Getting Back to Normal; Class on Biblical Authority Starting

The snow is melting and the daffodils will come back!

St. Barnabas is resuming its regular schedule, with liturgies at 8:00 and 10:30 on Sunday, February 17.

In between those liturgies, at 9:10 am on the 17th, we will have the first of our series of classes on the authority of the Bible.

The ultimate question is:  Can we trust the Bible?

This coming Sunday, we will look at some preliminary questions:  Do we have an accurate text of the Bible?  Who decided which writings to put into the Bible and why?  How can we choose among the various available translations?

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February 15, 2019 – Friday Morning

Who can say, I have made my heart clean?1

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.2 They that are in the flesh cannot please God.3

To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.4 We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags: and we all do fade as a leaf: and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.5

The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.6 God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.7

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.8

1Pro 20:9; 2Psa 14:2,3; 3Rom 8:8; 4Rom 7:18,19; 5Isa 64:6; 6Gal 3:22; 72Co 5:19; 81Jo 1:8,9;

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Worship Schedule February 9, 2019

Our 8:00 am service is cancelled tomorrow morning. God willing we will celebrate a
“said” service Mass at 10:30 am. This means that there will be no music and we will say the liturgy. Blessings to all as we anticipate more weather challenges. May travel mercies take us to our destinations.

A simple weather summary for the upcoming week follows:

Be safe everyone!

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Can We Believe the Bible?

St. Barnabas is “rooted in Scripture,” which means that we trust the Bible as the word of God.  What does it mean to trust an ancient text?  What does it mean to say that the Bible is the word of God?  Starting on Sunday, February 17 and for several weeks thereafter, St. Barnabas will present a class looking at these questions.  We will look at challenges to Biblical authority and perspectives associated with terms like “infallibility” and “inerrancy.” We will apply that discussion to specific issues and problems in the New and Old Testaments.  The class will meet at 9:10 a.m., making it convenient for people from both liturgies (at 8:00 and 10:30) to attend.  Bring your Bibles and your questions!  All are welcome. As in all things, our purpose is to glorify God and grow in loving communion with Him.

Other translations are also welcome. Including but not limited to RSV, CEV, ESV, NIV, NASB.

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Temporary Suspension of music

No music and singing group tonight. This is a weather related cancellation.

The informal music group will resume next week – Wednesday Feb. 13th at 6:30 pm.

Join us on Sunday at 8:00am and 10:30 am for hymns, praise and worship music.

All are welcome to join us next Wednesday (Feb. 13, 2019) at 6:30 pm.

Don’t let the music die.

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Readiness Report

Outline for the next storm track:



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Canticle for a snow day

O ye dews and frosts, bless ye the Lord;
O ye frost and cold, bless ye the Lord;

O ye ice and snow, bless he the Lord;
praise him and magnify him forever.

Keep safe and God bless your week!

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The 2018-19 professional football season is coming to an end with a final contest on Sunday, February 3.  The two finalist teams have names and logos that are subject to copyright, so we will not reproduce them here.  Doubtless they will be on display during the game.

We are planning to observe this display of football prowess and copyrighted content on Sunday, February 3, opening kickoff starting at 3:30 p.m. and continuing as long as the teams choose to play.  We will try out our recently donated wide screen television set.  You are welcome to join us and, if convenient, to bring along a pot luck appetizer to share.

During halftime, there will be an opportunity to learn to chant the Psalms.

God bless your week.

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Epiphany continues…

The season of Epiphany recalls ways that Jesus was revealed or manifested as the Savior, the one sent from God (in fact, as it turned out, God himself).  We talked about the visit of the three wise men.  Another event recalled in this season is Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan River.  Baptism amounted to dunking under the water and was the signature action of a fellow called John (called, not surprisingly, the Baptist).  John used baptism as a symbol of dying to sin and being reborn to a new life.  He called people to repent of their sins, that is, to change their lives and draw close to God through prayer and good works. When asked by the religious authorities who in the world he thought he was, he answered that he was preparing the way for one greater than himself.  When Jesus arrived at the scene, John recognized him as the “greater” one to come.  Jesus submitted to baptism and there was a miraculous sign (the gospel writers describe it in different ways) confirming John’s acclamation.

