Sunday after Pentecost, the Third Sunday after Pentecost, etc.). “First,” “Second,” “Third” and the like are “ordinal numbers” so we have “Ordinary Time,” which continues until Advent begins in the autumn.

Our worship during Lent and through Pentecost focused on the dramatic events at the crisis of Jesus’ life and death. Ordinary Time is an opportunity to step back a bit and look more generally at Jesus’ life and teachings. It’s a good time to come to church. (It’s always a good time to come to church.) It’s a season of growth and ministry. There are great themes of the “work of the church” in ministry and mission.

Ordinary Time is studded with interesting events. For example, June 11 is the feast day of our patron, St. Barnabas and June 29 celebrates the apostles Peter and Paul.

We continue to observe safety precautions (masks, distancing) but look forward to the progressive lifting of restrictions and more opportunities for fellowship.

Our Sunday services start around 9:45 with informal hymns. The more formal liturgy starts at 10:00 am.

Everyone is welcome!

Voices: Ordinary Time in the Liturgy
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It’s Here: Pentecost!

After Jesus’ resurrection, he was with his followers for 40 days, comforting and teaching them. Then he vanished from their sight after telling them to stay in Jerusalem until they were “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” They found out what that meant ten days later on the Jewish feast of Pentecost (commemorating the early summer harvest and the giving of the Law to Moses). They were filled with inspiration from God and began to proclaim the good news about Jesus, startling visitors to Jerusalem by addressing them in their own languages. Peter, the leader, gave a powerful speech that brought many new members to the infant Church. From this time, they were called “apostles” (people sent out with a mission). For more, see the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2.

Two thousand years later, we carry on the tradition of the early Church, devoting ourselves to “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42.

Join us for a celebration of Pentecost tomorrow, May 23. We begin at 9:45 am with hymns.

6 Good Prayers for Pentecost Sunday - ConnectUS
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