Rise of the “Nones”

Polls indicate a growing number of people who answer “None” when asked about their religious affiliation.  The number of non-affiliated people has long been higher in the Seattle area than in other parts of the country.  Even among people who state a religious affiliation, some attend church only rarely, and some admit that they don’t really believe in God but attend church to find other people who share their political or cultural views.  And yet, God is the ruler of the universe whether we acknowledge him or not.

Imagine a group of people goes to a Husky game and is attracted by the tailgate party.  They enjoy the food and drink.  They see the big stadium over there, but have little interest in what happens over there.  Wouldn’t we say, “Really, you need to understand that the reason we all gather for this tailgate party is that an exciting football game is about to take place in the stadium. That’s what brings us together and gives this party its meaning. You are missing the main event!” God is the creator of the world and our own personal creator.  He made us to love him.  Jesus is the savior of the world. When we were separated from God by our sins, Jesus came to bring us home.  God gives this world its meaning.  He is the main event.  In changing and distressing times, the love of God can heal and restore us. These truths are becoming less and less known in our culture. At St. Barnabas, we proclaim these truths and cling to Jesus.  Join us.

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Prayer for Commerce and Industry

On this Labor Day: Prayer for Commerce and Industry   (from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer)

O Lord Jesus Christ, in your earthly life you shared our toil and hallowed our labor; Guide those who maintain the commerce and industries of our land, and give to all who labor pride in their work, a just reward, and joy both in supplying need and in serving you; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, world without end.  Amen.

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A Collect for Peace (from the Book of Common Prayer 2019)

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom:  Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (BCP 2019)

 This prayer contains many important ideas.  God loves peace. Our eternal life with God will be one of peace and concord.  But how will this happen, given that people have conflicting ideas and interests that create disputes?  The answer is to humble ourselves and follow God.  Human dictators oppress their subjects, but God is a faithful and loving ruler.  Serving God is perfect freedom to become what God made us to be.  Being servants of God does not mean that our lives will be trouble-free; in this as in everything Jesus is our model.  But we ask God to protect us from our enemies, knowing that no matter what happens to us, God’s love lasts forever.  Jesus was killed on earth, but was raised from the dead and now reigns as king of kings and lord of lords.  He is our mighty savior and so we need not fear.

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Unity in Jesus

In his letter to the Galatians (3:28), St. Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul was addressing potential divisions within the Church and pointing out that the only way to overcome them was to recognize our unity in Christ.  A similar sentiment is in one of our hymns:

In Christ there is no east or west,
in him no south or north,
but one great fellowship of love
throughout the whole wide earth.

We worry about divisions today, but they have always existed. And as always, the only way to overcome them is to recognize that God is greater than all divisions, to humble ourselves to working together for God’s glory.

These thoughts have special meaning following our joyous celebration on Nigerian Sunday. The liturgy included both the Book of Common Prayer and spiritual songs (with some impressive drumming) in the Nigerian tradition.  We were united in praising God and singing Alleluia.  This is a foretaste of what heaven will be like:  everyone joining together to praise God in eternity

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Annual Nigerian Sunday 2019

Invitation Aug 18 2019

Nigerian Sunday!

Next Sunday, August 18, we will celebrate our annual Nigerian Eucharist.  People of Nigerian background will come from far and near to join with St. Barnabas in worship, singing, and food.  Parts of the liturgy will be in Igbo, one of the principal languages of Nigeria.  You are welcome to join us for this joyous time as we celebrate how people from all around the world worship the same God that made us all. 

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The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost

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The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name.1

If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.2 If ye … being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?3 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.4 Ye have not, because ye ask not.5

When … the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.6

They rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.7
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1Joh 14:26; 2Joh 4:10; 3Luk 11:13; 4Joh 16:23,24; 5Jam 4:2; 6Joh 16:13,14; 7Isa 63:10;

(From: Bagster’s Daily Light, KJV)

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Saturday Morning wake up!

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Christ, who is the image of God.1

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.2 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.3 He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.4 The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.5 God was manifest in the flesh.6

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature.7 Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.8

As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.9
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12Co 4:4; 2Isa 40:5; 3Joh 1:18,14; 4Joh 14:9; 5Heb 1:3; 61Ti 3:16; 7Col 1:14,15; 8Rom 8:29; 91Co 15:49;

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BCP 2019

Our Eucharist (communion) liturgy begins with a Collect (short prayer) for Purity.  Here it is in the traditional 1928 version: 

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. 

Here is the same prayer in the new (2019) ACNA Book of Common Prayer version:

 Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid:  Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord.  

The most obvious change is the replacement of “thee” and “thy” with “you” and “your.”  “Thee” and “thy” sound archaic and formal to many people, which conceals the fact that as originally written they were intended to sound informal and familiar (“you” was the formal mode of address), building on Jesus’ admonition to address Almighty God in a familiar way as “our Father.”  

The first clause is changed in form, probably to emphasize that it is an address to God, not simply a description of God’s attributes.  Interestingly, the authors of the 2019 book have chosen to retain the old-fashioned word “magnify,” which here means to praise or glorify.

In both the 1928 or 2019 versions, the purpose of the prayer is the same.  It focuses the mind on the need for purity of thought when approaching the holy God.  The prayer begins by acknowledging that God knows all of our thoughts, which should trigger the realization that our thoughts, distracted as they so often are, are not worthy of God’s greatness.  But the prayer turns immediately to a petition that God’s Holy Spirit will help us be worthy.  This theme of submission to God’s power runs through the whole liturgy and reminds us of our dependence on God’s free gift of himself in giving us life and in sending his son, Jesus, to save us from our sins.

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Watch & Pray

We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them.1

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.3 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith.4

Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?5 Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.6

Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.7

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.8
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1Neh 4:9; 2Mat 26:41; 3Col 4:2; 41Pe 5:7-9; 5Luk 6:46; 6Jam 1:22; 7Exo 14:15; 8Phi 4:6,7;

(From Bagster’s Daily Light – KJV)

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New Book of Common Prayer

One of the glories of the Anglican tradition has been the use of a Book of Common Prayer.  Christians in the United States, England, Australia, India, and elsewhere could know that they were following (generally) the same liturgy and saying the same prayers.  This unity has fractured over the years, sometimes for good reasons (to modernize language to make it more understandable) and sometimes for bad (to downplay doctrines like sin that made some people uncomfortable).   The ACNA has been working for about ten years to develop a Book of Common Prayer, and it has now been published.  Join us on Sunday July 21 at 9:10 a.m. (between the two liturgies) to discuss the new book as we evaluate whether the authors have fulfilled their mandate to update the language (eliminating the “thee’s” and “thou’s”) while retaining the core theological principles of orthodox Christianity.

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BCP 2019

 

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