 Another early sign was, as the Gospel of John describes it, the first miracle that Jesus himself performed.  He was at a wedding at Cana in Galilee.  Then as now, weddings were celebrated with parties, food, and drink.  But they ran out of wine.  Apparently reluctant, but at the urging of his mother Mary (there is a story here), Jesus miraculously transformed water into wine, such excellent wine that it was remarked upon. was no mere parlor trick.  All of Jesus’ miracles had theological meanings.  Part of the meaning here, as noted by C.S. Lewis, is that Jesus’ miracle points to a larger miracle that God performs every day (though more slowly):  rains fall, grapes grow, and grape juice ferments into wine.  Looked at in this way, the miracle at Cana reminds us of the constant gifts of God.  And that is typical of Jesus:  he was always looking to his Father in heaven with love and urging us to do the same.  

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After Christmas, What? Epiphany!

The Christmas season (Christmas Tide) is winding down.  January 5 is the twelfth day of Christmas.  Have fun celebrating the birth of the Christ child!

What comes next is the season of Epiphany.  Epiphany means “manifestation” or “making known.”  It celebrates the fact that Jesus came to all the peoples of the world, not just to the Jewish people.  The first recognition of Jesus by non-Jews was the visitation of “We Three Kings from Orient Are.”  That episode conjures up visions of Christmas pageants and children in bathrobes with paper crowns.  Let’s try to get back to the truth of the matter by looking at the historical source material, the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew tells us that “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem saying, ‘Where is he that is born king of the Jews?  For we have seen his star in the East and are come to worship him.'”

The time and place can be fixed with some precision.  Judea was a province of the Roman Empire, ruled, at the time of Jesus’ birth, by Herod (called “the Great”), a client king of Rome.  Herod is remembered for his lavish building programs and his cruelty.  He was so suspicious of rivals that he had several members of his own family killed.  Herod himself died around 4 B.C. or perhaps 1 B.C.

To this embittered man appeared “wise men from the East.”  The term “wise men” translates the Greek word “Magoi,” the plural of “Magos,” which appears to refer to members of the priestly caste in Persia, then part of the Parthian Empire, which was in fact to the east of Jerusalem. Matthew does not call the wise men kings nor does he say there were three of them.

The wise men say they have seen a star.  In childhood pictures, the Three Kings are literally following a star that moves ahead of them, but that does not seem to be what Matthew is describing.  Instead, the three Magoi seem to be following what we might call an astrological indication.  A particular star in a particular constellation has told them of a wonder to be seen among the Jews, and so they have traveled to Jerusalem, the capital of Judea, to find out what is going on.

We can imagine Herod’s consternation when he hears from these distinguished foreigners that someone else has been born king of the Jews.  Matthew tells us that Herod inquired from his scholars whether there was any prophecy about where the coming king of the Jews would be born.  They answered that, according to the Book of Micah, the promised Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.  And so Herod sent the Magoi to Bethlehem with orders to return if they found anything looking like a baby king, “so that I may come and worship him also.”  These words of Herod drip with irony and menace.

Matthew goes on to say that the Magoi did travel on until they came to where the child was.  Interestingly, Matthew does not say that the Magoi found Jesus in Bethlehem, nor that the Magoi showed up only days after Jesus’ birth.  They may have found Jesus in Nazareth, which was his home.  The Magoi are said to have presented rich gifts:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The Holy Family might well have turned these gifts into cash when they decided to flee to Egypt to avoid danger from Herod.  For Herod, once he realized that the Magoi did not return, determined to rid himself of a possible rival by ordering that all children in Bethlehem under the age of two years should be killed.

So that was the beginning of how Jesus was made known to the peoples of the earth:  a murderous king, three distinguished pagans, and a scholarly prophecy.  That’s not the way we might have written it, but God often acts in unexpected ways.

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